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Church Bulletin: December 24, 2017

posted Dec 26, 2017, 6:17 AM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
Sunday December 24, 2017- Sunday before the Nativity of Christ

This Week's Services and Events

December 24, Sunday
        + Christmas Eve Vespers, 6:00PM

December 25, Monday
        + Festal Matins, 8:30AM
        + Nativity Liturgy, 10:00AM

December 26, Tuesday
        + Office Hours, 11:30AM-3:45PM
        + 9th Hour Prayers, 3:00PM

December 27, Wednesday
        + Office Hours, 11:30AM-3:00PM
        + 9th Hour Prayers, 3:00PM
        + Akathist, 7:00PM

December 28, Thursday
        + Office Hours, 12:00PM-4:00PM
        + 9th Hour Prayers, 3:00PM

December 29, Friday
        + Office Hours, 11:30AM-3:00PM
        + 9th Hour Prayers, 3:00PM

December 30, Saturday
        + Great Vespers followed by Lives of the Apostles, 5:00PM

December 31, Sunday after the Theophany of Christ
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10:00AM followed by Fellowship Hour
        + "Sunday Dinner" in Kalona, 5:30PM

Upcoming Events and Announcements-  

Sunday School Christmas Break-
         There will be no Sunday School classes on December 31.   

Feasting After Fasting-
        We have fasted for forty days to prepare for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ.  And now, we feast.  From December 25 through January 4, there are no fasting restrictions.  Let us be thankful to God for good food and for friends and family to share it with!

Potluck After Liturgy on December 31st-
        Next Sunday is the fifth Sunday of the month.  That means there is no assigned food team to provide food to share after Liturgy.  Please plan to bring something to share.  We will not be fasting!

What Are You Doing On New Year's Eve?-
        St. Raphael folks are invited to a Kalona Sunday Supper on New Year's Eve, sponsored by Lori Branch's siblings and our church. Come to Kalona Methodist (302 4th Street) at 4:00 to volunteer or at 5:30 to eat. The tentative menu is pork loin, baked yams, salad, dessert, and other fine fixin's--topped off with festivities including games, a possible piñata, and sparkling drink. As always, the supper will be free or by donation. 
Sunday Suppers are twice-monthly events hosted by Food for All, an Orthodox-inspired food charity organized by Amy Spencer. 

Looking Ahead to Theophany-
        After Nativity, the next major church feast is Theophany, the celebration of the baptism of the Lord.  We will have Royal Hours at 9:00AM on Friday, January 5.  Later that day, at 4:45, we will have festal matins followed by Liturgy with Blessing of the Water (indoors) at 6:00PM.  On Saturday, January 6 at 4:00PM, we are hosting pan-Orthodox vespers at the pedestrian bridge spanning the Iowa River near Iowa River Power Restaurant on 1st Avenue in Coralville.  Vespers will follow at St. Raphael Church at 5:00PM.  We will be hosting a potluck dinner following vespers, for our visiting guests from other parishes.   A sign-up sheet is posted in the narthex.

Can You Help St. Raphael Church Financially in 2018?-
        If you haven't yet returned a pledge form to our treasurer Becky, it's not too late to do it.  No amount is too small!  We appreciate everyone who is able to give, and those who give regularly through a pledged amount, help us to anticipate our income so that we can be wise with our expenses. 

Renegotiation of Mortgage Loan Rate-
        We recently lowered our mortgage loan rate from 4.5% to 4.35% to save us a modest amount in our monthly payments.

Epistle Reading Sign-up Sheet-
        Anybody is welcome to sign-up to read an Epistle reading on a Sunday.  A sign-up sheet for the whole year is posted at the top of the stairs.  If you are interested and want to know how to do it, talk with Subdeacons Panteleimon or Anthony (Todd and Bill) or Fr. Ignatius.  Readers of others languages (than English) are welcome too!  

Holy Bread Sign-Up Sheet-
        The holy bread sign-up sheet for 2018 is posted.  Please sign up!

House Blessing Season-
        The 2018 House Blessing season will be short due to Father's travels early in January and an early start of Lent.  Fr. Ignatius will be available to bless your home from January 16-February 17.  Father wants to come to your house, even if he came last year.  Meals or refreshments are not expected or necessary (but will they be refused!)  Contact him to set up a day and time for him to come.  

2018 Annual Calendars Available-
        The yearly calendar which shows daily saints commemorated, daily Scripture readings, festal celebrations and fasting days and seasons, is available in the narthex at church.  Take one or more home with you. 

Do You Shop at Amazon.com?-
        If you make purchases on Amazon.com, there is a simple and easy way to benefit the church while doing so.  If you go to Amazon's companion site, smile.amazon.com, you will find all of the same items for purchase (at the same prices) as are found on the main site.  Once you sign in, you will be asked what charity you would like to benefit.  Enter "St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Christian Mission" and 0.5% of qualifying purchases will be given back to the church.  It's that simple.  

Food for All--Kalona
        Please  continue to pray for our Orthodox-style, community-style charity work. Also ask our Lord to draw people to Himself and His Church through all our programs. Visit our website at foodforallkalona.weebly.com. For more info, email me at foodforallkalona@gmail.com.  Thanks! Amy Spencer   

Next Sunday's Gospel Reading-
        The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophets, “Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes He Who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:1-8)

   Pray for our Catechumens-

        Please keep our catechumens Ilya Buchkin, Jeremiah Kaufmann, Scott Dorr, Brian and Rene Horak in your prayers as they prepare to be sacramentally joined to the Orthodox Church.

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. 
Remember Your Departed Loved Ones With Flowers-
        Would you like to memorialize your departed loved ones with a bouquet of flowers to be placed in the church on the weekend of your choice?  Look for the new Memorial sign-up sheet.  Decide what weekend you would like your loved one(s) remembered, give $25 to the church, clearly marking it for "Memorial Flowers" and your loved one(s) will be mentioned during the Great Entrance prayers and in the weekly bulletin.  If your departed loved ones are Orthodox, and you would like Trisagion Prayers for the Departed to be offered at the end of Liturgy, you can indicate that on the sign-up sheet as well.

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 been heard from.  Please pray for their well being and release and also pray for their captors as well.  To sign a petition urging the US Government and others to work for their release, go to:

Food for Thought-

"Christ is not ashamed of the poverty of the lowliest of places, a cave, and prefers its peacefulness over the crowded inn where dwelt those who welcomed him not.  May we too not be ashamed of the condition of the cave of our heart, and welcome Him with sincere love.  O, the miracle!  The more I lovingly magnify Christ and welcome Him with love, so much the more is this little heart of mine transformed, enlarged and made wondrously spacious enough for Him, in His unbounded humility, to enter therein and to bless me with His peaceful presence.  Christ our Savior is born!  Let us, therefore, welcome Him, glorify Him, and make a little bed of straw in our hearts to comfort Him."

- Abbess Michaila