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Church Bulletin: December 15, 2013

posted Dec 17, 2013, 6:11 AM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
December 15, 2013- Sunday of the Forefathers
This Week's Services and Events

December 16, Monday
        + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
        + Office Hours, 9:30AM-11:30AM
December 18, Wednesday
        + Nativity Paraklesis, 7PM
December 19, Thursday
        + Vesperal Liturgy for St. Ignatius, 6PM, followed by soup supper
December 20, Friday
        + Matins, 8:30AM
December 21, Saturday
        + 9th Hour and Great Vespers, 6PM
December 22, Sunday before the Nativity
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Liturgy, 10AM, followed by Sunday School and Coffee Hour
Upcoming Events and Announcements 
Thank You-
       Thank you to Marina Johnson and Rob Bergenstock who provided the professional direction to make this year's first ever St. Raphael Christmas pageant a success.  Thank you also to teachers Lori Branch and Alli Rockwell, and helper Hannah Valentine for helping to organize.  Thank you to St. George Church in Cedar Rapids for loaning us costumes.  Thank you to all parents for getting your children involved and bringing them to practice.
Vesperal Liturgy for St. Ignatius-
       On December 19 at 6PM, we will have a Vesperal Liturgy for St. Ignatius of Antioch.  Please join us.
The Nativity Fast-
       Continuing through the evening of December 24, we observe the Nativity or Advent fast, one of the four fasting seasons of the church year.  We fast, to prepare ourselves to be more receptive to the joyous coming of our King Jesus at the celebration of His nativity at Christmas.  We are asked to refrain from meat, dairy, eggs each day, and on some days, fish, wine and oil.  For specifics, take a look at the printed St. Raphael Church calendar for November and December or speak with Fr. Ignatius.  As you do your grocery shopping over the next several weeks, consider buying some extra non-perishable groceries and place them in the donation box in the church narthex.  The donated food goes to the local food bank at the Crisis Center.  To learn more about the Nativity season, including the Advent Fast, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/nativity
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!
Fulfilling the Prophecies-
       Did you know that dozens of prophecies that are found in the pages of the Old Testament, are fulfilled with the birth of Christ?  To learn more, listen to Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green as she speaks on Orthodox Christian Network about this fascinating and timely subject.  To listen, go to: http://myocn.net/fulfilling-prophecies/
Decorating for Nativity Season-
        Anyone who would like to bring poinsettia plants to decorate around the iconostasis or evergreen boughs for our window ledges in the nave should plan to bring them on Sunday, December 22.
Nativity Services-
       Tuesday, December 24- 9AM Royal Hours; 6PM Vesperal Liturgy
       Wednesday, December 25- 8:30AM Matins; 10AM Liturgy
Feasting Following the Fast-
       In celebration of the Lord's Nativity, there is no fasting from December 25 through January 4.  January 5 is a fasting day, in anticipation of the Feast of Theophany, January 6.  Celebrate the Lord's birth with good food, good drink and family and friends!
Parish-wide Potluck on Sunday, December 29-
       No specific food team is assigned to the 5th Sunday of the month, so we are all asked to bring some food or drink to share during coffee hour following Liturgy on December 29.
House Blessing Season is Approaching-
       Fr. Ignatius will be available to come to your home to bless it between the Feast of Theophany (January 6) and the beginning of Lent (March 3).  A sign-up sheet will be posted soon at church.
2014 Annual Calendars Available-
       The yearly 2014 calendar, which lists fasting days and seasons, feast days, daily Scriptural reading and daily saints, is available in the church narthex.
Fundraiser to Benefit Suffering People of Syria-
       St. Raphael Church is co-sponsoring a fundraising event which is being organized by the Iowa City Emergency Committee for Syria.  This event will be held on the evening of Thursday January 23 at Old Brick.  When more information is available, it will be shared.
The Incorrupt Relics of Fr. George Calciu-
       Seven years ago, Fr. George Calciu reposed in the Lord.  Fr. George was a priest from Romania who endured indescribable suffering at the hands of Communist oppressors and who, along with his fellow co-sufferers Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and Fr. Roman Braga, lived the latter part of his life in America.  Fr. George was buried in Romania, and recently, as is the custom of the Church there, his body was exhumed.  It was found to be incorrupt.  The Orthodox Church sees this as a sign of the sanctity of the life of the individual, demonstrating that he was so full of God's grace, that even when his soul left his body, his body was still infused with this grace, and the normal processes of decay were slowed down or held at bay.  To read about this recently discovered marvel, go to: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/12/the-relic-of-fr-george-calciu-confessor.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mystagogy+%28MYSTAGOGY%29
Pledge Drive-
       It's not too late to return a pledge for 2014 to our treasurer Jeremy Coffin.  Pledge forms are available in the church narthex.  Please be generous.  A big thank you to all who have made this commitment to the church!
Doctors and Medical Professionals Needed for OCMC Medical Missions in 2014-
       The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) will be offering numerous Health Care Mission Team opportunities in 2014 to East Africa.  For more information, go to: http://www.ocmc.org/resources/view_article.aspx?ArticleId=1021
Charitable Projects-
       Christmas shopping? Don't forget St Raphael's cookbooks and lotion bars, available in the bookstore. They make great stocking stuffers and gifts, for $10 and $8 each. All profits go to Crisis Center this years.  Please buy soon, so we can restock the shelves as needed! If you have any questions or plan to buy more than just a few, please talk to Amy Spencer or Karen Kuntz. Thanks for your support!

St. John Chrysostom on Fasting-

       To read St. John's excellent teaching on fasting, go to: http://stanthonylc.org/2013/05/st-john-chrysostom-fasting/

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 have 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.
Holy Bread-
        On Sunday December 22, the Branch/Peterson family will provide the holy bread.  Thank you in advance.
Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday December 22, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. John the Baptist team. 

Church Cleaning-
        During the week of December 15-21, the St. Raphael team will clean the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, nursery and bathrooms.      
Food for Thought-
My child Timothy, be not ashamed therefore of  the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner; but suffer hardship with the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the eternal ages, but has now been manifested by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who abolished death, illuminating life and incorruption through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the nations.  For which cause I suffer also these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know the One whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard that which I have committed to Him against that Day.  Hold fast the pattern of sound words, which you have heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good deposit by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. 
From today's epistle reading: II Timothy 1:8-14