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Church Bulletin: December 14, 2014

posted Dec 15, 2014, 9:17 AM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
December 14, 2014- Sunday of the Forefathers of Christ
This Week's Services and Events

December 15, Monday
        + Teen SOYO Dinner and Movie, 6:30PM

December 17, Wednesday
        +  Nativity Paraklesis, 7:00PM

December 18, Thursday
        + OCF Dinner at Abuissas', 6:30PM

December 19, Friday
        + Matins, 8:30AM
        + Office Hours, 9:30AM-11:30AM
        + Vesperal Liturgy for St. Ignatius, 6:00PM

December 20, Saturday
        + 9th Hour/Great Vespers, 6:00PM

December 21, Sunday, Sunday before Nativity (The Genealogy of Christ)
        +Matins, 8:45AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10:00AM, followed by fellowship hour and Sunday School
        + Christmas Caroling, 2:30PM
Upcoming Events and Announcements   

Today is Choir Appreciation Sunday-
        The second Sunday of December is always designated as Choir Appreciation Sunday in our archdiocese.  Let us recognize and thank our hard-working, faithful and talented choir members who help our hearts to soar as we worship God.

Teen SOYO Movie Night-
        Our teens will meet for dinner and a movie at 6:30PM on December 15.

St. Ignatius Liturgy-
        Please plan to celebrate St. Ignatius of Antioch with Vesperal Liturgy at 6:00PM on December 19.

Decorating the Church for Christmas-
       In order to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will be decorating the church during the weekend of December 20-21.  We depend on individual donations in order to do this.  We will accept poinsetta plants and evergreen boughs for the nave.  If you would like to provide any of these items, please bring them on that weekend, or make other arrangements with Fr. Ignatius.  We already have a tree which will go in the narthex.

Christmas Caroling-
       Do you like to sing Christmas carols?  Join with a group from church on Sunday afternoon, December 21 to go caroling at two local retirement communities beginning at 2:30PM.  Contact Matthew Arndt for more information.

Nativity Services-
       Wednesday, December 24th- Royal Hours, 9:00AM; Vesperal Liturgy, 6:00PM.  Thursday, December 25- Matins, 8:30AM and Liturgy, 10:00AM

Sin is Not a Moral Problem-
       A follow-up blog post from Fr. Stephen Freeman, on how we conceive of sin and the implications of that for our salvation.  http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2014/12/08/sin-not-moral-problem/

2015 Annual Calendars Now Available-
        Calendars showing the daily saints and scripture readings, along with fasting days and seasons, are now available in the narthex to take home.  Take one or take several.

Advent Season Resources and Articles-
        To learn more about this preparatory pre-Nativity season we are in called Advent, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/nativity/pre-feast

Becoming Truly Human Series-
       We have a unique opportunity to participate in an exciting series of classes called "Becoming Truly Human."  Developed by our Archdiocese to be a way for churches to offer a series of basic classes on Christianity to the unchurched and to non-Christians, we are going to first test it out on ourselves in January and February.  We begin with a training session led by Adam Roberts, the project coordinator from our Archdiocese, and then we will meet for six consecutive weeks on Saturdays.  Each session involves snacks/appetizers, a presentation and time for questions and discussion.  Once we go through this program ourselves and offer feedback to the archdiocese, we will likely revisit it again sometime in the future, using it as intended by inviting in others from outside our parish to participate.  Please plan to participate in this series so that we may become better equipped to honor our patron, St. Raphael, during this centennial year of his repose, by being more outreach-minded.  Schedule will be announced soon.

St. Maria's Bread House-
        If you're interested helping in any way with Vespers in Kalona, whether it's just being there, helping find or buy liturgical supplies, or singing, please contact Amy or Father. If you'd like to buy beeswax tealight candles--great stocking stuffers recycled from St. Raphael's candle stubs--to support the Bread House, let Amy know at kalonabreadhouse@gmail.com, or visit our website: stmariasbreadhouse.org

We Need a Volunteer to Coordinate New Flower Memorial Program-
        We all miss our departed loved ones and it is comforting to us to memorialize them in some way.  Beginning in 2015, we are going to have a weekly sign-up sheet available which will give people the opportunity to purchase a bouquet of flowers through the church, in memory of departed loved ones.  The donor's name, and the name(s) of their memorialized departed loved ones will be printed in the weekly emailed bulletin.  In order to organize this new effort to both remember our loved ones and beautify the nave of our church with more flowers, we need a volunteer who can approach a local florist to arrange a relationship which will facilitate such a program.  This person will also be responsible for picking up the bouquets of flowers and bringing them to church each week that somebody has arranged to have loved ones memorialized.  If this task interests you, please speak with Fr. Ignatius.

