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Weekly Bulletin (Week of November 30, 2008)

posted Dec 2, 2008, 11:07 AM by Arian Kulp   [ updated Dec 2, 2008, 11:09 AM ]

Letter From Bishop Mark-

Dear Fr. Ignatius, members of the Parish Council and the Faithful,

Christ is in our midst! He is and forever shall be!

I hope and pray that you are all well and I wanted to thank you for your gracious hospitality that you all bestowed upon me during
my visit to St. Raphael’s Mission.

I am truly excited for the opportunity to move into a new place of worship and I will be writing a more detailed letter shortly in order
to address this topic. It was such a blessing to see you all working together in building up the body of Christ and ensuring that the
witness of Orthodoxy is vibrant in Iowa City. Of course we must always remind ourselves that the people make up the church and as
members of the body of Christ we are called to strengthen one another at all times. May God bless you all and the works of Fr. Ignatius
and all those who have sacrificed in order to ensure the future of this mission. I pray that you have a blessed fast as we approach the
Feast of the nativity of Christ.

‘O Lord look down from heaven and behold and perfect this vineyard which Thou hast planted with Thy right hand and establish it.’

Your Father in Christ,
+ Mark
The Rt. Rev. Bishop MARK, Bishop of Toledo and the Diocese of the Midwest

News on Building Purchase-

Good news! Our offer to purchase the church building has been signed! We have until January 25 to raise the money we need to
make this financially feasible. Our goal is $275,000. To date, we have over $54,000. If you are receiving this email and have
not yet received a mailing in the mail about our Capital Campaign, then this means that we do not have your mailing address.
If you would like to receive the material, please reply to this email with your mailing address. This is a group effort. We need
the prayers and help of all of us to accomplish this goal. And may God be with us, guiding us every step of the way.

Daily Akathist Prayers for our Building Purchase-

We are organizing daily Akathist prayers, to be said in our homes through the entire time we are preparing to purchase our new building,
until January 25th. We recognize our need to rely on God through this process, and ask for his wisdom and guidance, and through the
various Akathist prayers (booklets of which are available at church) we ask the Lord for this and ask the saints to pray for this on our
behalf. A sign-up sheet is posted a church. Two slots are listed for each day. Will you join us in prayer so that all that we do with
regard to this building opportunity would be pleasing to God?

Volunteer Needed to Organize Fundraiser-

In order to raise awareness of our purchase of the Christian Science church building, we would like to plan an evening fundraising
event. Fr. Ignatius and the Capital Campaign Committee have some ideas. However, we need someone willing to plan and organize
the event. Please see Fr. Ignatius, Bill Spencer, Newman Abuissa or Lori Branch if you can help out in this way.

2009 Pledge Packets Need to be Returned-

As you know, St. Raphael Mission relies on the generous donations of its members and friends to provide the funds to keep this church
in existence and able to do God’s work. Packets with information on how to make a financial pledge, as well as how to indicate other
ways which you can help out St. Raphael Mission have been mailed out to members and past donors. If you haven’t received one and
are interested in making a financial pledge for 2009, please contact Fr. Ignatius or our treasurer, Tania Van Dinter. So that the Parish
Council can present a responsible budget at our annual Voters’ Meeting on December 7, we ask that your pledges be
returned as soon as possible.

Free Lunch Program Volunteering-

We will volunteer at the Free Lunch Program on Tuesday December 2 from 11:30AM-1:30PM. This is held at the Wesley Center on
Dubuque and Market streets. Please contact Fr. Ignatius if you can help serve food. We could certainly use some first-time volunteers.

Blood Drive-

St. Paul's Lutheran Chapel, 404 E. Jefferson Street (corner of Jefferson and Gilbert), will host an American Red Cross Blood Drive on
Thursday, December 4, 2008, from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. For an appointment call 1.800.GIVE. LIFE or visit givebloodgivelife.org.
You can also call St. Paul's to sign up for an appointment at 337-3652.

Office Hours-

Fr. Ignatius will be traveling to Dormition Monastery in Michigan for a clergy retreat and will not have office hours after Monday this week.
He will be leaving on Tuesday and returning on Friday. If there is an emergency and you need a priest, please call Fr. Elias Khouri at

Potluck Next Sunday-

Sunday December 7 is the first Sunday of the month and therefore, we will be having a potluck meal after Liturgy. A sign-up sheet
is posted at church to help organize the food being brought.

Annual Voters’ Meeting-

Our Annual Voters’ Meeting will be held after Liturgy on Sunday December 7. We will approve a budget for 2009, elect a Parish Council
member and discuss our Capital Campaign progress. Please plan to attend.

St. Nicholas Talk Cancelled-

In the November newsletter, it was announced that Fr. Ignatius would be giving a presentation on St. Nicholas of Myra: The Real Santa
Claus, to be held at the Iowa City Public Library. This has been cancelled due to time constraints.

Pre-Nativity Fast-

Saturday November 15 marked the beginning of our time for preparation for Christmas, the Nativity of Christ. Part of this preparation
is a time of fasting. We abstain from meat, dairy, and eggs throughout the entire season (through December 24), and on Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays we also abstain from wine and oil. Fish is permitted on weekends. The red November-December church
calendars make this more clear in a visual way. Please consult with Fr. Ignatius if you have any questions. It is better to humbly
take on the fasting guidelines of the Church a little at a time, than to stubbornly attempt to follow them perfectly, and either fail and
get dejected, or succeed with pride. And also, fasting profits us nothing if it is not accompanied by prayer and almsgiving.

Non-Perishable Food Donations-

We collect non-perishable food year round to donate to the local food bank at the Crisis Center. If you haven’t donated anything in awhile,
the season leading up to Christmas is a perfect time to do so. There is always a need.

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.

Holy Bread and Coffee Hour-

On Sunday December 7, the Bayouth family is providing the holy bread. The food for coffee hour will be brought by all who bring food
to our monthly potluck. Thank you in advance. Anybody who would like to host the coffee hour or bake the holy bread can sign up at
church to do so.

Food For Thought:

There is no consolation for suffering except to consider it against the background of the “other world”. And this, indeed, is fundamentally the only correct point of view. If this world alone exists, then everything in it is absolute nonsense: separation, sickness, innocent suffering, death. But all these acquire a meaning in that ocean of life which invisibly washes the small island of our earthly being. Which if us has not experienced the breath of other worlds in dreams, in prayer? When a man finds in himself the power to acquiesce in the ordeal sent him by God, he achieves great progress in his spiritual life.

Fr. Alexander Elchaninov, The Diary of a Russian Priest, p. 25.