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ST.MICHAEL'S HOLY GOSPEL, SERMON AND EPISTLE READING
...is to tend to the flock of our Lord Jesus Christ and to spread the Good News of Christ to those outside the flock. The mission is to be accomplished by:
The mission of the members of St Michael’s Orthodox Church is to become completely loving people.
(Luke 10:27) This will occur by the Grace of God as we strive to live holy lives, using the tools He has given us for this endeavor: prayer, fasting, charitable works, and the constant remembrance of death.
Our Annual General Parish Meeting and election for 2019 Parish Council members is Sunday, December 2.
Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,
“You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.” — Psalm 65:11
I greet each of you in the name of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ as we embark upon a new church year. The Lord grants us to see the dawn of another new year for our repentance, nothing else. It is not given carelessly or frivolously and because it is God’s gift to us; we will have to give an account of how we spend the gift freely given to us.
We mark the passage of time primarily in one of two ways: 1) according to the secular calendar or 2) according to the church’s cycle of fasts and feasts, the commemoration of saints, and the great feasts of the Lord. If we mark our time according to the secular calendar, we will find little time for God and the spiritual life. Our lives will pass rapidly (this in and of itself should give us pause) and our days will be passed with work responsibilities, family responsibilities, and holidays. There is nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves. However, when these responsibilities crowd out the spiritual life we begin to adopt a secular or worldly attitude about life and death.
The Orthodox Christian’s ultimate goal is theosis, or union with God. That union with God can only be accomplished through the time-tested method of purification and illumination in which the nous becomes purified of the passions and is able to experience God’s love and forgiveness. The processes of purification and illumination presuppose a life in the church. Prayer and fasting are prerequisites in the process of purification and illumination.
A life that revolves around the life of the church calendar is a good place to start. No one can expect success in overcoming the passions without a deep and intimate connection to the life of the church. This means regular attendance at the majority of church services, a daily prayer rule, frequent communication with one’s spiritual father, keeping the prescribed fasts, and confession as deemed appropriate by a spiritual father.
If we haven’t been doing these things, the new year is a good time to consider a new start. We should be more concerned for eternal life than this earthly life. I listened to an interview of a famous person recently and he was asked if he would return to a practice of his faith. He responded that he wanted to wait until the end of his life to do that! The problem with his response is that we don’t know when the end will occur. None of us are promised tomorrow. We have today and that is for our repentance. As we approach a new church year, let us begin by taking the words of our Lord Jesus Christ seriously: “Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand!”
Yours in Christ,
Rt. Rev. Bishop THOMAS (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Oakland, Charleston, and the Mid-Atlantic
of St Michael’s Orthodox Church members
is to become completely loving people.”
“Jesus answered and said, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” - Luke 10:27
“Loving” is a word that is just as startlingly impossible for us to wrestle with as was the “completely” before it. While the lawyer quoting the Law in St. Luke’s Gospel account is able to quote the letter of the law and the primacy of the commandments to love God and neighbor, he, like most of us, falls woefully short of truly comprehending, let alone living, those commandments. Yet we may discover that the simplicity of the reality is as stark as our inability to live it.
Without using any of the words we might expect regarding love, in this Bulletin I’ll use just one — BIG. Starting from the God end of things, we might say that God is BIG. He is BIGger than anything imaginable. He is BIGger than anything unimaginable. His BIGness ‘beyond measure’ makes perfectly good sense as God ‘exists,’ God IS, before anything else IS. Anything that He creates is within Him Who occupies and fills every corner of infinite space and time, even before space and time exist, and is, therefore, ‘smaller’ than Him. (All these words are totally inadequate to this little writing about God, as are any other of the representational tools to which we humans have access.)
So maybe the ‘loving’ we’re called to become in our mission statement might well be described in the words of a hymn that many of us learned as children — “He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole, wide world, in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.” And as He made the whole thing, which means everything that exists, His BIGness is His love and Love is all that He is, as revealed in the pre-eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As no thing does not fit in His hands, as no thing is outside of His hands, then His BIGness is the love that embraces everyone and everything all the time, even when some of the everyones, made to be BIG like Him, decide to play small. >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> “Playing small” could be a definition of what it means to be fallen and sinful, a status we arrived at in the Fall of Mankind in the Garden of Eden. When we play small we abandon the BIGness endowed by God to us in our creation. We bury our BIGness, a formidable accomplishment, under an ever-thickening, yet illusory, mantle of smallness, exchanging the BIGness in us for our own self-designed, scaled down version of humanity. We no longer see ourselves as BIG (Godlike/loving), but small (petty, self-centered, hateful, legends in our own minds, abandoned, fending for ourselves at each others’ expense).
