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The Promise

June - august 2012

WIsdom:

“A mAn who Asserts thAt he hAs the true fAith And yet continues to sin, is like A mAn without eyes.

And the mAn who hAs no fAith but who does good is like someone who drAws wAter And then pours it into A bArrel with holes.”

ST. JOHN CLIMACUS

it into A bArrel with holes .” S T . J OHN C LIMACUS d ates

dates to RemembeR

July 1st - 6th

NatioNal Clergy -laity CoNfereNCe

July 9th - 14th

Metropolis of Detroit

southerN CaMp

august 6th

feast of the traNsfiguratioN

DiviNe liturgy, 9:30aM

august 15th

feast of the DorMitioN

DiviNe liturgy, 9:30aM

septembeR 16th

parish asseMbly

InsIde thIs Issue

Pastoral Message the New aMericaN religioN exPloriNg Matthew iNside the aNNuNciatioN haPPy Birthday healiNg society uPcoMiNg Feast day services Pascha sceNes our stewards ceNteNNial uPdate suNday school graduatioN caleNdars

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Page 1

THE PROMISE

pastoRal message

E very so often than not, it is good for us

to search our heart and ask our self the

following: are we truly proud to be cross bearers?

of Jesus Christ. He invites us to partake of life in Him by bearing a cross that makes every breath we take a Christian moment.

Case in point, recently two employees of British Airways in Great Britain were ordered by their superiors to remove the cross from around their neck and to stop wearing it altogether in the workplace. The two Christian women refused to lay down the crucifix for their employer and were promptly sent home and had their pay docked for their refusal to comply (they now face the potential of being fired from their job altogether). Now in the midst of

a lawsuit, the British government recently announced that it is set to argue before the European Court of Human Rights that Christians do not have the right to wear a crucifix around their neck at work! Like it or not, this is the real milieu in which we choose to bear the cross. It has never been, and will never be easy for anyone to be a Christian; but we either choose the cross and live for Christ or we can acquiesce and lose eternity. By

our actions, great and small, we show the Lord our God exactly how proud we are to be Christians.

And by proud, we do not mean a feeling of

superiority or a chest thumping perspective that is filled

with disdain for others. Being proud to be a Christian instead means a sense of confidence in Jesus Christ that is firmly grounded in a faithful love that encompasses

our entire life, and is never hidden. Being proud to bear the cross is a willingness to do everything in our power to follow the way of the Lord and to embrace every opportunity to glorify Christ our God no matter the consequence or price. For as

the Lord Himself makes clear in the Gospel according to Mark 8:34-38, much is expected of us as Orthodox Christian cross bearers: The Lord said: “If

anyone wIshes to come after me, let hIm deny hImself and take up hIs cross and follow

Great is your Faith

me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return

for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him

will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” The Word of God leaves no room for doubt that Jesus is looking at Christians to openly reject secular trends, renounce immoral mandates, contest injustice, and endure the relentless mocking of popular culture, all for the sake of bearing the cross of love and faith in Him.

The good news is that no matter the challenges of being cross bearers in a fallen world, we do not rely on our own abilities or strengths alone. Because it is indeed very hard to be a Christian and the responsibility to lift up the cross is serious, the Lord our God graciously provides us with the Annunciation. His Holy Church is the reservoir of His Grace, the repository of His Wisdom and the revelation of His actual Presence. Now there is no doubt that sometimes people confuse it for a vehicle to advance particular ideas or establish particular relationships – but that is not the Church’s

(Continued on page 4)

It also becomes abundantly clear that true cross bearing is not a commitment we make to concept of our own creation. The incarnation of the living God and His Holy Cross means that Christian cross bearers humbly lift up His Love, His Truth and His Life. We neither create the meaning of the cross, the extent of its application nor give it breadth – we cling to the cross

Page 2

save the date

s ave the d ate Parish Assembly Sunday, September 16 th , 2012

Parish

Assembly

Sunday,

September 16th,

2012

ouR CondolenCes

It is with sorrow that the Annunciation family notes that our brother in Christ, Dr. TimoThy roses, the beloved son of very own Bill Roses and step- son of Oksana Roses, fell asleep in the Lord.



It is with sorrow that the Annunciation family notes that our brother in Christ, harry GinG, Jr., the beloved brother of very own Ray Ging, fell asleep in the Lord.

Let us all keep the departed in our prayers and beseech our loving Lord to extend His comfort and strength to the bereaved family and friends.

“May their memories be eternal.”

loving Lord to extend His comfort and strength to the bereaved family and friends. “May their
Remember Father’s Day Sunday, June 17th
Remember
Father’s Day
Sunday, June 17th

June - augusT 2012

Make your legacy of love for your parish eternal , remember the Annunciation in your
Make your legacy
of love for your parish
eternal ,
remember
the Annunciation in
your Will.

“I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.”

Jeremiah 31:13

“Happiness in married life is granted only to those who fulfill the Divine Commandments and treat marriage as a Mystery of the Christian Church.

- St. Nektary

Page 3

THE PROMISE

“Christ did not suffer on the Cross and rise on the third day in order
“Christ
did not
suffer on
the Cross
and rise on
the third day
in order for us
to consider cross
bearing
casually and
His Church
a quaint
relic of the
past.”

the pastoRal message

(Continued from page 2)

someone or making a donation to a worthy cause here and there, is unequivocally false.

