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Church Bulletin: December 29, 2013

posted Dec 28, 2013, 6:16 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
December 29, 2013- Sunday after the Nativity
This Week's Services and Events
January 1, Wednesday
        + Akathist, 7PM

January 3, Friday
         + Royal Hours for Theophany, 9AM

January 4, Saturday
        + Outdoor Blessing of Water, 4:30PM at First Ave. bridge in Cedar Rapids
        + Great Vespers, 5:30PM at St. John the Baptist Church (501 A Ave. NE)
January 5, Sunday
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Liturgy and Blessing of Water, 10AM, followed by coffee hour
Upcoming Events and Announcements 

 Nativity Greetings from Patriarch John X-
       To read the a Nativity letter from Patriarch John X, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/nativity-greetings-patriarch-john-x
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-
       There will be no 3rd Hour Prayers or Office Hours on Monday, December 30.  Also, there will be no Sunday School on January 5. 

January-February Calendars Available-
       The calendars detailing services and other events at St. Raphael Church are printed and now available to pick up at church.
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.

Free Lunch Program Volunteering-
       On January 7, we are scheduled to help serve lunch from 11:30AM-:1:30PM at the Free Lunch Program.  The location has moved.  The new location is 1105 Gilbert Court, next to the Crisis Center.  Please let Fr. Ignatius know if you can help out this month.
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.

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.
Introduction to Orthodoxy Class-
       All are welcome to attend a seven week Introduction to Orthodoxy class that will meet on 7 consecutive Saturdays at 4PM starting on January 25.
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!

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 January 5, the  family will provide the holy bread.  Thank you in advance.
Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday January 5, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nicholas food team. 

Choir Leadership-
       On January 5,  Matthew Arndt will lead the choir.
Food for Thought-

Pure is the present night, in which the Pure One appeared, Who came to purify us! Let our hearing be pure, and the sight of our eyes chaste, and the feeling of the heart holy, and the speech of the mouth sincere!

The present night is the night of reconciliation; therefore, let no one be wroth against his brother and offend him!

This night gave peace to the whole world, and so, let no one threaten. This is the night of the Most Meek One; let no one be cruel!

This is the night of the Humble One; let no one be proud!

Now is the day of joy; let us not take revenge for offences! Now is the day of good will; let us not be harsh. On this day of tranquility, let us not become agitated by anger!

Today God came unto sinners; let not the righteous exalt himself over sinners!

Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake; let the rich man invite the poor to his table!

Today we received a gift which we did not ask for; let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us and beg!

The present day has opened the door of heaven to our prayers; let us also open our door to those who ask of us forgiveness!

Today the Godhead placed upon Himself the seal of humanity, and humanity has been adorned with the seal of the Godhead!

St. Ephraim the Syrian on the Nativity of Christ