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From the Weekly Bulletin (Week of 10/26/2008)

posted Oct 29, 2008, 5:04 PM by Arian Kulp

St. Raphael Feast Day Services

We will remember our patron, St. Raphael of Brooklyn with Great Vespers at 7PM this Friday October 31 and Matins and Liturgy on Saturday November 1, at 8:45AM and 10AM, respectively. Please plan on joining us for our annual celebration of St. Raphael. Following Liturgy, we will have a potluck meal and time for fellowship. A sign-up sheet to bring food is posted at church.

St. George All Saints Party

As an alternative to some of the less-than-Christian themes of Halloween, children are invited to St. George Church in Cedar Rapids, this Wednesday, October 29 at 5:30PM, for an All-Saints costume party. Come dressed as your favorite saint. Food will be served and a program highlighting the lives of certain saints will be given.

St. George Church Bake Sale

St. George Church of Cedar Rapids is holding their Mediterranean Eats & Sweets Sale on Saturday November 1 from 8AM-2PM. For more information, call St. George Church at 319-363-1559.

St. Raphael Teen SOYO to Get Started

Teen SOYO (Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations) is the Antiochian Archdiocese’s teen program and is for young people ages 13-19. St. Raphael Mission’s Teen SOYO is beginning to coalesce and will begin meeting soon. We are excited to announce that for the first time, we plan to field a teen Bible Bowl Team representing our parish at the 2009 Parish Life Conference in Cincinnati. The teens will be studying the Gospel of John to prepare for this competition. If your teen is interested in participating in SOYO, please contact Fr. Ignatius. There is a spot for one alternate on our Bible Bowl Team as well.

New November-December Calendars Available

The November and December St. Raphael Church calendars are now available to be picked up at church.

Updated Bishop’s Visit Information

His Grace Bishop Mark will be with us for a midweek evening Liturgy at 6PM on Thursday November 20, for the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple. Please save the date and make an effort to come out on a week night to worship with our archpastor.

2009 Pledge Packets have Been Mailed

As you know, St. Raphael Mission relies on the generous donations of its members and friends to provide the funds to keep this church in existence and able to do god’s work. Packets with information on how to make a financial pledge, as well as how to indicate other ways which you can help out St. Raphael Mission have been mailed out to members and past donors. If you haven’t received one and are interested in making a financial pledge for 2009, please contact Fr. Ignatius or our treasurer, Tania Van Dinter. So that the Parish Council can present a responsible budget at our annual Voters’ Meeting on December 7, we ask that your pledges be returned by November 16. Thank you, Tania, for your hard work on this and all of the duties you perform as treasurer.

Fundraising Dinner to Benefit Local Pro-life Clinic

Informed Choice of Iowa is having their second annual fundraising dinner on Thursday November 6 at 7PM. With the funds that they have collected in the last year, and with the help of this benefit dinner, they hope to be able to open a fully staffed medical clinic which will offer ultrasounds and other prenatal medical services to pregnant women. This clinic will be an alternative to the abortion-offering clinics in town and will give practical, real help to women in crisis pregnancies who might otherwise decide to abort their unborn children.  This is a worthy cause. Dinner is free. Donations will be accepted. If you desire to make a reservation for this dinner which will be held at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Coralville, please RSVP by calling 319-624-3076.

News From Juliana Khouri

“Dear Fr. Ignatius and all my friends at St. Raphael’s,
Greetings from Chile! I can’t believe it’s already been 2 1/2 months! You have all been in my prayers as I follow along in the bulletins about all the goings on in Iowa City. Things here are going very well. I’ve been going to the Antiochian Church here in Santiago, and it’s been a great comfort to have the Church be the same, regardless of country or culture- truly a blessing! School has kept me busy, but I’ve still had time to travel a bit and volunteer at a local school teaching English. I also have been going to an abandoned girls shelter once a week with the youth group at the church. For more details on my Chilean adventures (and all my pictures) I’ve been keeping a blog (jkstudyabroad.blogspot.com), so please check it out if you can. I hope all is well with everyone, and my prayers are still with you all.

Love in Christ,

Introduction to Orthodoxy Class

Fr. Ignatius has begun an Introduction to Orthodoxy class series which will continue to meet at 4PM on Saturdays. Each class will last about 1 1/2 hours. It is open to anybody: beginners who are interested in exploring the Orthodox faith, or those who are already Orthodox and who would like to learn more about their faith. Topics to be covered are Worship, the Sacraments, Tradition, Relations with other Christians, and more.

Beginner’s Language Classes

The Russian class taught by Elena Bezugla has begun and meets weekly on Wednesday evenings at 7PM. The Arabic class taught by Rubina Knajian will begin sometime in November. Cost is a $5 donation to the Church’s Building fund per class session.   There is still room in both classes. Bring a notebook and a pencil and be prepared to take some notes!

Chamber Singers of Iowa City to Perform Rachmaninov’s Vespers

The Chamber Singers of Iowa City will open its season with a performance of one of the most sublime works in the sacred choral literature. On November 23, the choir performs Sergei Rachmaninov’s immortal Vespers, also known as the All Night Vigil. The work contains some of the most beautiful music composed for the Russian Orthodox Church and will be sung in the Russian language. The performance takes place at 3PM in the First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Ave., Iowa City. Tickets are available at the door or from Chamber Singers members. Admission for adults is $15, for seniors $12, and youth and students are admitted at no charge.

Choir Practices

The choir is meeting for practice on Sundays, after Liturgy.

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.

Holy Bread and Coffee Hour

On Sunday November 2, the Bayouth family is providing the holy bread. The food for coffee hour will be brought by all who bring food for the potluck. Thank you in advance. Anybody who would like to host the coffee hour or bake the holy bread can sign up at church to do so.

Food for Thought

No unity with God is possible except by an exceedingly great love. To kindle in the heart such a divine love, it is necessary for a man to pray often, raising his mind to Him. The Saviour commanded us to enter into our closet and there pray to God the Father in secret. This closet means the heart. Sometimes we pray by using the words of prayers already composed; at other times prayer is born directly in the heart, and from there rises to God. The principal thing is to stand with the mind in the heart before God, and to go on standing before Him unceasingly day and night, until the end of life.... Frequently approaching the icons, bow down or prostrate yourself according to the movement and demands of your heart.

The fruit of prayer is the concentration of attention in the heart accompanied by a feeling of warmth. This is the natural effect. Everyone can achieve it. Do not become attracted by [a feeling of] inner sweetness: without the Cross it is unstable and dangerous. Consider everyone to be better than yourself. Without this thought even a worker of miracles is far from God. As soon as humility decreases, coolness enters....Descend into the depths of the heart and there track down these three powerful giants – forgetfulness, laziness, and ignorance. High opinion of ourselves gives rise to two things: blowing our own trumpet and censuring others. These three make up the evil ‘troika’, which drives us full speed to perdition.

St. Theophan the Recluse