Led by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos and the faithful of the Metropolis of San Francisco, a fundraising reception was held on Saturday, March 16, 2019 following Pan-Orthodox Vespers at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Long Beach, CA. The proceeds from this event were designated for the Theotokos Girls and Boys Orphanage and Saint Ignatius School in Bakeswar, India.
The evening began with Pan-Orthodox clergy and faithful being led in prayer by His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America, along with His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, and guest homilist His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles. Over 50 voices comprised a Pan-Orthodox Choir under the direction of Dr. Eve Tibbs, music director at Saint Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, CA.
At a sumptuous Lenten reception following the service, guests enjoyed fellowship and learned more about the Theotokos Girls and Boys Orphanage and Saint Ignatius School which has been serving, protecting and educating children in India for 25 years. A compelling short film (www.ekotafilm.com) featuring Sister Nectaria and her efforts to combat human trafficking one child at a time, demonstrated the great need, but also was inspirational to see faith in action with the good works of those who are teaching and nurturing these hundreds of children on a daily basis. His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles spoke about his close affiliation with Sister Nectaria, as these facilities were established 25 years ago during his tenure as Metropolitan of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Metropolitan Nikitas currently serves as the Coordinator of the Patriarchal Committee on Human Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery.
Special guest Jonathan Jackson, a devoted Orthodox Christian and five-time Daytime Emmy winner was the featured speaker at the event, shared his journey to the Orthodox faith, and his passion for promoting human rights and ending human trafficking. Jonathan Jackson is also an accomplished musician and performed a short musical program featuring some of his own compositions. He also donated a guitar for the Live Auction which was autographed by many of the cast members from the hit TV show Nashville in which he starred for six seasons, following his extraordinary tenure as Lucky Spencer on General Hospital.
Through the generosity of several donors, over $100,000 was raised at this event to support the construction of the Saint Ignatius School. Dr. Anna Yallourakis served as the Chairman, and she was assisted by a dedicated group of women from the surrounding parishes, Philoptochos Chapters, and from Fili, Inc – a non-profit organization which supports the efforts of Sister Nectaria and helps spread her message of love and need. In early May 2019, Anna and other representatives from Fili, Inc., traveled to India for the dedication of the new school. This wonderful celebration marked a momentous occasion for Sister Nectaria and the students whose bright future awaits them through the benevolence of so many people who opened their hearts to this important cause.