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GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
OF ST. GEORGE
Fr. Basil Hickman, Presbyteros
December 2016 NEWSLETTER
Services in December: We will celebrate Great Vespers every Saturday (except December 31) at 5:00 pm.
Monday, December 5, St. Nicholas Vespers & Dinner - 6:30 pm (Pella Mission).
Tuesday, December 6, St. Nicholas, Orthros - 8:00 am & Divine Liturgy - 9:00 am.
Monday, December 12, St. Spyridon, Orthros - 8:00 am & Divine Liturgy - 9:00 am.
Friday, December 23, Great Hours for Christmas - 9:00 am.
Saturday, December 24, Great Vespers & Christmas Carols - 5:00 pm (coffee hour following).
Sunday, December 25, CHRISTMAS, Orthros - 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy - 10:00 am (coffee hour following).
Sunday, January 1, Circumcision of our Lord & Feast Day of St. Basil, Orthros - 8:45 am & Divine Liturgy - 10:00 am.
at Catherine Madcharo’s home
on Wednesday, December 7
Rehearsal & Party
Saturday, December 17
Sunday, December 18
On Monday, December 5 at 6:30 pm we will join Fr. Bartholomew Wojcik at
St. Nicholas OCA Mission in Pella to celebrate Great Vespers for their Parish Feast
Day of St. Nicholas. A spaghetti dinner will follow. Please bring an item to donate to
the Pella food shelf.
Food Pantry Collection is always the third Sunday of each month. Please bring
non-perishable food items. You are welcome to bring donations at any time and
leave the items in the hall.
Adult Synaxis will meet Tuesday, December 13, 7:00 - 8:00 pm in the Parish Hall.
Topic: “What do we Believe, and Why?” To help our discussion, we will use Fr.
Thomas Hopko’s book “Doctrine & Scripture” (found at www.oca.org/orthodoxy/theorthodox-faith/doctrine-scripture). Bring a friend!
AHEPA will meet Thursday, December 15, 6:00 pm in the Parish Hall. DOP members are also invited.
GOYA (our teens) will meet Sunday, December 18 after coffee hour in the Parish Hall
to bake cookies and make Christmas cards (for an organization TBD). The cookies
will be ON SALE after Services on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.
GOYA Advisor: Phoebe Myers - (515) 865-3747.
Greek School meets every Wednesday (except Dec. 21 & 28) from 5:30 - 6:30 pm.
JOY - We are currently making plans for our next event. Please watch for details.
Library News – Please see Elaine Avgerinos (278-2032) for all books, tapes, videos,
Your 2017 Stewardship Pledge Form icons and updates. Looking for a Gift Certificate? Check out the library.
has been mailed to your home.
Pledge forms will be collected at the
conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on
They can also be mailed to the
Thank you for your support of our
Sunday School meets every Sunday (except Dec. 25 - Christmas break) immediately following Holy Communion. Please remember: students and teachers should
be first in line to receive Holy Communion so they can get to class as soon as possible.
Congratulations to Diane Caldbeck, Paul Despenas,
Christy Karthan, Catherine Madcharo, Eric Madcharo
& Tom Vlassis, who have been elected to serve on
the Parish Council for a 2-year term.
These newly-elected will join Dr. Michael Daly, Nick
Nopoulos & Barbara Smith to comprise the 2017 Parish Council.
Our sincere thanks to outgoing Parish Council Members Dr. Chrystalla Daly, Michelle Karamanlis & Anna
Nicolaidis for their continuous support and dedication.
May God grant them abundant blessings.
Congratulations to Jeremy & Jeannine
Voss on the birth of twin babies, Ezra &
Charlotte, born on October 12.
40 day Blessing - November 20
Paula Copeland & twins Augustus & Perceval
40 day Blessing - November 27
Jeannine Voss & twins Ezra & Charlotte
Our heartfelt condolences to the Smith
family. Robert Smith passed away on November 5.
Parish Council Minutes
are posted on the bulletin
board in the Church Hall
for everyone’s perusal.
Circle these dates
for the 2017 Basketball
Friday, Feb. 10Sunday, Feb. 12
We are in need of a Nursery Supervisor, as well as volunteers willing to
watch over the nursery on Sundays during Divine Liturgy. We would like to compile a list of Parishioners who are willing
to donate their time once, twice or more
during the Sunday School calendar year.
