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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of October 9, 2011)

posted Dec 4, 2011, 10:26 PM by Ilya Buchkin
Pledge Packets-
       Now is the time of year that we begin our annual pledge drive during which we ask our members and friends to consider what we are able to financially contribute to our church for 2012.  Today, many of you received a packet of information with a financial pledge form, from our treasurer, Kristi Abuissa.  The rest of you will likely be receiving yours in the mail soon.  The Parish Council encourages you to prayerfully consider what you may be able to regularly contribute by way of a pledge, and to return the pledge form to Kristi soon so that a responsible budget can be formed in time to be voted on at our December 4 meeting.
Holy Bread-
       We need someone to provide the holy bread for next Sunday, October 16.  If you are able to do it, please let Fr. Ignatius know.  We need six loaves total.

Thank You-
       Thank you to Tariel Iberi for playing a wonderful benefit concert for the church's Building Fund.  Thank you also to Tony Carter for work on the promotional poster, Matthew Arndt for work on the program notes and for emceeing, Meghan Carter for copying the program notes and for refreshments, Lia Chikhaladze for refreshments, and all those who helped promote and advertise the event.
Daily Orthodox Study Bible Readings for the Week-
       Following are the readings for this week:
                 Oct. 9- Leviticus 16-18; Psalms 36:1-20; Proverbs 7:21-24; Matthew 24:29-51
                 Oct. 10- Leviticus19-21; Psalms 36:21-40; Proverbs 7:25-27; Matthew 25:1-30
                 Oct. 11- Leviticus 22-23; Psalms 37:1-11; Proverbs 8:1-5; Matthew 25:31-46
                 Oct. 12- Leviticus 24-25; Psalms 37:12-23; Proverbs 8:6-10; Matthew 26:1-25
                 Oct. 13- Leviticus 26-27; Psalms 38; Proverbs 8:11-16; Matthew 26:26-46
                 Oct. 14- Numbers 1-2; Psalms 39; Proverbs 8:17-21; Matthew 26:47-75
                 Oct. 15- Numbers 3:1-4:33; Psalms 40; Proverbs 8:22-26; Matthew 27:1-26
                 Oct. 16- Numbers 4:34-6:26; Psalms 41-42; Proverbs 8:27-31; Matthew 27:27-44
New Booklet Available-
        "St. Raphael Orthodox Church Iconography: A Self-Guided Tour" is the title of a brand new booklet now available in our narthex.  This booklet is designed to inform everyone, members and visitors, about the many different icons that adorn the nave of our church building.  Have you ever wondered who was depicted on a certain icon?  Would you like to learn about the lives of some of the men and women that we see covering our church walls when we come to worship?  Take a copy (one per household- please) and educate yourself. 

SOYO Special Olympics Awareness Sunday- October 16-
       Next Sunday, October 16, our teens will solicit your financial donations to enable them to help sponsor the 31st Annual Special Olympics Sports Camp at the Antiochian Village in the summer of 2012.  Please be generous in helping our teens raise (nationally) a total of $50,000.  As an expression of our teen's gratitude for your support of this important project, you will receive an icon bookmark of Christ the Good Shepherd.
Byzantine Chant Workshop-
        Richard Barrett, chanter and choir director at All Saints Orthodox Church in Bloomington, IN will be giving a Byzantine chanting workshop at St. Raphael Church this Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16. Registration is $30.  For more information, contact Matthew Arndt at matthew-arndt@uiowa.edu.
Vesperal Liturgy for St. Luke the Evangelist-
       On Monday, October 17, we will gather at 6PM for a Vepseral Liturgy to commemorate St. Luke the Evangelist.
Report on Visit to Syria-
       Recently, at the behest of Metropolitan Philip, a delegation of six Antiochian Orthodox priests from America travelled to Syria to take stock of the political situation there and to especially ascertain the current situation of Christians living in that country.  To read Metropolitan Philip's statement on Syria's current situation and this recent trip, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/delegation-syria-2011  To read Fr. Patrick Reardon's first hand impressions of the situation in Syria, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/reardon-syria-delegation-2011  Fr. Patrick's impressions paint a far different picture than what we are presented with through most media outlets. 
Teen SOYO Movie Night-
       Our next teen youth group movie night will be on Tuesday, October 18 at 5:30PM.  Pizza will be provided.  We will watch "Though None Go With Me."  Over the next few weeks, Teen SOYO will be sharing with us about their upcoming service project to provide items to fill care packages for US troops.  Stay tuned.
The Geneva Lecture Series presents-
       Sociologist Dr. Christian Smith will lecture based on his book, "Souls in Transition: The Cultural and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults."  This free lecture will be held on Tuesday, October 18 at 7:30PM in Philips Hall at the University of Iowa.  For more information, go to: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e4izajbwa7334ab5
Update on Coming Episcopal Consecrations-
       His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East has confirmed the date and location for the consecration of our three newly-elected Auxiliary Bishops, namely:
  • Bishop-Elect John (Abdalah) – Auxiliary Bishop for Worcester and New England
  • Bishop-Elect Anthony (Michaels) – Auxiliary Bishop for Toledo and the Midwest
  • Bishop-Elect Nicholas (Ozone) – Auxiliary Bishop for Brooklyn and assisting the Metropolitan in Englewood, NJ
The consecrations will take place on Sunday December 11, 2011 at the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Lebanon.  The delegation will meet in Paris, France on Thursday December 8, and will travel together to Lebanon. They will return some time after Tuesday December 13.  Metropolitan Philip asks all of the faithful to pray for the three Bishops-Elect and the entire delegation as they prepare to participate in this most historic event. 

