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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of April 11, 2010)

posted Apr 25, 2010, 10:05 AM by Ilya Buchkin
A Respite from the Fast-
       Throughout the Paschal season, from Pascha until the Ascension, a full forty days, there is no fasting, including on Wednesdays and Fridays, according to Antiochian custom.
Food for Hungry People Boxes-
       If you have taken a Food for Hungry People box home with you during Lent, it is now time to bring it back to church .   After Pascha, we will consolidate what was collected and send it in so that those who need the help can benefit from it.  Cash and check donations can also be made to this worthy program.  Please write checks to St. Raphael Orthodox Church and mark them Food for Hungry People on the memo line.
April Parish Council Meeting-
       Our April 2010 Parish Council meeting is on Monday, April 12 at 7PM.  As always, these monthly meetings are open to anyone.
A Friendly Reminder-
       We sing during the Cherubic Hymn at each Liturgy that we desire to "lay aside all earthly cares."  A very pratical way to aid us in that quest during the church services is to make sure that our cell phones and other beeping or ringing electronic devices are turned off or set to silent while we are in church. Please try to remember to keep your phones from making noise while we gather to pray and worship.
Possible Adult Education Class-
       If there is sufficient interest,  Fr. Ignatius would like to teach a four week class titled: "Authentic Manifestations of the Spirit" during the month of May.  In this class, we will learn about the charismatic gifts which the Holy Elders of Orthodoxy manifest and compare that to some of the spiritual phenomena that take place outside of the Orthodox Church, such as with the faith healers of Charismatic Protestantism and the Yogis of Hinduism.  Please contact Fr. Ignatius if you are interested and suggest times/days that would work with your shcedule. 
       Bogdana Rus and her daughter Lorena were churched at Agape Vespers on the afternoon of Pascha.  Congratulations!
Thank you-
       Thank you to Nana Tskhakaia (and others?) for cleaning up the church nave after Pascha.  After the celebration that we had, it sure needed a good cleaning!
Vespers and Dinner At St. George with Bishop MARK-
       On Saturday, April 17, following Vespers at 5:00PM, St. George Church in Cedar Rapids is hosting a dinner to benefit Camp St. George scholarships.  His Grace Bishop MARK will be visiting St. George Church that weekend, to be with them as they celebrate their patronal feast.  For more information, including how to purchase tickets, contact St. George Church at 319-363-1559
Parish-Wide Discussion on Sunday April 18-
       Following Liturgy, we will hold a parish-wide discussion during coffee hour.  We will discuss and evaluate our current system of rotating teams to provide foood for coffee hour, give an update on our church finances and discuss priorities regarding future projects with the building and fundraisers.
Do You Belong to a Group that Might Benefit from Some Excellent Music?-
       Our own church member, Tariel Iberi, is one of the very best Georgian classical guitarists in the world.  Tariel is always looking for opportunities to play around the Iowa City area, especially opportunities that might help him earn a living.  If you belong to a community group or know of any group that might be interested in hiring a guitarist to give a concert, please contact Tariel at 319-325-8059 or berimeladze@yahoo.com.
Peace in Palestine Program-
       On Monday April 26, from 2PM-3:30PM at the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center (Linn and Washington) author Mark Braverman will be sharing his experiences in the Holy Land and how current events affect the chances for peace in that region.
Walk for Life to Benefit Choices Medical Clinic-
       Choices Medical Clinic serves women by offering free services such as: pregnancy testing, STD testing, pap smears, obstetrical ultrasound, early prenatal care, referrals for OB care and social services, adoption liasons and referrals to adoption services, etc.  They do this to offer life-affirming alternatives to an unexpected pregnancy.  On Saturday, May 1st, Choices Medical Clinic will have three different sites at which sponsored walkers can conduct the 2010 Walk for Life: City Park, Kent Park, and Lake MacBride Park.  This fundraising event supports an organization that provides real help for women who may be contemplating abortion.  For more information: go to www.informedchoiceia.org.
Midwest Antiochian Women's Retreat-
         The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest invite women to the fifth annual retreat Friday-Sunday, May 14-16, 2010 at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery located at 3389 Rives Eaton Road in Rives Junction, Michigan.  Mother Abbess Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village will present the retreat, “Create in Me a New Heart,” focusing on the Holy Spirit in our lives.  She will bring together reflections on the actions of the Holy Spirit through salvation history from the Scriptures and the Fathers with emphasis on our practical, daily synergy with the Holy Spirit.  For more information, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/sites/antiochian.org/files/2010_AW_Retreat.pdf
CONNECT 2010 Program in Lebanon-
       CONNECT 2010 will be taking place from July 1 to 28, 2010, at the main campus of Balamand University in the peaceful hills of North Lebanon. CONNECT is addressed to youth ages 17-25 in the United States and Canada with the goal of introducing them to the heritage, language, and culture of the region and to the Church of Antioch.   It is a global learning experience for all. Dozens of Orthodox youth have participated in previous CONNECT Programs and gained memorable lifetime experiences. Detailed information about the Program can be found at www.balamand.edu.lb/connect .
63rd Annual Midwest Diocese Parish Life Conference-
       Hosted by St. George Cathedral of Toledo, OH, laity and clergy from around our diocese will gather June 30-July 4 for the 2010 Parish Life Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg, OH.  This year's conference will feature speakers Fr. Thomas Hopko and Dr. Albert Rossi and much more.  For more information, go to http://www.midwestplc2010.org/
Antiochian Women's Scholarships Available-
       Scholarships are available for women who:
1. Are 25 years of age or older
2. Are active members in good standing at an Antiochian parish or mission
3. Are enrolled in or accepted to an academic or trade study program
4. Demonstrate financial need
For more information, please contact Fr. Ignatius. The deadline to apply is May 14.
A Call for Recipes-
       Karen Kuntz and Amy Spencer are beginning to collect recipes for a St. Raphael’s cookbook that will include both Lenten and regular food from all the cultures represented at our church. Please contact either one of them about including your favorite recipes.
Thoughts on Stewardship-
           In the Creed we recite during every Divine Liturgy, we say, “…And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures…”  God’s ultimate sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son is our constant reminder of his unwavering love for us.  We must acknowledge this love by our prayers, our conduct, and our deeds.  Tithing, sacrificial giving, or proportional giving is but one of the many expressions of worship through which we can demonstrate our commitment to Our Lord’s word.
         Ask yourself the following- "What does this message from God require from me, His loyal servant?”   What must I change in my life to be able to follow this teaching in both word and in deed?”
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.

Holy Bread and Coffee Hour-
       On Sunday, April 18,  the Peterson/Branch family will provide the holy bread.  Thank you in advance.  Anybody who would like to bake the holy bread can sign up to do so.  Food for coffee hour will be provided by the St. Nina team.

Food For Thought-
Today is the springtime of our souls; for Christ, Who on the third day shone forth from the grave like the sun, hath dispelled the dark winter of our sin.  Let us praise Him, for He hath been glorified.
Troparion of Ode 1 of the Matins Canon for Thomas Sunday