If you can help out, please contact the
office at firstname.lastname@example.org or
in Rochester, MN
Memorial - November 6
- Ruby Frangos (6 years)
- Efthemios (54 years) & Panagiota (16
WHERE WE STAND
January through October
Stewardship Rec’d - $141,372.21
May their memory be eternal.
GET WELL WISHES AND PRAYERS
Elaine Avgerinos, Ron Beauchamp, Tom
Boosalis, Helen Gates, Tony Lazos,
Cheyenne Mills, Maria Mills, Monica Moore,
David Sweet, Yvonne Wessels, & Hayden
Pledges received (as of 11/28/16)
62 families, totaling $69,731
If you haven't submitted your 2016
Stewardship Commitment Pledge,
please do so.
Spread a little sunshine!
Please remember our friends who
are not able to get out and about by
stopping by to say hi, or by sending
a card, note or phone call. This
would brighten their day.
Wesley Acres - Bldg. 3, Rm #215
3520 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312
Wesley Acres - Rm #JH310
3520 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312
Apolytikion for The Nativity of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ
Your Nativity, O Christ our God, has shined the light of knowledge upon the world; for thereby they that worshipped
the stars were instructed by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know You, the Dayspring
from on high. O Lord, glory to You.
SERVICE MINISTRIES FOR DECEMBER
Narthex Duty: Paul D., and Eric & Catherine M.
Sunday, December 4th
Nicholas & Teddy
READER of EPISTLE
Tuesday, December 6th
Sunday, December 11th
Yebsira Ababa & Alex
Monday, December 12th
Sunday, December 18th
Gabriel Miller & Caleb
Saturday, December 24th
Christmas Eve Vespers &
All Altar Boys
Sunday, December 25th
All Altar Boys
SERVICE MINISTRIES FOR JANUARY
Sunday, January 1st
Circumcision of our Lord &
Feast Day of St. Basil
Cameron Caldbeck &
READER of EPISTLE
Friday, January 6th
Sunday, January 8th
Christian & Noah
Sunday, January 15th
Ky & Jacoby Pearson
Tuesday, January 17th
Sunday, January 22nd
Nicholas & Teddy
Wednesday, January 25th
St. Gregory the Theologian
Sunday, January 29th
Monday, January 30th
The Three Hierarchs
Yebsira Ababa & Alex
DON’T FORGET— We need Coffee Hour Stewards!!!!!
Many of the coffee hours in December are “open.” If your family hasn’t signed up to host coffee hour this year,
this would be the perfect time! Sign-up sheets are on the kitchen door. Please pick a day of your choice and sign
your name, or call the office: 277-0780.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George is to grow in union with God as a family on the path of salvation, embracing and sharing
our Orthodox Christian Faith.
Provide the authentic Orthodox setting and beauty in worship to inspire
all those who join us.
Nurture fellowship in a warm and welcoming Church Community.
Offer vibrant Christian education, programs and activities for all ages.
Offer our time, talents and treasures in service to God and those in need.
Share the Orthodox Faith through outreach and evangelism.
Church Hall Heating & Cooling - Additional Donors
Special thanks to the following, who have contributed to the new Church Hall
heating & cooling system since last month: David & Angela Sweet.
We are pleased to report that we have now received the full $28,000 needed to
cover the costs of our new heating and cooling system for our Church Hall, kitchen and restrooms.
Many thanks to all who have generously contributed to this important project for
the maintenance of our spiritual home!
Administrative Assistant Position
With the departure of Renee Ginder, we are in the process of finding a new
administrative assistant for our Parish. Meanwhile, we are thankful to Julie
Hyland for temporarily serving in this position.
“The rich man is not the
one who has much, but
the one who gives
much. For what he gives
away, remains his for all
St. John Chrysostom
…WHO FOR US MEN AND FOR OUR SALVATION CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN…
(By Father Alexander Schmemann in Celebration of Faith, I Believe…)
First, let us stop to consider the word salvation. We need to dwell on this because we are dealing here with a concept so
familiar to every believer, a concept to which he has become so accustomed that he no longer hears its full significance.
