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Church Bulletin: June 30, 2013

posted Jul 1, 2013, 11:06 AM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
June 30, 2013- Sunday of All Saints
This Week's Services and Events
July 1, Monday
       + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
       + Office Hours, 9:30AM-11:30AM
July 2, Tuesday
        + Free Lunch Program volunteering, 11:30AM-1:30PM
July 3, Wednesday
        + Akathist, 7PM
July 5, Friday
       + Matins, 8:30AM
July 6, Saturday
        + 9th Hour/Great Vespers, 6PM
July 7, Sunday of All Saints of North America
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Liturgy, 10AM, followed by Fellowship Hour
Upcoming Events and Announcements
       On Saturday, June 29, little Ivan Zachary Volkov was illumined with the sacraments of baptism, chrismation and the Eucharist.  Congratulations to his parents Aleksey Volkov and Kristina Hominich, and older sister Sofia.  His godmother is his aunt, Olesya Bilenko.  May God grant Ivan Zachary many years!
Free Lunch Program Volunteering this Tuesday-
       It is our turn to once again volunteer at the Free Lunch Program which is housed in the Wesley Center on Dubuque St.  If you can volunteer to help serve meals and to clean up from 11:30AM-1:30PM (or any portion of that time) please let Fr. Ignatius know.
July-August Calendars Available-
       Calendars showing services and events for July and August are now printed and available in the narthex.  Many thank to Todd Wiblin for producing the calendar every two months.
Next Farmer's Market is July 13-
       Check the sign-up sheets, and consider how you might help us with our next showing at the Iowa City Farmer's Market on July 13.  This is a way to make our presence known in Iowa City and to contribute to charity.
Do You Have a Smartphone?-
       If so, did you know there are some good, free apps that can be beneficial to our Orthodox faith.  Try out the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's Daily Readings app in order to keep up with the saints of the day and the daily Scripture readings.   The Pray Always app is a good digital Orthodox prayer book.  Both the Ancient Faith Radio and Orthodox Christian Network apps provide countless podcasts and Orthodox sacred music.  If we are going to carry smartphones around in our pockets and purses, let's put them to use to help us keep connected to our faith.
With God, All Things Are Possible-
        To read the amazing story of how an Afghani man who was raised in extremist Islam and who worked for the Taliban left all of that and was baptized an Orthodox Christian on Mt. Athos, go to:    http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/06/a-former-taliban-from-afghanistan-is.html
Opportunity to Help a Monastery in Need-
        Recently, the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, an Orthodox monastery in West Virginia experienced a fire in one of its buildings which destroyed the monastery's candle making operation and also the cell and all of the belongings of a nun.  To learn more about this situation and how to help with donations, go to:  http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/  
Are You Wanting to Understand the Political and Religious Situation in Syria?-
       Syria is in the middle of a long, ongoing civil war which has claimed the lives of over 100,000 and wreaked havoc on the country and the region.  As our Archdiocese has ties to Syria, it makes sense for us to understand, at least a little bit, what is going on there politically and religiously, especially insofar as how this all affects our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in Syria.  To read some highlights from testimony about the situation in Syria that was given before a US Congressional subcommittee recently, go to: http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/2013/06/highlights-of-joint-subcommittee.html  Warning, some of the testimony is graphic.  One important event this article doesn't mention is the bombing that took place very near the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus just after the Patriarch arrived earlier this week.  The Patriarch was unharmed, but several people who were lined up at a Christian-run charity were killed.  Some reports are calling this an assassination attempt on the Patriarch.
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.
Coincidence or Providence?-
       On Wednesday June 26, the US Supreme Court issued two rulings which favored same-sex marriage.  While faithful Orthodox Christians can certainly discuss whether or not it is a good idea for the government to define what is and is not a marriage (since this has no bearing on the truth that marriage is a sacrament that can only involve the union of one man and one woman) we should all be disturbed when sin is exalted and celebrated.  It is worth mentioning that the assigned Epistle reading for this day was from Romans 1 which contains these truths.  "...God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen.  For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions.  For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due."  Our Orthodox lectionary was established many, many centuries ago.  But on this day, when the laws of our land shifted in order to accommodate same-sex marriage, we were reminded of the unchanging truth that homosexual behavior, like heterosexual behavior that is not within the context of marriage, is sin.  Still, we must always strive to be compassionate and loving to all, knowing that the Church must remain a hospital for the sick, and that we all struggle with various sins that we need to be healed from.  The only unforgiveable sin is refusing to repent and thus, "grieving the Holy Spirit."
