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...is to tend to the flock of our Lord Jesus Christ and to spread the Good News of Christ to those outside the flock. The mission is to be accomplished by:
of St Michael’s Orthodox Church members
is to become completely loving people.”
“Jesus answered and said, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” - Luke 10:27
“Loving” is a word that is just as startlingly impossible for us to wrestle with as was the “completely” before it. While the lawyer quoting the Law in St. Luke’s Gospel account is able to quote the letter of the law and the primacy of the commandments to love God and neighbor, he, like most of us, falls woefully short of truly comprehending, let alone living, those commandments. Yet we may discover that the simplicity of the reality is as stark as our inability to live it.
Without using any of the words we might expect regarding love, in this Bulletin I’ll use just one — BIG. Starting from the God end of things, we might say that God is BIG. He is BIGger than anything imaginable. He is BIGger than anything unimaginable. His BIGness ‘beyond measure’ makes perfectly good sense as God ‘exists,’ God IS, before anything else IS. Anything that He creates is within Him Who occupies and fills every corner of infinite space and time, even before space and time exist, and is, therefore, ‘smaller’ than Him. (All these words are totally inadequate to this little writing about God, as are any other of the representational tools to which we humans have access.)
So maybe the ‘loving’ we’re called to become in our mission statement might well be described in the words of a hymn that many of us learned as children — “He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole, wide world, in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.” And as He made the whole thing, which means everything that exists, His BIGness is His love and Love is all that He is, as revealed in the pre-eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As no thing does not fit in His hands, as no thing is outside of His hands, then His BIGness is the love that embraces everyone and everything all the time, even when some of the everyones, made to be BIG like Him, decide to play small. >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> “Playing small” could be a definition of what it means to be fallen and sinful, a status we arrived at in the Fall of Mankind in the Garden of Eden. When we play small we abandon the BIGness endowed by God to us in our creation. We bury our BIGness, a formidable accomplishment, under an ever-thickening, yet illusory, mantle of smallness, exchanging the BIGness in us for our own self-designed, scaled down version of humanity. We no longer see ourselves as BIG (Godlike/loving), but small (petty, self-centered, hateful, legends in our own minds, abandoned, fending for ourselves at each others’ expense).
So, how do we regain our BIGness? How do we fix ourselves and become completely loving people? We don’t. We can’t. We don’t need to. Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, the BIG God and the BIG Man has done that for us. He has dug into the depths of our tiny, fallen souls, and restored the BIGness that was lying hidden and dormant under the façade and lie of smallness.
Yes, that is BIG of Him — to restore in us who follow Him, His BIGness which He gave to us in our creation and He now restores in us through the waters of the baptismal font and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But we have a dilemma. Our fear that we really are small continues to nag and haunt us and tempts us to fall back into the lie that we are small.
We need not worry. God continues to give us every opportunity to once again experience His BIGness in ourselves — to become, by His Grace — as BIG as He is. He does this by including in the flow of life challenges that give us opportunities to exercise our BIGness against our seeming smallness. Our egos must be wrestled with. Our self-interest must be battled. Our pride must brought to its knees. And this is just the kind of warfare we’re built for. Let us give Him a BIG “Thank You” and promise to fight to let His BIGness be known wherever we go through our BIGness.
God made us BIG.
We forgot and got small.
Get BIG Again!
(How? We’ll take a look at that in next week’s Bulletin.)
WE HAVE A MISSIONARY IN OUR MIDST!
After nearly a 20 year absence from the mission field, Fr. Sam Smolcic, with God's help and the blessing of Archbishop MELCHISEDEK, is offering his services to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center as a Team Member of a Mission to Pilot Station, Alaska in July 2018. The Pilot Station Mission on the Yukon River will participate in the Annual Deanery Youth Camp for young people from rural villages in remote areas of Orthodox Alaska.
You can support 'our Missionary' by logging onto the OCMC link that specifies Fr. Sam's trip, firstname.lastname@example.org, and then clicking on Open Mission Teams. The Pilot Station Mission is at the very bottom of the list. Be sure you check Fr. Sam's name box on the donation form so that your donation will be credited to his account.
