Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
This coming Sunday, February 10, we will have our Annual Community Meeting right after the Divine Liturgy. You can read all the reports and details in this week’s edition of The Happy Priest, but we will not only get a brief run-down on how our parish is doing, we will also elect two new members to the parish council, so please plan on joining us for this important yearly event.
Wednesday, February 6, and Friday, February 8
There will be no daily services this week as all the clergymen will be in Wichita, Kansas, for their annual retreat. So, this week, if you need to contact Father Aidan, please send a text or email to Father Deacon Andrew Wilson, whose phone is Always On.
Tuesday, February 5
Choir Practice 7pm
Saturday, February 9
St Thomas School 4pm De Anne Maisano will be leading the discussion on Chapter 30 The Last Judgement
Great Vespers with the Jesus Prayer 6pm
Sunday, February 10
Sunday of the Canaanite Woman
Divine Liturgy 10am
Annual Community Meeting Noon
This Week at St Thomas School
Chapter 30 The Last Judgment
The last judgment can take on a frightful aspect and produce much anxiety. In reality it is a call for us to love all people in the same way Christ had first come to us without judgment, in love, forgiveness, and with many second chances given.
Metropolitan Hilarion also touches on the topic of people who live by their conscience outside the Church in light of the Patristic tradition and Scripture.
The last judgment is not based on “arbitrariness,” as Metropolitan Hilarion explains, but it confirms that Christ respects each person’s decision in life.
The last judgment simply reveals the truth of our lives, and Christ reveals to all people His glory, mercy, and righteousness. It is not God’s chance for revenge.
We invite you to come and discover with us how the last judgment confirms God’s loving kindness. If His mercy is offered freely to all people, how can we likewise extend that to every person and rejoice in His glory?
Our 2019 Annual Community Meeting will be this Sunday, February 10, during Fellowship Hour. During that meeting, we will briefly review all the reports from the parish council, and we will elect two new members for the council. Attached to this edition of The Happy Priest are all the reports which will be used at the meeting, so please read those ahead of time, and, if you have any questions, check with our parish council president, Chris Lewis. Remember, to vote in the council elections, you will need to have filled out a 2019 Commitment Card, so, if you overlooked that important item, check with Nick Crown, the head of our Finance Committee.
This year, our candidates for the parish council are Erica Wood, Vera Poe, Demetry Zozulya, and Jerry Juliano. All of these folks have served on the council previously, and you cannot go wrong with any of them. Our constitution also allows for nominations from the floor at the Annual Community Meeting. Each of these people have served on the council before, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. Our constitution also allows for nominations from the floor during the meeting itself; nevertheless, since our constitution also requires that everyone nominated be 1) over 18 years of age 2) a member of our parish for at least 12 months, 3) a regular participant in the Holy Mysteries of Confession and the Eucharist, and 4) a consistent financial contributor to our community, it’s always important to A) check with the person you wish to nominate and B) check with Father Aidan before making the actual nomination during the Annual Meeting. That way, we can avoid any awkward and embarrassing moments.
The Triodion, the three week period of preparation leading up to Great Lent, will begin on Sunday, February 17. That means it’s time to start thinking about how we are going to fast, when we will make our confession, how often we will participate in the weekday Lenten services (most weeks, there are services on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings), and which of the Saturdays of Souls we will be attending (this year, the Saturdays of Souls fall on March 2, March 23, March 30, and June 15).
During Great Lent, we will also be reading a short book together in preparation for the Pascha Book Study; the book is called Laughing at the Devil; it’s by Laura Hall, and it is now on sale at Christ the Lightgiver Bookstore. The book is part memoir and part commentary on the very first book ever written in English by a woman about the spiritual life. That woman is Julian of Norwich, and Laura Hall, who is a Protestant does a very good job of connecting Julian’s insights with contemporary issues. As Orthodox Christians, we won’t agree with everything that Laura says, but we will learn a great deal both from her and from Julian, so go ahead and pick up the book and be looking for the schedule of readings in this newsletter.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
After receiving the Eucharist, it is traditional to share the blessed bread with our visitors and with the folks who are catechumens; this is one important way we can welcome people and help them participate in the Divine Liturgy. However, please ask them first if they would like some bread; if you wish to give a piece of blessed bread to a child, always ask their parents first. Also, if you see that the person with whom you intended to share the bread already has a piece, then simply share the bread with another person.
I will be praying for you all while we are at the Clergy Brotherhood Retreat, and I will be looking forward to seeing all of you at the Annual Community Meeting.
An unworthy priest,