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Church Bulletin: February 28, 2016

posted Feb 28, 2016, 5:45 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
February 28, 2016- Sunday of the Prodigal Son
This Week's Services and Events

March 1, Tuesday
        + Free Lunch Program Volunteering, 11:30AM-1:30PM

March 2, Wednesday 
        + Akathist, 7:00PM; Kalona Vespers, 7:00PM

March 3, Thursday
        + OCF Dinner, 6:30PM
March 4, Friday
        + Matins, 8:30AM
        + Office Hours, 9:30-11:30AM

March 5, Saturday
        + Choir practice, 9:00AM
        + Great Vespers, 5:00PM

March 6, Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meatfare Sunday)
        + Matins, 8:45AM 
        + Divine Liturgy, 10:00AM, followed by coffee hour and Sunday School and Special Voters' Meeting
Upcoming Events and Announcements- 

Thank You-
        Thank you to all who helped make the Anchiskhati Ensemble concert such a success.  We had excellent attendance, over 180 people!  And we raised funds for the church.  Many of you worked very hard to make sure that our guests had a good experience while they listened to great music and ate delicious Georgian food.  Thank you.
March-April Calendars-
        Printed calendars showing services and other events during March and April are printed and available in the narthex.

Choir Practice-
        As we move into Lent, the choir uses different music than at other times of the year.  They will rehearse many of the pieces on Saturday, March 5 from 9:00AM-Noon.  All are welcome to join.  Come to the practice and learn what the choir is doing.  

Special Voters' Meeting March 6-
       Following liturgy on March 6, we will have a special voters' meeting in order to discuss and assess of church's financial situation, which, thank God, has significantly improved in the last two months.   This meeting is being called as a promised follow-up to our annual meeting in December.  Please plan to stay.

Lent is on the Horizon!-
    The liturgical themes for the next several Sundays were carefully chosen by the Church to ease us into the mindset necessary to have a profitable lenten journey to Pascha.  Let us take advantage of this time of preparation, and drink deep from the refreshing well of the Church.  We gradually begin the Lenten Fast by abstaining from meat after March 6, and from dairy and eggs on March 13.

First Week of Lent Services-
       Sunday, March 13- Forgiveness Vespers, 6:00PM
       Monday, March 14- Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7:00PM
       Tuesday, March 15- Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7:00PM
        Wednesday, March 16- Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts, 6:00PM
        Thursday, March 17- Little Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7:00PM
        Friday, March 18- Little Compline with Akathist Hymn

Lenten Wednesday Evenings-
        Beginning on March 16, we have the Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts each Wednesday during Lent, at 6:00PM.  Following the service, we will gather for a simple lenten soup supper.  Each week, we need volunteers to sign-up to bring soup and perhaps some bread and fruit for a group of about 15.  A sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board in the narthex.

Lenten Sunday Evenings-
        The Iowa Orthodox Christian Clergy Association is sponsoring pan-Orthodox lenten vespers services on Sunday evenings at 5:30PM.  Each host parish will provide a meal following the service.  The faithful from each parish are encouraged to visit their sister parishes in Eastern Iowa. The schedule is as follows:
March 20- St. John the Baptist Church (Cedar Rapids)
March 27- St. Raphael Church (Iowa City)
April 3- St. George Church (Cedar Rapids)
April 10- St. Elias Church (Dubuque)
April 17- St. Demetrios Church  (Waterloo)

In Case of Emergency, Call... Cards-
        If you or a family member ever experience a medical emergency and are rushed to a hospital, Fr. Ignatius wants to be called to help you and your family through such a crisis and to pray.  One way you can help insure that Fr. Ignatius will be contacted by medical personnel if such an event should occur is to fill out and carry the small cards located in the narthex.  These cards, provided by the Antiochian Women North American Board, have an icon of the Theotokos and Christ on one side, and "I am an Orthodox Christian.  In case of emergency, call an Orthodox priest" on the other, with room to fill in your name and address, a priest's name and phone number, and a relative's name and phone number.  Take a few for you and your family and keep them in your purse or wallet.

