When I sat down with Philip Hall, president of the Brothers of St. Gregory’s, my first question was, “Can you describe the work done by the Brothers to support the youth?”
Philip started listing projects the Brothers have completed in the last year: purchasing instruments for the Youth Band, helping with the purchase of youth choir robes and the salary of a youth assistant, providing college scholarships for graduating seniors, upgrading the St. Gregory’s kitchen, throwing the Back to School Community Picnic, helping with the first-ever Charity Festival, helping to cover costs for a youth trip to Camp Kanuga…
“We’re making a difference, period,” Philip says. Considering the long projects list—and that’s just the past year—it’s not hard to see that he is right. In part because of financial support from the Brothers, youth programs are alive and well at St. Gregory’s. Much of this financial support comes from parking revenue and monthly breakfasts the Brothers host.
Philip, who has led the Brothers for the last year and a half, envisions even loftier fundraising and fellowship efforts. A church-wide festival, he muses, something like the Boca Raton Greek Food Festival put on by St. Mark Greek Orthodox Church down the road. Maybe a chili cook-off and family-oriented events like a day at a Marlins Game.
“We could do all these things,” he says. “We have the means. Mostly we need help. We need more people to get involved.”
In other words, the Brothers need, well, more brothers. They need more hands and minds to help plan and execute bigger events and projects. Not that Philip isn’t proud of what the Brothers currently do—“It’s a great group of guys who work hard,” he says about the almost 80 members—it’s just that he wants their work to continue to grow and improve.
Growing and improving starts with adding new members. To men who aren’t yet involved with the Brothers, he encourages them to attend one of their dinner meetings held on the third Monday of each month. “You’ll be welcomed with open arms and meet new friends,” Philip says. “I was asked a long time ago to come to a dinner, and now I’m a leader. It’s very rewarding.”
The group is multi-generational, with members ranging from their 30s to their 80s. Meetings have an approximately 75 percent turnout rate, which means most members are active and involved. Everyone member has a voice in the group’s work, Philip tells me. Being a Brother is also a great way to stay involved with the church and gain a deeper understanding of how things work at St. Gregory’s, and it provides time for men to relax, foster friendships and faith, and have fun.
“It’s service with a higher purpose,” Philip says. “If you want to give back to the community and the youth, it’s a lot of fun.”