St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, January 1, 2016 through Thursday, January 7, 2016

THIS WEEK AT ST. MARY'S

THURSDAY, 12/31 - Pledge cards for 2016 have been mailed. Please return Pledge Cards to the church or ePledge on St. Mary’s website immediately.

SATURDAY, 1/2 -  There will be no Vespers at St. Mary until further notice.

SUNDAY, 1/3 – Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00; Church School lesson 12
   + Please welcome our guest priest, Fr. Nick Manikas
   + Canned Food Drive will be ending soon. Please bring in canned goods ONLY and place them in the plastic bins in the room outside the kitchen. They will be distributed to food pantries in our area.

TUESDAY, 1/5 – Joint Diocesan Celebration of the Feast of the Theophany at St. George, West Roxbury. Orthros at 5:00 pm, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the Blessing of the Waters, celebrated by His Grace Bishop JOHN and the clergy of the diocese, at 6:00 pm. A Dinner Reception will follow the service.
   + There will not be services at St. Mary’s.     

THURSDAY, 1/7 - The Bible Study group will meet again next Thursday, January 7, at 7:00 pm in the church library.
   The Bible Study at St. Mary meets every other Thursday, and is based on a very interesting course originally broadcast on Ancient Faith Radio, entitled Search the Scriptures. For more information contact Marianna Sayeg (mailto:mksayeg@gmail.com ) or Fr. Antony (mailto:mksayeg@gmail.com ). New members are always welcome. 

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

HOUSE BLESSING - Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Theophany (January 5), and between Pascha and Pentecost.  We bless homes to reveal the home as what God created it to be, a way to heaven; to rid the home of every evil;  to show that the family is a small church unit in Christ; to consecrate the home and all activity in it to God; and to fill the home and all who live in it with the fullness of God.  To schedule the blessing of your home, please use the form in the weekly Bulletin or call the church office at 617-547-1234.

2016 CHURCH CALENDARS & OFFERING ENVELOPES - New church calendars and 2016 offering envelopes are available for pick-up. Please only one calendar per family.

REMINDERS

WOMEN'S CLUB MEETING - The next meeting of the Women's Club will be Monday, January 11, at 7:30, at the church.

PARISH COUNCIL - The next Parish Council meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 13  at 7:30 pm at the church.

TEEN SOYO PROJECT: Health and Hygiene Kits for Syrian Refugees - The teens of St. Mary's are looking for your support. Throughout the month of December and into early January, our teens will be collecting items and putting together hygiene and health kits to send to refugees in Syria.  We are in need of the following donations:
   - Individual hand towels & washcloths 
   - Combs 
   - Metal nail files and/or nail clippers 
   - Bars of soap
   - Toothbrushes
   - Band-Aids
Basic items like this may seem small, but putting them together can have a major impact to those in need. Please bring and place donations in the  marked bins located in the room next to the church kitchen. If you have any questions, please ask a member of Teen SOYO.

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of St. Mary's Parish will be held on Sunday, January 24, 2016 (snow date: January 31.)  At this time we will vote on the budget for 2016, among other things. It is important that all members of St. Mary’s Church attend this meeting. Note: Only members of the parish may vote. If you are a parishioner but not yet a member, please consider becoming a member and pledging. See Fr. Antony, Deno Takles or Barbara Shoop for a Member Packet or if you have any questions.  Member packets are also available on the wall to the right of the Bengarri.

CROSS+ROAD - CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition.  Hosted on the Hellenic College Holy Cross campus, participants experience daily worship, visit local parishes, tour Boston, and spend a day at the beach.  CrossRoad is now accepting applications for their summer 2016 sessions.  Session one: June 18-28. Session 2:  July 5-July 15 Complete your application by February 1, 2016. Applications received after that date will be reviewed on a rolling basis depending on availability.  For more information or to apply online go to www.crossroadinstitute.org.

