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From the Weekly Bulletin (Week of 12/14/2008)

posted Dec 15, 2008, 11:13 PM by Arian Kulp   [ updated Dec 15, 2008, 11:19 PM ]

Choir Appreciation Sunday

Today, December 14, has been designated as Choir Appreciation Sunday in the Antiochian Archdiocese by Metropolitan Philip. We thank all of our very talented and dedicated choir members and especially Kristi Abuissa, who leads vespers, and Choir Director Michelle Bayouth, who leads matins and Liturgy. We are blessed at St. Raphael Church with a wealth of musical talent. Your voices help us all to worship and glorify the Holy Trinity. May God bless you!

News on Fundraising

For the latest up-to-date totals on our fundraising, go to the Capital Campaign page on our website at http://www.straphaelorthodoxchurch.org/campaign. A downloadable copy of our fundraising material is also available on this page. This is an easy way to get the word out about our effort. Sending this link to family and friends will help us get information to more people in a quicker fashion. We continue to proceed with our fundraising and to date, we have about $83,000 dedicated to purchasing our building. We pray that we will be in a position to complete the purchase by January 25. Our goal is $275,000.

New Look on our Church Website

Thanks to our webmaster, Arian Kulp, our website,www.straphaelorthodoxchurch.org has a new look and some added material. In addition to the Capital Campaign material, including the updated donation totals mentioned above, you can view a slide show with photos from Bishop Mark's recent visit.

Daily Akathist Prayers for our Building Purchase

We are organizing daily Akathist prayers, to be said in our homes through the entire time we are preparing to purchase our new building, until January 25th. We recognize our need to rely on God through this process, and ask for his wisdom and guidance, and through the various Akathist prayers (booklets of which are available at church) we ask the Lord for this and ask the saints to pray for this on our behalf. A sign-up sheet is posted a church. Two slots are listed for each day. Will you join us in prayer so that all that we do with regard to this building opportunity would be pleasing to God?

Church Decoration

The church is accepting donations of poinsettia plants to beautify our worship space during this Advent season and beyond. If you would like to purchase a plant and bring it to church between now and Christmas, we would be most grateful. We have space for about 8 plants.

Upcoming Services

We will celebrate the feast day of St. Ignatius with a Vesperal Liturgy on Friday, December 19 at 6PM. On December 24, Christmas Eve, we will have Royal Hours at 9AM, and Vesperal Liturgy at 6PM. On Christmas day, December 25, we will have Matins at 8:45 and Liturgy at 10AM.

Christmas Gift Distribution

The local Orthodox clergy association is coordinating a free distribution of children's Christmas gift bags in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Thank you to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for the generous donation of gifts. Gifts bags are now available to be picked up at St. Raphael Church. If you know of any families with children ages 7-12 who were affected by last summer's flooding, who would like to pick up a free gift, please put them in contact with the church. Gifts can be picked up during normal office hours at church this week, M, T 9AM-12PM; W, Th 1-4PM.

2009 Annual Calendars

The calendars that show the daily Scripture readings, fasting periods, feast days and daily saints commemorated are now available to be picked up at church.

House Blessing Schedule

It is time to start thinking about having your home blessed between Theophany (January 6) and the beginning of Lent (March 1). Fr. Ignatius would like to visit as many of you in your homes as possible during this time. A sign-up sheet is posted. Please suggest a date and a time and Father will confirm if that time will work.

Translators Needed

Jasmina Popaja writes,

"I am writing from Iowa Legal Aid, a not for profit law firm that provides free legal services to elderly and low income Iowans. We strive
to provide high quality services to our non English speaking clients through the assistance of our volunteer translators and interpreters.

Due to our budget restrains we rely on volunteer interpreters and translators.

We would like to inquire if there are members in your organization that would be willing to volunteer as interpreters/translators. We are in
need of translating services for a wide range of website materials, client related documents and Iowa Legal Aid brochures. This opportunity is generally flexible in terms of time commitment and the volunteers can communicate with Iowa Legal Aid via e mail, so avoiding the need for them to be physically present in a particular office.

We are looking for volunteer assistance with the following languages: Arabic, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Swahili, and any other languages spoken in Africa.

Iowa Legal Aid is eager to recognize the volunteer efforts and provide a volunteer certificate and references when necessary.

Please let me know at your earliest convenience if you or any of your members would be interested to volunteer as interpreters/translators at Iowa Legal Aid.

Jasmina Popaja

Pre-Nativity Fast

Saturday November 15 marked the beginning of our time for preparation for Christmas, the Nativity of Christ. Part of this preparation is a time of fasting. We abstain from meat, dairy, and eggs throughout the entire season (through December 24), and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we also abstain from wine and oil. Fish is permitted on weekends. The red November-December church calendars make this more clear in a visual way. Please consult with Fr. Ignatius if you have any questions. It is better to humbly take on the fasting guidelines of the Church a little at a time, than to stubbornly attempt to follow them perfectly, and either fail and get dejected, or succeed with pride. And also, fasting profits us nothing if it is not accompanied by prayer and almsgiving.

Non-Perishable Food Donations

We collect non-perishable food year round to donate to the local food bank at the Crisis Center. If you haven't donated anything in awhile, the season leading up to Christmas is a perfect time to do so. There is always a need.

Council Meeting Minutes

The November 2008 Parish Council Meeting Minutes are now available.  Please see a member of the Parish Council for more information.

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 December 21, the Peterson/Branch family is providing the holy bread. The food for coffee hour will be brought by the Spencer family. 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

The human family is the primary and essential element of society. Peace in society will be a direct result of peace in the family; order and harmony in the political realm will be a direct result of order and harmony in the home.

St. John Chrysostom as quoted in Aflame: Ancient Wisdom on Marriage, p. 50.