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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of December 20, 2009)

posted Dec 21, 2009, 4:57 AM by Ilya Buchkin
Nativity Services-
On Thursday, December 24, we will have Royal Hours at 9AM and Vesperal Liturgy at 6PM.  On Friday, December 25, we will have matins at 8:45AM and Liturgy at 10AM.  If anyone would like to bring cookies or cake or something else to share for after Liturgy on Thursday evening or Friday morning, that would be welcome.  Come celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, and bring a friend!

Fr. Ignatius will be out of Town-
From Friday, December 25 (after services) until Saturday, January 2, Fr. Ignatius and family will be out of town.  If an urgent need arises during this time, call him on his cell phone at 319-400-7522.  Please welcome Fr. Elias Khouri as he serves matins and Liturgy on Sunday, December 27.  He can be reached at 319-329-2562.

Looking for Volunteers to Organize February 11 Fundraising Event-
Last January, our church family banded together to pull off a wonderful fundraising event at Old Brick that we called "An Evening in the East".  From that, we raised approximately $7000 for our Capital Campaign.  We are going to do something similar again this winter on Thursday, February 11.  We plan on having food and wine provided by our own members and our church choir singing.  We are close to having another Iowa choir commit to coming to sing some well-known Russian church music.  For this to be successful, we need volunteers to organize all of us into an efficient structure of cooperation and division of labor.  It will take most or all of our members participating in some way, for this event to be as successful as it can be.  If you feel motivated to head up such an effort, please contact Fr. Ignatius or Kristi Abuissa.

Theophany Services-
We will remember the Baptism of the Lord with Royal Hours at 9AM on Tuesday January 5 and Vesperal Liturgy with a Blessing of the Waters at 6PM.

Outdoor Blessing of the Waters is January 9-
St. Raphael Church and the Iowa Orthodox Christian Clergy Association (IOCCA) will host an Outdoor Blessing of the Waters Service as part of our Theophany celebrations on Saturday, January 9 at 11AM.  We are pleased that we will be joined by Bishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago.  We will gather on the pedestrian bridge spanning the Iowa River which is next to the Iowa River Power Restaurant and Flannigan's Bar & Grill on 1st Avenue in Coralville.  We will be joined by some of the faithful from St. George Orthodox Church and St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church, both of Cedar Rapids.  Those who want to, can share a lunch together afterward at Flannigan's.   See attached flier.

Winter Bible Study to Begin on Thursday Evenings in January-
Following our Thursday Akathist service, and beginning at 8PM on January 7, a six-week Bible study will be offered on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Epistles of John.  Come out for Akathist at 7PM, and stay for about an hour of discussion on these short little New Testament books.

House Blessings-
The time for blessing homes is just around the corner.  Between Theophany (Jan. 6) and the beginning of Lent (Feb. 21) Fr. Ignatius is available to come and bless your home.  A sign-up sheet is posted.  Please begin to look at your schedule and consider a time that works best for you. 

Overflow Shelter Volunteering-
       During the cold winter months, local churches and other organizations in Iowa City work to provide an area where people who do not have a bed in the local shelter, because of a lack of space, can find a warm place to sleep.  This winter, St. Patrick's Catholic Church has volunteered the use of their parish hall for this purpose.  St. Raphael Church has volunteered to provide staffing for the week of January 17-23, 2010 for this overflow shelter.  We need volunteers that week (no training required) to bring breakfast, clean up in the mornings, do laundry on Wednesday and Sunday and serve as a morning or evening driver.  The sign up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board in the hall outside the fellowship area.  For further information, or to volunteer, please contact Amy Jongeling at 319-331-2275 or ajongeli@gmail.com

Nativity Fast-
We are in the season to prepare for the coming Feast of the Nativity of our Lord.  During this time, the Church asks us to alter our diet and abstain from meat, dairy and eggs, and on some days, wine and oil.  As with each of the fasting seasons of the Church year, this is a particularly good time to prepare to make a confession.  During this time, we are encouraged to increase our giving to the Crisis Center's  food pantry.  The box to receive non-perishable food items is located in the narthex, underneath the candle box.

Parish Council Meeting Minutes Attached-
The November 2009 Parish Council meeting minutes are attached.

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, Dec. 27, the Abuissa and Trouch families will provide the holy bread.  Food for coffee hour will be brought by the Johnson family.  Thank you in advance.  Anybody who would like to bake the holy bread can sign up to do so.

Choir Leadership-
On Saturday, Dec. 26, Amy Jongeling will lead the choir during reader's Vespers.  Kristi Abuissa will direct the choir for matins and Liturgy on Sunday, December 27. 

Food For Thought-

Pray on behalf of other people unceasingly, for there is hope of repentance in them that they may attain God.  Let them learn at least from your deeds to become disciples.  Before their anger, be gentle, before their boastfulness be humble, before their slanderings offer prayers, before their deceit be fixed in faith, before their fierceness be mild, not being eager to imitate them in return.  Let us be found their brothers in gentleness; let us be eager to be imitators of the Lord- who was wronged more?  who was defrauded more?  who was rejected more?- so that no weed of the devil may be found among you, but that in all purity and sobriety you may abide in Jesus Christ, in flesh and in spirit.

St. Ignatius of Antioch in his Epistle to the Ephesians10:1-3