CLARIFICATION: Theophany service begins at 7pm

CLARIFICATION: Theophany service begins at 7pm

Theophany Icon

Click the icon to have it explained

The Tuesday evening Epiphany Liturgy begins at 7pm. This is what I originally said but I also indicated that an Orthos would begin at 6pm. That was incorrect. Come at 7pm.

Again, we will celebrate Epiphany with our sister parish, St. Paul Orthodox Church (get map) on Tuesday, January 5 at 7pm.

The Appearances of the Virgin Mary in Egypt

Yesterday after liturgy Connie Yanakopulos mentioned the appearances of the Virgin Mary over the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Egypt. You can find more information about that including a Youtube video at Virgin Mary appearing in Egypt? Video.

Fr. Hans on Ancient Faith Radio

I was interviewed recently by Fr. Peter-Michael Preble on his radio program “Shepherd of Souls.” You can listen to the interview here.

May you all have a blessed Theophany week and may God be with all of us this New Year. God bless you all!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Hans

The Sunday before Theophany

The Sunday Before Theophany

Theophany Icon

Click the icon to have it explained

The Baptism of our Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is an important Holy Day in our Orthodox Church. We also call that day “Theophany” which roughly translated means the “manifestation of God” (theos – God; phany – revealing, showing forth). On this day of Jesus’ baptism He was revealed as the Son of God first in his person (the Son), second by the “Spirit in the form of a dove” (the Holy Spirit), and finally by the voice of the father (which “thundered”) who said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

The baptism of Christ was the beginning of His public ministry. It would last only three short years before crucifixion, but then ultimately He would be resurrected.

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Looking Toward our Future

Where are we headed?

After considerable discussion after Liturgy last Sunday here is what we want to see happen:

Christ Pantocrator

Christ Pantocrator

Our goal is to develop a parish – by the grace of God and with His blessing – that develops in Christian community; a place where Christ can be found in our support and care for each other. The scripture is clear: In order to love God we must love each other, and in order to love each other, we must love God.

Three things we need to do:

  1. Increase our outreach. We need to invite our friends and anyone else who is seeking a place to find God. There are a lot of disenfranchised Orthodox Christians in our area. There are other people looking for a simple place of worship that is sound in its teaching and clear in its mission. Invite them to come to church with you.
  2. Start bible studies with particular attention on learning what the Gospel really says. To this end, Fr. Hans will start leading bi-weekly bible studies in both Ft. Myers and Naples (alternating the cities each week). The Naples study begins on Tuesday, January 12, 7:00pm at the home of Jack and Angela Long. The Fort Myers study is still being arranged. Details will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

    These studies are for anyone interested in learning about the bible. Everyone is welcome. A person does not have to be Orthodox or a member of St. Peter’s to attend.

  3. Build up our stewardship base. A mission qualifies to be a mission when it has at least 25 pledged members. We have 18. We are fortunate in that we have many supporters, but some of our supporters need to become stewards at this stage of our growth.

Stewardship is a private commitment between you and God for the support of his Church. A person does not have to be a regular worshipper to be a steward. We have some people who give who are not regular attendees of St. Peter but who believe in our mission and want to support it. We are very grateful for their support.

Widow's Mite

Widow's Mite

For us who attend regularly, establish your stewardship in terms of a percentage of your income. As God prospers you more, return a fixed percentage of your blessing back to Him through support of your parish. This way we grow not as a parish with a mindset of perpetual fundraising (looking to others to take of our own house), but a parish of service and outreach – and one that receives in return a greater measure of blessing from God for our sacrifice.

Some Encouragement

This is the first time most of us have been involved with a mission parish. In talking to other priests and people who have more experience with mission work however, I discover that we are doing well. It takes a lot of work to establish a mission but we have the right people to make it happen.

Unless the Lord build the house, those who labor, labor in vain (Psalm 127:1)

Our work of building St. Peter’s is ultimately (and fundamentally) the work of God. If we are faithful, He will bless it. We express our faithfulness towards God first by our support of each other and those who God brings to us. As we succeed here, God will bring others to us as well.

What do we need to do?

Invite our friends, take advantage of the bible studies being offered, and offer a stewardship pledge. You may print out a stewardship form here.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Hans Jacobse

Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

entrance-theotokos

Dear Members and Friends of St. Peters,

This Saturday we celebrate the feast day of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple.

We will join our sister parish, St. Paul Orthodox Church (get directions) at 6:30pm for a Vesperal Liturgy on Friday evening starting at 6:30.

Fr. Hans will not be serving the Vesperal Liturgy that evening. Fr. Gleb of St. Demetrios Orthodox Church in South Naples (get directions) is out of town and Fr. Hans will substitute for him. The Divine Liturgy starts at 10:00am.

There is something very special about stepping out of your routine and going to Church during the week. It takes some effort, but the reward is great although usually experienced afterwards.

May God bless you all.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Hans

End of Summer Appeal

Dear Members and Friends of St. Peter Orthodox Mission,

Summer is always a difficult time for parish finances and St. Peter’s is no exception.

peter_mosaic_round

While we are capable of holding our own and meeting our obligations for the most part, occasionally we have to dig a little deeper to support the parish. Now is one of those times.

Would you be able to send a contribution to St. Peter’s to help us pay our expenses?

St. Peter’s is a fledgling but growing mission. We have a very strong core group, a good stream of visitors, and great promise for growth. According to statistics that measure mission growth, we are doing very well. But missions take time to grow, and while we are getting on our feet we need your help even more.

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