Apart from the Church, people ulti- mately lay down the cross, and convince themselves that God does not care about honesty, morality or the salvation of oth- ers. Apart from the Church, people ulti- mately lay down the cross and forego the Divine wisdom to rec- ognize both sin and injustice. Apart from the Church, people ultimately lay down the cross and lose sight

of the need to love others, serve causes greater than themselves and proclaim the Good News. Apart from the Church, people ultimately lay down the cross and loose the impetus to address their own sins and imperfections, let alone patiently endure the fail- ures of others. Apart from the Church, people ultimate- ly lay down the cross and begin to conclude that God is personal reflection of one’s self - essentially indistinct, haphazard and distant. Apart from the Church, people ultimately lay down the cross and become ashamed of Christ, His words and the work of His Hands that is the Church. Apart from the Church, men and women cannot find the way to bear the cross.

reason for being. This Church is the body of Christ and thereby the very means by which God sees fit to helps us to proudly follow and bear the cross. The Orthodox Church is God’s way of helping us to hold on to the cross when the world around us is either trying to snatch it away from us, or is encouraging us to sheepishly let go of it altogether. Neither the cross that we bear nor His Church is a private possession open for individual interpretation and or application. Instead, the cross and His Church are the Divine implements by which we draw nearer to the Lord and do His will on earth.

Interestingly, this does not easily fit into the increasingly popular concept which says that people can have a “per- sonal relationship with Christ” completely independent of the Church or cross bearing. Such thinking appeals to the horribly flawed and heretical notion that all men and women individually know God best and that He exists sole to serve the wishes of mortals. Self-imposed isolation from the Holy Church encourages people to create God in their own image, conveniently lay down the cross and haphazardly interpret the Good News according to personal wants, needs and aspirations.

But let us be absolutely clear, Christ did not suffer on the Cross and rise on the third day in order for us to consider cross bearing casually and His Church a quaint relic of the past. The Lord does not provide us the Church in order for us to ignore it. Christian cross bearing is a necessity that will never be easy in this “sinful and adulterous generation” and therefore the Church is an essential vehicle through which we are not only empowered, but assures spiritual success. The notion that somehow or another, one can be a Christian and never lift up the cross or ‘happily’ live week after week, month after month and year after year completely outside the body of His Church not only defies common sense, but is neither Scripturally, spiritually nor historically accurate. The implication that the Lord our God is somehow or another only expecting people to not lie, steal or murder while occasionally helping

Beloved, let us reverently lift up the cross in acknowledge- ment of the fact that we not only celebrate Christmas and Easter, but we know that it is our personal and collective duty to uphold, defend and promote Jesus Christ at all times and in all places.

(Continued on page 7)

Page 4

moRalIstIC theRapeutIC deIsm - the neW ameRICan RelIgIon

by Albert Mohler

When Christian Smith and his fellow researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a close look at the religious beliefs held by American teenagers, they found that the faith held and described by most adolescents came down to something the researchers

identified as “Moralistic therapeutic DeisM.”

As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”

2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”

3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”

4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”

5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

That, in sum, is the creed to which much adolescent faith can be reduced. After conducting more than 3,000 interviews with American adolescents, the researchers reported that, when it came to the most crucial questions of faith and beliefs, many adolescents responded with a shrug and “whatever.”

As a matter of fact, the researchers, whose report is

summarized in soul searching: the religious anD spiritual eyes of aMerican teenagers by Christian

Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton, found that American teenagers are incredibly inarticulate about their religious beliefs, and most are virtually unable to (Continued on page 11)

June - augusT 2012

“pICtuRIng” ouR last 100 yeaRs

Part of our plans to herald the Annunciation’s 100th Anniversary include showcasing the people and life of our parish through the years. for this to happen, we

neeD our church faMilys Direct help.

If you have pictures of Weddings, Baptisms, Sunday School programs, Family moments and/or Festival endeavors at the Annunciation, we desperately want to make copies of your best pictures to include in a Commemorative Album and/or DVD.

here Is how you can help:

1) Select some of the best pictures in your collection of family moments at the Annunciation. (For example, a wedding portrait taken in a studio is not applicable, a picture of the wedding service or reception in the Church is perfect!) Remember scenes from a Baptism, your “baby” graduating Sunday School, working at the Festival or having fun at a Church dinner are great windows into parish life. please Include the date,

or at least the year of the pIcture.

2) Place your pictures in an envelope with:

a. your name

b. your e-mail & phone number.

c. The number of photos submitted (This information is critical if we are going to be able to return the photos.)

d. The date, or at least the year, of the scene captured in your photo.

3) There will be a bin on the church office creDenza labeled ‘Incoming Pictures’ - place your envelope in it.

The parish will make copies of the pictures and will, within a few weeks, contact you when they are ready to be picked up from the bin on the church office creDenza labeled Outgoing Pictures.’

For a complete picture of life at the Annunciation in Little Rock over the last 100 years, we need images of your life at the Annunciation. p lease, help us to Day!!!

Page 5

Page 5

THE PROMISE

WelCome The Annunciation Church family has had the great privilege to warmly welcome into its
WelCome
The Annunciation Church family has had the
great privilege to warmly
welcome into its warm
and loving embrace, the
Hurst family. On Satur-
day, May 12th, their son,
GarlandGeorGehurst,
was baptized, with Brock
& Christina Martin serving
as godparents. Then on
Sunday, May 13th, it
was with great joy that
edmond chrIstopher
hurst & melIssa aGnes
hurst, along with their daughter, emIly elIzabeth
hurst, were formally received into the Orthodox
Church through Chrismation. Their entrance into
the Holy Church was sponsored by Brock & Christina
Martin. Having now become beloved members of
our Church family, we can all together look forward
to the journey of life and faith that lies before us
at the Annunciation. With our newly enlisted
Orthodox Christians, let us continue to pray that
our Lord and Savior shows us His Holy Way.
a good poInt “ M arriage is in its origin, a contract of natural law
a good poInt
“ M arriage is
in its
origin, a contract of
natural law
It is the
parent, and not the
child of society; the
source of civility and a
sort of seminary of the
republic.”
- Justice Joseph Story

CongRatulatIons!

