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

posted Jul 26, 2010, 9:52 PM by Ilya Buchkin
Parish Council Meeting-
       Our July Parish Council meeting will be on Monday, July 12 at 7PM.  All are welcome.
Fr. Ignatius Will be Traveling-
       From July 17 until July 25, Fr. Ignatius will be out of town.  He may be able to be reached at 319-400-7522.  If you need immediate pastoral assistance, please call Fr. Fred Shaheen at (319) 651-6452.
Next Weekend's Services-
       There will be reader's vespers at 6PM on Saturday, July 17; reader's matins at 9AM on Sunday, July 18, followed by Typica (no Eucharist) at 10AM and coffee hour.    Arrive at least by 10AM, or you might miss it!
Prayers at Grave of St. Raphael-
       Next week, Fr. Ignatius will be at the Antiochian Village in Western Pennsylvania to attend the Clergy Symposium.  On the grounds, is the grave of our father among the saints, Raphael the Bishop of Brooklyn.  If you would like Fr. Ignatius to offer up prayers to the Lord at the grave of our patron, please give him a list of names of those you would like prayed for- both living and departed, before this Friday.
       Congratulations to Hannah and Lizzy Valentine, two-thirds of a three member team that took first place in the Bible Bowl competition recently held in Toledo, OH at the Parish Life Conference.  Each year, teams of teens and adults from around the diocese study certain books of the Bible and then answer questions regarding the text of those books.  This year's books were: the Epistle of James; I, II and III John; and I and II Peter.  Representing the Diocese of the Midwest, Hannah and Lizzy and their teammate will compete at the Archdiocesan level later this month at the Antiochian Village.
Feast Day of St. Elias-
       We are invited to join St. George Church in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, July 20 to celebrate the Holy Prophet Elias with 8AM matins and 9AM Liturgy.
Services For the Weekend of July 24 and 25-
       Fr. Ignatius will stay at the Antiochian Village at the end of the Clergy Symposium, so that he can watch his daughters compete in the Bible Bowl.  At St. Raphael, there will be Reader's Vespers on Saturday, July 24 at 6PM.  Since we will have had Typica (and therefore, no Eucharist) on Sunday, July 18, there will be no services at St. Raphael on Sunday, July 25.  Instead, you are strongly encouraged to visit either St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church (501 A Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids) at 9AM for Liturgy, or St. George Orthodox Church (3650 Cottage Grove Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids) at 10AM for Liturgy.  Please consider making time in your schedule to make the longer drive to one of these two sister churches of ours, in order to partake of the holy mysteries, the sacraments of the Church. 
Dormition Fast-
       In order to properly prepare for the great feast of the Dormition, when we celebrate the falling asleep of the Holy Theotokos, we will enter into a short season of fasting which lasts from August 1-14.  During this time, we will have nightly Paraklesis services at 7PM.  The exceptions to this are Saturday evenings when we will have Vespers at 6PM and August 5, when we will have a Vesperal Liturgy for the Feast of the Transfiguration at 6PM.
Baptism of Lucia Johnson-
       All are invited to witness the baptism of Lucia Johnson at 9AM on Sunday, August 15.  The baptism will replace the matins service that day.
A Wonderful Example of Service to the Community-
       Recently, Fr. Ignatius had the privilege to travel to Iron Mountain, located in the northwoods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  He gathered there with Bishop MARK, Fr. Mark Hagan, the pastor of St. Mary's Church of Iron Mountain, and other clergy.  This little parish community (much smaller than ours- and struggling financially) has given a great gift to the people of their town.  Although they have great needs, they chose to give rather than to ask.  They have organized and helped to fund the construction of two much-needed soccer fields for the community.  For an account of this generous act of love that Orthodox Christians have given to their neighbors, go to http://www.antiochian.org/node/23297
A Video Overview of What's Happening Among Orthodox Bishops Worldwide-
       In these announcements, mention has been made several times of the the Episcopal Assembly, the first meeting of which took place in New York City in May of this year.  If you would like to understand better the process that lead up to this historic gathering of North American bishops, and what may unfold in the future regarding a unified and self-governing American Orthodox Church, Fr. Ignatius recommends a video of Bishop BASIL, in which he explains all of this and more.  This video can be found at this link.  http://www.antiochian.org/BishopBasilAssemblyVideo  What is happening now among the bishops here and elsewhere around the world, will likely affect how the Orthodox Church is structured and organized for centuries to come.  This whole process is meant to culminate in a Great and Holy Council, a meeting of all the world's Orthodox bishops, something which, because of political realities, hasn't happened for many centuries. 
Recycling at Church-
       With the purpose of being better stewards of our environment, we have begun to recycle glass and plastic at church.  Look for the blue recycling bins downstairs in the fellowship hall.  When it is your turn to bring food and drink for coffee hour and to clean up, please keep these bins in mind.  We also recycle church-generated paper in the choir's liturgical music room.      
"Room For All" Iowa Valley Habitat For Humanity Build-
       Our congregation is being asked to join with other churches in Johnson County to help build a home for a refugee family from Africa who have re-settled in our area.  Building tasks will be simple (you must be at least 16) and people are also needed to prepare and serve snacks.  You can work a few hours or two full days – Fri./Sat., July 23-24.  Shifts are 8:00 – 12:00 and 1:00 – 5:00.  Please sign up by July 15.  Sign-up sheets for both construction and providing of snacks are on the bulletin board at church.  Additional information will be provided to volunteers the week prior to the build . 
Thoughts on Stewardship-
        Luke 12: 16-21 … “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying:  ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my corps?  So he said, ‘I will do this:  I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my corps and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  
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.
Choir Leadership-
       On Saturday, July 17, Lori Branch will lead the choir during vespers.   She will also lead the choir during matins and typica on Sunday, July 18.   
Holy Bread and Coffee Hour- 
       On Sunday, July 18, there is no need for holy bread since we are having a typica.  Food and clean-up for coffee hour will be provided by the St. Nina team.
Church Cleaning-
       During the week following Sunday, July 18, the St. Nicholas team will be responsible for cleaning the nave, narthex, stairs and bathrooms of the church.
Food For Thought (Two for the Price of One!)-
       In the beginning there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it is smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.
Amma Syncletica, a 4th century Desert Mother

