Parish Life

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Saint Peter Antiochian Orthodox Church
Madison, Mississippi
Thursday, January 29, 2015
2/1 announcements
February 1, 2015
Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican
Forefeast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple
    The theme of the fourth Sunday before Lent is HUMILITY and the Gospel lesson of the Publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:10-14) is read.  Here we are taught to avoid the arrogant thoughts of the Pharisee and to emulate the humble prayer of the Publican "God be merciful to me a sinner."
II Timothy 3:10-15:  In St Paul's second letter to Timothy we are reminded that godliness will bring persecutions;  and we are encouraged to continue doing those things that we have been taught so as to gain the wisdom that leads to salvation in Christ.
Luke 18:10-14:  In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-gatherer, Jesus teaches us that justification does not come to those who are proud and arrogant, but rather to those who are humble and repen­tant.
Troparion of the Resurrection:  The stone being sealed by the Jews, and thy pure body being guarded by the soldiers, thou didst arise on the third day, O Saviour, granting life to the world.  Wherefore, the heavenly powers acclaimed thee, O Giver of life, crying, Glory to thy Resurrection, O Christ! Glory to thy kingdom!  Glory to thy gracious providence, O only Lover of mankind.
Troparion of the Forefeast of the Presentation: The Heavens' choir looked down from the vaults of the Heavens and gazing on the earth, they beheld with amazement the First-born of all creation brought forth as a suckling babe to the Temple by a pure and virginal mother; and with us, they now do sing a hymn for the Forefeast, astonished and full of awe.
Troparion of the Chains of St. Peter: O Holy Apostle, Peter, thou dost preside over the Apostles by the precious chains which thou didst bear.  We venerate them with faith and beseech thee that by thine intercessions we be granted the great mercy.
Kontakion of the Presentation: Thou, O Christ God, who by your Birth, didst sanctify the Virgin's womb, and as is meet, didst bless Simeon's arms, and didst also come to save us, preserve thy fold in wars, and confirm them whom thou didst love; for thou alone art the Lover of mankind.
Sunday, February 1   (Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee)
            8:50 a.m.         -- Orthros
            9:00 a.m.         -- Christian Education
            10:00 a.m.       -- Divine Liturgy
            5:30 p.m.         -- Youth Group
Monday, February 2   (Presentation of our Lord in the Temple)
    Many years before the coming of Christ there lived a very pious and saintly man called Simeon.  He was one of the most intelligent Jewish scholars of his day.  Simeon prayed for the day that the Saviour would come and deliver all Israel (and the world) from sin.  One evening while kneeling in prayer, Simeon heard the voice of God saying to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Holy Tradition tells us that Simeon waited many long years.  Some Holy Fathers inform us that Simeon was over 150 years old when the Promise of God was fulfilled. The Holy Scriptures tell us that 40 days after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ  the Virgin Mary brought the Christ Child to the Temple for Presentation.  It was a law that the first born son of a family should be offered to God and His service, as soon as a period of purification was past.  It was here that Simeon waited patiently that day, as he had done for so many years.  The Spirit of the Lord brought him to the baby Jesus.  Simeon took the infant Child in his trembling hands and recited the following beautiful prayer which is recited in the Orthodox Church every evening during Vesper services:
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. 
For mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation which thou hast prepared before the
face of all peoples.  A Light to enlighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of
thy people Israel."
    Thus the promise to the aged Simeon was finally fulfilled.  The next day Simeon died in peace, thankful to Almighty God that he was honored to see the coming of Christ.
    This custom has continued down to our own day for both male and female children, and every mother who brings her new-born child to Church on the fortieth day is remembering the Great Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple.   
            6:00 a.m.         -- Divine Liturgy (only)
            Office Closed -- Father John's Day Off
            7:00 p.m.         -- Dr. Veniamin's Talk
Tuesday, February 3   (Simeon the God-receiver)
            6:00 a.m.         -- Daily Orthros
            7:00 p.m.         -- Dr. Veniamin's Talk
Wednesday, February 4
            6:00 p.m.         -- Daily Vespers
            7:00 p.m.         -- Dr. Veniamin's Talk
Thursday, February 5  
            11:30 a.m.      -- Men's Lunch
Friday, February 6   
Saturday, February 7   
            5:45 p.m.         -- Ninth Hour followed by Great Vespers
Sunday, February 8   (Sunday of the Prodigal Son)
            8:50 a.m.         -- Orthros
            9:00 a.m.         -- Christian Education
            10:00 a.m.       -- Divine Liturgy
            12:00 p.m.       -- Pot Luck Meal
            5:00 p.m.         -- Young Adults
Eucharist Bread …was offered by Fahmys for the Divine Liturgy today. 
Please be reminded that the Sacristy/Vestry which is adjacent to and behind the altar in our church is considered by the Orthodox Church to be part of the Sanctuary (Altar area) and should not be entered without the blessing of the priest for a specific purpose.  If you need to speak with a member of the clergy while they are in the Sanctuary, please ask them to come to you in the nave.