ST. IGNATIUS GET-TOGETHER -  The Order of St. Ignatius Winter Get Together will be February 14 at Kens Steak House in Framingham.  Cocktails at 4:00 pm and dinner at 5:00 pm.  Invitation to follow.  Any questions contact Debbie Laham at debbielaham@aol.com.

ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE SUMMER CAMP -  Registration for Summer Camp at Antiochian Village has begun.  St. Mary’s Children attend 3rd session.  The camper fee is $750 for the two-week camp session. Camper fees paid in full by March 1 receive a $50 discount.  Register on line at https://avcamp.org/summer-camp.

FAMILY SHELTER: PLEASE HELP - The Women’s Club provides the Cambridge YWCA Family Shelter with baskets filled with household goods, to help residents ready to move to their own apartments.  We ask for your help by providing monetary donations to offset the cost of the items. Please give your donation to Marilyn Robbat or Barbara Shoop or mail it to the Church office c/o the Woman’s Club.  

COFFEE HOUR MADE EASY! - To make sponsoring a Coffee Hour a little bit easier, St. Mary’s will be offering a delivery service through “Instacart”, for the basic foods necessary to host a Coffee hour.  Simply select a date, mail a check to the office and we will order the food and have it delivered to the church on that Sunday between 9:00 and 10:00 am.  You will need to be at the church to accept the order and you will be required to set up for the coffee hour and clean up both the kitchen and hall at the end of the coffee hour.  Two menus will be offered.  Menu one will include: bagels, mini muffins, fruit, hummus/Syrian bread, juice and coffee for $160.  Menu two will include: bagels, juice and coffee for $70. Prices DO NOT include a 20% tip for delivery and are subject to change based on current market pricing of items.  Cream cheese, peanut butter, jam and coffee creamer are included with each menu.  As usual, St. Mary’s will provide the plates, cups, napkins, utensils, serving platters, and sweetener for coffee.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this service and signing up for a coffee hour please contact the office at 617-547-1234 or e-mail secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.

THIS SUNDAY'S VOLUNTEERS

Greeter:  Azeb Mitiku

Liturgical Service:
Epistle:  Ioana Chirieac

Procession Danait Teclezghi, Mary Neguse, Essey Teclezghi, Saimon Teclezghi, Yuel Grmay, Tycho Traumann-Davis

Communion:   Elias Orlovsky, Trish Orlovsky, Ioana Chirieac, Melissa Nassiff, and others TBD

Coffee Hour:    The Risom family

SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY before Theophany
   Epistle:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
   - 2 Timothy 4:5-8

   Gospel:
… John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
   - Mark 1:1-8


REFLECTION 
... His baptism ... partook of the old, and it partook also of the new. To be baptized by the prophet marked the old, but the coming down of the Spirit shadowed out the new.
   - St John Chrysostom, Gospel According To St. Matthew

Baptism does not take away our free will or freedom of choice, but gives us the freedom no longer to be tyrannized by the devil unless we choose to be. After baptism it is in our power either to persist willingly in the practice of the commandments of Christ, into Whom we were baptized, and to advance in the path of His ordinances, or to deviate from this straight way and to fall again into the hands of our enemy, the devil.
   - St Symeon the New Theologian

Since the Word of God though His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit "in darkness and the shadow of death" (Isa. 9:2). Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss, outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness. For the kingdom of heaven or, rather, the King of heaven - ineffable in His generosity - is within us (cf. Luke 17:21); and to Him we should cleave through acts of repentance and patient endurance, loving as much as we can Him Who so dearly has loved us.
   - St. Gregory Palamas

Abba Sarmatas said, "I prefer a sinful man who knows he has sinned and repents, to a man who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous."
   - The Desert Fathers

…repentance is the ever more acute awareness of the love of God and of our inadequate response. It is not an act that can be finished, but a constant state of the soul which deepens the nearer it approaches the end.
   - Paul Evdokimov