C ongRatulatIons ! The Annunciation family joyously congratulates a ndrew & a manda G eorGe ,

The Annunciation family joyously congratulates

andrew & amanda GeorGe,

who were joined in blessed matrimony at the Church on Sat., May 12th. Keith & Allison Freeman served as their sponsor.



May God grant you many years of love & happiness!

We need youR help & suppoRt!

Just a reminder that in the midst of the summer season, the Annunciation still needs its members help - especially with regards to the Fellowship Hour & Epistle Reading ministries.

As a part of our Christian commitment to contribute to the worship of the Church as well as to embrace one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, please consider hosting an upcoming fellowship hour (light refreshments are needed, not a banquet). And if God has blessed you with the gift of public speaking (Great Lent & Holy Week always proves that our Church family has many members with such talent), please sign up to serve as

a s un Day e pistle r ea D er.

When we are not out of town, let us all please continue to make sure that the Annunciation in Little Rock shines to the glory of God.

Page 6

the pastoRal message

(Continued from page 4)

Let us venerate the cross, because we recognize the fact that the Holy Cross is neither a beautiful ornament nor a trendy piece of jewelry, but instead represents an all- encompassing Christian way of life. Let us renew our commitment hold up the cross of our Risen Lord with faith and let us manifest our love for the Annunciation, because now and forever….we intend to follow and serve Jesus Christ.

Rev Dr. Nicholas J. Verdaris

deep thought:

“The Church

in which the

is an earthly heaven

super-celestial God dwells and

walks about.

It represents the crucifixion, burial,

and resurrection of Christ:

more than the

it is glorified

the witness of Moses,

tabernacle of

in which are the mercy-seat and

Holies. It is prefigured

the Holy of

the patriarchs, foretold by the

in

founded prophets,

the apostles,

in

the hierarchs,

adorned by

the martyrs.

and fulfilled

in

St. Germanus of Constantinople

June - augusT 2012 hoW old aRe you? Do you realize that the only time
June - augusT 2012
hoW old aRe you?
Do you realize that the only time in our lives when
we like to get older is when we’re kids? If you’re
less than ten years old, you’re so excited about
aging that you think in fractions.
“How old are you?” “I’m four and a half!” You’re
never 36 and a half
going on 5.
You’re
four and a half
You get into your teens; now they can’t hold you
back. You jump to the next number. “How old are
you?” “I’m gonna be 16.” You could be 12, but
you’re gonna be 16. Eventually.
Then the great day of your life; you become
21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. You
become 21 Yes!!
Then you turn 30. What happened there? Makes
you sound like bad milk. He turned; we had to
throw him out. What’s wrong? What changed?
You become 21; you turn 30.
Then you’re pushing 40
stay
over there. You
reach 50; then you make it to 60
By then you’ve built up so much speed, you hit
70. After that, it’s a day-by-day thing. You hit
Wednesday
You get into your 80s; you hit lunch, you hit 4:30.
My Grandmother won’t even buy green bananas.
“Well, it’s an investment, you know, and maybe a
bad one.”
And it doesn’t end there
Into the 90s, you start going backwards. “I was
just 92.”
Then a strange thing happens; if you make it over
100, you become a little kid again. “I’m 100 and
a half.”
Page 7

THE PROMISE

THE PROMISE Thank You Lord! With faith and love in the Lord once again our parish

Thank You Lord!

With faith and love in the Lord once again our parish placed the outcome of its single greatest fund raiser into his hands. And we can safely say that God responded to our humble prayers with abundant blessings. In His Good Will, He not only granted us beautiful weather, but more importantly, endowed this parish with people who faithfully chose to embrace the Christian strength necessary to persevere in ways that were often not short of miraculous. Media and visitors alike frequently noted with respect and awe the dedication of the parishioner’s tireless spirit of service to the Lord and this Holy Church. There can be no doubt, that such a manifestation of love, commitment and grace is not typical to our modern day society - it only comes from a passionate spirit of love for Christ and a burning desire to serve the parish - and was evident at this year’s Festival!

As we all slowly recover from this year’s monumental task for the sake of the Annunciation, we must above all thank the Lord our God for providing us with another splendid opportunity to work together as a Church family and glorify Him with our labor at the Festival. With God’s grace, we truly put forth our best for the sake of the Annunciation and the charities that we sponsored this year. By every measure, this year’s Festival built on the successes of all the previous Festivals and emerged triumphantly to the glory of God. To Raouf Kassissieh & Wayne Alley, our festival co-chairs, along with every member of our Church family who offered vast portions of time and talent by working long and HOT hours at

the Festival - THANK YOU! Everyone who worked at this year’s Festival not only pleased the Lord and brought honor to the Annunciation in Little Rock, but served as inspiring example of the Orthodox Christian faith in action.

Finally, let us at this time also offer up special prayers of thanks for those very special men and women in our parish who have been working in the name of our Festival for many months. We dare not try to list them all lest we overlook even one dedicated soul (thankfully, the Lord knows each by name). But our parish has been profoundly blessed by a small dedicated group of parishioners who have been tirelessly cooking, clean- ing, coordinating, calling, ordering, and preparing for this Festival for nearly a year!!! Without this kind of faithful commitment to the Annunciation, our Festival would be utterly impossible - well done good & faithful servants!