So, how do we regain our BIGness? How do we fix ourselves and become completely loving people? We don’t. We can’t. We don’t need to. Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, the BIG God and the BIG Man has done that for us. He has dug into the depths of our tiny, fallen souls, and restored the BIGness that was lying hidden and dormant under the façade and lie of smallness.
Yes, that is BIG of Him — to restore in us who follow Him, His BIGness which He gave to us in our creation and He now restores in us through the waters of the baptismal font and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But we have a dilemma. Our fear that we really are small continues to nag and haunt us and tempts us to fall back into the lie that we are small.
We need not worry. God continues to give us every opportunity to once again experience His BIGness in ourselves — to become, by His Grace — as BIG as He is. He does this by including in the flow of life challenges that give us opportunities to exercise our BIGness against our seeming smallness. Our egos must be wrestled with. Our self-interest must be battled. Our pride must brought to its knees. And this is just the kind of warfare we’re built for. Let us give Him a BIG “Thank You” and promise to fight to let His BIGness be known wherever we go through our BIGness.
God made us BIG.
We forgot and got small.
Get BIG Again!
On Tuesday, December 4th the Antiochian MEN will prepare a free meal for the benefit of people in our community. There are at least two ways in which you may participate in this charitable activity. The first is to come and help with the planning and execution. The second is to support the event financially. Donation may be given to Gus Flizanes. Anyone who would like to support “Food on the Hill” in whatever capacity you would like should contact Gus Flizanes.
Those who attend our “Food on the Hill” luncheon are also the same people who make use of the generous donations made to “Caleb’s Cupboard,” (which is located at the front entrance of the church). If everyone brought in one item of canned food, or a paper or hygiene product, it would keep Caleb’s Cupboard full so that there is something for those who attend “Food on the Hill” each month. The participants are most grateful for the continuous generosity of food, fellowship and donations. Thank you to the parishioners who consistently give of their time, their culinary skills, their financial and material donations to make these ministries possible.
"Food On The Hill" WEATHER CANCELLATION POLICY - When weather causes Hempfield or Greensburg Salem School District to close for the day; "Food On The Hill" will NOT serve lunch that day! Please refer to TV & Radio Newscasts when in doubt. Thank You!
St. Michael’s Financial Summary
Year to Date as of June 30, 2018
This Year Last Year Budget
Income $146,899.53* $143,463.83 $139,219.96
Expenses $186,696.72 $172,432.35 $185,922.78
Net Loss $(39,797.19) $(28,968.52) $(46,702.82)
*Does not include bequest of $107,718.33
Address questions to Christian Sam or Jeff Curry.
THANK YOU to those who have donated time and money toward the completion of some items on our “needs” list, namely our 1) kitchen renovation and equipment upgrade, 2) the men’s room renovation, 3) the ceiling repairs in the altar server room and 4) the parking lot lighting upgrade.
2018 Christmas Crèche Show
All are invited free of charge!
First United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 6th 4 pm to 8 pm
Come and welcome the season of
ABOUT BISHOP THOMAS
You May Find the Text of the Divine Liturgy beginning on the bottom page 91 of the Service Book (gold embossed cross on the reddish brown cover) or in the green-spiral-bound book; sheet music can be found in the 8.5” x 11” large, spiral-bound booklet.
At the Kiss of Peace,our practice is for each of us to greet the person to our right and left with the bowing of our head, hands held in a prayerful clasp or crossed on the chest, while offering each other the Christian greeting, “Christ is in our midst!” and responding, “He is and shall be!”
Please remember that Holy Communion is reserved for those Chrismated Orthodox Christians who have appropriately prepared themselves through prayer, fasting and Confession to receive the Holy Mysteries of the Church. The bread (anti’doron, which means ’in place’ of the gifts) which we share after Communion and at the end of the Liturgy is for all.
Being mindful we are in church, let us always remember to…
...be quiet and attentive.Let us sing, pray, stand., sit, kneel and respond where responses are indicated. Let us not talk, look around, text message, play games, etc. Especially let us work at this in the Communion line and when in line to venerate the Cross and depart. If we cannot hear the post-Communion prayers being chanted during our departure, we are way too noisy.
...refrain from eating, drinking or chewing gum (most obviously and especially if you will be receiving Holy Communion).
...stay put. Except in rare cases, there are few of us who cannot stay in one location for two hours (usually less, for most of us).
