St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

Bulletin 260 - December 15/December 28, 2003

Chronicle of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
Diocesan Bishop - His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN
Parish Priest - Fr. Rodney Torbic
296 Old Route 21
Carmichaels, Pennsylvania 15320

December 15/December 28, 2003
Twenty-Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
No. 260

James 1:6

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Services This Past Week

December 21 - Forty-one people came to Divine Liturgy. Two communicants.
December 22 - Three people came for Matins and First Hour. Nine people attended Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Mission, Fairmont, West Virginia. One communicant. Three people came for the Akathist to St. Sava and to the Icon of the Mother of God, Unexpected Joy.
December 23 - Three people for Matins and First Hour. Two people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
December 24 - Two people came for Matins and First Hour.
December 25 - One person came for Matins and First Hour.
December 26 - One person came for Matins and First Hour. Two people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
December 27 - Two people came for Divine Liturgy. Two people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.

Services This Coming Week - Call to Confirm Weekday Schedule

Divine Liturgy today and each Sunday at 10:00 AM except on Pascha when it is held earlier.
Morning services - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday at 6:30 AM.
Afternoon services - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday at 3:00 PM.
Saturday - Divine Liturgy, Holy Trinity, Fairmont at 10:00 AM

Remember Monastery Marcha with Prayers and Contributions

Important Dates

December 28 - Mother's Day
December 30 - Venerable Abbot Paisije and Deacon Avaccum
December 31 - St. Sebastian, Martyr. St. Modestus and Others.
January 4 - Father's Day.
January 6 - Nativity Eve
January 7 - Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
January 8 - Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos
January 9 - St. Stephen, Archdeacon and Protomartyr.
January 14 - Circumcision of our Lord. St. Basil the Great. Julian New Year.
January 18 - Feast of the Holy Cross-Blessing of the Water - Blessing of the Monogahela River.
January 19 - Theophany - Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are too busy to are too busy!

Parish Life

Thank you to all attending the Annual Assembly.
Thank you Executive Board members and Audit Board members completing their terms.
Thank you to the newly elected Executive Board members and Audit Board members, these names to be submitted for final Diocesan approval.
Mary Trbovich is accepting contributions of flowers to decorate the Church for the Feast of the Nativity.
Reverend Father Djokan Majstorovich, Popadija Mirjana, son Savo and daughter Marta visited the area this past week and extended greetings to all parishioners.
Adult classes will resume later in January.
May God comfort the Rodavich and Hunchuck Families. Anna Prica, sister of George Rodavich and Melva Hunchuck departed this life this week.
Tom Hunter has been working away installing some wiring for communication improvements.

A Thought from Prota Rade Merick

Most of us don't have the power to change the world. But every one of us has the power to change ourselves. By allowing Christ to be born within us, and conforming ourselves to Him, each of us becomes a little Christ: a true Christian. When we say no to the falleness of the world and say yes to Christ, we declare our independence from the slavery of delusion and idolatry of self. We may not noticably change the world, but the world is changed in how we relate to it. And that can have a powerful impact upon the world. It is said in the Orthodox tradition: "Save yourself, and thousands around you will be saved."
(Path of Orthodoxy January 2000 )

Remember the Students at St. Sava School of Theology

To Consider

The daily invitations from God.
Our responses to the daily invitations from God.
The percentage ratio of our answers -
the amount of times we say yes to God in comparison to the amount of times we say no to God.
Our understanding of the love of God.
Our degree of daily appreciation for the love of God.

Recent Activities of Parish Priest

Went to Diocesan Center on December 24.
Went to funeral of Anne Prica in Steubenville, Ohio.
Served Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Mission, Fairmon on December 22.
Visited hospitalized parishion on December 22 in Morgantown, Mon General Hospital.
Visited Orthodox Christian in Brownsville Hospital on Decemeber 21 and 23rd. On 23rd attended staff meeting regarding the patient.

From the Desert fathers

Abba Alonius said, 'If a man does not say in his heart, in the world there is only myself and God, he will not gain peace.'

Twenty-Eighth Sunday After Pentecost 2003

Luke 14:16-24

Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those where invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused. And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.' Still another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'"

Each day we move closer with certainty to the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We move forward with great anticipation knowing in our hearts the birth of Christ changed the world forever.