[Protestant] Evangelical theology really does stand helpless in the face of ecological disasters like the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, because it has no cosmic vision, and it has no cosmic vision because it has no sacramental vision. In Orthodox Christian theology, the goodness of God’s creation is not simply as a nice backdrop and useful set of natural resources for human beings to use in getting on with their lives. God’s creation certainly does have man at its center, but the creation does not exist for essentially utilitarian reasons. Rather, creation’s true purpose is to convey divine sanctification, to manifest the divine energies of God. And man’s proper relation to creation is as its priest. But there are no priests in Evangelical theology, except the “priesthood of all believers,” which certainly has believers, but not really any priests.

Every speck in creation is fundamentally the temple of the living God. As such, the most perfect expression of creation is the Eucharist, bread and wine which have become the Body and Blood of Christ, the Body and Blood of God.

When created matter has such possibilities, not just in the Eucharist as an “object” (which is why isolating it from communion for the sake of “adoration” as is done in the Latin church is a distortion), but in the sense that earthy, solid stuff can be the vehicle for God’s actual presence, His actual touch, then the view one takes toward the natural world is going to be decidedly different. The Earth is not just natural resources that need to be managed wisely. Rather, it is holy, and holiness is not to be “managed”:

We still build houses of prayer; we still consecrate certain material objects specifically for the worship of God. But the relationship between the “holy place” and the rest of the earth has changed fundamentally. The place of worship, and whatever belongs to it, is no longer an embattled enclave. It is now a revelation of the earth as it truly is, transparent to its Creator. Since Christ came into the world, his creation has become “secretly sacramental.” When we consecrate a place or an object, when we dedicate it to sacred use, we are showing our readiness to lift the veil of secrecy. (Elizabeth Theokritoff, Living in God’s Creation: Orthodox Perspectives on Ecology, p. 177)

Without any sense of any thing or any place at all being holy, then how can one see the whole earth as holy? With the absence of the particular, the universal is even more elusive. As such, Evangelical theology can only retreat into its limited anthropocentricism with its emphasis on disincarnate, legal arrangements. Salvation in most Evangelical theology is in terms of a “status,” and so the theological language of “justification” (what gets you your ticket to Heaven) is precisely in those terms. One is either saved or not, and one gets saved by fulfilling certain requirements.

It is not a terribly big leap from there to our dominant political culture, whose ecological focus is precisely on procedures, regulations, and legislation. Surely, there must be some kind of legal arrangement which could have prevented this disaster! Surely, there must be some kind of legal arrangement which will make up for it! The various fiascos with locals and internationals being ready to do some earthy work to get on with the cleanup being prevented from doing so because of lack of legal permission is yet another symptom of the anti-sacramental theology which dominates our culture, both religiously and politically. (In the end, of course, everything is religion, even politics.) What’s most important here is the System, not the Stuff.

It’s easy to sit back and make pronouncements about how all this could have been prevented, and most of them are now being worded in precisely these legal sorts of terms. Some are also saying that we somehow need to back off on our thirst for energy in general or for this kind of energy in particular. Some go more deeply and realize that the culture of perpetual economic growth is itself at the root of the problem. But I haven’t yet seen too many questions being asked about the kind of culture we might have if people saw the Earth as holy, as “secretly sacramental,” conveying through physical presence the divine energies.

Theology has consequences.

Fr. Andrew Damick,  excerpted from "Deepwater Horizon: Why Evangelical Theology is Helpless in the Face of a Catastrophic Oil Spill"