Eucharist Bread and Coffee Hour Schedule:
                                          Eucharist Bread                   Coffee Hour
February 1                       Fahmy                                     Karam/Stewart/Meadows
February 2 (Mon am)     Wood                                       Kh. Sharon Meadows
February 8                       R. Root                                    POT LUCK MEAL     
                                                                                          SET-UP:  Ellis/Zouboukos/Fahmy
February 14 (Sat am)     Henderson                              
         (Saturday of the Souls – Koliva:  Abraham)
February 15                     Algood                           Pigott/Brock/Strain
February 22                     Katool                            Teens Cheesefare Fundraiser
Schedule for Epistle Readers – Page numbers refer to the Apostolos (book of the Epistles) located on the front pew.  Please be sure to use this book when you read.
                                             Reader                                  Reading                          Page#
February 1                          Phillip Lasseter                     II Tim. 3:10-15             258
February 2 (Mon am)         Kh Sharon Meadows          Heb. 7:7-17                    371
February 8                           Tom Skirtech                        I Cor. 6:12-20                265
February 14 (Sat am)         David Turner                        I Cor. 10:23-26              271-272
February 15                         Tom Willingham                 I Cor. 8:8-9:2                 273
February 22                         Walt Wood                           Rom. 13:11-14:4          279
Please be reminded of the following:
Be very careful with the Blessed Bread when you take it after communion.  Because this bread has been blessed, we should take care not to let crumbs fall on the floor.  Parents, especially, please help your children to choose a small piece and treat it carefully.
         Also, at the end of the liturgy, maintain a prayerful disposition during the veneration of the cross as the prayers of thanksgiving after communion are still underway.  Please exchange your greetings with each other in the Fellowship Hall during Coffee Hour.
Continue to pray for Metropolitan Paul (who is also the brother of our Patriarch) and the Syriac Archbishop John of Aleppo who were abducted while on a humanitarian mission in Syria.
Please continue to pray for the health of His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN.
Please remember the following in your prayers:  Steve, Sheryl and Stephen Chamblee; Amy and Brantley Oliver; Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Sam and Lamia Dabit and Sammie; Georgia Buchanan, George Johns (Georgia's grandson) and his family; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon's sister); Fr. Stephen Tewfik; Sh. Gail Shannon; Dn. Sidney and Sh. Mary Elliot;
Walt and Charlotte Wood and their family; Tom and Jennifer Skirtech and their family; Tom and Kathy Willingham; Athena and Anthony Zouboukos and their family.
Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.
Calendar Items:
*    The Men of the parish meet for lunch and fellowship on the first Thursday of the month.
*    The Ladies of St. Peter will meet at 10:00 a.m. on the third Saturday this month to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children.  Those who are able will go out for lunch and fellowship at La Brioche afterwards.  We will not have our usual monthly Ladies Lunch on the fourth Tuesday this month due to the start of Great Lent.
*    We will celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple with Divine Liturgy (only) TOMORROW  morning, beginning at 6:00 a.m.
*    Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon Seminary will be speaking at St. Peter's February 2-4, 2015.
*    Youth Retreat at Roosevelt State Park, February 13-15th.
*    The Teens will be holding their annual Cheesefare Meal to raise funds for the Youth Group on Sunday, February 22nd following the Divine Liturgy.
*    Parish Creative Arts Festival – Saturday morning, February 28th from 9:00-12:00. 
*    Sunday of Orthodoxy vespers at St. Peter – March 1st, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
House Blessings!  A sign-up sheet is available in the Fellowship Hall to sign up for your house blessing.  You may also e-mail Father John at with 3 dates for your blessing.  Please schedule these as soon as possible.  Everyone should have their home blessed.  However, the responsibility for scheduling lies with individuals and not with Father John.   No house blessings will be done once Great Lent starts (February 23rd this year).
Young Adults Study Group:  The Young Adults agreed to begin meeting twice a month.  One of these meetings will feature a teaching by Fr. John on various aspects of the Orthodox Christian faith.  Topics will include education, ethics and parenting children.  The next meetings will be Sunday, March 8th and 22nd.
Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, will visit St. Peter's February 1-4, 2015.  He will speak at our church on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  His topic will be "The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation."  We are priviledged to have a man of Dr. Veniamin's stature with us.  This promises to be a most edifying and instructive time for our church. 
Lower Mississippi Valley Teen Retreat:  The Teen Retreat will be February 13-15, 2015 at Roosevelt State Park.  The speaker for the retreat will be Heiromonk Benedict (Josuah Armitage).  His topic will be "Dealing with Doubts about God."  We are very excited to have Fr. Benedict come to address this important topic with our teens!  Be sure to mark your calendars now.
