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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of February 7, 2010)

posted Feb 7, 2010, 6:55 PM by Ilya Buchkin
       We begin to take on the Lenten fast gradually this week as the Church asks us to give up meat beginning Monday, February 8.  Next week, we say goodbye to dairy, eggs, oil, and wine.  As always, we fast not in order to gain God's favor, but rather to quiet our flesh, so that we can make progress in our spiritual lives.  We also do it to unite ourselves with the 250 million other Orthodox Christians who are fasting along with us at this time of year.
Parish Council Meeting-
       Our February Parish Council meeting is Monday, February 8 at 7PM.  All are welcome to attend.
Evening in the East Fundraising Event is February 11-
The Evening in the East is this Thursday!  We depend upon our members to get the word out by finding bulletin boards around town to post posters, by giving postcards or by sending emails to friends and family, etc.  On our church website, we have a page devoted to the event at http://www.straphaelorthodoxchurch.org/events/evening2010. Extra posters and postcards advertising the event are available at church to post or distribute. Tickets are now available.  Advanced purchase price is $20 for adults, $55 for families.  Children under 3 are free. 

House Blessings-
       If you would like Fr. Ignatius to come and bless your house before February 15, please contact him to suggest a date/time.   
Lenten Meal Exchange-
       We are organizing a Lenten  Meal Exchange  during the Lenten Fast from February 15 - April 3. Participating families/individuals will swap meals weekly within a group of 3-4 other families. Each family will prepare a large batch of one Lenten main dish each week (no meat, fish, dairy or oil) to share with the others.  On Sundays, the meals will be brought to Liturgy to distribute to the other families in the group, and everyone will leave with several prepared meals for the week.  Participation is encouraged even if you are unable to take part for all of the 7 weeks. Please e-mail Julia Buchkina ( julia.buchkina@gmail.com ) by Thursday, February 11 if you are interested in participating. Be sure to include the number of people in your family, any food allergies, and any dates you will not be able to participate. Families will be divided into groups and provided with further details by e-mail on Friday, February 12, in preparation for the first  meal exchange  on Sunday, February 14.
Souls' Saturday Liturgy-
       On Saturday February 13 at 9AM, we will have a Souls' Saturday Liturgy to remember all of our departed loved ones.  Please pass along lists names of the departed to Fr. Ignatius, so that our brothers and sisters in Christ will be remembered at this Liturgy.
Summer Church Camping Scholarships Available-
       The Antiochian Archdiocese has an excellent summer camping program for children ages 9-17.  One camp, Camp St. George (Aug. 15-21 this year) is right in Iowa.  Our parish receives scholarship money to be given to families who may otherwise have difficultiues in affording the cost of the camp.  If you would like to apply for scholarship money for your child to attend one of the Archdiocese camps this summer, please let Fr. Ignatius know before February 15.

First Week of Lent Service Schedule-
       Lent begins on the evening of February 14 with Forgiveness Vespers.  This year, we will be joining the faithful of St. John the Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids (510 A Ave. NE) for a 6PM service at their church.  Their bishop, Bishop Demetrios will be with us that evening.  Please take advantage of the wonderful and rich inheritance of prayer and worship that our Church offers to us, Her children.  Fr. Ignatius encourages you to make the time to attend at least one or two midweek services during this week.  Following, is the schedule for the whole first week of Lent.
February 14- Forgiveness Vespers, 6PM at St. John the Baptist, Cedar Rapids 
February 15- Compline with Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, 7PM
February 16- Compline with Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, 7PM
February 17- Presanctified Liturgy, 6PM
February 18- Compline with Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, 7PM
February 19- Compline with Akathist Hymn, 7PM
Pan-Orthodox Vespers Schedule-
       On Sunday evenings during Lent, our church comes together with St. John the Baptist Church and St. George Church of Cedar Rapids to worship and pray at vespers.  Following is the schedule of rotation.  Please consider traveling to Cedar Rapids at least once or twice to share in prayer with our fellow Orthodox Christians there, and please welcome them when they come to Iowa City on the evenings we are hosting them. 
February 14- St. John the Baptist Church, 6PM
Febraury 21- St. George Church, 5:30PM
Febraury 28- St. John the Baptist Church, 5:30PM
March 7- St. Raphael Church, 5:30PM
March 14- St. George Church, 5:30PM
March 21- St. Raphael Church, 5:30PM
Food for Hungry People Lenten Collection-
       Be on the lookout for the Food for Hungry People collection boxes at church.  Filling them up with your loose change during Lent is an easy way to help our Archdiocese minister to the needs of those who do not have enough to eat. 
Shelter House Used Book Sale-
       On Saturday, February 27, 10AM-3PM, the 11th Annual Shelter House Used Book Sale will be held at Hope United Methodist Church (2929 E. Court St., Iowa City.)  This sale benefits the Iowa City Shelter House, a shelter for the homeless.
Just War- Holy War: The Roots of Conflict between Islam and the Christian West-
       On Saturday, February 27, St. Paul's Lutheran Chapel (404 E. Jefferson St., Iowa City) is hosting Rev. Dr. Martin Conkling as he speaks on the idea of holy war, and the historical conflicts between Islam and Christianity.  The first session will be from 9:15AM-11:30AM with a break for lunch.  Session two will begin at 1:30PM and end at 3:00PM.
Thoughts on Stewardship-
       1 Corinthians 16: 2 … “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come.”
          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, February 14,  Tania Van Dinter 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. Raphael team.

Choir Leadership-
On Saturday, February 13,  Kristi Abuissa will direct the choir for Vespers.   Kristi will also direct the choir for matins and Liturgy on Sunday, February 14. 

Food For Thought-
Knowing the commandments of the Lord, let this be our way of life: let us feed the hungry, let us give the thirsty drink, let us clothe the naked, let us welcome strangers, let us visit those in prison and the sick.  Then the Judge of all the earth will say even to us: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you."
Doxastikon of the Lity of Great Vespers of the Sunday of Last Judgement