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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of November 27, 2011)

posted Dec 4, 2011, 10:31 PM by Ilya Buchkin
Congratulations and Many Years!-
       Many years to Sienna Marie Brown, her parents Tom and Alethia, and her godmother and aunt Katina upon the occasion of Sienna's baptism yesterday.  We thankfully and joyfully welcome her into God's family.     
Teen SOYO Movie Night-
       Our teens will gather to share dinner and watch a movie at 5:30PM on Tuesday, November 29.

Annual Voters' Meeting is December 4-
       Every year, on the first Sunday of December, we meet after Liturgy for our annual Voters' Meeting.  Our meeting this year is on December 4.  At this meeting, we will discuss and vote on our 2012 budget and also elect a parish council member. Please plan to stay and participate in these important decisions for our parish.  Look for a separate email this week regarding the agenda for this meeting.
St. Nicholas Day Liturgy-
       We will celebrate the life of St. Nicholas of Myra, the Wonderworker, with Vesperal Liturgy at 6PM on Monday, December 5.
Free Lunch Program Volunteering-
       We are scheduled to volunteer at the Free Lunch Program on Tuesday, November 6 from 11:30AM-1:30PM.  If you are able to assist, please let Fr. Ignatius know.
Teen SOYO Service Project-
       On Saturday, December 10, our teens will be serving lunch at the Ronald McDonald House.  They are asking members of the parish to help them in this endeavor, by given them monetary donations to be used to purchase groceries for the meal.  The money needs to be collected by Sunday, December 4.  Checks can be made out to St. Raphael Church and marked Teen SOYO service project. 

Church Wireless Internet to be Ended-
       In order to help us to keep expenses in line with income, we will no longer have wireless internet available at church after November 30.
2012 Annual Calendars Now Available-
       Each year, our church provides us with annual calendars which show the daily Scripture readings, the saints of the day and the feasts and fasts of the church year.  The 2012 calendars are now avaialble for pick up in the narthex.  Take several to your homes or places of work, in order to stay tuned in to the liturgical rhythms of the Church. 
Pre-Nativity Fast-
       In order to prepare our hearts for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, we have began a period of fasting on November 15 which ends on December 24.  During this fast, we abstain from meat, dairy, eggs, wine and oil.  Fish, wine and oil are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays, and wine and oil are allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the feast days of certain great saints.  For a visual explanation of what each daily expectation for fasting is, look at our Novermber/December church calendars, printed up and available in the narthex.  During this Advent season, we will replace our regularly scheduled Wednesday Akathist with the Nativity Paraklesis service.  Regarding fasting on Thanksgiving, Metropolitan Philip has said that families may choose to relax the fast on the civil holiday of Thanksgiving (this year, November 24) if they desire.  Fasting and repentance go hand in hand.  With this Advent season, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ.  Confessions, as always, can be heard following vespers on Saturdays, immediately before Liturgy, and by appointment.  
Epistle Readers-
       Did you know that anyone can read the Epistle on Sunday?  We have a sign-up sheet at the top of the stairs on the bulletin board.  If you would like to serve the Church in this way but are unsure about how to do it, please speak with Todd Wiblin or Bill Spencer. 
Church Library-
       Did you know that our church has a library?  In the room to the right of the top of the stairs, on the other side of the room from the bookstore shelves, are several shelves of our small church library.  The books in this library are available for church members to borrow.  We do not have a formal check out process.  We rely on the honor system.  You are encouraged to look at our library and take advantage of these resources.  If you have any books relating to the Orthodox faith that you would like to donate to the church library, please speak with Fr. Ignatius.
Non-Perishable Food Collection Reminder-
       We collect non-perishable food year-round to pass along to the Crisis Center which runs the local food pantry.  The donation box is located in the narthex underneath one of the tables.  During this season leading up to the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, would you consider bringing some cans or boxes of food for the hungry in our community?
Our Bishop is Coming!-
       If all goes according to plan regarding the December episcopal consecrations of the three new auxiliary bishops for our Archdiocese, we are scheduled to receive our new bishop, Bishop Anthony for a parish visit January 6-8.  Bishop (elect) Anthony would like to spend some time teaching us while he is here with a talk on a subject yet to be determined, in addition to presiding at the outdoor Blessing of the Waters which we will host, and our regularly scheduled weekend services.  
Daily Orthodox Study Bible Readings for the Week-
       Following are the readings for this week:
                        Nov. 27- Judges 10-11; Psalms 75; Proverbs 15:27-32; Luke 4:31-44
                        Nov. 28- Judges 12-14; Psalms 76:1-10; Proverbs 15:33-38; Luke 5:1-16
                        Nov. 29- Judges 15-17; Psalms 76:11-21; Proverbs 16:1-5; Luke 5:17-39
                        Nov. 30- Judges 18-19; Psalms 77:1-17; Proverbs 16:6-10; Luke 6:1-26
                        Dec. 1- Judges 20-21; Psalms 77:18-37; Proverbs 16:11-15; Luke 6:27-49
                        Dec. 2- Ruth 1-4; Psalms 77: 38-55; Proverbs 16:16-20; Luke 7:1-17
                        Dec. 3- 1 Kingdoms 1:1- 2:17; Psalms 77:56-72; Proverbs 16:21-25; Luke 7:18-50
                        Dec. 4- 1 Kingdoms 2:18- 4:22; Psalms 78; Proverbs 16:26-31; Luke 8:1-25

Evening in the East- Feb. 16, 2012- Save the Date!-
       Our 2012 Evening in the East is scheduled for Thursday, February 16 at Old Brick.  We are excited to announce that we will have with us, Dr. Paul Barnes, professor of piano at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music, and also chanter at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Lincoln, NE.  Dr. Barnes will be giving a lecture/recital called "Liszt and the Cross: Music as Sacrament in the B Minor Sonata" in which he will explore this piece by composer Franz Liszt and relate it to Orthodox theology of the icon.  To help us plan our event, which takes the cooperation and participation of our whole parish, we will soon be placing a bulletin board up at church, dedicated to this event.  This will be a place for us to network, share ideas and keep informed on the progress of our planning.  The Parish Council is looking for a volunteer or a small team of volunteers to step forward to be the main coordinator(s) for this event.  Please speak with Fr. Ignatius or our council chair Todd Wiblin if you want to help in a leadership role with Evening in the East.   
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 4, the Chikhladze/Berimeladze family will provide the holy bread.  Thank you in advance.  Anyone who would like to provide the holy bread can sign up at the bulletin board in the narthex.  Bread seals are available to be loaned out.

Coffee Hour-
      On Sunday December 4, the food for coffee hour and the cleaning of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nicholas team.
Church Cleaning-
       During the week following Sunday November 27, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore/library, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be provided by the St. Raphael team.
Choir Leadership-
       On Saturday December 3 and Sunday December 4,  Tania Van Dinter will lead the choir. 
Food for Thought-
Wishing to show that to fulfill every commandment is a duty, whereas sonship is a gift given to men through His own Blood, the Lord said, 'When you have done all that is commanded you, say, 'We are useless servants, we have only done what was our duty,' (Luke 17:10). Thus the kingdom of heaven is not a reward for works, but a gift of grace prepared by the Master for His faithful servants.  A slave does not demand his freedom as a reward: but he gives thanks as one who is in debt, and he receives freedom as a gift.

- St. Hesychius the Priest