Pledge Letters were mailed this week.  Please fill these out and return them to the office as soon as possible. Your pledges make it possible to plan a budget for the coming year.
The letters confirming your non-taxable donations for 2014 were also mailed.  If you do not receive your letter in the mail within the next week, please contact Kh. Sharon.
Parish Creative Arts Festival:  The Christian Education classes will have a festival to work on their entries for this year's Creative Arts Festival on Saturday morning, February 28th from 9:00a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  There will be teaching about this year's conference theme and then time to work on the projects themselves.  Please make plans for your children to attend.
We will be hosting the Sunday of Orthodoxy vespers this year on Sunday evening, March 1st, beginning at 6:00 p.m.  St. Peter will provide Pot Luck refreshments afterwards.  As a result, we will NOT have our regularly scheduled Pot Luck Meal on March 8th.
Camp St. Thekla is filling up fast.  If you are interested in having your child participate, please see Father John as soon as possible.  Scholarship forms are available in the church office, but they must be turned in before March 1st.
Parish Life Conference 2015:  This year St. Ignatius Orthodox Church in Franklin, TN will be hosting the Parish Life Conference for our Diocese on June 10-14.  His Grace, Bishop JOHN Abdallah will be the speaker.  Registration forms are available in the office or you can go online at to register.  The Conference will take place at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs and last day to book the special conference rate is May 20th.
Suggestions on use of the Cry Room:
            -- Please remember you're in liturgy when you're in the cry room.
            -- Its main purpose should be a place for parents to take their children if they're being disruptive during liturgy, staying for 5-10 minutes (or until the child is calmed down) and then returning to liturgy.
            -- It should not be used as a main sitting area during the liturgy.
            -- Children should not be eating snacks or watching electronic devices while in the cry room.
Thermostats in the Fellowship Hall:  There are two thermostats in the Fellowship Hall—one in the main room to control the air in the main room, and a second one in the Nursery room that controls the air in all four of the Sunday School rooms.  Please be sure when you leave the building that both thermostats are set to 80 degrees in warm weather or 60 degrees in cold weather.
Fasting Discipline for February
The traditional fasting (no meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil) is observed on all Wednesdays and Fridays of the month.  Following  Meatfare Sunday (February 15th) meat will not be eaten again until Pascha.  During the week following Meatfare Sunday, dairy products (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.) are permitted, even on Wednesday and Friday.  February 22nd is Cheesefare Sunday, the last day that dairy and wine are permitted.  Monday, February 23rd is Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent when the traditional fasting discipline is observed on all days of the week until Pascha (except Annunciation on March 25th and Palm Sunday on April 5th, when fish wine and oil are permitted).
Major Commemorations for February
February 1             Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican
February 2             Presentation of our Lord in the Temple
February 3             Simeon the God-receiver
February 8             Sunday of the Prodigal Son
February 10           Hieromartyr Haralampos
February 11           Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste
February 14           Saturday of the Souls
February 15           Meatfare Sunday
February 22           Cheesefare Sunday
February 23           Clean Monday [Great Lent begins]
February 24           The Forerunner (1st and 2nd discoveries)
Parents, please supervise your children with food in the Fellowship Hall.  We are getting stains on the new carpet (and also the chairs in the nave).
Happy Birthdays in February:
         February 5             --    Andrei Anicescu
         February 11           --    Demetrius Zouboukos
         February 13           --    Clyde Ellis
         February 15           --    Mary Guy Lockhart
         February 17           --    Anthony Zouboukos
         February 18           --    Tom Willingham
         February 22           --    Kh. Sharon Meadows
         February 24           --    Nimr Fahmy
         February 28           --    Cole Parker (#10!)
Happy Anniversaries in February:
         February 7             ---  Ben and Meghan Brock (#6!)
         February 18           --    David and Lou Turner (#9!)
         February 21           --    Michael and Amy Surratt (#17!)
         February 25           --    Daniel and Elizabeth Root (#9!)

Quotable:  "When inner prayer gains power, then it will control oral prayer, gaining dominion over external prayer and even absorbing it.  As a result, the zeal of prayer will take fire, because then Paradise will be in the soul.  If you content yourself with exterior prayer alone, you may cool in the work of prayer, even if you practice it with attention and understanding.  The principal thing in prayer is a feeling heart."
                                                St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                from The Art of Prayer compiled by Igumen Chariton of Valamo
Worship:         Sunday, February 8, 2015 (Sunday of the Prodigal Son; Sunday after the
                                                             Presentation of our Lord in the Temple)
         Scripture:                                I Corinthians 6:12-20; Luke 15:11-32
         Celebrant:                               Father John
         Epistle Reader:                      Tom Skirtech
         Prosphora:                               R. Root
         Coffee Hour:                           POT LUCK MEAL              
                                                          (Set-up:  Ellis/Zouboukos/Fahmy)
posted by Daniel Root at 3:56 PM Parish Life

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