St. Peter Newsletter — February 9, 2016 — The Mission of St. Peter’s

Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew

The Mission of St. Peter’s

St. Peter Orthodox Church

Who We Are

By God’s grace we are building a parish not for ourselves, but for others. Our mission is to build a parish so that those who are seeking Christ as He is understood and worshiped in our Orthodox faith can find Him. Many of them are being prepared as we do our work. Some of them don’t realize that St. Peter’s is where they will end up.

Yet, as we build for others, we find our own salvation as well. Growth towards God of the kind that enables Him to act in our lives and lets us to move closer to Him only happens when we serve the neighbor. That’s why we build a parish for others and not ourselves. Yet in building it in that way we find salvation too.

St. Peter’s will never become a self-referencing parish, the kind where service to God rises no higher than membership in a social club. We have the mission to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the community in which we live, and we will do just that. Remember the late Met. Philip’s words to us when he granted us our commission, “Go and tell the people about Jesus Christ and the Orthodox faith.”

Each one of us are to use our gifts and abilities for the growth and expansion of the parish. We must do it for those who seek Christ but don’t know Him, and those who seek Christ in greater measure but don’t know where to look. This commission is not optional. It is a necessary part of the Christian life that must be fulfilled if we are to be obedient to Christ.

Adding Increase

Each of us must work to add increase to the Church, just like the wise steward who doubled the talent that God gave him. A talent is any store of value — financial, special gifts and abilities, time — anything that can be invested in order to create increase. There is no growth without increase, and the increase that we must create must be the kind that brings Christ to others. That is our mission.

For that reason too St. Peter’s will never become a parish that focuses exclusively on fund-raising. We all have the means to give, and we are expected to give to the parish. But our larger purpose is not only to pay the expenses, but to create the space where the increase in the souls of men takes place.

People often ask, “How much should we give?” Give at least an hour’s worth of work a weak. Start there. Calculate your income, divide it into forty hours, and give one hour’s worth a week.

Then give more — your time, talent, treasure — anything that creates the increase. In so doing you establish a parish that has as its mission the salvation of others and yourself. Accomplish that and the blessing of God will be upon us.

St. Valentine’s Day Potluck This Saturday

Join us for potluck!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 13 at 6:00 St. Peter’s Valentine’s Day potluck.

Our potlucks are great. Everyone loves them. They are low-key affairs with great fellowship and camaraderie. Bring some friends if you like. Often we have people from other parishes attend and they are welcome.

The food is always really good too!

Want to know about the real St. Valentine? Read about him here.

If you plan to attend please sign up on the website.

The Students Surpassed the Teachers!

Making prosphora

Mary Copeland writes about the prosphora class that she and BJ James taught on Monday, “The class went well with the students out shining the teacher.”

Many thanks to Mary and BJ for holding this class. No prosphora, no liturgy. Baking the bread is an important ministry in the Church.

Holy Week Service Books

Holy Week Service Book

This year we will be using the Holy Week Service Book of the Antiochian Archdiocese during Holy Week. If you would like one for private use please order it from Ancient Faith Publishing. The price is $35.00.

Includes the three Bridegroom services, the three Liturgies of the Presanctified Gifts; the service of Holy Unction; the Vesperal Divine Liturgy and 12 Passion Gospels of Holy Thursday; the Royal Hours, Vespers, and Lamentations of Holy Friday; the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Holy Saturday morning; Great and Holy Pascha; and the Agape Vespers of Sunday afternoon.

Bible Study Continue Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 7pm

Choir practice resumes shortly.

Youth Bible Study Continues on Wednesday February 17 at 6pm

We meet at Tony’s Off Third Restaurant in downtown Naples (get map).

Orthodox Wisdom

The Lord Himself will teach us how to pray. We won’t learn prayer on our own, nor will anyone else teach us it. Don’t let’s say to ourselves, ‘I have made such -and-such a number of prostrations, so now I have secured divine grace,’ but rather let us make entreaty for the pure light of divine knowledge to shine within us and open our spiritual eyes so that we may understand His divine words.

In this way, without realizing it, we love God without contorting ourselves and without exertion and struggle. What is difficult for man is easy for God. We will love God suddenly when grace overshadows us. If we love Christ very much, the prayer will say itself. Christ will be continually in our mind an d in our heart.

– St. Porphyrios, Wounded by Love

Remember in Your Prayers

Constandina James

Peter Wouralis

James Hord

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

Epistle

For the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Make your vows to the Lord our God and perform them.
God is known in Judah; His Name is great in Israel.

The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. (6:16-7:1)

Brethren, you are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from them, and be separate from them,” says the Lord, “and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.

Gospel

For the Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (15:21-28)

At that time, Jesus went to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” But He did not answer her one word. And His disciples came and begged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But she came and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.