A Reminder Regarding Confessions-
       Fasting seasons are natural times to schedule a confession.  As you prepare yourself for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the manger, examine yourself and consider if you need to make a confession.  Fr. Ignatius is available after vespers on Saturday evenings, and at other times by appointment.  Repentance is medicine for the soul!

Non-Perishable Food Collection-

       Do you know that St. Raphael Church is always collecting non-perishable food items to donate to the Crisis Center food bank?  Look for the large box underneath one of the tables in the narthex.  Let us remember that many people have less than we do.  The Advent season is a wonderful time to give to those who are in need.

St. Basil the Great/ Circumcision of the Lord Liturgy at St. George-
        Are you looking for something different to do on New Year's Eve?  You are invited to St. George Church in Cedar Rapids (3650 Cottage Grove Ave. SE) for liturgy at 5:00PM to celebrate both St. Basil the Great and the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord, both of which the Church commemorates on January 1.

Save the Date!- January 10 Outdoor Blessing of the Waters-
        We are hosting clergy and faithful from surrounding Orthodox parishes at a pan-Orthodox Outdoor Blessing of the Waters service as a part of the Feast of Theophany.  Join us at the IRP Dam Pedestrian Bridge (near Iowa River Power Restaurant at 501 1st Avenue, Coralville) at 4:00PM on Saturday, January 10.  Following the brief service, we will gather at church for pan-Orthodox vespers at 5:00PM followed by a potluck meal that we will provide for our guests.

A Different Approach to House Blessings in 2015-
       The time between Theophany (January 6) and the beginning of Lent (this year, February 23) is traditionally, the time for Orthodox priests to do house blessings.  Fr. Ignatius will be doing house blessings during this time.  However, he is going to be contacting all parishioners directly, and scheduling a time to come and bless.  It is not necessary to feed the priest when he visits!  However, you are encouraged to invite others from the parish to your home during the blessing.  Let us renew our social bonds and forge new friendships during this season.

Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festival-
       Each year, our diocese offers two different competitions for teens (and one for adults), held at the Parish Life Conference.  The 2015 Parish Life Conference will be held in Grand Rapids, MI in June.  Teens from our parish have participated in and done very well in the Bible Bowl is recent years, winning trophies each time they have competed.  Instead of focusing on one book of the Bible, the 2015 Bible Bowl will focus on the life of our patron, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, as found in the book "Our Father Among the Saints Raphael Bishop of Brooklyn: Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America" published by Antakya Press.  This theme was chosen by Metropolitan Philip before his repose, because 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the repose of St. Raphael.  Fr. Ignatius challenges teens (ages 13-19) to form a team and study and compete.  Adults can form a team as well.  We can win this at the diocesan level and go on to compete on the archdiocesan level!  In addition, if giving speeches is your thing (teens only), consider writing a speech for the Oratorical Festival, the theme of which is also the life of St. Raphael.  Information is posted in the narthex.  Talk to Fr. Ignatius if you would like to learn more.

Thoughts on Stewardship and Giving-    
         Word, November, 2005, Fr. John Adbalah, referencing remarks by Metropolitan Philip to the 2005 General Assembly of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Detroit, Michigan … "At our Archdiocese Convention this year in Detroit, Metropolitan Philip initiated a year of tithing. He led the assembly to an even greater level of commitment to Jesus Christ than we had been previously called. When the assembly followed our shepherd in making this historic step, we recognized that it was time to demonstrate the freedom that began with our prayer and fasting."

Next Sunday's Gospel Reading-
        St. John Chrysostom urges Christians to preview the upcoming Sunday Gospel reading so that it may be fresh in your minds when you hear it next

The reading for Sunday, December 21 is:

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.  And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.  And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, Who is called Christ.  So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ were fourteen generations.  Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.  When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).  When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called His Name Jesus.  (Matthew 1:1-25)

Pray for our Catechumens-
       Please keep our catechumens: Ilya Buchkin, Rob Bergenstock and Daniel Welsh in your prayers as they prepare to be sacramentally joined to the Orthodox Church.
Keep Praying for Kidnapped Orthodox Bishops in Syria-
       Since April 22, 2013, the Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul, and the Syriac Metropolitan of Aleppo, Youhanna, have been in captivity and have not heard from.  Please pray for their well being and release and also pray for their captors as well.  One priest is also missing, having been kidnapped. 

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

Coffee Hour-
       The St. Nina team will bring food to share and will clean-up the fellowship hall on Sunday December 21. 

Food for Thought-

A Christian is an Alleluia from head to foot.

St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo