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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of December 5, 2010)

posted Dec 18, 2010, 10:31 AM by Ilya Buchkin
No Matins or Office Hours on Monday December 6-
      Fr. Ignatius will be celebrating the patronal feast of one of our sister churches, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Pella, IA, with a Liturgy on Monday morning, December 6. He will not serve matins or hold office hours
that day.
2011 Pledge Packets-
       If you have not yet returned your 2011 pledge packet and you intend to regularly support St. Raphael Church financially next year, please be in contact with our treasurer, Kristi Abuissa, so that she can have the latest
financial information for our budgetary planning.
2011 Annual Voters' Meeting Results-
       At our Annual Meeting, we elected Lori Branch to a three year term on the Parish Council.  Tania Van DInter and Meghan Carter will also be on the Council in 2011 to each complete the final year of Jared Johnson's and Irakli Tskhakaia's terms.  Our Parish Council for 2011 will consist of Todd Wiblin, chair; Kristi Abuissa, treasurer; Meghan Carter, secretary; Billl Spencer; Tania Van Dinter; Lori Branch and Fr. Ignatius.  In addition, we reviewed our 2010 finances, and passed our 2011 budget.  And we got this all done in only one hour!
Evening in the East, Save the Date!-
       Our Third Annual Evening in the East fundraiser extravaganza will be at Old Brick on the evening of Saturday, February 5.  Matt and Tania Van Dinter will be our co-chairs.  This is an event in which we can use the help of everyone in our church community.  Please plan to help in some way.  We will need food preparers, drink servers, silent auction donations, silent auction staff, ticket sellers, set-up and clean-up crews, and much more
help.  Mark your calendars and be listening for more information from Tania and Matt as they organize and coordinate us all.
Free Lunch Program Volunteering-
       We need 3-4 volunteers to help serve food at the Free Lunch Program on Tuesday, December 7 from 11:30AM-1:30PM at the Wesley Center (Market and Dubuque St.).  Please let Fr. Ignatius know if you can help this month.
Capital Campaign Phase II Beginning-
         As we did during Phase I about 2 years ago, the Capital Campaign committee is requesting names and addresses of family and friends who you would like us to send information to about our fundraising efforts for the building.  Please contact committee members Newman Abuissa, Bill Spencer, Lori Branch or Fr. Ignatius with contact information of those who you would like to be on the updated mailing list.
Video on St. Nicholas-
       For a good but brief video on St. Nicholas, go to
Article on the Funeral of St. Raphael-
      The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas has re-published an account of the funeral services of St. Raphael, held during the days after his repose in 1915.  This account first appeared in a New York newspaper immediately after the events.  Accompanying the article, is a photograph from the funeral.  The article can be found at: http://orthodoxhistory.org/2010/12/isabel-hapgood-the-death-and-funeral-of-st-raphael/
Nativity Services-
       Friday, December 24- Royal Hours, 9AM; Vesperal Liturgy, 6PM
      Saturday, December 25- Matins, 9AM; Liturgy, 10AM
Nativity Fast-
       On November 15, we began 40 days of preparation for the clebration of the coming in the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ at the Feast of the Nativity.  As part of our preparation, we are asked by the Church to modify
our diet according to the fasting guidelines for this season which include refraining from meat, dairy and eggs. Wine and oil are allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and fish, wine and oil are allowed on the weekends.  As
always, this is the ideal, and a spirit of humble, repentant fasting which brings us closer to God is the goal, rather than perfectly following the fast with pride.
A Note on Confession-
      The Sacrament of Repentance or Confession is an indispensible part of a healthy Christian spiritual life.  The fasting seasons of the Church year, are natural times to examine oneself and to make a confession.  Every Orthodox Christian should be in the habit of confessing in the presence of a priest.  If you do not confess to your pastor, then find an Orthodox priest you can confess to, and out of respect for your pastor, let him know about your arrangement. 