Informed Choices Medical Clinic Fundraising Banquet-
       Informed Choices, a local medical clinic that offers life-affirming alternatives to abortion for women who are in crisis pregnancies, will be holding their annual fundraising banquet on Tuesday, October 25 at the Coralville Marriott.  For more information, go to: www.informedchoiceia.org.
St. George Fall Bake Sale-
       St. George Orthodox Church in Cedar Rapids (3650 Cottage Grove Ave., SE)  announces their Fall Bake Sale beginning at 8AM on Saturday, October 29.  Breakfast is served at 8AM and lunch beginning at 11AM.  Many delicious Middle Eastern foods will be available for sale.
Antiochian Women Diocesan Newsletter-
       The latest newsletter of the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest is attached.
Feastday of St. Raphael Services-
       Our patron saint is always commemorated on the first Saturday of November each year.  Therefore, on Friday, November 4, we will have Great Vespers with Litia and Artoklasia at 7PM and on Saturday, November 5, Matins at 8:45AM followed by Divine Liturgy at 10AM.  Come and celebrate our patron saint!
Celebratory Tenth Anniversary Coffee Hour- November 6-
       During the weekend that we will be celebrating our church's patronal feast, we will also be recognizing that St. Raphael Church began ten years ago, in 2001.  To celebrate this important milestone of our parish, we will be having a special pizza and ice cream birthday party coffee hour following Liturgy on Sunday, November 6.  In order to help fund this, we will be asking for freewill donations over the next several weeks by placing a basket near the food line at coffee hour.  Please be generous and help us to mark the passage of the first decade of St. Raphael Church.  If anyone has pictures of parish events that they would like to share on this day, please speak with Kristi Abuissa who can borrow your prints and electronically scan them.
Nov. 12-13 is Family Weekend at UI-
       We will be inviting the families of Orthodox Christian students at the University of Iowa to come visit St. Raphael Church during our weekend services on November 12-13.  This coincides with Family Weekend at the university.  For coffee hour, we would like to have an abundance of food for any guests that come.  If you are able to help out the food team that is already scheduled to bring food that day (St. Raphael team) please speak with the team leader, Fr. Ignatius.
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 October 16, the Surguladze/Boriuk 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.
Choir Leadership-
       On Saturday October 15 and Sunday October 16, Matthew Arndt will lead the choir. 
Coffee Hour-
      On Sunday October 16, the food for coffee hour and the cleaning of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. Nina team.
Church Cleaning-
       During the week following Sunday October 9, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore/library, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be provided by the St. Nina team.
Food for Thought-
A basic condition for the spiritual life is that we should understand that, on our own, we can do absolutely nothing. No matter how hard we try, the spiritual life is something that someone else gives to us.

And the “someone else” is the Spirit of God, the Comforter, the “treasury of good things and the giver of life”, the treasury from which all the riches of spirituality come forth, the source from which the spiritual life emerges and overflows.

Of course, sometimes we get confused, and think that to be spiritual means to be a “good person”: not to steal, not to kill, not to go to bad places or with bad friends, to go to Church on Sunday, to read spiritual books, and so on. But no, this is not the spiritual life.

A spiritual person, a true Christian, is someone whose entire life is sworn to God.

Initially by means of his baptism, and later, in his heart, such a person swears an oath to God, to live for God, and to remain with God forever.

A spiritual person is an athlete who has burst into life, who stands out from the crowds of human beings, and runs with all the speed of his soul to heaven.

A spiritual person is one who with shining eyes and chest thrust forward, has set his course and races to heaven. He is not a “good man”.

A spiritual person knows that, in order to succeed, he needs strong wings: the wings of the Holy Spirit.

A spiritual person must therefore do everything possible to attract, to win over, the Spirit of God, because only the Holy Spirit, God himself, has the gifts of the spiritual life. According to St Gregory of Nyssa, the “distribution of the royal gifts” of the Holy Spirit takes place in the Church through the Sacraments.

Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra on Mt. Athos