The departure of Father Steven Vlahos had caused turmoil in the young community. Many parishioners continued to support Father Vlahos and oppose the Parish Council. Such was the mood of the community when Father Papaioannou arrived. Father George was determined to pacify the spirits and unite the community. The Feast of the Epiphany gave Father George a golden opportunity to begin his campaign of peace and reconciliation. Following this observance on January 6, he visited practically every member family to bless their homes and bring the love of the Lord to the entire family. In most cases he was accompanied by his Presvytera Maria, who played a very important role in this campaign of love and reconciliation. In a few months not only had the old members reconciled their differences, but new families joined as well; St. George was now to experience a phenomenal growth in members and in programs.
Under Father George the youth became the main focus of the parish. The 1970’s were considered to be a time of rebellion of youth against parental authority, school officials and the values of the adult generation. St. George tried, and in many ways, succeeded to make a difference in the lives of its young people. The programs brought the youth together and exposed them to the faith. The Jr. G.O.Y.A. took the lead. Jr. Choir was formed under the guidance and direction of Kathy Panagos and Ann Anthan. A Dancing Group was formed with Soteria Carson teaching our traditional ethnic dances; retreats were sponsored; speakers were invited to give talks on different subjects, including topics ranging from religion and culture to drug abuse and pre-marital relations. Leon Andris played a most important role in the development of our youth by helping to organize athletic events, especially the boy’s basketball teams. George and Audrey Jalepes became icons of love and respect by helping develop the girl’s basketball teams. One of the greatest contributions made to the lives of the young people of St. George was that of Margaret Geckos; her contribution was made in the most important area of religious education of the young. Beginning in the Fall of 1972 Margaret Geckos set the foundations of the Sunday School, which we enjoy to this day.
The Greek School has developed into one of the finest of its kind in the country. Although it opened its doors since the beginning of St. George, the development of the Greek School began in the mid-1970’s when Dino Pappas chaired the Greek School Committee and Mrs. Lena Petropoulos, a professional educator was appointed principal. She put together a group of professional teachers who with the help of parents revitalized the school and made it a model Greek School in the area. In the 1998-99 scholastic year the Greek School exceeded two hundred students.
Another blessing for the parish of St. George was the arrival of Anastasios Vrenios who joined the community in the mid-1970’s. An accomplished musician and professional tenor, Taso was asked to become the choirmaster by Father George. He continues to serve in that capacity to this day. Under his professional leadership and direction the choir of St. George has become one of the most inspiring in the country. The St. George Choir has not limited its contributions to liturgical music; it has widened its horizons by producing classical and contemporary concerts of unprecedented beauty and majesty.