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Returning Home To America
At our final desination of North America, Reader Jerry (Herman) Kincaid explained how St. Herman brought the Orthdox Christian Faith to Alaska. Saint Herman is the first American Saint. Jerry explained how St. Herman helped the Alaskan natives who were being mistreated by the Russian traders.
St.Herman was a monk. He not only evangelized the Alaskans, but lived the life of a monk with fasting and prayer. One of his greatest miracles was to stop a tidal wave from destroying Spruce Island.
St. Herman even made a surprise visit to our church school students! He explained more about his life. He even wore a 16-pound iron cross and chain around his neck.
St. Herman encouraged all the students to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere their lives take them.
This Sunday following Liturgy, a short service of thanksgiving was held. During this service our parishioners turned in their pledge cards with their tithe promises for the coming year. Father Andrew taught us eight secrets of giving during the last three weeks. Now and in the upcoming year let us be cheerful givers and work for the Glory of the Lord.
Here we see Father Andrew blessing the pledge cards that were turned in by the parishioners.
Property Work Continues
Work continues on the parish building to complete some of the projects left undone during the construction phase. New electric outlets have been placed in the choir loft floor for the lights on the music stands.
The elctric has been run in the room behind the choir loft with outlets being added and new electric lines being run. Additionally lights will be run to the bell tower and out the front of the building for new light fixtures that have been purchased to illuminate the front door area.
A spotlight has been added behind the bush in front of the bell tower to illunimate the plaque on the tower.
A double light has been also added outside to light up the flagpole at night so that the flag can be left up at night. The second head of the light will illuminate the cross in the landscaping.
Vinyl siding has been added to the outside of the old kitchen area as well as a new roof. Next year we plan to rennovate the inside of this area for the clergy.
On To Romania
This week our passport program turned it's sites on Romania. Romania was originally called Dacia, and was defeated by the Roman Empire in 106 AD. Emperor Traian ruled over the Roman Empire at time. Romania, as well as other countries in the Roman Empire, understood Greek and Latin. This made it easier for the apostles in their missionary work. St. Andrew, the brother of St. Peter, brought Christianity to Romania around 106 A.D. Many of the Roman soldiers, who lived in Romania, also converted to Christianity.
Romania has many beautiful monasteries. They are unique in that the monasteries have icons painted on the outside, as well as on the inside.
The boundaries of Romania have changed over the centuries. These are displays of the many different costumes the people of Romania wear, depending on the region of the country they are from.
Our older students received information around Romainia.
Here a younger group of students seem very interested as well.
Above and below we can see pictures or arts and crafts that are native to Romania.
Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church Visits St. Luke Parish
St. Luke Parish welcomed visitors today from the Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. Approximately 30 visitors along with their Pastor Steve Spiller were kind enough to make the trip and take the time to visit. Father Andrew greeted them and gave a brief history of the Orthodox Church and explained what was represented in the church and by the icons.
Next followed a brief Typica service to demonstrate to our visitors a little of what our worship is like. Father then held a question and answer session. It was noted how well our visitors sang along with us during the service and we immediately tried to recruit some new choir members. They were kind enough to sing a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace" for us.
Father Andrew proceeded to give a tour of the building. It was a wonderfully spiritual evening and as one of our guests noted, "The Holy Spirit was here because I felt It". We were honored to have these wonderful people visit us and let us as always continue to pray for the unity of all Christians.
All Aboard For The Slavic Lands
"The Baptism of Rus - Christianity comes to the Slavic Lands"
This Sunday our passport program had us traveling to the Slavic Lands. Anthea tells the story of how Christianity came to the Slavic Lands - Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In the year 988 Prince Vladimir sent emissaries abroad to find a religion for his people in what was then known as Kievan Rus. After visiting many mosques and churches, they came home and told Vladimir that they were disappointed until they visited Constantinople and saw the beauty and worship of the Christians there (the Orthodox Church).......stating they did not know if they were in heaven or earth! Remembering also that the Prince's grandmother, Princess Olga, had been baptized many years earlier, Prince Vladimir decided that he and all his people would be accept Christ and be baptized in the Dnieper River.
Deacon Andrew entertains the children with a Ukrainian song on his bandura!
The display included religious items and cultural treasures from Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, and Slovakia
A New Look For Our Handmaidens
At St. Luke Parish for those of our young women who wish to, they may participate in the Liturgy as handmaidens. Among other tasks, they assist the priest and deacon during Holy Communion by holding a cloth to catch any spills. It is an honor to do this and this week they were all given new robes to wear during the Liturgy.
All Aboard The Orient Express
Michaelyn directed our students and teachers to the Far East. We learned that the Nestorians planted the seeds of Christianity in China in 635 AD. Archaelogical diggings have found crosses in various places. Today we see Christian churches in Korea, Japan, and China. The Russian traders were instrumental in establishing Othodox churches in Japan because they wanted to worship there during commercial years. Did you know that at Pascha the Korean Orthodox Christians are the first around the globe to proclaim "Christ is risen?"
Among the objects on display were garments worn by the Chinese and Korean people and a tea set made from Korean green clay. To tantalize the taste buds, dried seaweed and Korean Kimchee (hot & spicy cabbage) were available to sample.
Children's Sermon On Giving
As the children gathered around, Father Andrew showed them a vase with some stones in the bottom and filled to overflowing with water. He explained that this represented all the good things that God gives to us. Then he took some tongs and removed a rock from the vase and the water level went down. He told the children that removing the rock was like giving to God and when we do give we have less but it gives God the chance to give us more good things and fill the vase up again. He taught them that it is when we give that we in fact receive. It is written that "you shall not test the Lord your God." Yet Father Andrew explained that this is the one time we may test the Lord for it is written Mal.3: 10 "I am the Lord All-Powerful. and I challenge you to put me to the test. Bring the entire ten percent into the storehouse, so there will be food in my house. Then I will open the windows of heaven and flood you with blessing after blessing." We would all do well to remember this all the days of our life.
Annual Christmas Present Program Is Underway
Once again this year St. Luke Parish is involved in the Department of Social Services Christmas Present Program. We are committed to provide presents for 80 children this year. Presents should be placed at the provided table in the new fellowship hall.
Congratulations To Father Andrew And Pat On Their New Granddaughter
Congradulations to Father Andrew and Pat on the birth of their granddaughter, Emily Helen Harrison - 5lb 9oz - Born October 25th, 2003.
Welcome To Our New Orthodox Christians
This week our newest Orthodox Christians received a silver cross to wear around their necks. Father Andrew also presented them with an icon. See pictures above and below
Next Stop Ireland
This week our passport program studied Christianity in Ireland. Everyone knows that Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. However, did you know that he wasn't Irish? Jackie explained the life of Saint Patrick and how he lived among the people to bring them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. See pictures above and below.
Various books and articles were on display as well.
Katie and Kristen entertained all of us with Irish music. It truly added to the flavor and experience of visiting Ireland.