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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of October 31, 2010)

posted Dec 18, 2010, 10:26 AM by Ilya Buchkin
 Look for 2011 Pledge Packets in Mail Soon-
       The Parish Council is about to distribute the 2011 St. Raphael Pledge Packets.  Please look over this important financial information and prayerfully consider how and if you can pledge of your finances and time and talent to the church for this next year.  If possible, please return your pledge forms to our treasurer, Kristi Abuissa by November 14 so that the Parish Council can form a responsible budget which will be presented for a vote at our Annual meeting on December 5. 

Free Lunch Program Volunteering-
       We are scheduled to volunteer at the Free Lunch Program this Tuesday, November 2 from 11:30AM-1:30PM.  Please contact Fr. Ignatius if you can make it to help.
 
Showing the Film "Ostrov" (The Island)-
       We will host a showing of this film on Monday, November 15 at 7PM at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A.  This film captures authentic Orthodox spirituality as it is told through the life of a fictional monk and fool-for-Christ, who lives on an island monastery in the north of Russia.  The movie is 112 minutes long.  Refreshements will be provided.  This is a good chance to invite friends and family to an outreach event for our church.
 
Parish Council Openings-
       At our Annual Voters' Meeting on December 5, we will need to fill at least one parish council position.  To satisfy the conditions of our parish constitution, we need two people willing to stand for election for a three year term.    If you are interested in serving the church in this important role, please contact Fr. Ignatius.
 
Volunteer Needed to Chair Evening in the East-
       For the last two years, we have had a successful fundraiser and outreach event that we have called "Evening in the East."  We plan to do it again this January or February, and we need someone to take on the responsibility of coordinating all of the other volunteers as the chairperson of the event.  Our past chair, Kristi Abuissa, has many useful notes to share, which explain what needs to be done and when.  If you like to organaize and work with people, this is an excellent way to serve the church.  Please contact Fr. Ignatius if you are interested.

Patronal Feast Weekend Schedule-
      Friday, November 5, 7PM- Vespers with Artoklasia for Feast of St. Raphael
Saturday, November 6, 8:45AM- Matins and 10AM- Liturgy for Feast of St. Raphael; 6PM Great Vespers
Sunday, November 7, 8:45AM- Matins; 10AM Divine Liturgy
   
"Love Never Fails" Fundraising Dinner for Choices Medical Clinic-
        Choices Medical Clinic, a local pro-life clinic that seeks to provide women in crisis pregnancies alternatives to abortion, is holding its annual fundraising dinner at the Coralville Marriott Hotel on Tuesday, November 9.  Seating begins at 6:30PM and the dinner and program begin at 7PM.  Tom Glessner, J.D., president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates will be the featured speaker.  There is no cost to attend but an opportunity to make a financial gift will be extended.  RSVP before November 4 at 319-337-0575. 
 
New Testament Greek Study Group-
        A study group, focusing on New Testament (Koine) Greek is forming at St. Raphael.  Tentatively, the group will meet after Liturgy and coffee hour beginning Sunday, November 14.  We will do some basic work using an interlinear Bible.  This will likely start out at a basic level (the priest is rusty!).  All are welcome.  Contact Tyler Fyotek at tjfyotek@gmail.com if you are interested.
 
OCF Midwest College Conference 2010-
        Registration is now open for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship Midwest College Conference 2010 at
http://collegeconference2010ngm.eventbrite.com/.  This gathering of Orthodox Christian college students from around the Midwest will be held over winter break between Dec. 29- Jan. 1 at the New Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Third Lake, IL outside of Chicago.  The keynote speaker will be His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH of the Orthodox Church in America.  
  
Some Thoughts on the Removal of Bishop Mark-
       Having just returned from St. George Church in West St. Paul, Fr. Ignatius can report that Bishop Mark is at peace and looking good.  He reassures us of his prayers for us at St. Raphael Mission.  Fr. Bill Olnhausen of St. Nicholas Church in Cedarburg, WI offers these thoughts on the recent episcopal changes in our Archdiocese.  They are worth hearing during this time in which we may be grieving over losing Bishop Mark. 
 
He writes, "I am extremely sorry to lose Bp Mark. Let me tell you a story. When I was in school, I had 2 favorite teachers. Both of them excellent teachers, good people who cared deeply about their students and about the school. Both are an inspiration to me still 55 years later: I think of them often.  But the 2 disagreed on policies and I don't know what else was going on but it appeared to me that there was a personality conflict, they just couldn't seem to get along with each other, and when one of them became principal the other one left. I was very disappointed. But it was just one of those things. That was 55 years ago. Today one is long dead, the other is long retired, and the school is still there doing fine.  I think this is a parable apt to the present situation.

For 21 years I have admired and loved His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, who by his strong winsome able leadership united 2 little archdioceses and during 45 years has built this dynamic rapidly growing Antiochian archdiocese. Metropolitan Philip who has not limited this Archdiocese to Middleasterners but has welcomed us converts of all kinds with open arms.  I have also admired and loved His Grace Bishop Mark. He has been a kind, sensitive, loving pastor to me and to St Nicholas Church. I have looked forward to his visits here. I dislike meetings (even our good Antiochian church meetings) but I have gone willingly to our Midwest clergy meetings because I knew Bishop Mark would be there. I am going to miss him very much.

