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From the Weekly Bulletin (week of September 18, 2011)

posted Sep 25, 2011, 1:33 AM by Ilya Buchkin
Today is College Student Sunday-
       Orthodox Christian Fellowship national offices has declared that today, September 18, is to be recognized as College Student Sunday in Orthodox Churches across America.  St. Raphael Church is blessed to sponsor the University of Iowa OCF.  We consider it an honor and a privilege to maintain an active Orthodox Christian presence in and near the university.  We are thankful for the college students that are part of the OCF and our parish.  Please keep our college students in your prayers.  OCF can have a tremendous impact on the lives of college students.  According to a recent survey, 94% of OCF alumni respondents described themselves as "active" and "involved in their parishes.  Close to 100% attend liturgy regularly and over 70% participate in the sacrament of confession, make regular financial contributions to their parish and volunteer in parish ministries. 
Teen SOYO Movie Night-
       We are excited to announce that St. Raphael Church is starting up its first ever teen youth group.  In our Archdiocese, the teen group is called SOYO (Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations).  Alli Rockwell will be our new SOYO leader and our first event is a movie night this Tuesday at 7PM at the church.  The movie "Blind Side" will be the featured attraction.  All teens are welcome and so are their friends.
Parish Council Meeting-
       This Tuesday, September 20 at 7PM, the Parish Council will meet. 
Introduction to Orthodoxy Classes-
       At 1PM on Sundays, Fr. Ignatius is offering a series of 7 weekly classes that are designed to be a basic introduction to the Orthodox Christian faith.  This class series is appropriate for inquirers or for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of what our church teaches and practices, including Orthodox Christians who feel they were never taught the basics.  Please let Fr. Ignatius know if you are interested in participating, and invite your friends! 
New Post-Liturgy Procedures-
       Now that Sunday School has started, we need to resume something we started at the end of last year's Sunday School, and also implement a few more changes.  As soon as the final dismissal of the Liturgy is done, and before the announcements are given, we will sing to everyone who is celebrating a birthday, namesday or anniversary.  After that, only the children and their Sunday School teachers will be invited forward for a blessing so that they can then leave to go begin Sunday School.  Once the children have left, then the announcements will be given and after that, everyone else can come forward to receive a blessing.  Following the final blessing, everyone is encouraged to stay in the nave for the post-Communion prayers.  Anyone is welcome to approach one of the choir stands and to participate in these beautiful prayers.  Holy Communion is important enough, that the Church has given us prayers to say before we receive Communion, prayers to say during the time we are receiving Communion, and prayers to say after receiving Communion.  Those who do not want to stay in the nave during these prayers, please stay out of the basement fellowship hall.  The doors will be closed to the hall since our Sunday School will be starting and the children will need it to be as quiet as possible.  If you want to talk and visit before Father comes downstairs to bless the food, please stay in the narthex upstairs, on the porch outside, or on the other side of the closed doors outside of the fellowship hall downstairs.  Since our children will be hard at work in Sunday School just on the other side of the dividers, Father Ignatius asks that even when we do enter the fellowship hall and begin eating, that we be sensitive to our noise level. 
A Note to Parents-
       It seems that some of our children are in the habit of leaving the church nave immediately after receiving Holy Communion.  Not only does this deprive them of experiencing the end of the Liturgy, but it means that it takes longer to bring them back into the nave if they are being sung to in honor of a special day of theirs, or when it is time to come forward to venerate the icon and receive a blessing.  Parents, please encourage your children to stay in the nave from the time they receive Holy Communion until after they receive the final blessing and are dismissed to Sunday School.
Tables and Art Smocks-
       Due to rearranging of some tables in the church fellowship hall based on our needs for Sunday School, we are in need of several long (8 or 10ft) tables for use during coffee hour.  If you would like to donate a table or the money to buy a table, please see Fr. Ignatius or Parish Council chairman Todd Wiblin.  Also, our Sunday School teachers request that you consider donating any old shirts that you wouldn't mind becoming art smocks to be used when our children engage in art projects.
Daily Orthodox Study Bible Readings for the Week-
       Following are the readings for this week:
           Sept. 18- Genesis 49-50; Psalms 20; Proverbs 3:33-38; Matthew 12:22-50
           Sept. 19- Exodus 1-3; Psalms 21:1-19; Proverbs 4:1-8; Matthew 13:1-30
           Sept. 20- Exodus 4:1-6:27; Psalms 21:20-32; Proverbs 4:9-12; Matthew 13:31-58
           Sept. 21- Exodus 6:28-9:35; Psalms 22-23; Proverbs 4:13-18; Matthew 14:1-21
           Sept. 22- Exodus 10-12; Psalms 24:1-11; Proverbs 4:19-23; Matthew 14:22-36
           Sept. 23- Exodus 13-15; Psalms 24:12-22; Proverbs 4:24-28; Matthew 15:1-20
           Sept. 24- Exodus 16-18; Psalms 25; Proverbs 5:1-6; Matthew 15:21-39
           Sept. 25- Exodus 19-21; Psalms 26; Proverbs 5:7-14; Matthew 16
Byzantine Chant Workshop-
        Do you want to participate more fully in the various chanting parts of services, but feel like you're just winging it or faking it? You're not alone! We would like to invite Richard Barrett, choir leader at All Saints Orthodox Church in Bloomington, Indiana, who has studied Byzantine chant for many years and undergone an intensive two-month tutelage with the master chanter Ioannis Arvinitis in Athens, to give a weekend chanting workshop here on Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16. You may remember his previous visit for An Evening in the East. The registration fee would be $30 per person. If we can secure pledges from at least ten participants, we will be able to guarantee that the accumulated honorarium from pledges and other sources will be sufficient to sponsor Richard's visit. I would ask that you please let me know within a week whether you are interested in taking part, so that we can determine whether we will be able to host the workshop. We are also sending invitations to other churches in the area.  Please contact Matthew Arndt at matthew-arndt@uiowa.edu for more information or to register. 
Room Rental Needed-
       A local woman, a friend of one of our parishioners, is looking to rent a room.  If you have a room you are willing to rent, please contact church member Monica Sandu at monica-sandu@uiowa.edu to find our more information. 
Article of Interest-
       In order to read a thought-provoking article entitled "Iconography and Pornography: Two Competing Worldviews" go to: http://ocawonder.com/2011/09/15/iconography-and-pornography-two-competing-worldviews/

