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Church Bulletin: December 22, 2013

posted Dec 22, 2013, 5:42 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
December 22, 2013- Sunday before the Nativity
This Week's Services and Events
December 23, Monday
        + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
        + Office Hours, 9:30AM-11:30AM
December 24, Tuesday
        + Royal Hours, 9AM
        + Christmas Eve Vesperal Liturgy, 6PM
December 25, Wednesday
        + Christmas Matins, 8:30AM
        + Christmas Liturgy, 10AM
December 28, Saturday
        + 9th Hour and Great Vespers, 6PM
December 29, Sunday after the Nativity
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Liturgy, 10AM, followed by Sunday School and Parish Potluck
Upcoming Events and Announcements 
Bishop Anthony's Nativity Letter-

       Dear Beloved clergy, brothers and sisters in Christ:

        Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!

       As we thank God for giving us His Son at Christmas, I thought to remember what Jesus taught His disciples about little children.  He said that the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is a little child.  That is true because He is a child; a child, here, at Christmas, and an eternal Child of His Father forever.  He said children have angels who are close to the throne of the Father in heaven.  Who is closer to God than His Child and Son?  Jesus' love for His Father showed itself with such pure openness and humility in the Gospels.  He said He did nothing without the Father and could do nothing without Him.   He did all that He did to please His Father and, then, said on the Cross, after having loved us and saved us with the same love the Father has for us: "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." (Luke 23:46)  He spread His arms out on the Cross like little ones open their arms to be picked up and held by their parents.  He was going home.  For Jesus dependency didn't mean deficiency.  He is forever the Image of His Father.  Let us be forever dependent on God.  For us to be ourselves we need God Himself.  As we look at our Lord at Christmas, He is a baby, a lamb who will take away the sins of the world. Because He is the Lamb He becomes the Shepherd.  Let us know what He knows: we come from Someone to be in someplace to go somewhere.  We must follow the star of Bethlehem on our own journey in life.  Let's not use this earthly time of preparation as our real destination or we will miss the celebration! 

May the blessings of the Nativity be with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, the bishops of the Holy Synod, and each of us,

+ Bishop ANTHONY

Bishop of Toledo and the Midwest

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America


       With joy, we received Andrew Ackell in to the Orthodox Church through the sacrament of chrismation today.  Andrew's patron saint in St. Andrew the Apostle and he was sponsored by Gabriel Hart.

Thank You-

       Thank you to Irakliy Surguladze for the timely early morning snow removal at church this morning.

Why Did We Hear the Genealogy of Christ as Today's Gospel Reading?-
       To learn more about the reasons why the Church has us hear the Genealogy of Christ read as today's Gospel lesson, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18658
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!
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!
Changes in Schedule-
       Due to the holiday schedule of Fr. Ignatius, there will be no matins on Friday, December 27 and no 3rd Hour Prayers or Office Hours on Monday, December 30.  Also, there will be no Sunday School on December 29 and January 5. 
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.
Looking for Something to Do on New Year's Eve?-
       How about attending Liturgy for St. Basil's day at 5PM at St. George Church (3650 Cottage Grove Ave.) in Cedar Rapids.
Feast of Theophany (Epiphany)-
       On Saturday January 4, we are invited to travel to Cedar Rapids to attend an Outdoor Blessing of the Waters service at 4:30PM.  It will be on the First Ave. bridge directly across from the Veteran's memorial Building (Old City Hall.)  This pan-Orthodox event is hosted by St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church.  Following the brief outdoor service, all are invited to nearby St. John the Baptist Church (501 A Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids) for vespers at 5:30PM.  There will be no vespers at St. Raphael on January 4.  At the end of Liturgy on Sunday January 5, we will have another Blessing of the Water service.  Since this service will be longer than normal, there will be no Sunday School that day.  Holy water will be available after this Liturgy to take home.
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 is posted 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.
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/
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 and co-sponsored by many other local organizations.  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!

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!
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, Priest, Nuns and Orphans 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. Since December 2, 12 nuns and three orphans have been removed by force from their convent and held captive.  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 know.
Holy Bread-
        On Sunday December 29, the Van Dinter family will provide the holy bread.  Thank you in advance.
Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday December 29, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by all who bring food to the parish-wide potluck. 

Choir Leadership-
       During the weekend of December 28-29, Tania Van Dinter will lead the choir.

Church Cleaning-
        During the week of December 22-28, the St. Raphael team will clean the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, nursery and bathrooms.      
Food for Thought-
O my soul, magnify her, who is more honorable, and who is more glorious, than the heavenly hosts.  A mystery, I behold, that is strange and wondrous: the cave is heaven, and the Virgin is the throne of the cherubim.  In the confines of the manger, is laid the inifinite Christ our God, Whom we praise and magnify!
Megalynarion of the Nativity