ARC of Southeast Iowa Annual Chili Supper-
        All proceeds benefit children and adults with disabilities.  Friday, March 4, 4:30PM-7:30PM at River Community Church, 3001 Muscatine Ave., Iowa City.  Adults $10, Children $5, Children under 3 eat free.

Shelter House Book Sale Fundraiser-
        The Shelter House Book Sale has been scheduled for March 5 and 6, at 1925 Boyrum St., near the intersection of Southgate Avenue and just behind the Waterfront Hy-Vee. It will be open from 10:30 a.m. (10 a.m. for early birds who pay $20) to 4 p.m. on March 5 and noon to 4 p.m. on March 6.

Food for All -- Kalona (an outreach of St. Raphael)-
        Community involvement in Summer Lunch is increasing rapidly! Please be praying primarily for the planning of new programs, being done by small groups. And for Wednesday Vespers: we'll possibly add a community meal beforehand to feed people from the community. 
    You're welcome to join us however you'd like! Contact Amy at foodforallkalona@gmail.com or 319-333-4738. (Wednesday Vespers are on first and third Wednesdays at the big church on Highway 22 and 4th Street, Kalona. Do come!)

Bishop's Visit, Save the Date!-
        Bishop Anthony plans to be with us the weekend of April 9-10, 2016.  Save the date!
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.  

Next Sunday's Gospel Reading-
        The Lord said, “When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and feed Thee, or thirsty and give Thee drink? And when did we see Thee a stranger and welcome Thee, or naked and clothe Thee? And when did we see Thee sick or in prison and visit Thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Then He will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  (Matthew 25:31-46)

Pray for our Catechumen-
       Please keep our catechumen Ilya Buchkin in your prayers as he prepares 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. 

Food for Thought-

On the third Sunday of preparation for Lent, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11-32). Together with the hymns on this day, the parable reveals to us the time of repentance as man's return from exile. The prodigal son, we are told, went to a far country and there spent all that he had. A far country! It is this unique definition of our human condition that we must assume and make ours as we begin our approach to God. A man who has never had that experience, be it only very briefly, who has never felt that he is exiled from God and from real life, will never understand what Christianity is about. And the one who is perfectly "at home" in this world and its life, who has never been wounded by the nostalgic desire for another Reality, will not understand what is repentance.

Repentance is often simply identified as a cool and "objective" enumeration of sins and transgressions, as the act of "pleading guilty" to a legal indictment. Confession and absolution are seen as being of a juridical nature. But something very essential is overlooked-- without which neither confession nor absolution have any real meaning or power. This "something" is precisely the feeling of alienation from God, from the joy of communion with Him, from the real life as created and given by God. It is easy indeed to confess that I have not fasted on prescribed days, or missed my prayers, or become angry. It is quite a different thing, however, to realize suddenly that I have defiled and lost my spiritual beauty, that I am far away from my real home, my real life, and that something precious and pure and beautiful has been hopelessly broken in the very texture of my existence. Yet this, and only this, is repentance, and therefore it is also a deep desire to return, to go back, to recover that lost home....

One liturgical peculiarity of this "Sunday of the Prodigal Son" must be especially mentioned here. At Sunday Matins, following the solemn and joyful Psalms of the Polyeleion, we sing the sad and nostalgic Psalm 137:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, and we wept when we remembered Zion... How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy...

It is the Psalm of exile. It was sung by the Jews in their Babylonian captivity as they thought of their holy city of Jerusalem. It has become forever the song of man as he realizes his exile form God, and realizing it, becomes man again: the one who can never be fully satisfied by anything in this fallen world, for by nature and vocation he is a pilgrim of the Absolute. This Psalm will be sung twice more: on the last two Sundays before Lent. It reveals Lent itself as pilgrimage and repentance-- as return.

Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent