Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907

October 22, 2012
PARISH BOOKSTORE OPENS - Books, icons and gifts, featuring the title we'll be using for our Fall Adult Class, Thinking Through Faith. Full info here.

Oct 10, 2012
KAIROS PRISON MINISTRY WEEKEND #9, Nov 1-4 — How you can help with the Kairos Prison Ministry, by baking COOKIES, and signing up for our PRAYER VIGIL.  Full info available now on our special Kairos page.


Mother Paula at her Tonsure
Mother Paula at her Tonsure
Mother Paula at her Tonsure
Oct 6, 2012
MOTHER PAULA TO VISIT - We will be hosting our former parishioner and dear friend, Mother Paula, over the last weekend of October.  Mother Paula will be with us in church over the weekend, and she will address the parish during the post-Liturgy discussion on Sunday, October 28. She will update us on the life and projects of the Monastery of the Transfiguration.


Oct 31, 2012
MYRRH-STREAMING ICON VISITS OHIO MONASTERIES - The Hawaiian Iveron Icon was brought to the Skete of the Entrance and St Gregory Palamas Monastery on Wednesday, October 24. Full account, with photos, video, and links to special articles on our Monasteries page.


Upcoming Major Event at the Hogar in Guatemala  —  New dormitories for the children at the Hogar will be blessed next year on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord – February 2, 2013. — Full info on our Hogar page...


Nov. 7, 2012
2013 STEWARDSHIP INFO - Online presentation of our Stewardship packet delivered to the parish in church recently. 2013 Pledge Form, an easy to view graphic summary of our Stewardship Program, and pdf versions of all documents easy to download, save and print. All on our 2013 Stewardship Page.

New Year and Theophany Schedule, Romanian Heritage Dinner

Dec. 31, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,

 

CHRIST IS BORN!

GLORIFY HIM!

 

The Upcoming Week:

 

Liturgical Services

Mon. Dec. 31, New Year's Eve:  Great Vespers with Special Petitions and Prayers for the Civil New Year at 6:00 p.m.

Tues. Jan. 1 – Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. for CIRCUMCISION OF THE LORD; ST. BASIL THE GREAT; CIVIL NEW YEAR

 

Sat. Jan. 5 – Baptism of Gabriela Friery at 10:00 a.m.

                    Great Vespers on the eve of Theophany at 6:00 p.m.

 

Sun. Jan. 6 – THEOPHANY; Great Blessing of the Waters immediately following the Liturgy

 

Cultural Event

Sun. Jan 6 — Romanian Heritage Dinner in the church hall following the Liturgy & Great Blessing of the Waters

Requested donation:  $7.00 per person; $20.00 per family

 

 

Do you “celebrate” the beginning of the (civil) New Year?  Are you scheduled to go to a party or social event?  Do you plan on “toasting” the New Year?  Do you plan to “eat, drink and be merry?” Do you want the New Year to be a “happy” one?  If so, then I would strongly encourage you to first come to church and seek the blessings of God for the upcoming Year of our Lord 2013.  Let secularists and pagans celebrate without God.  But let Christians put God first.  Do not “fit” God into your schedule; but “fit” your schedule into your active faith in God.  Perhaps that is a good resolution for the New Year:   to be resolute about putting God first in your life.  There will be a service this evening, and a service tomorrow morning.  The LORD is inviting you to “come and worship.”  What invitation could conceivably take precedent over that one?

A Festal Liturgy, The Third Day of the Nativity, Church School Break

Visit Our Nativity Resource Page
Visit Our Nativity Resource Page
Dec. 26, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,

CHRIST IS BORN!

GLORIFY HIM!

 

“Meet and Right”

It was “meet and right” that the church was filled with worshippers and the communion line was long yesterday at our Christmas Day Liturgy.   It was a beautiful and truly festal service that was appropriate for celebrating the Advent of our Savior into the world. The Lord’s Nativity on December 25 properly begins with glorifying the eternal Son of God who became man as our Lord Jesus Christ within the context of the Divine Liturgy.  To first come and worship Christ is not to delay our celebration of Christmas, but rather to inaugurate it at its deepest level.  Our respective domestic celebrations are therefore an extension of what began in church as we were able to “depart in peace” to our homes and family traditions.  I hope that one and all had a blessed day.

 

The Third Day of Nativity

For those who for whatever reasons were unable to be at the Liturgy yesterday; and for those who would like to extend that experience further; we will continue to celebrate the Nativity of Christ with a Liturgy tomorrow morning (Thursday).  This day is called the Third Day of Nativity and we also commemorate the Protomartyr Stephen on December 27. The Liturgy will begin at 9:30 a.m.

  

Sunday After Nativity

For this coming weekend, our regular cycle of services will continue to mark the Feast of the Nativity:  Great Vespers on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m.  And the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.

 

Church School to Resume on January 13

There will be no Church School classes on Sundays, December 30 and January 6. The second of those dates is Theophany and the students always remain in church on that day for the popular Blessing of the Waters which comes at the end of the Liturgy.

 

 

Nativity Festal Schedule

Dec. 20, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,

 

Final Prefeast

 

Today, December 20, is the beginning of the four-day Pre-festal period before we arrive at the Nativity of Christ on December 25.  This short period is something of an equivalent to the Holy Week that precedes Pascha. Now is the time to respectfully continue or begin the Nativity Fast in preparation for the impending Feast. 

 

Our schedule of liturgical services from now until the Nativity are as follows:

 

Saturday – Great Vespers at 6:00 p.m.

Sunday – Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.

Monday – First Royal Hour at 9:00 a.m. & Third Royal Hour at 10:00 a.m.

                     Festal Nativity Matins at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday – NATIVITY OF CHRIST: Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.

Thursday – THIRD DAY OF NATIVITY/St. Stephen the Protomartyr: Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.

 

 

Confessions, Memorial Royal Hours, more

The Mystery of Confession
The Mystery of Confession
The Mystery of Confession
Dec 14, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,

Time to Confess


Another reminder that I will be in the church from 9:00 a.m. – Noon tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 15) morning to hear confessions, primarily of our Church School students, but of anyone else who would like to come at that time.  Please contact me ahead of time if you would like to come at that time.

 

Memorial Service

We will have a memorial service for Matthew Krueger on Sunday following the Liturgy

  

In Need of Readers

The Royal Hours for Nativity will be chanted and sung on Monday morning, December 24, at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. & Noon respectively.  Each of the Royal Hours is about twenty-five minutes in length. And each of the Royal Hours requires a reader.  If you would like to volunteer to read one of the designated hours, please get back with me. Though scripturally rich – with psalms, prophecies, Epistle and Gospel - these services are very poorly attended, and I am not going to schedule an Hour without a designated reader ahead of time 

 

Scripture Reading for Sunday’s Liturgy

Epistle:  COL. 3:4-11

Gospel:  LK. 14:16-24 (Forefathers)

 

 

Church School Curriculum

Parable of the Sower (MK. 4:1-20; MATT. 13:1-23; LK. 8:4-15)

 

St Nicholas Pageant, Fall Class, Lazarus Basket, Pledging

See below for description...
See below for description...
See below for description...
Dec 7, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
St. Nicholas Day Pageant and Charity Dinner
 
A final reminder for this Sunday’s St. Nicholas Day events.  I strongly encourage every parishioner to stay, participate, enjoy and support the Church School.  The children very much enjoy putting on this program on an annual basis and they hope, in turn, we enjoy their performance as the parish “grown-ups.”  The charity dinner to follow allows the Church School to make their contribution to the charitable activities of the parish.  The meal has a modest price of only $7.00 per person, and $20.00 per family. The money collected will be distributed to those in need.  Again, stay for the sake of our children and our commitment to support others in need. This is a community event, so your presence and supports and strengthens  our community spirit.
 
 
Lazarus Baskets Were Filled
 
Our three consecutive Lazarus baskets that were collected in October were very generously filled.  The total collected in the three baskets was $2422.00.  That is probably our best collection to date.  Most of the funds have been distributed.  Locally, in Cincinnati, there is a family with a child (the child Alice who we have been praying for) who is quite ill – a heart condition for one - and in the hospital undergoing various surgeries and other procedures.  The parents have medical bills that are exceeding their insurance coverage.  I am personally acquainted with the mother and know that their needs are more than legitimate.  We donated $1000.00 to them to help with some of their expenses. After Mother Paula’s visit here earlier, we sent the monastery close to $700.00.  We also purchased Kroger cards to distribute locally in Norwood during Thanksgiving.  The remaining funds will be used further on a local basis for Christmas requests for support that will certainly come.
 
May God bless all of our donors who recognized the many Lazaruses in our midst!
 
 
Session IV to Meet on Monday Evening
 
Due to the nature and depth of our current topic in our Fall Adult Education Class, we will continue to discuss the Orthodox approach to death and eternal life on Monday evening, finishing our assigned essay.  We came to the conclusion that it concerned everyone present, because we all acknowledged our own limitations and eventual mortality.  We also affirmed our faith in the Risen Lord. Nothing like group consensus over literal life and death issues to enliven a discussion!  If you are ever overcome by “intimations of mortality,” or strengthened by “intimations of immortality,” please feel free to join us.  We will meet at 7:30 p.m.
 
 
Report of Pledging to Date
 
We have received 39 pledges to date out of a potential number of “about” 85 pledging units.  That is around 46% which means we have a long way to go.  Since we were hoping to collect all of the parish pledges by November 26, this clearly indicates that we are behind in our schedule.  You would be fulfilling a great service to our treasurer and to the parish as a whole, by turning in your pledge as soon as possible.  This allows for careful and accurate planning well before the Annual Parish Meeting in the new year.  If aiming at 100% participation may sound overly-idealistic, we believe that the practice of sound Christian stewardship should be able to lift us upward toward that goal.  Please turn in your pledge to Steve Joachim or Steve Mayhugh.
 

Regarding the Iconographic Humor

A day late, but I could not resist sharing this with you.  St. Nicholas aggressively resisted Arius the heretic at the First Ecumenical Council, which the above icon and text is alluding to.

Fall Adult Class, St Nicholas Pageant, more

Dec 9: St Nicholas Dinner/Pageant
Dec 9: St Nicholas Dinner/Pageant
Dec 9: St Nicholas Dinner/Pageant
Nov. 30, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Recovering at Home
 
Vasilka Bitsoff has been struggling with “cardiac and pulmonary” issues for the last two weeks or so.  She seems to be doing better, so we ask that everyone keep her in your prayers.  She is resting at home.
 
 
Fall Adult Education Class to Resume
 
Session III of our class will resume on Monday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m.  As I wrote earlier in the week, this should be an important discussion about the Orthodox approach to death in the light of our faith in Christ.  We will try and discuss the topic as extensively as possible.  The only way that you would be unqualified to attend the class is if you were not going to die (meaning here physical/biological death).  But if that was the case, perhaps you could come to the class and share your secret with us.  If, however, the death rate for everyone continues to remain steady at 100%, then this class may just be for you.
 
 
St. Nicholas Day Pageant and Charity Dinner
 
Looking a bit ahead, Sunday, December 9, will be the day for this year’s St. Nicholas Day celebration.  Following the Liturgy, we will be treated to a Church School production, to be followed by our traditional charity dinner.  All of the money collected for the dinner is donated to a charitable cause. 

Click here for our full-color event flier, in printable, PDF format.
 
We have tentatively planned a Vesperal Liturgy on Wednesday evening, December 5, at 6:00 p.m., for the actual feast day of St. Nicholas.
 

St Nicholas Giving Tree

Our St. Nicholas Giving Tree still has tags on it with requests for donations for the Dragonfly Foundation. This Sunday (12/2) will be your last chance to pick up a tag. Please bring your donations to church on Sunday, Dec 9th, in honor of St. Nicholas. Donations need to be in their original packaging and cannot be gift wrapped.

If you will not be at church this Sunday and want to donate please email me (becauseimthemom@gmail.com) and I will send you a couple of donation requests.  For more info visit our Ministries page.

Thank you for helping the children struggling with cancer treatments at CCH.


 
Looking for Tech Support
 
We recently purchased a new HP printer for the office.  I do not trust my own competence for properly installing it.  Is there anyone in the parish who would like to give it a try?  If you think that you do have the necessary level of competence, please let me know, and we can work out a time to get together here in the church.
 
 
Scriptural Reading at Sunday’s Liturgy
 
Epistle:  EPH. 5:9-19
Gospel:  LK. 18:18-27
 
 
Church School Curriculum
 
St. Nicholas Program rehearsal.

Fall Class Notes, Resuming the Nativity Fast

Fall Class resumes Mon. Dec 3
Fall Class resumes Mon. Dec 3
Nov. 26, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,


Yesterday’s Announcements

Some of us will be going up to Dayton this evening to hear Bp. Alexander of Toledo give a lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls at St. Paul Orthodox Church.  The talk begins at 7:00 p.m.  Our Fall Adult Education Class for this evening will be cancelled.

For this coming week, we will serve Vespers at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday.


“Trampling Down Death by Death”

When we resume our Fall Adult Education Class next Monday evening (December 3), we will be reading and discussing a fascinating article entitled “The Meaning and Place of Death in an Orthodox Ethical Framework,” by Perry T. Hamalis.  Inevitably – because death is inevitable - over the years, many people ask me questions about death and dying.  Some of these basic questions are the following:

  • How do we understand death?
  • What happens when we die?
  • What do we mean by the separation of soul and body at death?
  • What is the relationship between Christ’s death and resurrection and our own deaths?
  • What “part” of us – if any – continues to exist until the resurrection of the dead at the end of time?
  • Why do we pray for the departed?
  • Will we be united with our loved ones after death?
  • What exactly does “trampling down death by death mean?”
  • How does the fact that we will die impact the way that we live?
  • What is an ethical approach to the reality of death?


In my humble opinion, those sound like important questions to me!  And these questions have an Orthodox Christian response to them.  The essay that we will use for our discussion is quite well-written and filled with insight after insight into the Church’s understanding of the meaning of death and “life after death.” Come and join us for this discussion. You can still order and receive a copy of the book in time to read for next Monday evening.  The book is entitled Thinking Through Faith – New Perspectives From Orthodox Christian Scholars (SVS Press).  Or, I could photocopy the article for you if you are interested.  Please let me know.

Perry Hamalis quotes Archimandrite Sophrony in his article, who says:  “Our one and only war … is the sacred battle with the common enemy of all people, of all mankind – against death (I COR. 15:26).  In effect man has no other enemy.  Our fight is for resurrection – our own and each of our fellow men’s.”

That is really what it is all about. We are all in this together. And deep down we all know it. The Christian response to this reality is called “Gospel” or “Good News.” That Gospel is the heart of our faith.  That is what keeps us as members in the Church and coming to church.  We will now have the opportunity to discuss these issues in a group setting that is meant to invite questions, shared perspectives, concerns, further discussion, etc.   Seize the moment and take advantage of these opportunities.  Presenting these opportunities is one of the major purposes of our shared life as a parish community.


Pick Up Where We (May Have) Left Off

If necessary, it is time to resume our season of preparation leading us to the cave in Bethlehem and the Nativity in the flesh of our Savior. That would mean entering back into the spirit and practice of the Nativity/Advent Fast if that was interrupted by the long Thanksgiving Day weekend. 

There are many worthwhile articles and materials available on our Nativity Resource Page.

Much to Give Thanks For, Class Schedule, more

Nov. 23, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Much to Give Thanks For
 
I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving Day, be it with family and friends or perhaps somewhere out-of-town. If you are travelling, I hope that you have a safe trip returning home.  As I mentioned in church last weekend, this year’s Thanksgiving Day coincided with my 60th birthday.  I give thanks to God for the years that I have lived and enjoyed and for the many blessings in my life, beginning with my immediate family and my extended parish family.  I want to take this opportunity to “thank you” for the cards, well-wishes and “happy birthdays” that I received from within the parish.  Those are thoughtful gestures that I appreciate more as I grow older.  I now look forward to more years of pastoral service here in the parish.  St. John Chrysostom got it right, when at the end of his life he said:  “Glory to God for all things!”
 
We also thank God for the successful birth of a new son for Andrew and Jennifer Kassen.  The baby was born on Wednesday morning – the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos Into the Temple – and mother and son seemed to be doing quite well.  When I last spoke with Jennifer, she and Andrew had not yet settled on a name, so I will be able to pass that on shortly.  Many Years to the newborn and his family!
 
Peter and Di Carter are awaiting the birth of a new grandson next Tuesday.  Their daughter-in-law’s name is Catherine, so please keep her in your prayers for these final days of awaiting delivery.  The Carters will soon be travelling to England to be with their new grandson and family, so we wish them a good and safe journey.
 
 
Class Postponed on Monday
 
Session III of our Fall Adult Education Class will be postponed on Monday, since some of us will be travelling up to Dayton to hear a lecture by Bishop Alexander of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese.  We will resume on Monday, December 3.
 
 
Resume Our Usual Cycle
 
This weekend we return to church for Great Vespers on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. and the Hours and Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning at 9:10 and 9:30 a.m. respectively.

 
Scriptural Reading for Sunday’s Liturgy:
 
Epistle:  EPH. 4:1-6
Gospel:  LK. 13:10-17
 

Church School Curriculum:
 
Sermon on the Mount:  MATT. 5-7




In Search of Orthodox Believers, Thanksgiving Schedule

Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple (Nov 21)
Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple (Nov 21)
Nov. 21, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
In Search of Orthodox Believers
 
The Vesperal Liturgy yesterday evening for the Feast of The Entrance of the Theotokos Into the Temple was not well-attended. (Whenever I think that it is necessary to point this out, I never mean to diminish the presence of those who were here. We are dealing with persons – not statistics.  I always appreciate the time and effort that it takes to make it to church during the week.  May the Lord bless that effort). By the end of the service, there were still less than twenty worshippers present, and only five small children. Considering the size of our parish and the number of children/teens that we have, and the role of the Feast within our liturgical/theological/spiritual Tradition, that is poor attendance for a major Feast Day.   I was hoping that the fact that many students begin the Thanksgiving Day weekend on Wednesday, that more of our students would have been present.  An awareness of the Church calendar – sent out to the parish at the beginning of the Church New Year on September 1 – gives everyone the possibility of planning ahead.  Every Feast Day has the potential of being a parish event.  That, however, requires more of a parish effort.
 
There are many good resources on our parish website concerning this Feast, including some wonderful homilies from the Church Fathers and contemporary Orthodox writers.
 
 
Giving Thanks
 
This evening, we will offer a short Service of Thanksgiving to God as we prepare for Thanksgiving Day on Thursday.  We are not able to have a Thanksgiving Day Liturgy this year, so this will be our one service for Thanksgiving.  The Church – as a Eucharistic society – specializes in offering thanksgiving.  We know to Whom and for what to offer thanks.  Praying together allows us to make that a parish community event.
 
In any event, I hope and pray that everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving Day celebration!
 
The service will begin at 7:00 p.m.



Festal & Thanksgiving Schedule, Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit, more

Entrance of the Theotokos (Nov 21)
Entrance of the Theotokos (Nov 21)
Nov. 19, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,

Schedule of Services and Events

For those who were not at the Liturgy yesterday, the following is the schedule for this week:

Monday, Nov 19:  Session II of our Fall Adult Education Class:  “The Foundations of Noetic Prayer” at 7:30 p.m. (No Vespers)

Tuesday, November 20:  Vesperal Liturgy at 6:00 p.m. – The Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos Into the Temple 

Wednesday, November 21:  Service of Thanksgiving at 7:00 p.m.

 

For this week's class, we will be discussing some basic terms from our theological/spiritual vocabulary and what their meaning is when applied to a life of prayer.  What is our “spiritual intellect”(nous)? What is a “thought” (logismos)?  What are “the passions?” (ta pathi)?  What does it mean to be “dispassionate” (apatheia)?  Our class will begin at 7:30 p.m.
 

 

Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit

The Cincinnati Natural History Museum will be hosting a “phenomenal display” of the Dead Sea Scrolls from November 16, 2012 – April 14, 2013.  Perhaps we can go as a group from the parish.  We can at least look into the possibility.  I just found out that St. Paul Orthodox Church in Dayton will host a couple of speakers that will provide some background into the Scrolls next Sunday and Monday evening.  On Sunday evening, November 25, at 6:00 p.m., Deacon Silviu Bunta (University of Dayton) will give a talk on the topic:  “An Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls.”  Then on Monday evening, November 26, Bishop Alexander of Toledo will give a talk on the topic:  “Are the Dead Sea Scrolls Dead to Us?  Orthodox Christian Perspective into Ancient Jewish Mysticism.” 
 

This is the Bishop Alexander that I heard will be appointed as the locum tenens of our Midwest Diocese as we await resolution on the status of our diocesan bishop.  I would like to hear his talk next Monday evening, for Bishop Alexander has the reputation of being an excellent scholar; so we will postpone our Session III of the Fall Adult Education Class until Monday, December 3.  Please let me know if you would like to attend the talk next Monday evening.


Stewardship, All-American Council, Nativity Fast

Nov. 8, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,

Stewardship Ministry to the Parish

For those who were not in church this last Sunday, I need to inform everyone that our Stewardship Committee made its third of three planned presentations to the parish during the post-Liturgy discussion.  Our goal has been to present a coherent approach to Christian stewardship that combines the theoretical and the practical. A well-prepared packet was distributed to those present, and the remaining packets were mailed to each and every member of the parish.  Hopefully, everyone has already received these packets and has carefully read over the contents found there:  a cover letter, a one-page summary of our present spending profile and a stretch proposal for 2013, a stewardship tri-fold and, of course, a pledge form for 2013.  You can also find this material posted on our Stewardship 2013 page.

The parish depends upon every member’s goodwill offering of a generous pledge that will continue the tradition of generosity that has marked our parish throughout the years.  Our goal is one-hundred per cent participation in our current pledge drive for 2013.

The Parish Council and the Stewardship Committee request the return of your pledges by November 26. This makes the transition an planning for 2013 much more realizable.

Many thanks for your continuing support of our growing parish community!

 

 

Upcoming Assembly and All-American Council

A reminder that I will be leaving for (beautiful) Parma OH on Sunday afternoon.  I will be accompanied by Scott Kenworthy, our parish delegate, voted to that role by the parish in a special election back on September 23.  We will first attend the Diocesan Assembly on Monday, November 12; and then the specially-convened All-American Council on Tuesday, November 13.  We should return later on Tuesday evening.  This is a very important AAC in that we will be electing a new metropolitan for the OCA.  The Diocesan Assembly should prove to be a difficult and long-drawn out affair, because there will be an open discussion of the Holy Synod’s recent controversial ruling on the fate of our diocesan hierarch, Bp. Matthias.  Although found guilty of sexual harassment, the Synod nevertheless opened the door for his possible restoration as ruling bishop of the Diocese.  I strongly disagree with this decision and will write about that in greater detail tomorrow.  We will need everyone’s prayers as we enter into that discussion.
 

Preparing for the Savior’s Nativity

The fall leaves have not all fallen, but we will soon begin our preparation for the Nativity of Christ.  The forty-day Nativity/Advent fast will begin next Thursday, November 15.  Instead of being alarmed that there will only be forty more shopping days until Christmas, it may prove more spiritually fruitful to begin planning your domestic goals for observing the fast in a serious and sober manner. 


- Fr Steven


Fall Adult Class Begins Monday, November 5!

October 31, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Fall Adult Education Class
 
The Fall Adult Education Class is scheduled to begin on  Monday evening, November 5.  The book we will be reading and studying together, published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, is entitled, Thinking Through Faith – New Perspectives From Orthodox Christian Scholars, Aristotle Papanikolaou & Elizabeth Prodromou, Editors.  The book’s content is briefly described as:
 
Within these pages a younger generation of Orthodox scholars in America takes up the perennial task of transmitting the meaning of Christianity to a particular time and culture.  This collection of twelve essays, as the title Thinking Through Faith implies, is the result of six years of reflective conversations and collaboration regarding core beliefs of the Orthodox faith, tenets that the authors present from fresh perspectives that appeal to reason and spiritual sensibilities alike.
 
The book also received a ringing endorsement from Archbishop Kallistos Ware:
 
“This is an impressive and exciting book, adventurous in spirit, that has opened my mind to many new possibilities.  It is particularly encouraging that the contributors belong to the younger generation of Orthodox scholars; they are proof that the future of Orthodox thinking in the West is in good hands.  We Orthodox like to speak of ourselves as the Church of Holy Tradition: this book shows exactly how Tradition can and should be both living and creative.”
 
Visit our Adult Education page for full info and links to order the book. At last count, we still had a few copies in our new Parish Bookstore. We hope you can join us!
 
Fr. Steven
 
Lazarus Basket, Mother Paula\'s visit, more

Oct 19, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,

Lazarus Basket
 
We have developed a parish tradition for about four-five years now, I believe.  On the Sunday of the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, we put a basket by the Cross for three weeks so that everyone in the parish has the opportunity to contribute to our charity fund.  We do this in honor of poor Lazarus who was unfeelingly ignored by the rich man.  In a sense, we re-enact the parable:  like the rich man with  means, we “pass by” poor Lazarus who is represented by the basket by the Cross.  Will we ignore Lazarus like the rich man; or will we recognize and acknowledge Lazarus by placing our donation in the basket? 

The choice become ours.  (But if you read the parable carefully, a very easy choice to make!)  We then use this collected money to assist others locally.  We did decide at our latest parish council meeting, that one of the baskets will be donated to the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA.  The nuns are “poor” in that they are very dependent on the generosity of the faithful for the upkeep of the monastery.  Once again, the basket will be there for three consecutive Sundays, beginning this Sunday.
 
 
Mother Paula
 
Our good friend, Mother Paula, will speak to our teen Youth Group on Sunday, October 28.  Presvytera Deborah and I will be hosting this event at our home.  The time of this event TBA.
 

Scroll down for more recent parish news...


Stewardship Presentation, Parish Bookstore, more

FALL ADULT CLASS BEGINS 11/5
FALL ADULT CLASS BEGINS 11/5
October 12, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,

 
 
Stewardship Presentation on Sunday
 
Two of our parish council members will present the second of a three-part series on parish stewardship during this coming Sunday’s post-Liturgy discussion.  They will present the parish council’s prioritization of possible projects for the short and long term that were discussed and put forward at some open parish forums that were held earlier in the year.
 
 
Parish Liturgical Life
 
Perhaps I can mention a few items here that I have been intending to address:
 
There are more than just a few of you who have not been to Confession since Great Lent – about six months ago! – and some from even further back in time.  The sacramental confession of  sins with some sort of pattern is essential for one to remain a regular communicant.  If you have not been to Confession in that long of time, please be aware of that and bear in mind your need  to confess your sins.
 
When you have to leave the Liturgy momentarily, keep in mind that that is best done when the priest is not outside of the sanctuary giving a blessing, censing, etc.  Often, that will mean just waiting a few moments, which in most case should not cause a huge problem.  Actually, remaining in the Liturgy for the full anaphora – from  “Let us stand aright!”  through the consecration of the Gifts - would be the most appropriate approach.  I realize that nothing is predictable with children, but for those not dealing with small children the “laws of probability” should increase accordingly and place that within the realm of the possible.  We should always have an awareness of just where we are at in the unfolding Liturgy before us.
 
All “able-bodied” Orthodox Christians should remain standing for the Prayers in Thanksgiving of Communion following Liturgy and during the veneration of the Cross.
 
 
Parish Bookstore to Open on Sunday!
 
As I was preparing this, our new bookstore manager, Nancy Farison, arrived with the first shipment of books that will now be available for purchase in the bookstore.  There are many good titles that will provide you with some excellent Orthodox Christian reading.  Please take a careful look on Sunday.  Remember, that the chosen book for the upcoming Fall Adult Education ClassThinking Through Faith - will appear in the bookstore soon.  Reserve your copy now!  If you ever need assistance in choosing a book – or finding one at an appropriate “level” – please speak with me.
 
 
Scriptural Reading for Sunday’s Liturgy:
 
Epistle:  II COR. 11-12:9
Gospel:  Lk. 8:5-15
 
 
Church School Curriculum
 
The  Meeting of our Lord in the Temple (LK. 2:22-38)


Monastery Pilgrimage, Lebanese Heritage Dinner, more

Mother Gabriela of Holy Dormition Monastery
Mother Gabriela of Holy Dormition Monastery
Mother Gabriela of Holy Dormition Monastery
Oct 6, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Monastery Pilgrimage
 
A final quick reminder that Presvytera Deborah and I will be leaving for the Dormition Monastery later today.  We will return late Saturday evening.  Great Vespers for tomorrow is cancelled.  Sunday morning, the Hours at 9:10 and the Liturgy at 9:30 as always.

We are going up for the consecration of the new church at the monastery.  Jennifer Haynes and Amanda Wheelock are also making the journey, so please keep us all in your prayers.
 
I can be reached at 513-462-8062.
 
 
Lebanese Heritage Dinner
 
Next Sunday, October 14, we will be treated to a Lebanese Dinner following the Liturgy.  I was asked to include the menu ahead of time so that you may spend a week in anticipation of a wonderful meal.  Here is the menu as it was presented to me:
 
Kafta (lamb & beef)
Rice
Green Beans
Tabouli
Hummus
Baba Ganoujh
Cabbage Rolls
Bread
Baklava
Zlaby (doughnuts)
 
This is a Sisterhood fund-raising dinner/event.  Ticket prices will be:  $7.00 per person; $20.00 per family.
 
 
A Special Visitor
 
We will be hosting our former parishioner and dear friend, Mother Paula, over the last weekend of October.  Mother Paula will be with us in church over the weekend, and she will address the parish during the post-Liturgy discussion on Sunday, October 28. She will update us on the life and projects of the Monastery of the Transfiguration.
 
 
Coffee Hour List
 
I am in the process of updating the coffee hour list for the upcoming year. Please let me know if you would like to be added to the list and if there are any dates that you would like for your coffee hour date,  no later than the  beginning of November.
 
