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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of November 29, 2009)

posted Dec 1, 2009, 5:27 AM by Ilya Buchkin
Annual Voters' Meeting Next Sunday-
Please plan on staying after Liturgy next Sunday, December 6, for our Annual Voters' Meeting.  We will fill Parish Council positions, vote on the budget and create a Financial Review Committee.  It is important that all voting members be present. 

Potluck Next Sunday-
Next Sunday is the first Sunday of the month and so we will share a potluck meal after Liturgy.  Please, no meat, dairy or eggs.  Wine and oil and fish are OK.  Bring something to share. 

Parish Council Meeting-
The next Parish Council Meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 30 at 7PM.  All are welcome to attend.

Free Lunch Program Volunteering-

       St. Raphael Church will help at the Free Lunch Program on Tuesday, December 1 from 11:30-1:30PM.  Please contact Fr.
Ignatius if you are able to volunteer for this month.

Fr. Ignatius Will be Out of Town-
       Fr. Ignatius will be out of town from Tuesday, December 1 through Friday, December 4 attending a diocesan clergy retreat at Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, MI.  He will not hold office hours Tuesday- Thursday and there will  be no Matins on Wednesday.  Nativity Paraklesis on Thursday evening will proceed as a reader's service.  You may contact him at 319-400-7522 during this time, or for a pastoral emergency, please call Fr. Elias Khouri at 319-329-2562.

Financial Review Committee Members Needed-
If you are a voting member of the church, would you consider serving on a newly formed Financial Review Committee?  Bishop MARK is asking all of the parishes in his diocese to form such a committee to help the parish councils make sure that financial transparency and accountability is maximized.  We will form this committee at our Annual Meeting on December 6.  Please contact Fr. Ignatius if you are interested in serving the church in this way.

Article on Possible Quad Cities Mission-
Bishop MARK and the Archdiocese Missions and Evangelism Department have been investigating the possibility of starting an Antiochian Orthodox mission for the Iowa side of the Quad Cities area.  Jared and Beth Johnson, Sue Swanson and others have been given a blessing by His Grace to begin having weekly reader's vespers to see if a large enough group coalesces to move forward with planting a full-fledged mission.  For a newspaper article printed yesterday in the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus on this endeavor go to: http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.php?id=468874&query=orthodox

The newly-illumined Sofia Volkova joined the Body of Christ by receiving the sacraments of baptism, chrismation and her first Eucharist at St. Raphael Church yesterday.  Congratulations to Sofia, her parents Aleksey Volkov and Kristina Hominich, and godfather Eugene Bilenko.  May God grant Sofia many years.

Thank you-
Thank you to Kristi Abuissa for work on new icon stand covers and altar cover and for hanging the oil lamp hangers around the church. 

St. Nicholas Program at St. George Church-
This Saturday, December 5, following 9AM Liturgy at St. George Church, there will be St. Nicholas-themed activities for all ages, and a brunch.  Please contact Fr. Ignatius if you are planning on attending.

St. Nicholas Revealed: An Historical Perspective from an Ancient Church-
On Saturday, December 12 from 2PM-4PM, St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church of Cedar Rapids will be presenting a talk on St. Nicholas at the Marion Public Library in Marion, IA.  Fr. Ignatius will join with Fr. Ciprian Sas of St. John the Baptist Church and Deacon Edmund of St. George Church to present the historical St. Nicholas to all who are interested.  

Short-term Mission Opportunity-
Are you looking for ways to serve God, participate in works of mercy, and extend your hand to those in need?  If you're thinking, "Yes, yes, yes!"  Project Mexico has an opportunity for you!  Project Mexico is committed to shining our light into the communities and hearts of the Mexican people in the Rosarito/Tijuana area and into the lives of orphaned teenage boys. Since 1988, Project Mexico has been involving young people in the alleviation of suffering by building homes for Mexico's poor. Hundreds of homes have been built for needy families with the help of nearly 10,000 volunteers. In 1996 our outreach expanded through the opening of St. Innocent Orthodox Orphanage in Tijuana which provides a home for teenage boys who live on the streets or who have been put out of other orphanages. 

Project Mexico has  built over 180 homes for impoverished families, changing the lives of one family at a time. They have expanded their program by introducing Orthodox Basic Training (OBT) where several hundred Orthodox Christians from all over the country gather together with the common goal of answering Christ's call to serve the poor. Divided into small groups, they go out into the community to build a home for a Mexican family in need. Everyone stays in tents at St. Innocent Orphanage.  These weeks include fellowship, daily prayers, evening speakers, and a chance to speak with clergy, monastics, and people currently working in the mission field.

They can now accommodate 300 volunteers in each week of OBT, June 22-28 and July 6-12. There is still space available. So, if you have been thinking that there must be some way for you to shine your light, perhaps this is your calling! To sign up for a week, or if you have any further questions or concerns, please contact  Madi Franck at mfranck@projectmexico.org.

Looking for a Meaningful Christmas Present?-
Shop our St. Raphael Books and Gifts store after a service.  There are plenty of good books, icons and music CDs available that would make good gifts to those you love.  Fr. Ignatius especially recommends the Orthodox Study Bible.

Overflow Shelter Volunteering-
       During the cold winter months, local churches and other organizations in Iowa City work to provide an area where people who do not have a bed in the local shelter, because of a lack of space, can find a warm place to sleep.  This winter, St. Patrick's Catholic Church has volunteered the use of their parish hall for this purpose.  St. Raphael Church has volunteered to provide staffing for the week of January 17-23, 2010 for this overflow shelter.  We need volunteers that week (no training required) to bring breakfast, clean up in the mornings, do laundry on Wednesday and Sunday and serve as a morning or evening driver.  The sign up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board in the hall outside the fellowship area.  For further information, or to volunteer, please contact Amy Jongeling at 319-331-2275 or ajongeli@gmail.com

Nativity Fast-
We are in the season to prepare for the coming Feast of the Nativity of our Lord.  During this time, the Church asks us to alter our diet and abstain from meat, dairy and eggs, and on some days, wine and oil.  As with each of the fasting seasons of the Church year, this is a particularly good time to prepare to make a confession.  During this time, we are encouraged to increase our giving to the Crisis Center's  food pantry.  The box to receive non-perishable food items is located in the narthex, underneath the candle box.

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, Dec. 6,  the Van Dinter family will provide the holy bread. The food for coffee hour will be provided by all who bring food to our potluck.  Thank you in advance.  Anybody who would like to host the coffee hour or bake the holy bread can sign up to do so.

Choir Leadership-
On Saturday, Dec. 5, Tania will direct the choir for Vespers.   Tania will also direct the choir for matins and Liturgy on Sunday, December 6. 

Food For Thought-

If we are capable of loving, it is because we are responding to God's love: God first loves us.  Love becomes incarnate and comes to us in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is this love that is poured out in our hearts.  Thus we are loving God by means of God; the Spirit enables us to share in the love with which the Father loves the Son and the Son the Father.  Love casts us into the Trinitarian realms; the Trinitarian realms are those of love.

Olivier Clement as quoted in "Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth", Vol. 3,edited by Fr. Anthony Coniaris, p. 324.