Decorations in Church for Nativity-
       We will rely on donations to furnish holiday decorations for the church.  If you would like to donate poinsettias or evergreen boughs, we will put them in the church the weekend of December 18-19.   
2011 Calendars Now Available-
       The 2011 calendars which show the saints for the day, daily Scripture readings and fasting seasons are now available in the narthex at church.  There is no cost for these.  Pick up a few to bring home with you.
House Blessings-
       Following the Feast of Theophany on January 6, Fr. Ignatius is available to come to your home for a house blessing until the beginning of Lent.  A sign-up sheet is posted at church if you would like to reserve a
date and time.  
OCF Midwest College Conference 2010-
        Registration is now open for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship Midwest College Conference 2010 at
http://collegeconference2010ngm.eventbrite.com/.  This gathering of Orthodox Christian college students from around the Midwest will be held over winter break between Dec. 29- Jan. 1 at the New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Third Lake, IL outside of Chicago.  The keynote speaker will be His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH of the Orthodox Church in America.  
Thoughts on Stewardship-
        I Chronicles 29: 1-9   "And David the king said to all the assembly, '...I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and
the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones, and marble.
Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: three thousand talents of
gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver.
Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the LORD?" Then the heads of fathers' houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king's work. They gave for the service of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and a hundred thousand talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in the care of Jehi'el the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because these had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD; David the king also rejoiced greatly."
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, December 12, the Branch/Peterson family will bring the Holy Bread.  Thank you in advance. Anyone who would like to provide the holy bread can sign up to do so.  This is a wonderful way to serve the church and to have prayers offered up for your family and friends.  
Coffee Hour-
      On Sunday, December 12, the food for coffee hour and clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Raphael team.
Church Cleaning-
     During the week following Sunday, December 12, the St. John the Baptist team will clean the nave, narthex, bathrooms, stairs, bookstore and nursery room.
Choir Leadership-
      Matthew Arndt will lead the choir during the services of December 11-12.
Food For Thought-
Who is St. Nicholas?
Saint Nicholas was born about 275 AD in Myra, a town of Lycia in Asia Minor. His uncle was the bishop of the town and educated Nicholas for life in the Church. In due time, Nicholas was ordained by his uncle and eventually succeeded him as Bishop in the Asia Minor city of Myra (now Demre, Turkey) in the fourth century AD.
He is beloved throughout the Christian East for his kindness and help, both during his life and afterward. He is called "Wonderworker" (or "Miraculous" or "Miracle-Worker", different translations of the Greek "thavmatourgos") for the miracles which he performed and which he still performs, by God's grace. Many accounts of Saint Nicholas are available on the World Wide Web.
The most famous story about St. Nicholas concerns a man who, because of extreme poverty, had agreed to sell his three daughters into slavery. St. Nicholas heard about it and came in the night, leaving behind him a bag with
enough gold in it to save one of the children. Three times he came secretly so that the man would not know from where the money came. On the third night, the man saw him and asked for the Saint's forgiveness because he had nearly sold his children as slaves. Because of this and similar acts, St. Nicholas became the patron saint of children and the type of the cheerful giver of good gifts.
In the Protestant West, which suppressed the invocation of saints, Saint Nicholas became popularly known as Santa Claus.
In accordance with early Christian tradition, saints are remembered in the Orthodox Church on the date of their passing from this life into the next. Saint Nicholas is thus remembered on December 6. Orthodox Christianity
maintains that even though people are dead according to this life, that they are alive in the spiritual realm, and continue to pray for us. Our "prayers to the saints" are actually requests that they pray for us, much as we ask
believers who are still alive in the flesh to pray for us.
The remains of St. Nicholas now repose principally in Bari, Italy, having been transported there in 1087 A.D. after Myra fell to Islamic invaders. A fragrant liquid (myrrh) still exudes from the relics. Miracles are performed even today through the intercessions of St. Nicholas. Turkey also claims to possess bones of Saint Nicholas.