With this tremendous endeavor fulfilled to the best of our abilities and to the glory of God, we can look ahead with grateful faith.

Praise the Lord! WeLL done, FaithFuL Parishioners oF the annunciation!

abIde In me

Our personal commitment to the Annunciation determines what kind of parish we will personally maintain and grow to the glory of God in 2012. As the Lord’s cheerful and faithful “givers” let us all actively contribute to God’s work in the world through our parish with our 2012 Stewardship Commitment. Visit our website, orthoDoxchurch.coM, and find our 2012 Presentation, Stewardship booklet & card. One can complete a Stewardship commitment online or contribute directly to the parish via PayPal. We ask everyone who loves the Annunciation to please complete a 2012 Stewardship card and all together help to ensure that our parish is able to operate and minister to the glory of God, through our individual commitment of faith, love and stewardship.

Page 8

exploRIng mattheW 5:4

by Jarrod Russell

(Our Seminarian at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology)

(Please note that due to space constraints within The Promise, citations & references have been deleted.)

We have heard the second beatitude, “Blessed are the ones mourning, for they shall be comforted,” (Matt. 5:4), so many times that it almost seems mundane to our Orthodox ears. When we hear it, we may even respond in a pedestrian fashion thinking, “Yes, those mourning in this life will be comforted in the life to come.” But, is that really what Jesus Christ, through St. Matthew, is telling us? Is this a simple exhortation that for those mourning, their comfort will be in the life to come? Or, are there deeper meanings contained in the words received from St. Matthew? Let us consider today who are the ones mourning and what is the extent of their comfort.

Initially, we will contemplate the ones mourning. St. Gregory of Nyssa delivered an incredible homily, which I highly recommend you read in its entirety, where he contemplated several different types of ones mourning. Put another way, the Saint did not limit the words of our Lord and Savior to the meaning of mourning as we understand it in the present time or his time. Today, we shall consider two types of mourning contemplated by St. Gregory.

The first type of mourning acknowledged by St. Gregory was the mourning an Orthodox person should experience after he or she sins. In the Saint’s own words, “[o]ne may readily understand as blessed that sorrow which occurs over misdemeanors and sins.” Here, he spoke of those brave men and women genuinely seeking to live the Orthodox way of life to such an extent that they mourn when they fail to meet the mark. This is not mourning in our modern usage of the term.

The second type of mourning we will consider is closer to our modern understanding. St. Gregory described it as “a painful sense of the loss of things that give happiness.” This is the more obvious type of mourning for our

June - augusT 2012

culture of plenty. When we speak of mourning in our society, we usually refer to those who have suffered a death in the family or who have suffered an economic loss. We, unfortunately, don’t always view the word as applying to those who are genuinely sad for their sins.

There are other types of mourning contemplated by St. Gregory of Nyssa, and other saints for that matter, but for our purposes today, these two types are sufficient to make a very important point: Mourning is not necessarily a negative experience, and in some cases, it is a type of feeling or experience that should be desired.

Think about it: if we truly are seeking union with God, if we are truly seeking to live the Orthodox way of life, we should mourn each and every one of our sins which separate us from God and from each other. This is the type of mourning that leads to confession which leads to reconciliation with God and true healing. Thus, when we contemplate this beatitude, all of us, as Orthodox Christians who have fallen short of the glory of God, should seek to join the ranks of the ones mourning their sins. That point is not readily apparent when we apply the conventional view of this Beatitude with the modern understanding of mourning.

This point leads to the next question, what is the extent of comfort that we will receive as blessed ones mourning. Will that comfort be sufficient for our mourning? To appreciate the extent of the comfort promised by Christ, we must turn to the original Greek of the text. The word translated as “comforted” in the text is the Greek word “παρακληθησονται.” St. Matthew references a past tense version of this word in the second chapter of his Gospel (Matt. 2:18).

This past tense version of this same word occurs during the description of the murder of the Holy Innocents. As you may recall, following the birth of Christ, King Herod ordered the murder of every male child, two years and under, in the district of Bethlehem. This occurred after the Magi tricked King Herod and did not bring Christ to him. (Matt. 2:7-16).

(Continued on page 24)

Page 9

THE PROMISE InsIde the annunCIatIon

(Excerpts from the forthcoming annunciation tour Book)

from the catacombs where the persecuted Christians celebrated the Eucharist over the tombs of the martyrs.

The Altar Table is covered with two cloths. The first cover is a white cloth that is not visible, but is placed directly on the Table and is called the “Katasarkion.” This article is reminiscent of the shroud placed on the Lord in the tomb upon His burial. This Altar cloth is placed on the table upon its consecration by the bishop, and remains there permanently. The visible second and often richly ornate cloth on the Altar Table, which is changed according to the liturgical season, stems from a gesture of the Emperor Constantine in the Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople. As an offering of reverence and love, Constantine brought forth a beautiful cloth “gold threaded and adorned with precious stones” in order to cover the Altar Table which houses the relics of the martyrs and upon which is placed the precious gifts of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To this very day, it is the practice of the Church to cover the Altar Table with a beautiful cloth of a specific color according to the season.

