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Church Bulletin: October 9, 2016

posted Oct 10, 2016, 8:30 AM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
October 9, 2016- Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

 This Week's Services and Events

October 11, Tuesday
        + Office Hours, 1:15PM-2:45PM
        + 9th Hour Prayers, 3:00PM

October 12, Wednesday
        + Akathist, 7:00PM

October 15, Saturday
        + Intro to Orthodoxy Class, 3:00PM
        + Great Vespers, 5:00PM 

October 16, 17th Sunday of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10:00AM followed by Sunday School and Coffee Hour
Upcoming Events and Announcements-       
        Congratulations to Alina and Iulian Vamanu and big brother Oliver on their new addition to the family, daughter and sister Emilia.  May God grant her many years!

Thank You-
        Fr. Ignatius wishes to thank all those who gave of their time and offered their ideas at our leadership development workshop this weekend.  This is a necessary part of the process of building a strong foundation for our parish and to give direction and vision for the future so that St. Raphael Church will be here and in good health for many years to come.  We especially thank Anthony Bashir and Richard Robbat, who traveled to be with us to help us through this process.

Parish Council Meeting-
        Our monthly Parish Council meeting is Thursday, October 13 at 6:30PM.

Special Fall Appeal-
        A generous benefactor has stepped forward and offered to match, dollar for dollar, up to $1000, donations that are given to the church to make up for the lack of previously planned festival income.  Please consider giving a donation to the church for this appeal.  Mark that it is for the Fall Special Appeal so that your funds can be matched.  This is a separate effort from the annual fall appeal to fund our 2017, which you will be hearing about shortly.  Deadline is November 1.

Teen SOYO Special Olympics Awareness Sunday is October 16-
        Be prepared to hear from our teens on this day and to support their effort to raise funds for our Archdiocesan effort to host an annual Special Olympics Event at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania.

Parking on Sunday October 16-
        The annual Iowa City Road Races "Run for the Schools" will be taking place on College St. and elsewhere in our church neighborhood on the morning of October 16.  Streets in the area will be shut down to vehicle traffic until 12:30PM.  Plan to park in the Chauncey Swan Parking Garage a few blocks to the west of church.  The accessible entrance is on Washington St. 

Food for All - Kalona
        Please continue to pray for our Orthodox-style, community-style charity work. Our first Sunday Supper in Kalona will be on October 23 and twice monthly. Also, we are planning to restart Kalona Wednesday Vespers once a month and would appreciate attendance by choir members. (Though we'll do one-tone chant if necessary, we'd love people to experience the wonderful music.) Also, please ask our Lord to draw people to Himself and and His Church through all our programs. Visit our website at foodforallkalona.weebly.com. Email: foodforallkalona@gmail.com.  Thanks! Amy Spencer

Assembly of Bishops Statement-
        The 7th annual Assembly of Bishops meeting recently concluded.  Our hierarchs have issued the a statement at:  http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/2016/message-2016-assembly

Fall Party and Vespers-
        Russ and Becky Morey are opening up their home to us once again to enjoy a fall party on their farm in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday, October 29 from 4:00PM-7:00PM.  We will plan to eat around 5 and have vespers at 6.  There will be no vespers at church that day.  

Fall Clean-up Day-
        All who came come and volunteer a few hours, please come to church on Saturday, October 29 from 1:00PM-4:00PM to help with cleaning, polishing, raking and any other projects that will need tending to.  We value your efforts to keep our building and grounds clean and in good order.

Update From Hannah-
        "Dear Faithful of St. Raphael Church, 

Christ is in our midst!

I pray that you are all well. From what I hear, the days are growing cooler in Iowa City. I imagine the trees are starting to put on their festive fall array of reds, oranges, and yellows. The earth, it seems, is preparing itself for an approaching mystery, slowing down enough to listen and watch. Our Lord's  humbling Incarnation approaches, a little over two months from now, but really, just around the corner.

