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Church Bulletin: March 10, 2013

posted Mar 10, 2013, 8:48 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
March 10, 2013- Sunday of the Final Judgment (Meatfare Sunday)
This Week's Services and Events
Mar 11, Monday
        + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
        + Father's Office Hours, 9:15AM-11:30AM
        + Teen SOYO movie and dinner, 6:30PM
Mar 12, Tuesday
        + Parish Council meeting, 7PM
Mar 13, Wednesday
        + Akathist, 7PM
Mar 14, Thursday
        + OCF Compline and discussion, 7PM
Mar 15, Friday
        + Matins, 8:30AM
Mar 16, Saturday
        + Holy Baptism of David Iovanov, 12PM
        + 9th Hour and Great Vespers, 6PM
Mar 17, Sunday, Sunday of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise (Cheesefare Sunday)
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10AM, followed by coffee hour and Sunday School
Upcoming Events and Announcements
Charitable projects-
        (1) Karen Kuntz has perfected the formula for the Everything Good Lotion Bars, and they will be on sale in the church bookstore and elsewhere soon. (2) The cookbook is taking shape. Please ask God for grace and peace for the final editing stages and copies in hand by the first farmer's market. (3) We plan to participate in the Iowa City Farmer's Market, hopefully once a month from May to October. We'd love to see many people involved, as it will be lots of fun. If you're interested, contact Amy Spencer, Tania Van Dinter, Karen Kuntz, Alli Rockwell, or Father.
Holy Baptism of David Iovanov, March 16-
        On March 16 at 12PM, all are invited to attend the baptism of David Iovanov, son of Mio Iovanov and Lavinia Ciungu, a new family at our church.
Teen SOYO-
        On March 11 at 6:30PM, our Teen SOYO group will be gathering for dinner and a movie.
March Parish Council Meeting-
        Our March 2013 Parish Council meeting will be on Tuesday, March 12 at 7PM. All are welcome to attend.
Catechumen Classes Starting Soon-
        Fr. Ignatius will lead a six week series of catechumen classes at 4PM on Saturdays beginning March 23. All are welcome to attend whether or not you are a catechumen.
First Pastoral Letter of Patriarch John X-
        To read the text of the first (and a very good!) pastoral letter of our father in Christ, Patriarch John X, go to: http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/2013/02/john-xs-vision-for-patriarchate-of.html. Father Ignatius highly recommends it.
Keep Praying for Christians in the Middle East-
        Acts of aggression against Christians in the Middle East seem to be on the rise given the current political instability of the region. The following report, details such an incident that recently happened in Tripoli, Libya. http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/03/fanatical-muslims-threaten-orthodox.html Please pray for the Christians in that region, many of them Orthodox, and pray for peace and stability to return.
Learning Iconography as Art Therapy for Prisoners-
        To read an article about how inmates in a Polish prison are benefiting from learning iconography while serving their sentences, go to: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/03/polish-prisoners-transformed-by.html
Fasting-
        It is time to begin thinking about modifiying your diet for Lent. Plan your grocery shopping accordingly.  Sunday March 10, Meatfare Sunday, is the last day to eat meat until Pascha. On Monday, March 18, the full Lenten fast begins. The Church asks us to abstain from meat (with the exception of fish on March 25 for the Annunciation and April 28 for Palm Sunday) until Great and Holy Pascha, May 5. Shellfish are OK. The full Lenten fast also includes abstention from dairy, eggs, oil and wine (oil and wine are permitted on the weekends). Fast as you are able with these standards being the goal. Exceptions can be made for those who are very young, very old, ill, pregnant, nursing, or infirm. If you have any questions about fasting, please ask Fr. Ignatius. May our fasting from certain foods help us to find some humility as we struggle to fast from sin.
The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim-
        O Lord and Master of my life,
Take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother,
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
Almsgiving (Food For Hungry People Program)-
        Along with fasting, prayer and repentance, almsgiving is one of the pillars of the Lenten time. Look for ways to be generous with others and let your giving be as anonymous as possible. One easy way to give something to those in need is to participate in the Archdiocesan Food For Hungry People Program which collects money for all of the Antiochian parishes and gives it to various programs that serve the hungry. Look for collection boxes at church in the narthex next Sunday.
Repentance-
        Lent is the perfect time to make a confession. If it has been awhile since your last one, don't let another Lent go by without making one. This is medicine for our souls. Take advantage of what God has to offer through His Church- the forgiveness of your sins. If you have never made a confession, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for one or what takes place during a confession, feel free to speak with Fr. Ignatius. He is available after Saturday vespers, at the end of Sunday matins (right before the beginning of Liturgy) or other times by appointment if you would like to schedule a time to receive this sacrament.
Lent Begins on March 18 (Actually the Evening of March 17)-
        We will mark the beginning of Lent with Forgiveness Vespers at 6PM on Sunday, March 17.This beautiful and solemn service during which we each seek forgiveness of all present sets our minds and our spirits in the proper context for beginning the Lenten journey. Let us always be quick to apologize and quick to forgive. The first week of Lent is filled with services. Try to alter your schedule and come to at least one or two of them. Here is our schedule.
Sunday, March 17- Forgiveness Vespers, 6PM
Monday, March 18- Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Tuesday, March 19- Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Wednesday, March 20- Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts followed by a Lenten Soup Supper, 6PM
Thursday, March 21- Little Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Friday, March 22- Little Compline with Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos, 7PM
Lenten Pan-Orthodox Sunday Vespers-
        As has been the tradition for several years, we are invited to attend vespers at various Orthodox churches in Eastern Iowa on Sunday evenings during Lent and in turn, we will be hosting clergy and the faithful from these churches at St. Raphael. Each vespers service begins at 5:30PM and is followed by a fellowship meal provided by the hosting church. The schedule is as follows:
March 24- St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Cedar Rapids (501 A Avenue NE)
March 31- St. Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church, Iowa City (722 E. College St.)
April 7- St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church, Dubuque (1075 Rockdale Rd.)
April 14- St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cedar Rapids (3650 Cottage Grove Ave. SE)
April 21- St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Waterloo (613 W. Fourth St.)
Lenten Wednesday Evenings-
        On Wednesday evenings during Lent, we gather for the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts at 6PM. Following the service, we will share a simple lenten soup supper. There is a sign-up sheet posted in the narthex so that people can sign-up to provide the meal each week.
Would You Like to Learn More About Lent?-
        Our Archdiocese has created an informative section on their website to help us better understand the season of Lent. Check out: http://www.antiochian.org/lent
Two Potlucks on March 31-
        On Sunday March 31, we will have a parish-wide potluck following Liturgy, as it is the 5th Sunday of the month and we do not have a food team assigned for that day. In addition, we are hosting visiting clergy and laity from area Orthodox churches for Pan-Orthodox vespers at 5:30PM that day. Following vespers, we are providing another potluck meal so that our guests will be fed before returning home. Please consider participating in both of these potlucks. Perhaps making a double batch of whatever you plan to bring would be the simplest solution. That way, we will have some for both after Liturgy and after vespers.
One Week Left for House Blessings!-
        Until the beginning of Lent (March 17), Fr. Ignatius is available to come to your home to bless it. A sign-up sheet is posted in the narthex. Suggest a date and time and Fr. Ignatius will check his calendar and arrange the visit.
Parish Directory Updates-
        Our last parish directory, containing members and friends names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses was printed in 2011. It is time for an updated directory. Over the next few weeks, Fr. Ignatius will be contacting you and confirming the information he has for you, so that we can produce an accurate and updated 2013 directory.
Parish Constitution Revision Committee-
        Our current parish constitution was revised about 4 years ago. It has come to the attention of some parish council members that perhaps some more revisions need to be made. If you would like to serve on a small committee to help make suggested changes that will be presented to the parish for a vote, please see Fr. Ignatius. The time commitment for this committee should be no longer than two months.
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-
        During the weekend of March 16-17, the choir will be lead by Lori Branch.
Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday March 17, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nina team.
Holy Bread-
        On Sunday, March 17, the holy bread will be provided by the Peterson/Branch family. Thank you in advance. Anyone can sign up to provide holy bread for future liturgies. Look for the sign-up sheet in the narthex.
Church Cleaning-
        During the week of March 10-16, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be accomplished by the St. John the Baptist team.
Food for Thought-
Dwelling in a Strange Land
By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.
We hung our harps upon the willows in their midst.
They that carried us away in captivity asked of us a song,
And they that laid us waste, required of us mirth, saying:
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