Christianity is a religion of salvation. This means that it is not merely a “life improvement” plan, it is not a scheme for overcoming life’s day-to-day adversities, nor is it a set of abstract principles and norms of behavior. Salvation presupposes that
one is perishing. A drowning man, a man whose home is engulfed in flames, a man falling over the edge of a cliff does not
pray for comfort or comforting words, but for salvation. Yet it is just this sense of perishing, and therefore the experience of
Christianity as salvation, that has been suffocated over the long centuries of Christianity. The vast majority of Christians
continue out of habit to say words such as “Savior,” “salvation,” “save us,” but within themselves they now unconsciously
experience these words in a different way than did the early Christians. Within Christianity itself a peculiar substitution of
words has taken place, or rather, not of words, because the terminology stays the same, but of meaning, how the words are
heard. This substitution has taken place because we have stopped viewing ourselves as beings who are truly perishing, beings whose life is rushing inexorably toward meaningless collapse, whose life is engulfed by evil, by senselessness, by the
horror of dying and death, by the bestial struggle for survival, by the terrible lust for power, by the war of all against all, by
lies which poison the very sources of life, by ignorance and by the universal sentence of death; in other words, we are engulfed by everything which our so-called civilization uses – alas, successfully – to suffocate life and deface it. All of this we
have somehow learned not to notice, while still recognizing that it is very frightening to live. All of this we have learned to
charm away by the frantic pace of everyday life. No, it is not an accident that the deafening noise of loud music thunders
ever louder, that life’s tempo gets faster and faster, that new inventions continually increase in number, all to suffocate us
day after day. This is a humanity which is afraid to stop, afraid to reflect, afraid to be alone with itself and to see that destruction, fear, hatred and evil are the very life to which we are condemned. Yet this is exactly the awareness, the image of
life, that is found in the Gospels. Christ comes to a people who are “sitting in darkness” and “in the shadows of death.” This
is the first definition of the human condition in the Gospels. The joy of Christmas night is immediately blackened. Herod
wants to kill the Child, and for this he murders a multitude of children; now, writes the evangelist Matthew: “a voice is
heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuses to be consoled because they are
no more…” (Mt 2:18).
Christ preaches exclusively about love, about forgiveness. So what is it that provokes the hatred which condenses around
Him, that leads Him so inescapably and mercilessly to the Cross? This horrible scene of betrayal, of treachery, of terrifying
evil, of sweat falling to the ground like drops of blood is at the very center of the Gospel. The Man, who in agony before His
death “began to be terrified and sorrowful” (Mt 26:37), who cries from the cross “My God, my God, why have You forsaken
me?” (Mt 27:46), is condemned by a Pilate who fears the crowds; He is humiliated, scourged and spat upon by the Roman
soldiers, is mocked by the Pharisees, is abused by crowds screaming “Crucify, crucify Him!” – this is the Gospel’s image of
the world and of life. It takes no more than a minute’s reflection to recognize that this has always been and always is: that
destruction tyrannizes the world and dominates life. If one does not realize this, if one does not begin with this awareness,
then Christianity makes no sense and has really nothing to say to anyone. It is only in disclosing the depth and horror of this
destruction that Christianity discloses itself, or more accurately, discloses Christ – His teaching and His call – as salvation.
Salvation not from this or that, but salvation of life itself, so hopelessly torn away from its own proper content – from God,
from light, from heaven, from Truth, from eternity – a life which has become, in this broken state, a terrifying, stinking
swarm of human beings all equally condemned to senseless destruction. All of this we confess when we say the simple and
eternal words of the Symbol of faith [The Creed]: “For us men and for our salvation.” For us, for me, for you, for each of us
individually and for all of us together, for our salvation. Every time we repeat this affirmation we affirm also our knowledge
Many would like to remove from Christianity this link between salvation and destruction, salvation as a result of destruction. Many would like somehow to “disarm” Christianity and turn it into an appendage to life and lifestyle, or into an antique, or into a nice custom. But just as the Cross and crucifixion must not be divorced from the Gospel, so this connection
between destruction and salvation must not be sundered. It can be said that every genuine encounter with Christ first of all
discloses to me the darkness, the destruction, the senselessness of my life. I see Christ, and because I see Him, I understand
that the life I live is not real life, but a life which is permeated with destruction, condemned to destruction. And my faith in
Him, in Christ, begins with this: that in a manner mysterious and inexplicable, yet so self-evident, I recognize that only He,
Christ, can save me, that only with Him and in Him do I find salvation for myself, for other persons, for everyone, for everything. “For us men and for our salvation.” Thus the entire Gospel, the entire faith is applied to me and to my life through
these words of the Symbol of faith. And only after grasping this with all my being am I capable of reflecting on the content
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