| Gifts to St. George's Mission Station
St. George's Mission Station in Edenton is quite grateful for gifts, whether they are gifts to furnish the temple, or are monetary gifts to assist with the monthly costs of keeping the temple open here for worship.
The purpose of gifts to furnish the temple is, primarily, the glory of God and the beautifying of His house of worship, and the purpose may be, secondarily, for a specific intention.
If such an intention is desired, the gift either will be in memory of one or more persons deceased (normally Christian, though with some exceptions), or else it will be in thanksgiving—for one or more persons living or for another particular blessing.
These specific memorials or thanksgivings are incorporated into the Church's formal blessing, conducted before or at the conclusion of a worship service typically, of the particular furnishing that is given.
This sacramental blessing illustrates the Church's understanding that God uses physical things in His creation to carry and manifest spiritual things for His people.
Thus from the time of the Church's blessing by the priest, the physical article remains imbued with the particular intention and prayer, first to the glory of God, and second in the memory of the person (or in thanksgiving for the person or the other blessing) as is designated.
Thenceforth the article so blessed, whenever it is used and as long as it exists, carries with it this sacramental intention and prayer, whether at a future time the priest and others present may be, or may not be, aware of the article's history and of its blessing and intention.
It is appropriate for a given article to bear some identification of the gift—for example, the year or date, the name of the person or persons in whose memory it is given, and, depending on the donor's preference, the identity of the donor, or donors.
The reasons for the identification are to maintain a record of the circumstances of the gift, in the interests both of the mission station's history and also of the family and friends of those memorialized or those making the gift.
Although a memorial shares the nature of a continuing prayer, God's remembrance of the prayer is not dependent on the visibility of the identification placed on the article. And a consideration of those who over many years have quietly sent monthly gifts simply for the routine operation of the temple—friends as well as members—advises a comparably humble modesty in the marking of furnishings given.
As the primary purpose of a gift is the glory of God, and the reason for its identification is thus the historical record, and in order to avoid distraction to those who have come to the temple to worship, a plaque or other labeling or printing will thus be so placed that it is reasonably accessible but otherwise is not in view.
It is by the same principle that an iconographer's name is signed on the back of an Orthodox icon and not on the front.
And so to identify memorials and other gifts, for example, a label would be on the back of an icon, a bookplate would be on a flyleaf or endpaper, engraving would be inside the base of a lamp or of a chalice, and a plaque for a table or stand would be on the underside—or on the back, if the back is always against a wall.
In contemplating a gift of any icon or other furnishing, the donor should always consult in advance with the mission station's priest, to review such considerations as design, style, size, and origin.
Many items are sold today as icons, for example, that would not be appropriate in an Orthodox temple, where it is important to continue to set the proper example, particularly in such furnishings that have theological implications.
There is maintained a listing, covering a wide range of possibilities, of furnishings and liturgical items that are particularly needed at St. George's Mission Station, and a current copy is available on request.
While the furnishing of the temple proper is overseen by the priest, the furnishing of the rest of the mission house, or building, is delegated to the furnishings chairman, who has demonstrated knowledge and experience in the standard of design indigenous to the locality for which the mission station was established.
As with the temple, so with the mission house its furnishing should contribute and provide such dignity and beauty as befits the purpose of this building, blessed as auxiliary to the temple, to draw men's thoughts toward God and their lives into theosis.
In the context of the cultural tradition established in Edenton, the furnishings of the rooms in the mission house should congruently reflect the quality that is expected in the public rooms of the historic district that exemplify the aesthetic standard of the town. This standard is characterized by a worthy quality, by restraint, dignity, and simplicity, and by the traditional design of the region.
The mission house will generally not be the place suitably of choice for the display of an individual's decorative items, even though religiously oriented, which likely will be meaningful best within his or her particular household.
Having accepted the responsibility for the furnishing of the mission house, the chairman is given correspondingly the authority and discretion to see that the furnishing of the building remains in accord with a coherent plan for a design that is orderly and becoming, in view of the purpose to which the building has been blessed.