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Church Bulletin: July 13, 2014

posted Jul 14, 2014, 1:36 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
July 13, 2014- Sunday of the Fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Council and the 5th Sunday after Pentecost
This Week's Services and Events

July 14, Monday
        + Teen SOYO Book club, 6:30PM

July 16, Wednesday
        + Akathist, 7PM

July 19, Saturday
        + Table at Farmer's Market, 7:30AM-12PM
        + Nutrition Class, 3:30-5:30PM
        + 9th Hour/Great Vespers, 6PM
July 20, 6th Sunday after Pentecost and Feast of Prophet Elias
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10AM, followed by coffee hour
Upcoming Events and Announcements  

Metropolitan Joseph's First Address-
       One day after being elected as our metropolitan, Metropolitan Joseph presided over the Parish life Conference of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.  Here is a link to the address he gave there, in which he speaks of his desire to build up monasticism in our archdiocese, among other things.  http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/features/metropolitan_josephs_inaugural_address

A Gift for our Metropolitan-
       There is an effort in our diocese to collect funds to purchase a new episcopal staff to present to His Eminence as a gift from the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest.  If you would like to give to this effort, make checks out to the church and designate them for Metropolitan's gift.

Fr. Ignatius Traveling this Week-
       Fr. Ignatius will be at the Antiochian Village this week, Monday through Friday to attend the Clergy Symposium, an opportunity for continuing education for Antiochian clergy.  There will be no matins or office hours on Friday, July 18.  Father can be reached by phone at 319-400-7522.  In case of pastoral emergency, please contact Fr. Elias Khouri at 319-329-2562.

All are Invited to Joshua Morey's Graduation Party-
       It will be Sunday, July 27, 2014, from 3 - 6PM at the Morey's house-  1397 Old Highway 34 West, Mount Pleasant.  Ask Becky for directions, if needed.

       Congratulations to Fr. Peter and Pres. Magda Andronache of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Cedar Rapids, on the birth of their newest child, Symeon David who was born on July 2.

Farmer's Market-
       We are scheduled to host a table at the Farmer's market again this Saturday, July 19 from 7:30AM-12PM.  Please sign up to help make food, package food or staff the table.  Sign-up sheet is at the end of the food line in our fellowship hall.

Nutrition Class with Dr. Julia Buchkina-
       This summer, St. Raphael member Dr. Julia Buchkina is offering a four part class series on nutrition.  The remaining dates are July 19, August 2, and August 30, all Saturdays.  Topics will be:  Nutrition for Chronic Disease Management; Practical Cooking Skills Workshop; Understanding Your Numbers.  All classes will be from 3:30PM-5:30PM.

Poison Ivy-
       We have recently noticed that we have several poison ivy plants growing on the western edge of the property and along the western wall of the porch and building.  Steps are being taken to eradicate these plants.  Please take care to keep children away from that area over the next several weeks.

Does Anyone Have a Room to Available to Rent?-
       A priest in our diocese has contacted Fr. Ignatius, looking for some help to find a room for the son of a parishioner of his.  This student will be attending the University of Iowa this Fall, enrolled in an MFA program.  If you have a room available that you would consider renting to this young man, please contact Fr. Ignatius.

Job Available-
       St. Raphael Church member Irakliy Surguladze has a position open with his Green Way landscaping business.  Part-time, $10 per hour to start with opportunity for wage increase.  Must be able to lift heavy loads and work outside in the heat.  If interested, contact Elena at elenaboriuk@gmail.com.

Choir Platforms and our Nave-
        Recently, our choir has been trying out risers which allow members to be assembled in a way that they can more easily see the choir director.  These risers are along the rear wall of the nave.  It is hoped that this arrangement will benefit the choir and all of us who hear them, as well as open up space in our nave so that people feel more comfortable in coming fully into the nave and not lingering by the doors to the narthex.  Our space can easily fit two or three times the number of people we currently have on an average Sunday.  Fr. Ignatius says, "Don't be shy.  Come in, fill up the space. It's okay to stand in front of the choir."