The complete text of the Great Vespers and Matins services for each Sunday may be retrieved and printed from the Antiochian Archdiocese website at http://www.antiochian.org/content/online-liturgical-guide
3 DAY CALENDAR
Friday, November 16th
9:00 AM - DIVINE LITURGY
10:15 A to 12 P - CONFESSIONS
Saturday, November 17th
(fish, wine & oil ok)
“Becoming Truly Human”
W’shop St. George, Oajland
NO Great Vespers
Sunday, November 18th
8:45 AM - ORTHROS
9:30 - Choir Rehearsal
10:00 AM - DIVINE LITURGY (Church School Sermon)
Ministry Team Sign-Ups
12:30 PM - Abortion Prayers
PARISH COUNCIL MINUTES
CLICK HERE for September 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for August 21 2018 Parish Council Mimutes
CLICK HERE for June 19th 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for March 27th 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for Church Audit Report
CLICK HERE for January 23rd 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for January 28th 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for March 1st February Parish Council Minutes
Advent Mini-Retreat for Women and Men
Presented by Sisters of the
“Remaining Christ-Centered” — Mother Paula
Saturday, December 1, 2018
10:00 am to 3:00 pm (Lunch will be served.)
RSVP by November 25th – (724) 834-1311
The Antiochian Women
Antiochian Village Camp Dates to Note —
PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF REMINDERS,
DATES AND EVENTS
Sunday, November 11
Decorate Advent (then Christmas) Tree
Saturday, November 17
Workshop at St. George Cathedral
Saturday, November 18
IOCC Day of Sharing (special collection)
Sarris Candy Order Due
Saturday, December 1
Antiochian Women Retreat
Sunday, December 2
Annual General Parish Meeting
Wednesday, December 5
6:00 PM Divine Liturgy;
Sunday, December 16
Women and Church School
Sunday, January 13
NOVEMBER is MINISTRY TEAM MONTH
There has been great progress
Now we want to focus on getting a
(Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United for Service)
FOCUS Pittsburgh is collecting clothes (clean and in good condition, please) for the very, very needy people (many homeless) in the Hill District neighborhood of the city. Clothing including coats, jackets, sweaters, trousers, shirts, blouses and other tops, shoes, handbags, gloves, scarves, etc., are all gratefully received and appreciated.
There is a drop-off area at the top of the stairs at the main entrance for those who would contribute. The contact person for this project are Marilyn Elias.
We are seeking new members who would be interested in learning how to prepare the Memorial Wheat. We have a group of women who currently fulfill this important function and are willing to teach anyone who may be interested in becoming part of this ministry team. For more information, contact Val Flizanes or call the church office.
The big chest you see as you come through the main entrance of our church, is a simple way to help our hungry neighbors. Just bring in a few cans of food or other unperishables when you come to church and you will making a difference for someone.
Please check that the goods you bring are “reasonably” close in time to the expiration date. (While we know the food lasts longer than that date, it is not always easy to tell how much longer.)
IOCC SYRIAN RELIEF UPDATE
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this year’s Syrian Relief Dinner back on March 4. Net proceeds of $37,129 were sent to IOCC which mean the Syrian people received $260,000 in leveraged aid through this effort.
For information on IOCC and how to become part of the worthwhile work being done, visit www.iocc.org.
Please CLICK HERE for the form to provide us with your information. Or, see the form on the new back page of the weekly bulletin. We want to serve you better and we need your help. Please understand that we will protect yur privacy from the standpoint of the church. We will not show or distribute your email address!
November 4th Attendance
- Calendar: Check out what's scheduled this month including weekly services, meeting, fasting dates, events etc.
- The Holy Gospel: This weeks reading
- The Epistle: This weeks reading
- Weekly Announcements: Keep in touch with all of the happenings of St. Michael's, the services, events and more
- 2010 Graduates
- Church School: Orthodox Institute for Christian Education
- Administration: Names, phone numbers and email addresses for Father and Parish Council
- Illumination Project: Learn how you can be a part of beautifying St. Michaels and who to contact
- Photo Album: Pictures of Services and events at St. Michael's
- About Orthodoxy: Articles about the faith
- You Tube: Watch St. Michael's and other Orthodox events on You Tube
- Facebook: St. Michael's Main Page, Church School Page
- Ancient Faith Radio: Listen to music, listen to discussions or play the radio itself
- The Word: Read The Word Magazine online - "NEW EDITION!"
- History and Founders: The History and Founders of St. Michael's
- Print and read the weekly Bulletin or monthly Newsletter
- Driving Directions: If you need to know how to get to St. Michael's...Find out how here
- Contact Us: Direct questions to Father, individuals on Parish Council or general questions St. Michaels