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Message from the Rector

The Wonders of the Mother of God - In this season as we await our Savior’s birth, we are inundated by the grace of her who bore Him in her womb and in her arms.  Bishop Nicholas brought her wonderworking Kursk icon to us; then followed the great feast of her Entry into the Temple; and here today, the Church asks us to remember her wonder-working icon once more.  In a sense, we are always in a feast of the Mother of God, because we are always rejoicing in the saving work of her Son and our God, from which she is never separated.

Russia is called “the House of the Mother of God” because of the richness of her witness in icons and Russian history intertwined with them.  We have a print of a Russian icon with 85 wonderworking icons of the Mother of God in the margin.  At the same time, this is Orthodox history for all of us.  The Kursk icon visits us so frequently because, in the century since the Russian revolution, the icon has protected the Russian diaspora.  Currently, the icon is head-quartered in New York, in our Cathedral of the Sign of the Mother of God.  It is a wonder in itself that this icon has survived from 1295 until now.  Her wonders are innumerable, just as her grace is full to overflowing.  St. Seraphim of Sarov was healed of the devastating effects of a fall when he was a child.  St. John of Shanghai and SanFrancisco, our dear “Vladyka John,” reposed before the icon, collapsing into a chair as he was crossing himself.  People we know, including someone in our parish, have experienced major and minor healing at the touch of the icon.  As says a common hymn to her:

Never, O Theotokos, will we cease to speak of thy powers, unworthy as we are.  For if thou didst not intercede in prayer, who would have delivered us from so many dangers?  Who would have kept us free until now?  Let us never forsake thee, O Lady, for thou dost ever save thy servants from all perils.”   (Jordanville Prayer Book, p. 236)

Announcements

The 27th Sunday after Pentecost - The Kursk Root Icon of the Sign of the Mother of God - December 10th, 2017

The Nativity Fast is in progress.  Its object is to enable us to better prepare for the Nativity of the Savior.  As before, Joel Kalvesmaki provides us with his own home-roasted coffee, and samples will be for sale in support of parish revenue.  Please check your calendars for fasting conditions.  It continues through Saturday, January 6th, Nativity Eve.

Dorothy Dague Is Home! - After her long bout in the hospital with respiratory problems, she is able now to be at home, much to the relief of her family and caregivers Fr. Deacon John and Matushka Joannikia.  Pray for her continued health and ability to be brought to us at church.

St. Joseph’s Chapel Property Development - Architect Andrew Gould is working on designs for the chapel and parish hall.  Soon, we will need to amass the funds to enable Andrew to complete these initial drawings for us.  We are convinced that God has sent him to us.  Let us not be weary in this instance of well-doing.

Time to Make or Renew Your Annual Pledge - To help us with steady financial help and fulfill  our responsibility to God and each other, we make a pledge of a percentage of our income to support the parish.  The ideal foundation of our givig should be 10% of our income.  Those who do at least this much can testify of God’s present blessings.  If you have not done so before, and to renew and update your pledge, please complete a pledge form and return it to the donation box when completed.  Please speak with Father George, Father Christopher, or our treasurer, Mariya Petrenko.

Sunday School at the Rectory - Sunday School classes will be held directly after our agape meal here.  There are 5 classes.  Pre-schoolers meet on the sun porch.  Kindergarten-primary children meet in the windowed part of the basement.  Elementary and younger teenagers meets in the kitchen.  Older teenagers meet in the fireplace family room.  Adults gather for open forum in the living room.

Travelers to Remember - Reader Kyrill Shillen is out this week. Abraham Alexander is currently sojourning in Canada, helping his family.  Alexander and Nino Vajda, and their baby son Vincent, are out of town through this weekend.  Also this weekend, Matushka Joannikia Dean is in Boston helping her oldest friend.  Pray for everyone’s safe journey and return to us.

See What’s In Our Book Store - It’s right to the left of the closet in back.  We don’t have a lot of things, but some very useful for your spiritual life.  For example, the Jordanville prayer book contains our standard usage for both our home and church prayers.  Please obtain one if you do not have one, and begin to make use of it in your own daily prayers.  The price is $19.95.

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