Week of September 16

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

Our next Open House Weekend is just about a month away, on Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20. The full schedule for those two days appears later in this newsletter, but please be praying about the folks that you will invite, and please make plans now to join us for all the events and services during that important weekend.

Our Calendar

Fasting Days

Wednesday, September 18, and Friday, September 20

Daily Services

Monday, September 23-Friday, September 20

  • Orthros 5am

  • Vespers 5pm

(Also, please don’t forget that since life in our parish community can be pretty busy, sometimes the starting times for the daily services has to be shifted. So, if you know ahead of time that you will be attending a particular service, it’s always a good idea to send Father Aidan a note at fraidan@austin.rr.com to confirm when the service will actually begin.)

Tuesday, September 17

Feast of St Sophia

  • Divine Liturgy 10am in Dripping Springs

 Wednesday, September 18

  • Fall Theological Seminar 7pm at the parish house and in Georgetown and in Harker Heights. We will be discussing Chpt 3, pgs 19-28

 Thursday, September 19

  • Choir Practice 7pm

 Saturday, September 21

  • St Thomas School 4pm
    Matt Groh will lead the discussion on Chapter 6 The Formation of the Yearly  Cycle of Worship

  • Great Vespers 6pm

 Sunday, September 22

First Sunday of St Luke

  • Orthros 8am
    Ella and Joelle Zawaideh will be baptized and Ben, Abby, and Betty Helton will be made catechumens between Orthros and the Liturgy; please arrive early so you can join us for these Holy Mysteries)

  • Divine Liturgy 10am

  • Fellowship Hour Noon

This Week at St. Thomas School

Chapter 6: The Formation of the Yearly Cycle of Worship 

 All of the martyrs, beheaded saints, veneration days, feasts, fasting, abstinence rules, and processions between the sanctuary and the people or even between cities, as anciently practiced from Jerusalem to Bethany, seem like foolishness not only to people who don’t believe in or don’t know about Christ, but also to many Christians nowadays from other traditions or sects. Starting around the fourth century, Christians in large cities began sharing their local church traditions of venerating martyrs and saints as well as different feast days like Theophany and Christmas. Jerusalem, for example, gave the Church the Exaltation of Cross, which we have just celebrated. 

 In Chapter 6, Metropolitan gives us the teaching of the Holy Fathers, especially during the fourth century. He gives us the evidence written to compare to the evidence seen in the Orthodox Church today. He not only tells us but shows us the beautiful “exchange of feasts” between East and West, all of which helps increase our love for the Holy Trinity and helps us imitate the way of the saints so that we might also be enriched by their, “invincible devotion to their King and Teacher.” 

 As we’ve already heard it taught recently on Sunday that our fasting or feasting is not just for our own benefit, but for others too. Our life in the yearly worship, Metropolitan Hilarion seems to say, is formed and revolves around the formation of Christ’s life and death. Come join us this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. to learn about some must-know details of how our Orthodox worship forms us into Christ who guides us into all kinds of beneficial exchanges. 

Our Open House Weekend

Our next Open House Weekend, which will be on Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20. Our speaker at St Thomas School on October 19 will be Dr. Mark Cherry; Mark is a member of St. Elias and a professor of philosophy and ethics at St. Edwards University. He will be talking at 4pm about the intersection of faith and politics—which is what we are also talking about in our Fall Theological Seminar—and, since that is sure to be of interest to lots and lots of folks, we are hoping that you will invite your friends and family members to join us for his talk or for one of the services throughout that weekend.

Of course, with each of our Open House Weekends, we not only invite a guest to an event or a service, but we also attend all of the services and events on Saturday and Sunday. That means we commit to showing up at St Thomas School and Great Vespers on Saturday, and Orthros, Church School, Divine Liturgy, and Fellowship Hour on Sunday because we want to make a good impression on folks; we want them to see Holy Orthodoxy at its best.

To help publicize the weekend, attached to this newsletter is a flyer that you can send to your friends and family and neighbors and co-workers; there is also a version that can be used on social media. To be sure, the best way to encourage folks to join us on October 19-20 is to speak to them in person, but we also want to reach as many people as we can, so go ahead and share the flyer with all your contacts.

Stewardship Visits

Stewardship Visits are the key to our Annual Budget Campaign. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s process:

  • Look over the proposed budget that is attached to this newsletter. Then, on your assigned Sunday (see the schedule that’s printed below), show up at the presentation the Finance Committee will make in the common room of the parish house. At that presentation, the Finance Folks will highlight certain aspects of the budget and answer any questions you might have; they will also pass out the 2020 Commitment Cards.

  • You can fill the card out and give it to one of the Finance Folks after the presentation. You can fill the card out and place it in the Offering Bowl. You can fill the card out and give it to the priest. But we need you to be as specific as you can because we actually plan off of the information that you will put on that card. Also, this year, we are asking everyone to write their contact information on the card, so that we can make sure that our membership roster is up to date (street address; email address; phone numbers).

  • Once we receive the card, you will receive a thank you note via email. In the past, the priest has written all of those notes by hand, but he has developed a tremor in his right hand (nothing to worry about; he’s just getting old), so his hand writing has deteriorated. However, he will be sending you the thank you note via email. The purpose of the note is three-fold: to thank you for your generosity to our community, to confirm that we have recorded your commitment accurately, and to share with you the new sign-in information for the membership section of the website, which now changes each year.

  • If you miss your assigned presentation, you are welcome to attend one of the other sessions or one of the make-up sessions (again, check the schedule below). Nevertheless, we need all commitment cards to be returned by Sunday, November 17; that way the Finance Folks can adjust the budget in any way that might be needed. And when it comes to getting those cards returned, we are pretty relentless: In fact, we will send you a very polite and very discrete email each week until you turn in the card or until you say, “Go away. Leave me alone.”

  • Of course, we want everyone to fill out a card because having a card on file means you will continue to be an official member of St John’s. As an official member, you will continue to receive this amazing weekly newsletter, you will have ongoing access to the membership section of the website, and you will be eligible to vote in the Annual Community Meeting which happens each February.

  • Four times a year, the Finance Folks will send you a quarterly statement of your giving, and you will receive an annual statement at the end of the year. If you have questions about the budget or your statements, you can always ask the priest or any of the Finance Folks, but no one will ever, under any circumstances, pressure you about your giving.

 See the emailed newsletter for the schedule.
Deadline for Cards: Sunday, November 17th.

 Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy

Every week, our offering bowl is full of checks that adults place there--and we are grateful for each and every one of those checks. But the bowl should also be rattling with the change and overflowing with the bills that children and young people place there--because that's how we are going to teach them about generosity and stewardship. So, parents and grandparents, if you aren't already doing so, please provide your children and young people with money that they can place in the offering bowl; it's an important part of their participation in the Divine Liturgy, and it's how they are going to learn about the joys of giving.

Attached to the emailed edition of The Happy Priest is a copy of our quarterly Liturgy Prayer List. Please download it to your phone or print it out and place it in your icon corner, so you can remember those on the list each and every day.

an unworthy priest