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posted Nov 17, 2012, 3:10 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
November 18, 2012- Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
This Week's Services and Events
Nov 20, Tuesday,
        + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
        + Vesperal Liturgy for Entrance of Theotokos into the Temple, 6PM
Nov 21, Wednesday
        + Nativity Paraklesis, 7PM

Nov 24, Saturday
        + 9th Hour/Great Vespers, 6PM

Nov 25, Sunday, Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10AM followed by Sunday School and coffee hour

Upcoming Events and Announcements
Vesperal Liturgy for Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple on November 20-
        We will celebrate the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple at 6PM on Tuesday, November 20. Please join us.
Happy Thanksgiving-
         Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no OCF event on Thursday, November 22 and no matins on Friday, November 23.
Do You Want to Serve on the Parish Council?-
        At our December 3 Annual Voters' Meeting, we will hold an election to fill a vacancy that will be opening up on the parish council. Another position will be filled by pastoral appointment. Both positions are for three year terms. If you are interested serving on the parish council or at least learning what that might entail, please speak with Fr. Ignatius.
Please Return Your 2013 Pledge Packets-
         This is the time of year, when St. Raphael Church asks our members and friends to consider financially pledging to the church for the following year. Our treasurer, Kristi Abuissa, has distributed pledge packets. If you have not received one and would like to, please speak to her or Fr. Ignatius. In order to set a responsible budget for 2013, it is important that we know what to expect for income and that is why we ask you to commit to a specific amount. Of course, if at any time after you make your pledge you feel a need to adjust the amount you give based on your circumstances, you may do so. All giving is voluntary and there is no dollar amount that is too small or too great. We are reminded by our Archdiocese that historically a tithe of 10% of one's income has been the ideal. Please consider and pray about what you can give, and return your pledge forms over the next few weeks to Kristi. If you have any questions about the finances of the church, please do not hesitate to ask. Please return your form in the next week or two, if possible.
Church Cookbook Fundraiser-
         We are planning to publish our church cookbook East, West and Midwest, on Amazon by May. If you'd like to test recipes to make sure they work well, let Amy Spencer know. Also, if you have promised to give her a recipe, please do that as soon as possible. Contact Amy about the cookbook at eastwestmidwest@gmail.com
Nativity Fast-
        For Orthodox Christians, the weeks leading up to Christmas are a time of spiritual preparation, a time of repentance, and time of almsgiving. In anticipation of the coming of our King Jesus as a babe in the manger, we fast from meat, dairy, eggs throughout the forty days leading up to the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord; and fish, wine and oil on some of the days. For specifics, consult the printed November/December calendar available at church or check it online at: http://www.straphaelorthodoxchurch.org/schedule If you have any questions about the Orthodox practice of fasting, please speak with Fr. Ignatius. Metropolitan Philip has given a dispensation from the fast to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving.
Non-Perishable Food Donations-
        We collect food all year round for the Crisis Center food pantry. The collection box is located under one of the tables in the narthex. As we enter into the Nativity fast, let us also keep almsgiving in mind. There are many people in our community who do not have enough food.
November Parish Council Meeting-
          Our November 2012 Parish Council meeting is on Tuesday, November 27 at 7PM.
Annual Parish Voters' Meeting is December 3-
         Following Liturgy on Sunday December 3, we will hold our annual voters' meeting at which we will vote to fill two vacancies on the parish council, discuss and vote on our 2013 budget and hear a pastoral report from Fr. Ignatius. If you are a voting member, please plan to attend.
Thoughts on American Holiday of Thanksgiving-
         You can read them at: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18560
Reading Through the New Testament During the Nativity Fast-
         If you are interested in reading through the whole New Testament from November 15 through December 24, you can find a schedule of readings at: http://goodguyswearblack.org/2012/11/09/the-2012-new-testament-challenge/.
Evangelism Bible Verse-
       This week's verse: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
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 25, the food for coffee hour will be provided by the St. John the Baptist team.

Church Cleaning-
        During the week following Sunday November 18, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore/library, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be provided by the St. Nicholas team.
Food for Thought-

Today in the Holy Orthodox Church we celebrate the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. Leading the procession into the Temple were virgins with lighted tapers in their hands, then the three-year-old Most-holy Virgin, led by her father and mother. The virgin was clad in vesture of royal magnificence and adornments as was befitting the “King’s daughter, the Bride of God” (Psalm 44:13-15). Following them were many kinsmen and friends, all with lighted tapers. Fifteen steps led up to the Temple. Joachim and Anna lifted the Virgin onto the first step, then she ran quickly to the top herself, where she was met by the High Priest Zachariah, who was to be the father of St. John the Forerunner. Taking her by the hand, he led her not only into the Temple, but into the “Holy of Holies,” the holiest of holy places, into which no one but the high priest ever entered, and only once each year, at that. Zachariah “was outside himself and possessed by God” when he led the Virgin into the holiest place in the Temple, beyond the second curtain-otherwise, his action could not be explained. The Most-holy Virgin remained in the Temple and dwelt there for nine full years. While her parents were alive, they visited her often. When God called her parents from this world, the Most-holy Virgin was left an orphan and did not wish to leave the Temple until death or to enter into marriage. The Most-holy Virgin Mary was the first of such life-vowed virgins, of the thousands and thousands of virgin men and women who would follow her in the Church of Christ. Through her intercessions, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy upon us, and save us. Amen.

From the Synaxarion for the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, November 21