Or, you can mail your donation to Orthodox Christian Mission Center, 220 Mason Manatee Way, St. Augustine, FL 32086
Father Sam and the youth of Orthodox Alaska
On a personal note . . .
Last fall, Fr. Sam described his entrance into retirement from parochial pastorship as an "exciting opportunity of manifesting ministry in a different way, limited only by a person's imagination and creativity." Fr. Sam's ministry this summer will strike out in a 'different' and 'creative' way when he serves the youth of Alaska as a Mission Team Member at an annual Deanery Youth Camp in a remote area on the Yukon Delta. Father has long been inspired by two things:
The historic mission of American Saints Herman, Juvenaly, Innocent and others to bring the 'light of Christ' to Alaska, and the remarkable impact of the Church Camp experience on the spirituality of young people. His own children spent a total of 14 Seasons at Western PA's premier Orthodox Church Camp, Antiochian Village. Fr. Sam states that the Church Camp experience deepened, solidified and personalized his children's faith in Christ and fidelity to the Church. So, for Fr. Smolcic, as an avid outdoorsman and wilderness backpacker, the opportunity to serve as a camp worker in Orthodox Alaska is a natural coincidence of his interests, abilities and spiritual goals. You can be a part of helping Fr. Sam's opportunity to serve by contributing to the support of his mission through the path described in the paragraph above through the OCMC website.
Thanks and God Bless!
On Tuesday, July 3rd the Antiochian MEN will prepare a free meal for the benefit of people in our community. There are at least two ways in which you may participate in this charitable activity. The first is to come and help with the planning and execution. The second is to support the event financially. Donation may be given to Gus Flizanes. Anyone who would like to support “Food on the Hill” in whatever capacity you would like should contact Gus Flizanes.
Those who attend our “Food on the Hill” luncheon are also the same people who make use of the generous donations made to “Caleb’s Cupboard,” (which is located at the front entrance of the church). If everyone brought in one item of canned food, or a paper or hygiene product, it would keep Caleb’s Cupboard full so that there is something for those who attend “Food on the Hill” each month. The participants are most grateful for the continuous generosity of food, fellowship and donations. Thank you to the parishioners who consistently give of their time, their culinary skills, their financial and material donations to make these ministries possible.
"Food On The Hill" WEATHER CANCELLATION POLICY - When weather causes Hempfield or Greensburg Salem School District to close for the day; "Food On The Hill" will NOT serve lunch that day! Please refer to TV & Radio Newscasts when in doubt. Thank You!
St. Michael’s Financial Summary
Year to Date as of May 31, 2018
This Year Last Year Budget
Income $100,387.71 $102,703.25 $ 87,199.93
Expenses $125,335.29 $110,205.89 $120,359.89
Net Loss $(24,9476.58) $(7,502.64) $(33,159.96)
Address questions to Christian Sam or Jeff Curry.
ABOUT BISHOP THOMAS
You May Find the Text of the Divine Liturgy beginning on the bottom page 91 of the Service Book (gold embossed cross on the reddish brown cover) or in the green-spiral-bound book; sheet music can be found in the 8.5” x 11” large, spiral-bound booklet.
At the Kiss of Peace,our practice is for each of us to greet the person to our right and left with the bowing of our head, hands held in a prayerful clasp or crossed on the chest, while offering each other the Christian greeting, “Christ is in our midst!” and responding, “He is and shall be!”
Please remember that Holy Communion is reserved for those Chrismated Orthodox Christians who have appropriately prepared themselves through prayer, fasting and Confession to receive the Holy Mysteries of the Church. The bread (anti’doron, which means ’in place’ of the gifts) which we share after Communion and at the end of the Liturgy is for all.
Being mindful we are in church, let us always remember to…
...be quiet and attentive.Let us sing, pray, stand., sit, kneel and respond where responses are indicated. Let us not talk, look around, text message, play games, etc. Especially let us work at this in the Communion line and when in line to venerate the Cross and depart. If we cannot hear the post-Communion prayers being chanted during our departure, we are way too noisy.
...refrain from eating, drinking or chewing gum (most obviously and especially if you will be receiving Holy Communion).
...stay put. Except in rare cases, there are few of us who cannot stay in one location for two hours (usually less, for most of us).
The complete text of the Great Vespers and Matins services for each Sunday may be retrieved and printed from the Antiochian Archdiocese website at http://www.antiochian.org/content/online-liturgical-guide
Please go to the main St. Michael's Facebook page to view the new 360 degree picture of our beautiful church. Please share with all of your Facebook friends.
PARISH COUNCIL MINUTES
When you’re grocery shopping,
- Bottled water (16 oz.)
PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF REMINDERS,
DATES AND EVENTS
Sunday, July 15 - Short Choir Rehearsal after Divine Liturgy.
Sunday, July 22 - ”Shop with Scrip” Order Due.
Thursday, August 16
Pirates vs. Cubs at PNC Park
7:05 PM — $30 (includes a $10 meal ticket)
It is time to collect payment for your Pirate tickets.
Sunday, August 19
St. Michael’s Family Picnic
Travel to Twin Lakes Park following Divine Liturgy
Please sign up at our main church entrance.
Sunday, September 9
St. Michael’s Mediterranean Buffet (11am to 4pm)
Sign up to volunteer on the sheet in the… ?????
Friday thru Sunday, September 14-17
Antiochian Village Adult Camp
Registration is open online:
The Fellowship Hour Schedule
Please sign up to host Fellowship Hour.
IS YOUR BAKELESS BAKE-SALE ENVELOPE still
(Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United for Service)
FOCUS Pittsburgh is collecting clothes (clean and in good condition, please) for the very, very needy people (many homeless) in the Hill District neighborhood of the city. Clothing including coats, jackets, sweaters, trousers, shirts, blouses and other tops, shoes, handbags, gloves, scarves, etc., are all gratefully received and appreciated.
There is a drop-off area at the top of the stairs at the main entrance for those who would contribute. The contact person for this project are Marilyn Elias.
We are seeking new members who would be interested in learning how to prepare the Memorial Wheat. We have a group of women who currently fulfill this important function and are willing to teach anyone who may be interested in becoming part of this ministry team. For more information, contact Val Flizanes or call the church office.
The big chest you see as you come through the main entrance of our church, is a simple way to help our hungry neighbors. Just bring in a few cans of food or other unperishables when you come to church and you will making a difference for someone.
Please check that the goods you bring are “reasonably” close in time to the expiration date. (While we know the food lasts longer than that date, it is not always easy to tell how much longer.)
IOCC SYRIAN RELIEF UPDATE
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this year’s Syrian Relief Dinner back on March 4. Net proceeds of $37,129 were sent to IOCC which mean the Syrian people received $260,000 in leveraged aid through this effort.
For information on IOCC and how to become part of the worthwhile work being done, visit www.iocc.org.
Please CLICK HERE for the form to provide us with your information. Or, see the form on the new back page of the weekly bulletin. We want to serve you better and we need your help. Please understand that we will protect yur privacy from the standpoint of the church. We will not show or distribute your email address!
JUly 8th Attendance
- Calendar: Check out what's scheduled this month including weekly services, meeting, fasting dates, events etc.
- The Holy Gospel: This weeks reading
- The Epistle: This weeks reading
- Weekly Announcements: Keep in touch with all of the happenings of St. Michael's, the services, events and more
- 2010 Graduates
- Church School: Orthodox Institute for Christian Education
- Administration: Names, phone numbers and email addresses for Father and Parish Council
- Illumination Project: Learn how you can be a part of beautifying St. Michaels and who to contact
- Photo Album: Pictures of Services and events at St. Michael's
- About Orthodoxy: Articles about the faith
- You Tube: Watch St. Michael's and other Orthodox events on You Tube
- Facebook: St. Michael's Main Page, Church School Page
- Ancient Faith Radio: Listen to music, listen to discussions or play the radio itself
- The Word: Read The Word Magazine online - "NEW EDITION!"
- History and Founders: The History and Founders of St. Michael's
- Print and read the weekly Bulletin or monthly Newsletter
- Driving Directions: If you need to know how to get to St. Michael's...Find out how here
- Contact Us: Direct questions to Father, individuals on Parish Council or general questions St. Michaels