 ...[T]he number of parishes in our Archdiocese has quadrupled and as we have changed the structures of the Archdiocese to deal with this, I have seen that we have had some growing pains. When I got here in 1989 the Archdiocese was subdivided into a number of regions with Metropolitan Philip and 1 Auxiliary Bishop Antoun, bless his heart, serving them all.  Now we have 7 dioceses with 1 metropolitan and 5  bishops each assigned to a particular diocese.  Not surprisingly there have been some issues working out the precise divisions of authority with this new system. Metropolitan Philip has been very concerned to preserve the unity of the Archdiocese, especially so that we can move together towards American Orthodox unity when the time comes. The local bishops have been concerned that they have sufficient authority to run their local dioceses well.  The bishops have had some honest disagreements about this and perhaps there have been some misunderstandings and there is likely more I don't know about.  Now bishops and metropolitans are fallible human beings like the rest of us.... In the book of Acts, St Paul and St Barnabas, missionary companions, got into such a scuffle that they separated and refused to work with each other for years.  You know how Saints Peter & Paul got into it publicly in Antioch. All these also got resolved. Fallible human beings.  And the Church goes on.

So to the present situation with Bishop Mark.  I don't know what all the issues were, nor do I want to - I can't do anything about it - and there are always 2 sides to every story. And I think this is a situation that could have been and should have been resolved in a better way. It wasn't.  But as I say life in the Church has never been all sweetness and light.  The Church has always been filled with fallible human beings.  I often quote Fr Alexander Schmemann dean of St Vladimir's Seminary who on one of his bad days was heard muttering: The Orthodox Church is the right church filled with all the wrong people! Yes, the whole world is filled with the wrong people, us, all of us, clergy and laity alike.  But the Church is still the Body of Christ, the Church remains the same as it has been for 2000 years despite human failings. The faith is still the same. The Liturgy is still the same. And the meaning of the cross and the resurrection is that God can take any situation and bring good out of it.  So we pick up the pieces, we let God pick up the pieces, and we move ahead....  I continue to love and admire both Metropolitan Philip and Bishop Mark.  Just like my school teachers, both of them good men who care deeply about the Church will always be an inspiration to me.  And after they and we are all long gone, the Church will still be here, doing fine.  So we move on."
 
Thoughts on Stewardship-
                  Psalm 50: 10-12 … “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.  If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.”           
 
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.  
 
Coffee Hour-
      On Sunday, November 7, the food for coffee hour and clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nicholas team. 
 
Holy Bread-
       On Sunday, November 7, the holy bread will be provided by the Valentine family.  Thank you in advance.  Anyone who desires to bake the holy bread may sign up to do so.  This is a wonderful way to offer yourself and your loved ones to God and the Church. 

 Church Cleaning-
      During the week following Sunday, November 7, the St. Nina team will clean the nave, narthex, bathrooms, stairs and bookstore and nursery rooms.
     
Food For Thought-
 
O Holy hierarch Father Raphael, pray unto God for us.  O wise and loving hierarch of the Church of Christ God, good shepherd of the lost sheep in America, sustenance for our souls, admonition for the lost, defense against foes, uniter of the Orthodox world, proclaimer of the truth, uplifter of the oppressed, guardian of the faith, father to orphans, protector of widows, friend of the poor, reconciler of foes, great light from Antioch, new Moses who didst lead thy people out of the wilderness into the Promised Land, new Elias who hast placed within the holy Church a double portion of thy spirit, new Ezra who didst build up the Temple of God, new Apostle of Christ our God, lover of the holy prayers and divine services, adornment of the holy Church, seeker of the lost, joy of all the Orthodox, son of Antioch, boast of America, O holy Father Raphael: Mercifully hearken unto these supplications which are offered unto thee by thy grateful children. O high priest of the Most High God, lift up thy hands and bless us, O thou who art thrice-blessed of the All-holy Trinity. O comforter of the oppressed who art a bearer of the heavenly King, the Comforter and Spirit of Truth, take us to thy bosom and shelter us from all harm. O shepherd who art a servant of the Lamb and a sheep of His flock, take up thy staff and guide us to secure and verdant pastures. O father who art a son and heir of the Unoriginate Father, lift up thine arms and intercede with him that the Church may be preserved in tranquility; that her God-appointed hierarchs may be granted peace, safety, honor, health and length of days, rightly dividing the word of truth; that her priests may be clothed with righteousness; that her God-fearing monastics may shine forth as paradisaical lights upon the world; and that her Christ-loving people may be granted mercy, life, peace, health, salvation and visitation, pardon and forgiveness of sins. Beseech thou him that we may be granted to live a peaceful life in this age, and to see the good things in the age which is to come, always glorifying the unoriginate Father, the only-begotten Son and the all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, the consubtantial Trinity, unto ages of ages. Amen.
 
Prayer at the end of the Akathist for St. Raphael
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