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Church Bulletin: August 25, 2013

posted Aug 26, 2013, 1:14 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
August 25, 2013- Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
This Week's Services and Events

August 26, Monday
       + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
       + Office Hours, 9:30AM-11:30AM
August 28, Wednesday
        + Vesperal Liturgy for the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner

August 29, Thursday
        + OCF dinner at Oasis, 6:30PM

August 30, Friday
        + Matins, 8:30AM

August 31, Saturday
        + 9th Hour/Great Vespers, 6PM
September 1, 10th Sunday after Pentecost
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Liturgy, 10AM, followed by Fellowship Hour
Upcoming Events and Announcements

Sept.-Oct. Calendars Now Available-
       The September and October 2013 St. Raphael calendar is now printed and available in the church narthex.

We Need Volunteers to Provide Holy Bread-
       We are in need of several volunteers to provide holy bread for the liturgies to be held in September.  Please check the sign-up sheet at the top of the stairs and considering signing up for a date.

Do You Want to Read Through the Whole Bible in One Year?-
       If you have an Orthodox Study Bible and would like to have an organized plan to read through the entire Bible in one year starting September 1, pick up a copy of the St. Raphael Orthodox Study Bible Reading Plan on one of the tables in the narthex.  For the average reader, using this plan will mean committing to reading the Bible for about 20-30 minutes a day for the whole year, September 1- August 31.

Vesperal Liturgy for the Beheading of the Forerunner-
       We will commemorate the beheading of the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John with a Vesperal Liturgy on Wednesday August 28 at 6PM.  Due to the solemn nature of what we are commemorating, Thursday, August 29 is a fasting day.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship College Group-
       Our OCF College Group will start weekly activities again beginning Thursday, August 29.  This Thursday, they will meet at the Oasis restaurant (206 N. Linn St.) for a casual dinner.  On Thursday, September 5 at 6:30PM, they will meet at the home of Robert Peterson and Lori Branch Peterson (831 Dearborn St.) for dinner.  On Thursday, September 12, they will pray the Little Compline service at 7PM, and have a discussion and refreshments afterward.  Check the printed or online church calendars for future events and/or speak with the faculty advisor, Lori Branch, or the student leader, Tyler Fyotek.

Happy Ecclesiastical New Year!
       Did you know that the Orthodox Church year begins on September 1 and ends on August 31?  So, this next Sunday, we mark the beginning of another liturgical year.  Happy New Year!

Free Lunch Program Volunteering-
       Our next opportunity to volunteer at the Free Lunch Program is Tuesday, September 3 from 11:30AM-1:30PM.  If you are able to help serve a meal for all or even part of this time, please let Fr. Ignatius know.  

Sunday School Kick-off Picnic and Beginning of School Year-
       We will have a kick-off celebration for our Sunday School program from 12PM-2PM on Saturday, September 7.  Sunday School for students pre-K through high school will begin after Liturgy on Sunday, September 8.  Please get your enrollment forms to Alli Rockwell as soon as possible.  The Sunday School program is in need of more helpers.  Please consider lending your time to make our Sunday School program even better than it was last year.  Speak with Lori Branch if you are interested in helping.

Pray for Christians in the Middle East-
       To watch a short video showing images of the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East, go to: http://youtu.be/alZYe_yam4U

An Orthodox Opinion of Reza Aslan's Book "Zealot: the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth"-
       To listen to or read Fr. Lawrence Farley's thoughts on Reza Aslan's controversial bestseller Zealot: the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, go to: http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/commentaries/zealotthe_life_and_times_of_jesus_of_nazareth#transcript

Would You Like to Volunteer to Help with Our Teen SOYO Group?-
       Thanks to the hard work of Alli Rockwell and the dedication of our teens, we have a Teen SOYO youth group at St. Raphael Church that regularly meets for their own fellowship, does community service projects and represents our church at the annual Diocesan Parish Life Conference.  Alli would welcome help from at least one other adult.  If you are interested in helping, speak to Alli or Fr. Ignatius.

New Healing Service-
       Among the sacraments of our Church, one that is sometimes overlooked is Holy Unction, the anointing with oil for the healing of both soul and body.  Although this sacrament is available to any Orthodox Christian anytime, as needed, most of us are probably only familiar with experiencing it during Holy Week, when there is a special anointing service on Holy Wednesday.  In an attempt to make this sacrament more accessible and understood, Fr. Ignatius will be offering Holy Unction a few more times a year.  Beginning in September, and taking place every other month (outside of Lent,) on the 2nd Wednesday of the month we will  sing the Paraklesis service to the Theotokos, itself a service of healing and consolation, and conclude with an opportunity for anointing with oil.  We will hold this service on September 11, November 13, January 8, etc. The Scriptural basis for the sacrament is very clear: "Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders (presbyters) of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." (James 5:14-15)  This sacrament is for physical healing and also spiritual healing, the forgiveness of sins.  Let us avail ourselves of these gifts that God has given us through His Church.

Olive Oil Donations Accepted-
       A very practical way to help the church is to donate olive oil, which we use in our oil lamps which sit on the altar and hang in front of the icons.  Regular grade (non-virgin) oil works best (and is less expensive!)  