When Jesus Christ took on human flesh and dwelt among humans on earth, He lifted humanity to a new level. He established hope for succeeding generations.

Christ's birth was long anticipated. We know of the anticipation from the Old Testament readings used in preparation for the Feast of the Nativity. The Holy Prophets spoke of the coming of Christ centuries before.

Just as Jesus' birth was long anticipated, His Second Coming has long been anticipated. Each day is a day of readiness. We are to ready ourselves for the Feast of the Nativity. We are to ready ourselves for the Second Coming.

Being attentive and responsive to God is part of daily preparation for the celebration of Christ's Nativity and for the Second Coming of Christ. Being attentive to the Epistle and Gospel readings for each day are acts of Christian preparation.

Today's Gospel message speaks of the great supper that was being held by the master. Today's Gospel message speaks of the preoccupations of the individuals who were invited to the great supper.

It would be interesting to be with each professed believer for a day or a week and do a time study on each one to determine the amount of time given to God and the amount of time given to other pursuits.

The average church attendance for most active Orthodox believers in America is Sunday morning Divine Liturgy. Weekday attendance is minimal for the overwhelming majority of professed Orthodox Christians.

Orthodox worship is spaced throughout the twenty-four hour day. Orthodox worship is spaced throughout the week and the year. Why is it that so few Orthodox Christians choose to be active worshippers during weekday services?

Throughout the United States there are large numbers of retired Orthodox Christians. There are large numbers of Orthodox Christians with considerable amounts of free time. A good study could be made on the number of them that actually attended weekday Church services more than once per year.

Certainly balance and moderation are needed in life. Certainly individuals need to devote time to earning an income and caring for self and family. When God gives us life, when God gives us a long life, can we not give God more than one hour and fifteen minutes per week in worship in appreciation?

When Christ offers His unconditional love, when Christ offers His Precious Body and Blood in the Holy Divine Liturgy, can we not make ourselves available on major feast days during the week?

It is common in well-managed businesses for time studies to be conducted to see how time and resources are expended. The Holy Orthodox Church is not a business and is never intended to become a business.

The Holy Orthodox Church can benefit from carefully reviewing the attendance practices of Orthodox Christians. These practices can be studied systematically to reveal answers about the depth of faith among believers as evidenced by worship practices.

There are certain expectations when one enters into the joy of Orthodox Christianity. Among those expectations is faithfulness to the liturgical life of the Church. If we choose to become Orthodox, we choose to live a full liturgical life. We choose participate in the festal life of the Church.

Every parish priest is exceedingly joyful when on a weekday Divine Liturgy for a major feast such as the Transfiguration of the Lord or Holy Ascension, he finds a full church.

In each Serbian Orthodox Church, the priest is thoroughly joyful when the Divine Liturgy is well-attended on St. Sava or St. Lazarus, or Divine Liturgies for other Serbian saints.

It is the rare parish church that is full on major feasts during the week unless it is the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and even then it is not always the case.

Working individuals have discretionary choices to make in the use of their vacation time. Taking time to attend the Divine Liturgy on major weekday feasts is a wise use of vacation of time.

The Holy Orthodox Church regularly offers weekday divine services on major feasts and other occasions. A small number of individuals say "yes" to the invitation. A much larger amount of people decide to be occuppied in other ways.

The Holy Orthodox Church exists to celebrate the life of Christ, to proclaim the good news of Christ. The Holy Orthodox Church exists for the salvation of souls.

Do we go through life giving God one hour and fifteen minutes per week in church attendance and in comparison perhaps twice that amount watching a football game or baseball game?

It would interesting to compare the amount of time spent in each house watching television per week and the amount of time spent in church attendance.

The price of eternal life was Jesus Christ upon the Cross. What is the value we place on our souls? How much effort are we willing to invest coming to Christ to save our souls?

The Nativity Fast is a time of preparation. This is a time of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. What percent of each individual believer's life is actually spent in focusing on the Nativity of Christ and the condition of the soul?

Gifts are associated with the Nativity of Christ. When we think of gifts at this and other times of the year, let us keep in mind the words of the Holy Apostle Paul. The Holy Apostle Paul told the Romans: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom.6:23).

Let us use this time of the Nativity Fast and the remaining time of our lives wisely.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
Twenty-Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.
Sunday of the Holy Forefathers.
December 15/December 28, 2003

Fr. Rodney Torbic

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