Teen SOYO Events-
       On Monday, July 14, our teens are meeting for Book Club at 6:30PM.  They are meeting for dinner and Movie Night at 6:30pm on Monday, July 21.  They are serving a meal at the Ronald McDonald House on Tuesday, July 29, meeting at the church at 3:45PM.  On Saturday, August 2, they will be going to the Adventureland amusement park. 

Spiritual Retreat at New Gracanica Monastery in Chicago-
       "Thoughts in the Service of Sanctity" is the title of an upcoming retreat to be held at New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery in the Chicago area, co-sponsored by the monastery and the St. Paisius Missionary School.  The retreat will be held August 8-11.  For more information, look for the poster in the church narthex, or go to: http://www.stpaisius.org/conferences/

An Invitation-
       Fr. Fred and Kh. Michelle Shaheen invite you to be with them for
the Baptism of Harry Demetrios Shaheen on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm at St. George Orthodox Church in Cedar Rapids.  Dinner reception to follow in the Michael G. Nassif Education and Cultural Center.

Ongoing Need for Olive Oil-
       Our church has an ongoing need for olive oil which we use in the vigil lamps that burn on the altar and before our icons. The more expensive extra virgin olive oil is unnecessary and less desirable as it burns too hotly.  Donated bottles can be left with Fr. Ignatius, Todd Wiblin or Bill Spencer. 

Are You on Facebook?-
       If you are on Facebook, check out and "like" the church's new Facebook page at St. Raphael Antiochian Orthodox Church.  Share with your friends!

An Introduction to FOCUS North America-
       There are many people with many needs in our midst, especially in our big cities across America.  One growing effort to "love our neighbors" and to show love to Christ by providing for "the least of these" is known as FOCUS, which "focuses" on Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding, Shelter.  This effort by Orthodox Christians is active in over 50 cities in North America.  In 2013, a total of 7500 FOCUS volunteers served 129,000 meals, trained and/or employed 1,100 people, distributed 332,000 articles of clothing, and gave shelter and housing support to 900 people.  To learn more about this worthy effort, go to: http://www.focusnorthamerica.org

Pray for Ukraine-
       From a press release from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA- "As the world community continues to watch the continued atrocities committed by Russian sponsored and armed “separatists” against the population in Eastern Ukraine, the images of thousands of people fleeing their homes (as was the case with all too many other atrocities throughout Ukraine’s history) weigh heavily on our minds.As we have throughout this present crisis, we Hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA call upon the world wide Orthodox and Christian community to continue to pray for peace in Ukraine, at the same time offering every possible means of assistance to those that suffer."
Also, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church just lost their chief hierarch, Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kiev and all Ukraine, who fell asleep in the Lord at age 79.  Let us keep the Ukrainian Church and all of the people of Ukraine in our prayers.

An Orthodox Christian Scholar's Thoughts on the Situation of Christians in the Middle East-
       To read an article by Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou on the current situation of Christians in the Middle East and what Western Christians can do about it, go to: http://myocn.net/elizabeth-prodromou-room-lukewarm-mideast-christians-die/

Thoughts on Stewardship and Giving-      
        "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:28-34)

Next Sunday's Gospel Reading-

       St. John Chrysostom urges Christians to preview the upcoming Sunday Gospel reading so that it may be fresh in your minds when you hear it next
Sunday.  The reading for Sunday, July 20 is:  "At that time, Jesus got into a boat, crossed over and came to His own city.  And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”  And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”  But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He then said to the paralytic—“Rise, take up your bed and go home.”  And he rose and went home.  When the crowds saw it, they marveled, and they glorified God, Who had given such authority to men." (Matthew 9:1-8)

Pray for our Catechumens-

       Please keep our catechumens: Ilya Buchkin and Rob Bergenstock in your prayers as they prepare to be sacramentally joined to the Orthodox Church.

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 heard from.  Please pray for their well being and release and also pray for their captors as well.  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.

Choir Leadership-
       Lori Branch will lead the choir during the weekend of July 19-20.

Holy Bread-
       For the liturgy on July 20, the holy bread will be provided by the Prachar family.  Thank you in advance.

Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday July 20, the food for coffee hour and clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nina team.

Church Cleaning-
       During the week of July 13-19, the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be cleaned by the St. Nicholas team.

Food for Thought-

Having promised yesterday, I will say a few words on the topic of Pharisaism.