Because the Orthodox Church is at all times and in all places intrinsically rooted to, as well as being the proclaimer and protector of the Holy Scriptures, The Book of the Gospels always rests on the Altar Table. As noted in The Bible and Church History and The Message of the Bible, “The Book of the four Gospels is permanently enthroned upon the altar table in the Sanctuary. This is a testimony to the fact that the life of the Church is centered in Christ, the living fulfillment of the law and prophets, who abides perpetually in the midst of His people, the Church, through the presence and grace of the Holy Spirit.” The liturgical life of the Orthodox Church is grounded in and expressive of Scripture. In the Divine Liturgy alone, without counting the readings from the epistles and gospels or the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, there are “98 quotations from the Old Testament and 114 from the New.” And, in all (Continued on page 12)

v the altar v

Centered within the Sanctuary is the Holy Altar Table. It represents the tomb from which Christ resurrected and the throne upon which Christ is enthroned. It is here that the bloodless sacrifice of the Lord’s Body and Blood

is prepared for Holy Communion.

In Orthodox Christian liturgical practice the bishop, priest or deacon will face east leading the worship of the people, that is towards the Altar Table during services. An extremely profound sense of reverence and awe for the Altar Table and Sanctuary is maintained in a variety of ways at all times. Only those who have been specifically blessed may enter the

Sanctuary and only the ordained clergy may stand before the Altar Table, and then only within the context of leading

a worship service. These traditions help maintain a

constant sense of respect before the heavenly throne of the living God.

of respect before the heavenly throne of the living God. On the front of the Altar

On the front of the Altar Table is an engraved depiction

of the Lord’s Supper, with the inscription (translated from the Greek), “Do this in remembrance of me,” a further reminder that Holy Communion prepared on the Table

is not a human creation, but the command of the Lord

(see Matthew 26:26-28). The inscription is surrounded by grapes and wheat, representing the elements of wine and bread that are used in the preparation of the Eucharist. In accordance with Church Tradition, when the white marble Altar Table and parish were consecrated by Archbishop Iakovos in 1963 at the church’s original downtown Little Rock location (1500 Center Street), a small box with a relic (bone fragment) of St. Euphemia was placed within it. The custom of placing the relic of a saint in the Altar Table originated

Page 10

the neW ameRICan RelIgIon

(Continued from page 5)

offer any serious theological understanding. As Smith reports, “To the extent that the teens we interviewed did manage to articulate what they understood and believed religiously, it became clear that most religious teenagers either do not really comprehend what their own religious traditions say they are supposed to believe, or they do understand it and simply do not care to believe it. Either way, it is apparent that most religiously affiliated U.S. teens are not particularly interested in espousing and upholding the beliefs of their faith traditions, or that their communities of faith are failing in attempts to educate their youth, or both.”

As the researchers explained, “For most teens, nobody has to do anything in life, including anything to do with religion. ‘Whatever’ is just fine, if that’s what a person wants.”

The casual “whatever” that marks so much of the American moral and theological landscapes— adolescent and otherwise—is a substitute for serious and responsible thinking. More importantly, it is a verbal cover for an embrace of relativism. Accordingly, “most religious teenager’s opinions and views - one can hardly call them world views - are vague, limited, and often quite at variance with the actual teachings of their own religion.”

The kind of responses found among many teenagers indicates a vast emptiness at the heart of their understanding. When a teenager says, “I believe there is a God and stuff,” this hardly represents a profound theological commitment.

Amazingly, teenagers are not inarticulate in general. As the researchers found, “Many teenagers know abundant details about the lives of favorite musicians and television stars or about what it takes to get into a good college, but most are not very clear on who Moses and Jesus were.” The obvious conclusion: “This suggests that a strong, visible, salient, or intentional faith is not operating in the foreground of most teenager’s lives.”

One other aspect of this study deserves attention at this point. The researchers, who conducted thousands of

June - augusT 2012

hours of interviews with a carefully identified spectrum of teenagers, discovered that for many of these teens, the interview itself was the first time they had ever discussed a theological question with an adult. What does this say about our churches? What does this say about this generation of parents?

In the end, this study indicates that American teenagers are heavily influenced by the ideology of individualism that has so profoundly shaped the larger culture. This bleeds over into a reflexive non-judgmentalism and a reluctance to suggest that anyone might actually be wrong in matters of faith and belief. Yet, these teenagers are unable to live with a full-blown relativism.

The researchers note that many responses fall along very moralistic lines—but they reserve their most non-judgmental attitudes for matters of theological conviction and belief. Some go so far as to suggest that there are no “right” answers in matters of doctrine and theological conviction.

The “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” that these researchers identify as the most fundamental faith posture and belief system of American teenagers appears, in a larger sense, to reflect the culture as a whole. Clearly, this generalized conception of a belief system is what appears to characterize the beliefs of vast millions of Americans, both young and old.

This is an important missiological observation - a point of analysis that goes far beyond sociology. As Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton explained, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism “is about inculcating a moralistic approach to life. It teaches that central to living a good and happy life is being a good, moral person. That means being nice, kind, pleasant, respectful, responsible, at work on self-improvement, taking care of one’s health, and doing one’s best to be successful.” In a very real sense, that appears to be true of the faith commitment, insofar as this can be described as a faith commitment, held by a large percentage of Americans. These individuals, whatever their age, believe that religion should be centered in being “nice” - a posture that many believe is directly (Continued on page 13)

Page 11

THE PROMISE InsIde the annunCIatIon

(Continued from page 10)

Christ throughout the ages. In other words, this specific liturgical article connects the worshiping church with, and continues the 2,000 year tradition of serving the Liturgy on the tombs of the martyrs. With the seal and signature of the bishop, there is a clear manifestation of “Apostolic Succession” whereby every Orthodox bishop, and every priest who has been ordained by the bishop, can trace his authority back to the Apostles who first received their authority from Christ Himself.

