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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of July 17, 2011)

posted Sep 25, 2011, 1:27 AM by Ilya Buchkin
Many Years!
Stefanie Bewell was received into the Orthodox Church by chrismation today, taking the name Seraphima after her patron saint, Seraphim of Sarov.  May God grant her many years!

Volunteers Needed to Bake Holy Bread-
       Volunteers are needed to provide the holy bread for both Sunday July 24 and Sunday, July 31.  Please sign-up on the sheet in the narthex and let Fr. Ignatius know if you can serve the church in this way on either day.

Parish-wide Potluck Picnic July 31-
July 31 is the 5th Sunday of the month, which is when we have a parish-wide potluck during coffee hour.  If weather permits, we will gather at nearby College Green Park and have a picnic.  This is the day before the beginning of the Dormition fast!  A sign-up sheet is posted in the narthex.  Please sign-up with what you plan to bring.     

August Services/Dormition Fast-
       The first two weeks of August are devoted to preparing for the glorious feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God on August 15.  From August 1-14, we fast from meat, dairy, eggs and on week days, also from wine and oil.  We also have an increased number of services during this time, including praying the Paraklesis (consolation) service on most evenings at 7PM.  The service schedule is as follows:
August 1-4 - Paraklesis, 7PM
August 5 - Great Vespers for Transfiguration, 6PM
August 6 - Matins/Liturgy for Transfiguration, 8:45/10AM; 9th Hour/Great Vespers, 6PM
August 7 - Matins/Liturgy, 8:45/10AM; Paraklesis, 7PM
August 8-12 - Paraklesis, 7PM
August 13 - 9th Hour/Great Vespers, 6PM
August 14 - Matins/Liturgy, 8:45/10AM; Great Vespers for the Feast of the Dormition, 6PM
August 15-Matins/Liturgy for the Feast of the Dormition, 8:30/10AM

Building Maintenance Update-
Recently, there has been a little bit of work done around the St. Raphael Church building.  The locks on the doors of the raised front porch have been repaired and improved.  Also, a downspout has been added to the gutter along the west side of the building, and the gutters above the northwest and northeast downspouts have been improved. 

Episcopal Elections-
       At the Archdiocese Convention which will be held in Chicago from July 25-31, among the decisions to be made, the clergy and lay delegates will be nominating two episcopal candidates who will then be elected by the Synod of Bishops.  It is likely that one of the two men elected will become our new bishop.  The seven candidates are: Rt. Rev. Archimandrite John Abdalah, Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Michel Boghos, Rev. Jeremy Davis, Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Daniel Griffith, Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Daniel Keller, Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Anthony Michaels and Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Nicholas Ozone.  Printed copies of the biographies of each of the candidates are available in the narthex.  Links to the biographies can be found online at www.antiochian.org/auxiliary-bishop-candidates.  Fr. Ignatius is interested in any opinions members of St. Raphael Church have on these men.  Your voice matters in this process and Fr. Ignatius will take your opinions into consideration when he casts votes in July.  For descriptions of some Biblical qualifications for a bishop, read Titus 1:7-9 and I Timothy 3:1-7.

Asceticism and the Consumer Society-
       Recently, Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America gave an address at Acton University.  This talk was entitled "Consumerism and the Negation of Worship".  In this address, the Metropolitan addresses the danger of the consumerist mindset that is everywhere present in our society and he contrasts that with it's antidote, a life of Christian asceticism and worship.  The text of the address can be read at: http://www.acton.org/global/article/asceticism/consumer/society
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 the weekend of July 23-24,  Lori Branch will lead the choir.

Coffee Hour-
      On Sunday July 24, the food for coffee hour and the cleaning of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. John the Baptist team.
Holy Bread-
       On Sunday, July 24, the family will provide the holy bread for Liturgy.  Thank you in advance.  All are welcome to sign-up to provide holy bread.  A sign-up sheet is located on the bulletin board in the narthex.

Church Cleaning-
During the week following Sunday, July 17, the St. Nicholas team is responsible for cleaning the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, bathrooms and nursery.

Food for Thought-

Not to sin is truly blessed; but those who sin should not despair, but grieve over the sins they have committed, so that, through grief they may again attain blessedness. It is good, then, to pray always and not to lose heart, as the Lord says, And again the Apostle says, ‘Pray without ceasing’, that is by night and by day and at every hour, and not only when coming into the church, and not bothering at other times. But whether you are working, lying down to sleep, traveling, eating, drinking, sitting at table, do not interrupt your prayer, for you do not know when he who demands your soul is coming. Don’t wait for Sunday or a feast day, or a different place, but, as the Prophet David says, ‘in every place of his dominion’.

Whether you are in church, or in your house, or in the country; whether you are guarding sheep, or constructing buildings, or present at drinking parties, do not stop praying. When you are able, bend your knees, when you cannot, make intercession in your mind, ‘at evening and at morning and at midday’. If prayer precedes your work and if, when you rise from your bed, your first movements are accompanied by prayer, sin can find no entrance to attack your soul.

Prayer is a guard of prudence, control of wrath, restraint of pride, cleansing of malice, destruction of envy, righting of impiety. Prayer is strength of bodies, prosperity of a household, good order of a city, might of a kingdom, trophy of war, assurance of peace. Prayer is a seal of virginity, fidelity in marriage, weapon of travellers, guardian of sleepers, courage of the wakeful, abundance for farmers, safety of those who sail. Prayer is an advocate for those being judged, remission for the bound, consolation for the grieving, gladness for the joyful, comfort for mourners, a feast on birthdays, a crown for the married, a shroud for the dying. Prayer is converse with God, equal honour with the Angels, progress in good things, averting of evils, righting of sinners. Prayer made the whale a house for Jonas, brought Ezechias back to life from the gates of death, turned the flame to wind of moisture for the Youths in Babylon. Through prayer Elias bound the heaven not to rain for three years and six months.

See, brethren, what strength prayer has. There is no possession more precious than prayer in the whole of human life. Never be parted from it; never abandon it. But, as our Lord said, let us pray that out toil may not be for nothing, ‘When you stand in prayer, forgive if you have anything against anyone, that your heavenly Father may forgive you your faults’.

Do you not see, brethren, that we toil for nothing when we pray, if we have enmity against someone? And again the Lord says, ‘If you offer your gift at the altar, and there you remember that someone has something against you, leave your gift before the altar, and go first and be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift’. Therefore, it is clear that if you do not do this first, all that you offer will be unacceptable, but if you do the Master’s bidding, then implore the Lord with boldness, saying, ‘Forgive me my debts, Master, as I have forgiven my brother, so fulfilling your commandment. I, weak though I am, have forgiven’. For the Lover of mankind will answer, ‘If you have forgiven, I too will forgive. If you have pardoned, I too will pardon your sins. For I have authority on earth to forgive sins. Forgive and you will be forgiven’.

St. Ephraim the Syrian, "On Prayer"