All these things that take place—everything that we do—our pilgrimages, our candles, our night-vigils, our prayers, our fasts, our gestures of charity—everything that we do in our life—are for what purpose and what is the reason that we do them? The answer to this question is very important, because correctness about our spiritual life is dependent on it.
Let me give you an example: I ask children at our summer camps: "what is God’s greatest commandment? What is God’s most important commandment, my children?" And all the children—all of them—quote various commandments: do not steal... do not lie... do not be unjust to your fellow-man... respect your parents... love your neighbor... However, none of the children suspect that not a single one of these is God’s first commandment. I suspect that the same is likely true among most grown ups as well.
God’s first and only commandment—all others are in reality the result of this first one—is to love God with all of your heart. Christ Himself said that the first commandment is: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Mk 12:30)
And a second commandment, similar to the first—which springs from within the first commandment—is the one that says love thy neighbor. Everything else is a result of these. If you love your neighbor, you will not rob him, you will not lie to him, you will not be unjust with him, you will not take his things, you will not tamper with his wife, you will not interfere with his home, you will not censure him... That is what we mean by "it springs from the first commandment." The love thy neighbor is likewise a result of the first commandment. If you truly love God, it is impossible to not love your neighbor. Therefore, the first and only commandment by God is to love God Himself with all our heart. Subsequently, whatever we do in church, has that precise purpose. And that is why we go to pilgrimages, why we fast, why we pray, why we go to confession, why we light candles, why we read the lives of saints, ... It is our way of loving Christ.
Now, where is our mistake? The mistake is that, unfortunately, we say that we do all these things in order to just become good people... and that is where the big hoax lies. It is the step that we all stumble over. Because, if the purpose of the church was just to make us better people, then there wouldn’t be any need for a personal relationship with Christ, nor would there be any reason for Christ to have come to the world. Why do you think we aren’t able to understand the saints? Or, to ask it in a simpler manner, why is it that we cannot understand those who love God?
We often ask whether it is necessary to do certain deeds in order to be saved, to be near to God. Is it necessary, let’s say, to depart to the mountains or the desert (as some saints did)? Of course not. If we could understand that our relationship with God is not only for the sake of salvation, but is a relationship of love, only then will we understand the saints and why they did the things they did (much of which cannot be interpreted rationally). This is because love transcends logic. Even secular love—the way that one person loves another person—for example when one wants to get married, he loves the young lady that he will wed, and the same applies to the young lady—then they do things that seem totally irrational. If, for example, you were to ask her or him who is the most beautiful or handsome one in the world, they will probably say it is their beloved. Naturally, they are seeing the other through their own eyes... Our eyes see something entirely different... The prospective bride will describe her man with the finest words. She sees no flaws in him, no faults... she can’t see anything bad about him, because love transcends all these things. And, of course, the same holds true for the groom as well.
Love cannot be forced into the molds of logic. Love is above logic. That is how God’s love is. God’s love surpasses human logic. That is why we can’t judge with logical criteria those people who love God. That is why the saints reacted with a logic of their own; they had a different kind of logic, and not the logic of humans; because their logic was the "logic" of love. So, the church does not teach us just to become good people, not in the least. It is only natural, that we have to become good people, because if we don’t, then what have we succeeded in doing? Our Church teaches us to love Christ, to love the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Inside the church, a relationship develops. It is a personal relationship between man and Christ; not with the teaching of Christ and not with the Gospel. The Gospel is something that helps us to reach the point of loving Christ. When we reach that point of truly loving Christ, the Gospel "will no longer be needed." Nothing will be needed... all these things will cease... only man’s relationship with God will remain. That is the difference between the church and religion.
Religion teaches you to do your duties, the way the idolaters did. An example: let’s say that we went to our pilgrimage sites, paid our respects, left some money in the charity box, left some lit candles, some oil, or even our entreaties, our names, our offering-bread, everything. All these things are religious duties, but our heart has not changed in the least. The hour of duty ends, and we are the same as we were before: we are ready to attack the other, ready to protest about the other, ready to be sour again, the way we were before.... Our heart has not changed. And thus, we do not acquire that relationship with Christ, because we simply confine ourselves to duties—to religious duties.

Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol (Cyprus)