The large silver and gold object on the Altar Table is called the “Tabernacle.” This magnificently sculpted structure was made in Greece and appears like a church itself. It contains within it the sanctified Body and Blood of Christ from Holy Communion. This allows the priest to offer the Holy Sacrament to the sick as needed. But above all, it reverently contains the physical presence of Christ, in the form of the Eucharist, within the parish at all times. The use of the word, “Tabernacle,” is a direct reference to the physical Presence of God in the Tabernacle of Moses.

Just in front of the Tabernacle is a red “vigil lamp.” This is a reminder that Jesus Christ, the “Light of the World,” is present. Hence, at no time is the Church ever completely enveloped in darkness. The light of Christ and His Resurrection continuously illumines His Church. On both sides of the Tabernacle are seven- branched candelabras which hearken to the seven- branched candelabra of the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple in Jerusalem.

Behind the Altar Table stands a silver and gold crucifix flanked by two round silver “fans” on poles with icons of the Cherubim and Seraphim. These elements signify the angels who constantly worship God on His heavenly throne. They also recall the ancient Jerusalem Temple where a sculpted Cherubim was depicted on the top of the Ark of the Covenant that spanned the entire width of the Holy of Holies. In the Orthodox Church liturgical practice, acolytes may carry these fans along with candles and at times, the crucifix, in solemn and reverent processions within the sacred services of Church. At the back of the Altar is a large, elevated black wooden cross with an icon of the crucified Christ, a (Continued on page 15)

Orthodox services throughout the liturgical year, the Bible is read constantly. (If one were to follow the daily readings of the Church, an individual could complete both the Old and New Testament in a year’s time.) It follows that one’s understanding of and participation in the liturgies and services of the Church will be both deepened and intensified to the extent that one makes him/herself familiar with the contents of God’s written word. At the Annunciation, the Gospel Book on the Altar Table is covered with gold and sterling silver covers with an icon of the Crucifixion on the one side (which faces up during the week) and an icon of the Resurrection on the other side (which faces up on Sundays). This particular Gospel Book cover was custom made in Athens, Greece, by the renowned artisan Kostas Konstandinou in 2011. The cover design is an homage to an ancient Gospel cover from Mount Athos and is one of only three. The Gospel Book is ornately covered because it represents Christ Himself, Who reveals Himself in the words of the four Gospels that make known His life and His teachings. On the Altar Table next to the Gospel Book is a “Blessing Cross” which is used by the celebrant at certain moments within worship services.

Directly beneath the Gospel Book rests a small folded linen cloth upon which the Divine Liturgy is celebrated called the “Antimension.” During the Liturgy, the cloth is unfolded and the vessels containing the bread and wine to be consecrated are placed on it. In the Tradition of the Church, every Antimension shares three basic characteristics: on the cloth there is an icon of Christ having been removed from the cross and being laid in the tomb; secondly, a relic of a martyr is sewn within the cloth itself, and lastly, the cloth bears the seal and signature of the bishop under whom the priest and the parish function. All of this together is evidence of the fact that the Divine Liturgy celebrated on it does not take place in a vacuum nor is it a uniquely local phenomenon; it demonstrates the fact that the Liturgy is one with the Body of the Church that is

Page 12

the neW ameRICan RelIgIon

(Continued from page 11)

violated by assertions of strong theological conviction. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is also “about providing therapeutic benefits to its adherents.” As the researchers explained, “This is not a religion of repentance from sin, of keeping the Sabbath, of living as a servant of sovereign divinity, of steadfastly saying one’s prayers, of faithfully observing high holy days, of building character through suffering, of basking in God’s love and grace, of spending oneself in gratitude and love for the cause of social justice, et cetera. Rather, what appears to be the actual dominant religion among U.S. teenagers is centrally about feeling good, happy, secure, at peace. It is about attaining subjective well- being, being able to resolve problems, and getting along amiably with other people.”

In addition, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism presents a unique understanding of God. As Smith explains, this amorphous faith “is about belief in a particular kind of God: one who exists, created the world, and defines our general moral order, but not one who is particularly personally involved in one’s affairs—especially affairs in which one would prefer not to have God involved. Most of the time, the God of this faith keeps a safe distance.”

Smith and his colleagues recognize that the deity behind Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is very much like the deistic God of the 18th-century philosophers. This is not the God who thunders from the mountain, nor a God who will serve as judge. This undemanding deity is more interested in solving our problems and in making people happy. “In short, God is something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist:

he is always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process.”

Obviously, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is not an organized faith. This belief system has no denominational headquarters and no mailing address. Nevertheless,

June - augusT 2012

The faith “once delivered to the

saints” is no longer even known, not

only by American teenagers, but by most of their parents. Millions of Americans believe they are Christians, simply because they have some historic tie to a Christian denomination or identity.

Americans believe they are Christians, simply because they have some historic tie to a Christian denomination

it has millions and millions of devotees across the United States and other advanced cultures, where subtle cultural shifts have produced a context in which belief in such an undemanding deity makes sense. Furthermore, this deity does not challenge the most basic self-centered assumptions of our postmodern age. Particularly when it comes to so- called “lifestyle” issues, this God is exceedingly tolerant and this religion is radically undemanding. As sociologists, Smith and his team suggest that this

Moralistic therapeutic DeisM may now constitute

something like a dominant civil religion that constitutes the belief system for the culture at large. Thus, this basic conception may be analogous to what other researchers have identified as “lived religion” as experienced by the mainstream culture.