Soothing Words for When the World Seems So Troubled-
       When wars rage, when Christians are persecuted, when poverty, abortion, abuse and all manner of injustice and evil seems to surround us, it may be easy to become bitter, cynical, downcast or even despairing.  As Christians, we must not ignore evil, but we also must put things in perspective.  We have the joy and peace of Christ.  We know that Christ has secured His victory over sin and death which becomes our victory over sin and death.  There is always hope.  In this vein, we would do well to contemplate what St. Paul writes to the Philippians, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things" (Phil 4:8).
Highlighting a Worthy Orthodox Charity-
       The Book of Hebrews says, "Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works..." (Hebrews 10:24).  In that spirit, please be aware of the wonderful ministry of FOCUS North America (www.focusnorthamerica.org).  Whereas International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) focuses on international relief work, FOCUS is an organization working to relieve poverty and to otherwise minister to the physical and spiritual needs to individuals right here in America.  In order to give you an idea of what this relatively new ministry has been able to accomplish, here are some facts taken from their recently released annual report.
- 50 million people live below the poverty line in America and nearly twice that amount are barely above the poverty line- most of the adults who are poor are employed
- In 2012, FOCUS volunteers served 51,024 meals.  In 2013, it is projected they will serve 120,000 meals.
- In 2012, FOCUS volunteers trained/employed 562 people.  In 2013, it is projected they will train/employ 1,100 people.
- In 2012, FOCUS volunteers distributed 128,030 articles of clothing.  In 2013, it is projected they will distribute 513,000 articles of clothing.
-In 2012, FOCUS volunteers helped house 408 people.  In 2013, it is projected they will help house 1,050.
- FOCUS is actively ministering in 32 American cities.
- 92% of public donations go directly to helping those in need.
It is the responsibility of the Church to provide for the needs of those who cannot provide for themselves.  We have largely abdicated our responsibility and thus, our government has stepped in to fill the gap.  Let us, as God's people, strive to redouble our efforts to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and visit the sick and imprisoned and to demonstrate to our society that we love our fellow human beings and are concerned not only with their spiritual needs, but with their physical needs as well.  FOCUS is one worthy effort to do just that.  To learn more about them, go to www.focusnorthamerica.org and/or page through their annual report which is posted on one of the bulletin boards near the coatroom in the basement of church. 
Archdiocesan Financial Information Available for Viewing-
       If you are interested to see our Archdiocese's most recent financial statement and/or to look at the proposed budget which will be voted on at the Archdiocese Convention later in July, this information is contained in a booklet which is on one of the tables in the narthex.
Report on Recent Synod of Antioch Meeting-
       The Holy Synod of Antioch recently held a meeting, presided over by Patriarch John X.  A report of the meeting can be read at: http://www.antiochian.org/patriarch-john-x-presides-over-his-first-synod-meeting
Keep Praying for Kidnapped Orthodox Bishops in Syria-
       Since April 22, the Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul, and the Syriac Metropolitan of Aleppo, Youhanna, have been in captivity and not heard from.  Please pray for their well being and release and also pray for their captors as well. 
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.
Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday July 7, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nicholas team.
Holy Bread-
       On Sunday July 7, the holy bread will be provided by the Valentine family.  Thank you in advance.
Choir Leadership-
       During the weekend of July 6-7, the choir will be lead by Tania Van Dinter.
Food for Thought-
We must love our neighbor still more when he sins against God, or against ourselves, because then he is sick, because then he is in spiritual misfortune, in danger; then, especially, we must have compassion upon him, pray for him, and apply to his heart a healing plaster—a word of kindness, instruction, reproval, consolation, forgiveness, love. "Forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
St. John of Kronstadt