Sermon Series- Understanding the Divine Liturgy-
       Fr. Ignatius is preaching a series of sermons each Sunday titled "Understanding the Divine Liturgy."  In this series, we will consider some general characteristics of the Liturgy, and then we will work our way through the text of the Liturgy, asking God to enlighten us regarding this marvelous gift of God to His Church. 
33rd Annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage September 23-25-
       Mother Alexandra and the Monastery of St. Thekla invites you to the 33rd Annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage held at the Antiochian Village near Bolivar, PA.  Speakers will include Mother Alexandra and Bishop Thomas.  For schedule and registration information, go to: http://www.antiochianvillage.org/assets/files/center_pdf/St.%20Thekla%20Pilgrimage/2011%204%20panel%20brochure.pdf
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 September 25, the Abuissa 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 September 24 and Sunday September 25,  Matthew Arndt will lead the choir.
Coffee Hour-
      On Sunday September 25, the food for coffee hour and the cleaning of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. John the Baptist team.
Church Cleaning-
       During the week following Sunday September 18, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore/library, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be provided by the St. Nicholas team.
Food for Thought-
This is the way we should see Christ. He is our friend, our brother; He is whatever is good and beautiful. He is everything. Yet, He is still a friend and He shouts it out, "You're my friends, don't you understand that? We're brothers. I'm not...I don't hold hell in my hands. I am not threatening you. I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me."

Christ is Everything. He is joy, He is life, He is light. He is the true light who makes man joyful, makes him soar with happiness; makes him see everything, everybody; makes him feel for everyone, to want everyone with him, everyone with Christ.

Love Christ and put nothing before His Love. Christ is Everything. He is the source of life, the ultimate desire,He is everything. Everything beautiful is in Christ.

Somebody who is Christ's must love Christ, and when he loves Christ he is delivered from the Devil, from hell and from death.

Elder Porphyrios