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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of August 28, 2011)

posted Sep 25, 2011, 1:31 AM by Ilya Buchkin
New Year's Blessings-
       Bishop Thomas wishes to extend his blessings and best wishes as we begin this new Church year on Thursday, September 1.
 
Congratulations!-
       Congratulations to Tom Brown and Alithea Pentazis, newcomers to Iowa City and St. Raphael Church, on the birth of their daugther, Sienna Marie, born on August 12.  May God grant her many years!
 
Sept.-Oct. St. Raphael Church Calendars Now Available-
       The printed September-October St. Raphael Church Calendar is now available in the narthex at church.
  
Orthodox Christian Fellowship-
       It's that time of the year again, the beginning of the school year.  The University of Iowa Orthodox Christian Fellowship will begin holding weekly meetings and social events starting this Thursday, August 25.  All interested Orthodox college students and their friends are invited to come to the home of Lori Branch, the OCF faculty advisor, this Thursday August 25 at 6:30PM for a meal and a time of fellowship.  The weekly schedule of OCF events will follow this pattern: 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, 7PM compline service followed by a book study of "To Love as God Loves" by Roberta Bondi; 2nd and 4th Thursdays will feature a social gathering beginning at 6:30PM and focused around a meal.  The locations for these meals will vary from time to time. 
 
Introduction to Orthodoxy Classes to Begin in September-
       Beginning in mid-September, Fr. Ignatius will offer a series of about 7 weekly classes that are designed to be a basic introduction to the Orthodox Christian faith.  This class is appropriate for inquirers or for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of what our church teaches and practices, including Orthodox Christians who feel they were never taught the basics.  The day of the week and the time is not yet set, but possible times are Sundays after coffee hour (about 1PM), Tuesday evenings at 7PM or Saturday afternoons at 3:30PM.  We will go with the day/time that works best with the largest number of interested people.  Please let Fr. Ignatius know if you are interested in participating, and invite your friends!
 
Free Lunch Program Volunteering-
       On Tuesday, September 6, we will be providing volunteers to assist serving food at the Free Lunch Program at the Wesley Center (120 N. Dubuque St.) from 11:30AM-1:30PM.  Please let Fr. Ignatius know if you can help this month. 
 
Sunday School Beginning Soon/Save the Date-
       We will have a kick-off to the Sunday School year with a fun day scheduled for Saturday September 10 from 10AM-1PM at the church.  The children will gather for a picnic and t-shirt dyeing and games in anticipation for the first day of Sunday School on Sunday September 11.  Please plan to get your children involved in what promises to be a wonderful year of Sunday School.  Also, we are in need of volunteers to be helpers in the classroom.  If you have not returned your registration forms yet, please do so ASAP to Fr. Ignatius or Alli Rockwell. 
 
We Need More Tables-
       Due to rearranging of some tables in the church fellowship hall based on our needs for Sunday School, we are in need of several long (8 or 10ft) tables for use during coffee hour.  If you would like to donate a table or the money to buy a table, please see Fr. Ignatius or Parish Council chairman Todd Wiblin.

Church New Year Begins September 1... Let's read through the Bible-
       It is a little known fact that the reckoning of the annual Orthodox Church calendar begins on September 1.  In the secular world, the New Year is a time to make resolutions, promises with oneself about new beginnings or changes that need to be made.  Fr. Ignatius encourages all at St. Raphael to undertake a task for this new Church year- to read through the whole Bible from September 1, 2011- August 31, 2012.  Will you join Fr. Ignatius in this effort?  To make this task manageable and organized, Father will make available a list of daily readings, a plan based on the Orthodox Study Bible, which includes the full Orthodox scriptural canon, including the so-called deutero-canonical books.  This plan is not as daunting as it may seem and should take about 15-20 minutes of reading each day- on average, less than four chapters.  Each day, four selections are read: one from the Psalms, one from Proverbs, one from the rest of the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament.  As planned, Psalms and Proverbs will be read through twice over the course of the year.  Look at the quote under "Food for Thought" at the bottom of this email for the splendid thoughts of a contemporary Greek elder on the benefits of reading God's written Word.  Let gets started this Thursday!

Sermon Series- Understanding the Divine Liturgy-
       Fr. Ignatius is preaching a series of sermons each Sunday titled "Understanding the Divine Liturgy."  In this series, we will consider some general characteristics of the Liturgy, and then we will work our way through the text of the Liturgy, asking God to enlighten us regarding this marvelous gift of God to His Church.  
 
Upcoming Service-
       We will commemorate the Nativity of the Theotokos with Vesperal Liturgy at 6PM on Wednesday, September 7.
 
News Article on Antakya (Antioch) Turkey's Christians-
       To read a current news article on life for Christians in the ancient homeland of our Patriarchate, Antakya (Antioch) which is in modern day Turkey, go to: http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2011/08/27/feature-02
 
A Beautiful Picture-
       In the Book of Hebrews, we read, "Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the Word of God to you, whose faith follow...."  St. Ignatius of Antioch once wrote: "Wherefore it is fitting that ye should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also ye do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And do ye, man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, ye may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that ye are indeed the members of His Son. It is profitable, therefore, that you should live in an unblameable unity, that thus ye may always enjoy communion with God."
 
There is a profoundly beautiful picture which illustrates Christians living out these truths available here: http://byztex.blogspot.com/2011/08/holy-unction-service-for-abp-dmitri-of.html  Recently, several priests, deacons and many of the faithful gathered to pray for the ailing Archbishop Dmitri, the retired OCA archbishop of Dallas.  He is shown in the center of this picture, sitting down.  Archbishop Dmitri reposed in the Lord today.  May his memory be eternal. And may God bless Metropolitan Philip, Bishop Thomas and our bishop-elect, Fr. Anthony. 
 
33rd Annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage September 23-25-
       Mother Alexandra and the Monastery of St. Thekla invites you to the 33rd Annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage held at the Antiochian Village near Bolivar, PA.  Speakers will include Mother Alexandra and Bishop Thomas.  For schedule and registration information, go to: http://www.antiochianvillage.org/assets/files/center_pdf/St.%20Thekla%20Pilgrimage/2011%204%20panel%20brochure.pdf
       
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-
        On Sunday September 4, the Chikhladze/Berimeladze family will provide the holy bread.  Thank you in advance.  Anyone who would like to provide the holy bread can sign up at the bulletin board in the narthex.  Bread seals are available to be loaned out.

Choir Leadership-
       On Saturday September 3 and Sunday September 4, Matthew Arndt will lead the choir.
 
Coffee Hour-
      On Sunday September 4, the food for coffee hour and the cleaning of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nicholas team.
 
Church Cleaning-
       During the week following Sunday August 28, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore/library, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be provided by the St. Raphael team.
 
Food for Thought-
 
If you are a scholar, a student in any educational establishment, or an official in some ministry, an officer in any of the branches of military service, or a technologist, a painter, a sculptor, a manufacturer, a mechanic- remember that the first science for each of you is to be a true Christian, to believe sincerely in the Holy Trinity, to converse daily with God in prayer,...and to bear in your heart, before your work, during your work, and after your work, the name of Jesus, for He is our light, our strength, our holiness, and our help.
 
St. John of Kronstadt, "My Life in Christ"
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