Moving to even deeper issues, these researches claim that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is “colonizing” Christianity itself, as this new civil religion seduces converts who never have to leave their congregations and Christian identification as they embrace this new faith and all of its undemanding dimensions.

Consider this remarkable assessment: “Other more accomplished scholars in these areas will have to examine and evaluate these possibilities in greater depth. But we (Continued on page 16)

Page 13

THE PROMISE

Happy BirtHday

to our parishioners celebrating during the upcoming months!

 

June

June 4th

Tina Alley

June 6th

Claire Cotros Fr Pierre Delfos Alex Miron

June 8th

Adrianna Alley

Luke Alley

June 9th

Kristina Vasquez

June 11th

Haitham Fanek

Pamela Speed

June 12th

Megan Alley

Nick Paslidis

June 13th

Layne Kaiser

David Sargent

June 15th

Ray Ging

June 16th

Simon Ramser

June 17th

Bethany Townsend

June 19th

Gus Vratsinas

June 21st

Dan Spencer

June 22nd

Keith Freeman

June 23rd

Gracie Cotros Ben Diggins Alexander Hronas

June 27th

Andrew Harb

June 30th

Samantha Townsend

 

July

July 1st

Erica Akel

Narjis Meti

July 6th

Alexander Haddad Harry Hronas

July 10th

Dennis Campbell Zee Fanek Matthew Harb

July 11th

Stefan Tudoreanu

Page 14

July 12th

Michael Harb

July 13th

Amanda Zraick

July 14th

Amy Bailey

July 15th

Yiannis Paslidis

July 16th

Amber Alley

Rami Alley

Chris Alley

John Khoury

July 17th

Samuel Wilcox

July 22nd

Star Akel

Lisa Gianulis

Phoebe Kutait

Sundi Scott

July 23rd

Ayman Matta Marinna Tadros

July 25th

Mike Bailey

July 26th

Alex Pappas

July 27th

august

Lea Ging

July 31st

Alex Kassissieh

Abby Paslidis

August 3rd

Alice Pappas

August 4th

Lara Alley

August 5th

Gunnar Burks

August 6th

Lesya Melnyk

August 7th

Stephanie Alley

August 8th

Grace Alley

August 11th

Edward Onisei

George Tadros

August 12th

Marena Farah

August 14th

Eva Sargent

August 15th

Anastasiya Brice

August 16th

Sammy Harb Hayden Huckabay

August 17th

Wayne Alley

August 19th

James Anaissie Ibrahim Fahdi Liam Petropoulakos Continued on page 32)

InsIde the annunCIatIon

(Continued from page 12)

constant reminder of the immeasurable love of God for mankind.

Early on in Orthodox Church history, the Holy Gifts were prepared and the liturgical items of the Church were kept in a separate building, called the “Skevophylakion,” meaning “the place for guarding the vessels.” It was from this place that the Gospel Book and the Offerings were brought into the Church at the appropriate time in the service by the clergy. (Processions in the Divine Liturgy to this very day are reminiscent of this practice.) This subsequently evolved into two structures within the Sanctuary that are not immediately visible from the Royal Gate but stand to the left and right of the Altar Table.

To the left side of the Sanctuary is a structure called the “Prothesis” or the “Place of Preparation,” where the Eucharistic Gifts are prepared by the priest during the Morning Matins Service prior to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. This is the place where the Eucharistic items, i.e., the Holy Chalice, the Holy Paten, the communion cloths, etc., are stored. On the back wall of the “Prothesis” is an icon of the Nativity, a reminder that Christ is the sacrificial lamb who is offered “in behalf of all and for all.”

On the right side of the Sanctuary is a structure called, in the original Greek, the “Diakonikon.” This edifice is the place where all other liturgical items used in the services and sacraments of the Church are stored by the priest. It also is here that icons which the faithful desire to be blessed for use in their homes are placed for 40 days.

oooo

June - augusT 2012

homes are placed for 40 days. oooo J une - a ugusT 2012 CentennIal update At
CentennIal update At the end of May there will only be 213 days until the
CentennIal update
At the end of May there will only be
213 days
until the Centennial Anniversary of the
Annunciation in Little Rock!
Centennial Anniversary of the Annunciation in Little Rock! phIloptoChos The Annunciation Ladies Philoptochos
phIloptoChos The Annunciation Ladies Philoptochos Society invites the women of our Church to join this
phIloptoChos
The
Annunciation
Ladies
Philoptochos
Society invites
the women of our Church
to
join
this
beautiful
ministry.
We
hope
be a part
of this
that ladies will choose to
wonderful program
so that we cannot only
each
but
also
get to know
contribute
other better,
its efforts and
towards expanding
vision in the Little
Rock area and beyond.
All together, the women of the Annunciation
things for
can do great
the glory
of God, His
raeDa alley
House and His people. See
harB
or Joyce
for more
information about
joining. Be
on
the look-out
for a brand new
web-page
on our
website coming
soon that
will be dedicated
to news and information for
the Annunciation Philoptochos!

God did not tell us to follow Him because He needed our Help, but because He knew tHat lovinG Him would make us wHole.

- St. Irenaeus

Page 15

THE PROMISE the neW ameRICan RelIgIon

(Continued from page 13)

altar of individualism and a relativistic understanding of truth. They have learned from their elders that self-improvement is the one great moral imperative to which all are accountable, and they have observed the fact that the highest aspiration of those who shape this culture is to find happiness, security, and meaning in life.