I want to thank you all for your prayers for me during my adventure to Russia. I've been back home at the monastery just over a week now, and remain in awe of the things I saw and heard. Among the many highlights of the trip, was simply becoming acquainted with Sr. Xenia, the nun who I accompanied. She is our abbess' right hand, a truly fine monastic. Before embarking on this trip, I had exchanged maybe ten sentences with her. Most often, I saw her only in church, where she is the main server, directing things in and out of the altar space with the blessing that select nuns receive at woman's monasteries. I kept quiet around her, intimidated slightly by what I perceived as a strictly hesychastic character. But spending hours with her in the airports, as well as running about with her in Russia itself, much like frazzled hens at times, completely endeared her to me. We kept a common watch over each other. I strove to be her servant, and she opened my eyes to the significance of interactions and experiences as they occurred. Neither of us could speak Russian, which actually proved a blessing in its own way. We could watch and listen to everything happening around us with great attention, without falling into the danger of meddling. And even with the language barrier, we embraced the Russian monastics as brothers and sisters, and they us. Sr. Xenia especially showed great love and respect for the people we encountered. If the sole reason God allowed me to go to Russia was to recognize the beautiful soul Sr. Xenia has cultivated in herself by years of ascetic struggle, it would have been reason enough.

My abbess told me before we embarked on our journey, that visiting Russia would be like visiting a person. And throughout our stay, I felt a unifying force of faith that indeed made Russia feel like a warm, and yet grand mother. One memorable experience was the patriarchal liturgy in the Christ the Savior cathedral. Sr. Xenia and I stood in a sea of abbesses from all parts of Russia, gathered in the hundreds. Many abbots attended as well,  and some served in the altar. To see the patriarch up close like that was incredible. Large as it was, the altar barely fit all the deacons, priests and bishops that served with him. If I had taken a picture, it's caption would have been "That moment when the Little Entrance can't be little." For holy communion, the people received from the bishop's hand. I missed communion, for feeling faint, I had to sit out the end of the liturgy. I suppose I lack the Russian stamina.

The conference spanned three days after the liturgy, Wednesday through Friday. Beneath the sanctuary of Christ the Savior Cathedral, lay a huge amphitheater as well as banquet hall for our use. Topics spanned from the history of Russian monasticism on Mount Athos to the revelation of thoughts as a basis for obedience to one's elder. The patriarch himself attended the discussions on Friday, and invited any abbot or abbess to present their questions to him before those gathered. It was encouraging to see the Patriarch give his support to the monastics under his care.

On Friday afternoon, Sr. Xenia and I toured the Kremlin. We looked inside every church besides St. Basil and walked through the working palace of Putin. The grandeur was incredible. At one point, I noticed Sr. Xenia smiling. She turned to me and said, "You know, this all appears to be vanity. But if you're a good ruler of a country, as Tzar Nicholas the Second was, you deserve to have some show of honor for the burden you carry."

The rest of our stay in Russia was at a woman's monastery in Kaluga named after St. Nicholas, about 2 hours out from Moscow. Mother Nikolaya, the abbess of this monastery, is the spiritual mother of our abbess. When our abbess was at a loss as to how to begin a monastery in the desert, Mother Nikolaya   directed her to Elder Ephraim at St. Anthony's monastery in Florence, Arizona. It so happens that coinciding with this enormous conference for monastic Russia, Mother Nikolaya was herself celebrating 25 years for the renewal of her monastery, which she built up from ruins after communism. She invited all 14 abbesses she herself raised and then sent out throughout Russia. Our abbess would have been the 15th to attend, adopted as she was into Mother Nikolaya's care, but for her poor health, she could not attend. Sr. Xenia and I, standing in for our abbess, spent hours with Mother Nikolaya and her abbesses at teas and traveling. Their affection for one another shown through every word and deed. One day, we drove around the Kaluga region with these abbesses, visiting Mother Nikolaya's nearby sketes. Poor as they were, each group of sisters rang the bells for our arrival, showed us their churches and guests quarters, and spread out a full meal and tea for us. We ate five meals in the span of nine hours that day. I won't admit how much of what I ate was sweets.