Psalm 136/7 provides the text that the Orthodox Church begins to sing in preparation for the Great Fast. It is a recognition that our life in this world is somehow foreign to the Kingdom of God. We don’t belong here. We sometimes experience this as a homesickness – which is strange indeed for people who have no memory of life in any other mode. But it is not an uncommon feeling.

How do we explain to others that we long for something we’ve never seen – that we sense our home is elsewhere? This is soul of the original Christian longing. Our modern world has often set this heart aside. In particular the social message of the 19th century turns the longing for Paradise into a longing for an improved world.

William Blake’s poem, “Jerusalem,” is sung at the close of the Labour Party’s annual conference each year in England. It ends:

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

The modernist thought that the Kingdom of God is something that we are meant to “build” is frequently echoed in Church statements and modern prayers. “For the building up of the Kingdom” has become a modern Christian cliche. It is also heresy.

It seems ironic in the extreme that the inheritors of salvation by grace should so deeply embrace a Kingdom by works. In the name of various utopias (both Christian and Secular) great evil has been done.

The classical Christian heart is rightly found in the words of Psalm 137. We do not belong here, but we are not called to build Paradise. We are called to make the journey home and return to Paradise. This is not a renunciation of social progress or a call to turn a deaf ear to justice.

But social progress and justice are both easily betrayed by utopian schemes. In the name of an ideal, scoundrels do great evil. We will not build a society that is more just than its citizens.

We are resident aliens, strangers in a strange land. But are not yet ready to dwell in Paradise. Entering the land to which we are called is also a journey of transformation. There is a wilderness that lies between this land and the Land of Promise. The story of the Exodus is of a journey from slavery to freedom – and of slaves becoming fit for freedom.

The journey begins with the recognition that we do not belong. It is the problematic character of secularism. The secular world claims to be our home and bids us settle down. The secular Christian makes his home in this world and holds his faith like a hobby. There will be no journey that sets him apart from his neighbors. He will be like them in every respect excepting his hobby. It is as though the Israelites established clubs in Egypt for the discussion of Promised Land theories. There they could sing the songs of Zion.

I do not belong here. I will return to my Father’s house.

Fr. Stephen Freeman, "Glory to God for All Things" blog post at http://glory2godforallthings.com/2013/03/02/dwelling-in-a-strange-land/

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