In Christ,
Presvytera Deborah
 
 
Scriptural Reading for Sunday’s Liturgy
 
Epistle: II COR. 9:6-11
Gospel:  LK. 7:11-16
 
 
Church School Curriculum
 
The Birth of our Lord – MATT. 2; LK. 2; JN. 1:1-18
 
 
OCMC Donations, Dormition Monastery consecrates New Church, more

Oct 5, 2012

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Supporting the OCMC
 
We received the following letter from Fr. David Rucker, Associate Director of the OCMC (Orthodox Christian  Mission Center):
 
It is my privilege on behalf of the Macdonald family, the Hargraves and all here at the Mission Center to thank you for your generous support and prayers for the international missionary ministries of the Orthodox Church.  Your parish is truly an example of being a faithful  witness of Christ not only in your “Jerusalem,” but to the ends of the world. I thank God for your faithfulness to this holistic vision. You are becoming His disciples while at the same time participating in making disciples of “all peoples.”
 
We are yours because of Christ,
 
Fr. David
 
We also received thank you letters from the Executive Director, Fr. Martin Ritsi, for our donations to the OCMC in support of James and Daphne Hargrave and our own parishioner, Emily Farison.


The following is a repost of the original announcement from August 22:

Monastery to Consecrate New Church
 
Over the years, we have developed a close relationship with the Monastery of the Dormition in Rives Junction, MI.  Mother Gabriela has been to our parish twice, I believe, and we have made many annual pilgrimage trips to the monastery over the years.  The monastery is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the culminating event of that celebration will be the consecration of their new temple on Friday & Saturday, October 5-6.  The new church is stunningly beautiful, built in the traditional and unique Romanian Orthodox style. Presvytera and I will make the trip for this event (I will serve at the Liturgy following the consecration of the church) and I simply wanted to inform everyone else in case you may want to join us.  If so, please let me know and I will provide you further with reservation information.  Guest house accommodations are limited and reserved for fellow monastics, so anyone else going will have to stay in a local hotel (within 7.5 miles of the monastery).
 

Recent news from September 24:

AAC Delegate Selected at Special Parish Meeting
 
At our special parish meeting September 23 after Liturgy, Scott Kenworthy was chosen to be the lay delegate to the All-American Council in Parma, and the Diocesan Assembly to be held right before the Council, November 11-13.
 
 
“It is Time to begin the service to the Lord”
 
Attendance at yesterday’s (Sept 23) Liturgy was a bit “thin” as a Sunday morning will go.  Even so, there were far too few parishioners present at the beginning of the Liturgy.  It takes a certain discipline  and commitment  to be in church for the opening doxology – “Blessed is the Kingdom …” - of the Liturgy.  (Arriving in time to hear the canonical hours never even enters into this conversation).  Arriving late with regularity is a certain way of forming one more “bad habit” that takes on a life of its own, and is thus very difficult to break.  I am certain that the effort necessary to arrive in time for the beginning of the Liturgy is not that overwhelming.  We begin our service to the Lord at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.  The Lord “deserves” a high place on our priority list.
 
 
While we are at it
 
If you are healthy and able-bodied, do your best to stand during the chanting of the post-Communion Prayers of Thanksgiving.  To keep distracting noise to a minimum during the reading of these prayers, please refrain from talking while awaiting your turn in line to venerate the Cross at the end of the Liturgy.


Parish AAC Delegate, Nativity of the Theotokos, more

Nativity of the Theotokos (Sept 8)
Nativity of the Theotokos (Sept 8)
Sept 5, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
 
Glory to God for All Things!
 
Glory to You, Who called me to life,
Glory to You, Who have shown me the beauty of the universe,
Glory to You, Who have opened before me the sky and earth as an eternal book of wisdom,
Glory to the eternity of You, in the midst of the world of time,
Glory to You, for Your hidden and evident goodness,
Glory to You, for every sigh of my sadness,
Glory to You, for every step of my life, for every moment of joy,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.
(Ikos 1 of the Akathist Hymn, “Glory to God for All Things,” chanted yesterday evening in the church)
 

 
Election of Parish AAC Delegate
 
According to the Statute of the OCA, we must hold a formal election in order to choose a qualified lay delegate for the upcoming one-day All-American Council in Parma, OH, on November 13.  At this specially-convened AAC, we will elect a new metropolitan, so obviously this is a very important council in the life of the OCA.  Looking at our current parish schedule, I believe that the earlier available date for our parish meeting would be September 23.  We would thus hold the meeting following the Liturgy and our brief refreshment hour, which would then include all of our Church School teachers.  We will make a final decision at our Parish Council Meeting this coming Saturday for the scheduled date.
 
My recommendation is that, starting next week, anyone who is a member of the parish is free to nominate someone else and send me that nomination.  I will make sure that the nominated person meets the given requirements, and then determine if that person will accept the nomination before our scheduled meeting.  There is no limit to the number of persons who may be nominated.  We will then enter the meeting having already determined who are acceptable candidates to be the parish’s lay delegate for the AAC.  The parish meeting should be short and to the point, with the choice of a parish delegate the one item on the agenda done by majority vote.
 
The Midwest Diocesan Assembly has been moved to Monday, November 12 – a day before the AAC - in order to coincide with the AAC, and thus cut back on travel expenses for our diocesan parishes.  Since that Diocesan Assembly also requires us to have a lay delegate, the delegate that we choose will realize that he/she will serve as a delegate for both the assembly and the AAC.  That means our delegate will realize ahead of time that she/he will be in Parma from Sunday – Tuesday evening, November 11-13.  Please keep that in mind when nominating someone, and when accepting a nomination.
 