Our visit to Optina was also with these abbesses. My abbess had prepared me for the trip by giving me a book to read about Elder Nektary, the last Optina elder before communists closed the monastery. Driving up to the monastery, I could see it from afar, nestled in a forest of cedars and birches. We venerated the burial places of the three new martyrs and attended liturgy. All throughout our visit, the air seemed fragranced with the prayers of countless holy men that lived there in times past and present.

I'll squeeze in one final account, before this update turns into a book. On Tuesday, our last day in Russia, Sr. Xenia and I met Mother Nikolaya's father confessor. The hieromonk, Father Blaze, lives in a monastery near Mother Nikolaya. Entering his receiving room with Mother Nikolaya and her abbesses, I looked about to see each wall stacked to the ceiling with various icons and boxes. A slight man, with a blonde-gray beard opened his arms and exclaimed excitedly as we poured in. We all lined up for his blessing and received icons, prosphoras, and chocolates. The whole while, this hieromonk beamed like a delighted child. I was shooed out of the room as the abbesses and Sr. Xenia prepared for their confessions, but at some point, I was pulled back in. As I watched, each abbess went up to the now sitting hieromonk, and confessed their sins in the hearing of all the rest. With some, he laughed and sang songs. With others, his face grew serious. And yet others received bits of food from his fingers while they confessed. I was urged up to him at the end. Mother Nikolaya came up with me to translate, and I got down on my knees. But before I could say anything, only bringing the sins I wanted to confess to mind, Father Blaise began speaking warmly to me. Mother Nikolaya translated, and I realized that I would not have to say anything. The blessed man knew what burdened my heart. He gave me good advice. "Obey your Gerondissa, don't be jealous of the sisters, and you'll be fine." Walking out of that room, I realized I had just been blessed and absolved by a fool for Christ's sake; having met the likes before only in books, I was in awe. I'm not certain what God had or yet has in mind regarding these incredible experiences, but I will not soon forget them.

May God keep you all in good strength and increasing faith. I miss everyone greatly and keep all of you in my prayers and heart. Please pray for me as well.

In Christ,

Patronal Feast Day-
        We will honor our patron St. Raphael of Brooklyn with vespers with litia and artoklasia at 7:00PM on Friday, November 4 and matins and liturgy at 8:30AM and 10:00AM on Saturday, November 5.  Come and thank God for our patron saint!

40 Days for Life-
        In giving a charge to the women of our archdiocese, Metropolitan Joseph recently listed several areas he would like them to focus on raising funds for and awareness of, and one of them was helping unborn children and their mothers.  There is tremendous pressure on some women to end their pregnancies in abortion, an act that the Church has always considered as tragic and akin to murder.  One opportunity to defend the unborn and show love to their mothers is the 40 Days for Life effort which begins September 28 and lasts through November 6.  This is a prayerful, peaceful presence on the sidewalk in front of one local abortion clinic.  A poster advertising this effort and prayer cards to be used during this effort are available in our narthex.  For more information, go to: http://www.jcrtl.org/40-days-for-life.html  Fr. Ignatius will be participating occasionally during this time.  If you are interested in joining him, let him know.  If you can't or don't want to come out to the sidewalk to pray for unborn children and their abortion-minded mothers, pray at home! 

Orthodox Christian Fellowship-
        OCF will meet most Thursday evenings during the school year,  with dinner at 6:30PM on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month, and compline at 7:00PM on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month.

Next Sunday's Gospel Reading-
        The Lord spoke this parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold.” And when His Disciples asked Him what this parable meant, Jesus said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.” As Jesus said this, He called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  (Luke 8:5-15)

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. 
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.

Food for Thought-

Jesus, Sweetness of my heart!
Jesus, Strength of the body!
Jesus, Radiance of the soul!
Jesus, Swiftness of the mind!
Jesus, Joy of the conscience!
Jesus, Well-known Hope!
Jesus, Memory before the ages!
Jesus, High Praise!
Jesus, my Supremely-exalted Glory!
Jesus, my Desire, reject me not!
Jesus, my Shepherd, seek me!
Jesus, my Saviour, save me!
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!

- From Ekos 8 of the Akathist to our Sweetest Lord Jesus Christ