St. Peter Newsletter — December 12, 2015

Sunday of the Holy Forefathers

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — Holy Forefathers

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — Three of the Holy Forefathers

On this Sunday the Church commemorates the Holy Forefathers, i.e. the earthly ancestors of our Lord Jesus Christ, beginning with the first man, Adam, and on through Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, and others. These ancient people, separated from us by millennia, nevertheless have a direct and close bearing upon us, contemporary Orthodox Christians.

What connection is there between them and us? In general, the Church brings them to our attention now, right before Christmas, largely because of their faith – their belief in the promise given by God to Adam during his expulsion from the garden of Eden, that in the end a Saviour will come into the world and will redeem mankind from original sin.

All the forefathers – who lived on earth long before the birth of Christ – lived and burned with this faith, never allowing it to be extinguished. They are a shining example to us, who are living on earth after the incarnation of our Lord. Just like those ancient people we, too, have never actually seen Christ: they only knew that He would come into the world, while we know that He did come into the world. But they firmly believed in His coming and their faith was justified.

Read the entire article on the Pravmir website.

Help the Poor Christmas Eve Day

Feed the Poor

Cafe of Life, the local food bank that St. Peter’s partners with needs our help. They are short 8 volunteers on Christmas Eve day to serve food at their facility.

Who are the working poor? The working poor are not homeless, but families where the parents do not earn enough money to pay the basic expenses to keep their families together. One area often neglected to keep a roof over their heads and the car running for work is food. Cafe of Life helps bridge that gap and we help them do it.

We need a list of volunteers. Sign up on Sunday (see Anthea Teufel) or on the website. Serving begins at 9am at Leitner Park in Bonita Springs (get directions from Google or the Cafe of Life website)and runs for about two hours.

Please Bring Toiletry Items on Sunday

Toilet paper, toothpase, tooth brushes, soap and any other toiletry items are also needed at Cafe of Life. Please bring some to Church on Sunday. They will be collected and given to the working poor on Christmas Eve day.

Sign up for the St. Peter Parish Christmas Card

St. Peter Parish Christmas Card

Every year we send out a parish Christmas Card.

Sign up for the card either:

Deadline is December 13, 2015.

Old 41 Restaurant Reopens

Tony Backos reports Old 41 Restaurant is back in action. Many parishioners like to go for breakfast after Church.

Food for the Hungry

Support the Canned Food Drive

As we do ever year, the months approaching Christmas is when we collect foor for neighborhood foodshelves.

Please bring a canned item to Church with you on Sundays. Bins will be set up to collect them.

Cash/check donations work too. Please give your donation to Mary Copeland and notate “Food Donation” on the memo line.

The drive will run through December 29. All donations will be distributed locally.

See more information on the website.

Chior Practice and Orthodoxy 101 Class Continue Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Choir practice begins at 6pm and Orthodoxy 101 at 7pm.

Get the class syllabus and complete information on the website.

Read Chapters 15-16, Pages 215-238 to prepare for class.

St Nicholas Pot Luck Pictures

Yes, the food was very good!

Check out the gallery on the website.

First Look at an Icon Commissioned for St. Peters

An icon commissioned for St. Peter’s is nearly complete. More details with be forthcoming (arrival, installation, dedication, and so forth) as they become known. The icon is hand carved and depicts Christ pulling Peter from the waters.

Click image to see a larger image on the website.

Click image to view larger image

Demolition in the Social Hall Completed

Starting the project

Next comes the building out. That includes floor repair, painting, room assignments, blinds, and more. Plans are being made and progress is ongoing.

Improvements to the Interior of the Church

With the addition of the social hall, improvements can be made to the Sanctuary. Items ordered from Greece arrived this week including proper candles stands, a kovouklion (the tomb of Christ used during Holy Week), a memorial table, icon stands, fans and processional cross, and will soon be added.

The furniture storing the serving and social hall items will be moved to the social hall including collections for Food for the Hungry. Sunday School will soon be held in the Social Hall as well. The Sanctuary will become a place devoted solely to worship.

We are a fortunate parish. All items are bought and paid for most through generous donations from individuals. May God bless them for their stewardship of St. Peter’s.

An important point to remember: If we stay true to our mission to build and support St. Peter’s for those who God is and will bring to us, St. Peter’s will flourish and prosper. What St. Peter’s needs will be given to us so that we can do the work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, if we lose this vision then the parish becomes an insular place. It becomes self-contained and self-referencing and the work of the Gospel stops. There is will be no flourishing because creativity has stopped. These kinds of parishes become stagnant and eventually die. It becomes very difficult to find Christ there.

As God gives to us, so must we give to others. Water is only fresh when it is flowing.

New Videos Posted on Website

Click to view videos

“Welcome to the Orthodox Church!” is a new video series by Frederica Mathewes-Green that feature short and simple answers to questions about the Orthodox Church.

You can check them out on the St. Peter’s website.

Learn about Orthodox teachings and dogma, Orthodox architecture and terminology, and what it means to live an Orthodox life.

These videos are based off of Frederica’s new book, “Welcome to the Orthodox Church” (click to order from Amazon).

Remember in Your Prayers

Soterios Ninos father of Angela Long.

Bonnie Joseph

Bob Smith

Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.

Sunday Readings

Search the Scriptures

Epistle

For the Holy Forefathers

Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our Fathers.
For Thou art just in all that Thou hast done for us.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians. (3:4-11)

Brethren, when Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you once walked, when you lived in them.

But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.

Gospel

For the Holy Forefathers

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (14:16-24)

The Lord spoke this parable: “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all is now ready.’ But, one by one, they all began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported this to his master.

Then the householder in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”