Bear the following delegate qualifications found in the OCA Statutes (Art. 111, Sec. 6, a) in mind when the time comes to nominate a fellow-parishioner.
 
The lay delegate must:
 
a)  Be elected by a parish meeting;
b)  Be a member of the parish in good standing, at least eighteen years of age, having received the Sacraments of Confession and Confession at least annually for the past three years at his home parish.  (Like holders of all offices in the Church, he may not be a person under ecclesiastical interdict, who is in violation of moral standards, who is married outside the Church, who is a member of anti-Church and/or secret societies.)
 

 
Nativity of the Theotokos
 
For the first major Feast Day of the new liturgical year, we will celebrate the feast with these services:
 
Friday, September 7 – Great Vespers with Blessing of Loaves and Anointing with Oil at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 8 – Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.

Our Special Festal Resource Page has more about this blessed feast of the Mother of God.


This Week\'s (Full) Liturgical Schedule, more

September 4, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
This Week’s (Full) Liturgical Schedule
 
This evening:  The Akathist Hymn “Glory to God for All Things” at 7:00 p.m.
 
Friday – Great Vespers with Litiya at 7:00 p.m. (Nativity of the Theotokos)
 
Saturday – Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. (Nativity of the Theotokos)

 
I hear, fairly often, someone saying of the Akathist Hymn, “Glory to God For All Things,” that it is their “favorite” or “one of their favorite” services.  I fully understand and share that reaction.  This hymn, written in the 20th c. under the conditions of great distress in the atheist Soviet Union, is so all-embracing of the wonder and beauty of creation; of the creativity shared by human beings as a gift of God; and of the joy of genuine human relationships – to mention just some of the major themes of this remarkable hymn.  It expands one’s heart and soul and reminds us of the magnitude of the gift of life and of the “good things” of the world.  This is essential for us, especially when we narrow the world down to our own private concerns or to a select number of persons that is too exclusive of the wider world around us.  The hymn “Glory to God for All Things” reveals the “catholicity” of the Church; not only its universal dimension, but more importantly of the qualitative depth of understanding that  all things come from God and that they manifest the divine presence in the world, giving us a “taste” of the Kingdom of God and life everlasting.
 

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Gidas Family Collection, Church School, more...

Back to Church School, Sept 16!
Back to Church School, Sept 16!
September 1, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Back Home
 
Presvytera and I returned from Detroit and the funeral that we attended there on Thursday.  On Wednesday evening, Bishop Alexander Golitsyn served together with eight other priests. Yesterday, Archbishop Nathaniel, current locum tenens of the OCA was present, while seven priests served.   I am now in the parish office if you need to contact me.
 
 
Parish-Wide Collection
 
I received notice through our parish prayer chain about the terribly tragic circumstances and events in the family of Stephen Gidas.  I believe that everyone else has received this, but if not, please contact Anne Taylor or me for the recently-distributed email update.  This is an Orthodox family that is battling with cancer (Stephen) and a recent break-in at their home and the loss of a great deal of money that was stolen.  When I received notice, I was very close to leaving for our recent trip to Detroit, so I did not respond right away.   I would like to promote the following:  We can have a basket by the Cross over the course of the next three Sundays and then send one check to the family in the name of the entire parish.  The donated money would pass through our Charity Fund and then be passed on to the Gidas family.  If you are inclined to donate, and if you do so by check, then please make your check out to the parish.
 
 
Church School Information
 
Families were notified about the upcoming Church School year by a separate mailing earlier.  If, for some reason, you did not receive that notice; and if you want your children enrolled in the Church School for the upcoming year, then please get back with me and I will make sure that you are provided with all of the necessary information. (General information is available on our Church School page.)
 
 
Labor Day Weekend
 
Are you traveling this Labor Day weekend?  If so, please let me know so that you can be prayed for during the Liturgy.
 
 
Scriptural Readings at Sunday’s Liturgy
 
Epistle:  I COR. 16:13-24
Gospel:  MATT. 21:33-42


St Nicholas Giving Tree 2012 News

Originally sent to the parish Nov 16, 2012

Dear CTS faithful,

The St. Nicholas 'Giving Tree' has been set up in the parish hall. This year our charity is The Dragonfly Foundation. This non-profit organization helps children at Cincinnati Children's Hospital that are under going treatment for cancer and other blood diseases.  There are dozens of tags on the Giving Tree with requests for a wide range of gifts.  Some of the requests are very practical ( chap stick, soft tissues, soft toilet paper, gasoline gift cards) and some are more typical ( video games, music CD's, board games) but all the requests are very important to the children and families at CCH.

Please take home as many tags as you wish and bring back your gifts by Sunday, December 9th.  Sunday, December 2, will be the last Sunday for you to pick up a tag. We will be hosting our St. Nicholas play and charity dinner that Sunday and would like to have the gift collection completed on that day.

Please DO NOT Gift Wrap your donations. Also, all gifts must be new and in their original unopened packaging since they are being taken into a hospital setting.

If you have any questions about the Giving Tree please email me at becauseimthemom@gmail.com.

In Christ,

Terrie Sauer