Good Advice-
       From Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog, Glory to God For All Things (thanks to Andrew Ackell for pointing this out)-
1. Use fewer words – be silent if possible. (Eccles. 3:3)
2. Only speak the truth, though it is not necessary to be unkind. (Eph. 4:15)
3. Resist the effort to defend yourself. (Matt. 10:19)
4. It is not important to be right. (Proverbs 26:21)
5. Do not argue. Your effect on someone else’s ego will come to nothing. (Hos. 4:4)
6. Tell your anxieties that everything will be ok. (Phil. 4:6)
7. Don’t be in a hurry to speak. Let someone else finish their thought. (Proverbs 29:20)

Orthodox Women in the Healing Ministries Annual Retreat-
       The group Orthodox Women in the Healing Ministries will hold their annual retreat at Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, MI on October 4-6.  Dr. Gayle Woloschack will be leading several talks on Science and Faith: the Beginning of Life.  For more information, go to: http://owhm.org/schedule1.html

An Opportunity to Serve, Be a Greeter-
       Based on responses from the parish survey from a few months ago, the Parish Council has recognized a need to have greeters on duty at church on Sunday mornings.  The greeter's main responsibility will be to make newcomers feel welcome by warmly greeting them, asking them to sign our guestbook and/or newcomer information card, making sure they know bathrooms and coatroom are downstairs and ushering them into the nave of the church.   If you are interested in signing up to be a greeter for a Sunday, there is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board just outside of the bookstore.  On the sheet, is a complete job description for this important position.  If you want our church to be more welcoming to visitors, consider volunteering as a greeter.
Keep Praying for Kidnapped Orthodox Bishops in Syria-
       Since April 22, the Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul, and the Syriac Metropolitan of Aleppo, Youhanna, have been in captivity and not heard from.  Please pray for their well being and release and also pray for their captors as well. 
Do You Have a Prayer Request?
        Please give it to Fr. Ignatius and he will distribute it by email to all those on the Prayer Chain. If you wish to join the Prayer Chain, please let Fr. Ignatius know.
Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday September 1, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nicholas team.
Church Cleaning-
        During the week of August 25-31, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be accomplished by the St. Raphael team. 

Food for Thought-

A Tribute to Egyptian Christians

IT WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY: the grace, love, self-control, and patriotism that Copts have demonstrated in this chapter of Egypt's history. Persecution is not new to Copts (as is the case with many minorities), but I have never been more proud to be a Copt! Not because Copts are persecuted but because of the way Copts have responded and what I've seen of the reaction of Moslems to the behavior of Egypt's Christians. When 50-70 churches, Christian schools/orphanages/ monasteries (some ancient) were attacked this last week, ALL eyes were on Copts to see their reaction. Moslem-Egyptian media figures / authors like Amr Adeeb, Ibrahim 3eesa, Youssef el Hussaini, Fatma Naoout, Tarek Heggy, to name a few, all testified to the Copts' endurance and loyalty to their country regardless of the horrific abuses that they've suffered, not just now but throughout history. Here's a sample quote from talk show host Youssef El Husseini... "These Copts are a phenomenon that needs to be studied in history. Regardless of how they are used, abused, dismissed, scapegoated by their government and the enemies of their religion, they never retaliate. They are always consistent in their character and their patriotism." 
In a nation where everyone is suffering the consequences of the evil distortion of religion, Egypt's Christians have become a model for what true faith is supposed to be and look like. Egyptians have appreciated that while Islamists cried foul to the world for the break-up of their ARMED sit-ins (after 47 days and numerous warnings) and asked for US/UN military intervention in Egypt, in contrast Copts have for ages endured violence and injustice, and when attacked for purely peaceful protests (like Maspero) they never asked the world to retaliate against their country. Don't think for a minute that any of this was done out of weakness or helplessness! The Coptic community outside of Egypt is large and has a loud voice. In Egypt, the number of Copts is larger than the number of Radical Islamists. If Copts were not peaceful, a civil war would have broken out a long time ago like in Lebanon. But Copts have NEVER used violence or force (not even in self-defense). 
I want to leave you with some beautiful gestures from Egypt's Christians that have touched me during this crisis:
- When the attacks against churches began last Wednesday, Egyptian leaders asked for people to go out and protect the churches. The response of Christians and of Bishop Makarious (of the of the hardest hit area "El Minya") repeatedly refused and went on record saying "My dear Moslem brother, please don't go risking your life to protect our churches. Buildings can be rebuilt, and we will rebuild them together. But your blood is priceless and your life cannot be replaced!" 
- Pope Tawadros on day 1 of attacks: "They think that by burning our churches they are retaliating against Egypt. In reality it is a redemptive offering that we offer for Egypt's sake and we offier it with love." 
-Bishop Mikhail of Assiut (probably the second hardest hit city): "Our churches today are like a burning censer with fire coming out of it. We pray that God inhales its sweet aroma and has mercy on our beloved land."
- Pope Tawadros on Day 3: "As an Indian poet once said, "Love is like incense. It gives out its beautiful fragrance only when thrown in the fire."
Please don't forget that churches were not the only thing under attack, heartbreaking stories include the man (in Giza) who was killed for not taking down St. Mary's picture from his shop, the taxi driver (in Alexandria) attacked and killed by a mob for having a cross in his car, the boys whose orphanage was torched and had to be displaced, the nuns who were paraded around town like prisoners of war and sexually harrassed, the 60 yr-old man who was killed in El Menya, tied and dragged around to town by Islamists to make an example out of him, the 10 yr-old girl who was shot leaving sunday school, the young priest who was killed in Sinai, the hundreds of Christian homes and businesses that were torched. In addition to the devastating losses the Coptic community has suffered, Egypt's Christians are also suffering with all Egyptians: Mourning the loss of their country as they knew it, the policemen and soldiers who were killed doing their job, the kids who were thrown off the rooftop, the victims of the MB sit-ins who were tortured and killed by and as a result of their leaders' lust for power and Jihadist ideology, and parents all around who are wailing for their lost children. Copts are mourning with those who mourn all around them. 
Thank you to Egypt's Copts for showing the world a rare example of true Christianity in the 21st century! You ARE the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden! May God give you the grace to keep enduring, keep loving, keep shining. You are a blessing to Egypt and to Copts everywhere.

Mary Sarkis, an Egyptian American Coptic Christian