This research project demands the attention of every thinking Christian. Those who are prone to dismiss sociological analysis as irrelevant will miss the point. we

must now look at the unIted states of amerIca as mIssIoloGIsts once vIewed natIons that had

never heard the Gospel. Indeed, our missiological challenge may be even greater than the confrontation with paganism, for we face a succession of generations who have transformed Christianity into something that bears no resemblance to the faith revealed in the Bible. The faith “once delivered to the saints” is no longer even known, not only by American teenagers, but by most of their parents. Millions of Americans believe they are Christians, simply because they have some historic tie to a Christian denomination or identity.

We now face the challenge of evangelizing a nation that largely considers itself Christian, overwhelmingly believes in some deity, considers itself fervently religious, but has virtually no connection to historic Christianity. Christian Smith and his colleagues have performed an enormous service for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ in identifying Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as the dominant religion of this American age. Our responsibility is to prepare the church to respond to this new religion, understanding that it represents the greatest competitor to biblical Christianity. More urgently, this study should warn us all that our failure to teach this generation of teenagers the realities and convictions of biblical Christianity will mean that their children will know even less and will be even more readily seduced by this new form of paganism. This study offers irrefutable evidence of the challenge we now face. As the motto reminds us,

“knowleDge is power.”

can say here that we have come with some confidence to believe that a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually [only] tenuously Christian in any sense that is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition, but is rather substantially morphed into Christianity’s misbegotten step-cousin, Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

They argue that this distortion of Christianity has taken root not only in the minds of individuals, but also “within the structures of at least some Christian organizations and institutions.”

How can you tell? “The language, and therefore experience, of Trinity, holiness, sin, grace, justification,

and heaven and hell appear,

among most Christian teenagers in the United States at the very least, to be supplanted by the language of happiness, niceness, and an earned heavenly reward.” Does this mean that America is becoming more secularized? Not necessarily. These researchers assert that Christianity is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith.

sanctification, church,

Christian theology

and Christian belief replaces the sovereignty of God with the sovereignty of the self. In this therapeutic age, human problems are reduced to pathologies in need of a treatment plan. Sin is simply excluded from the picture, and doctrines as central as the wrath and justice of God are discarded as out of step with the times and unhelpful to the project of self-actualization. All this means is that teenagers have been listening carefully. They have been observing their parents in the larger culture with diligence and insight. They understand just how little their parents really believe and just how much many of their churches and Christian institutions have accommodated themselves to the dominant culture. They sense the degree to which theological conviction has been sacrificed on the

This radical transformation of

Page 16

healIng soCIety:

RevIsItIng WItnessIng ChRIst In a seCulaR age

by Fr. George Morelli

And whenever thou art praying, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, in order that they might be made manifest to men. Verily I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou whenever thou art praying, enter into thy chamber, and after thou shuttest thy door, pray to thy Father Who is in secret; and thy Father Who seeth in secret, shall render what is due to thee openly. (Mt 6: 5-6)

From the times of my earliest memory these words of Christ were implanted on my mind. A simple practical example of putting this into practice was the proper way of saying the Prayers at the Table, popularly known as ‘grace’ before and after meals, while in public. It meant making a silent and mental Sign of the Cross and saying the appropriate prayer mentally as well. Any public display of one’s commitment to Christ, would, at that time and locale, have been considered hypocrisy.

However, the world of my early years was spiritually and culturally very different from the world that has ushered us into the second decade of the 21st Century. Practically everyone in my hometown was a practicing Christian. There was one devout Jewish family that had a small grocery store and a travel truck to service remote areas. On any given Sunday morning most people went to the church of their choice. It might be said that there was a shared culture of the value of religion in daily life. If someone ostentatiously displayed some overt religiosity, in all likelihood such a display would have been considered hypocritical.

In thinking about this today, I can see a parallel to religious life during Christ’s time. Although surrounded by pagan Romans, the Jewish people shared a common commitment to their Abrahamic and Mosaic heritage. Thus, singling oneself out by ostentatious display of one’s Jewishness would certainly cry out for considering

June - augusT 2012

such showy behavior hypocrisy. This would have been especially true when one’s inner disposition, that is to say one’s heart and mind, contained and was motivated by just the opposite. Jesus pointed out that it was not eating with “unwashed hands” that defiles us, but what comes out of our mouths, from the heart:

evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. (cf. Mt 15: 16-20). Jesus is unrelenting in His excoriation of hypocrisy:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but within they are full of plunder and incontinence. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like tombs, which have been whitewashed, which on one hand appear beautiful outwardly, but on the other hand are full of the bones of the dead and of all uncleanness within. Thus ye also on the one hand appear righteous to men outwardly, but on the other hand ye are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness within. (Mt 23: 25, 27-28)

In fact, in this regard the teaching of Christ is clear:

And when ye pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men: Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret:

and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard. Be not you therefore like to them, for your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before you ask him. (Mt 6: 5-8)

the church in the age of persecution

The first three centuries of the Church have come to be known as the Age of Persecution. Christ Himself foretold this would happen when He said to His Apostles: “Keep on remembering the word which I said to

you, ‘A slave is not greater than his lord,’ If they persecuted me,

they will also persecute

Persecution began in Rome in 64 AD with the arrests, torture and executions of Christians by the Emperor Nero, and ended in 313 AD when the soon to be sainted Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan. The type of persecution undergone by the Christians of the first few centuries has been described, in a term used by Fr. Alexander Schmemann, as permeated by the BlooD

(Continued on page 22)

.” (Jn 16: 20). The Age of

Page 17

THE PROMISE

holy seRvICes

CommemoRatIng

the doRmItIon of the

theotokos

&

the tRansfIguRatIon

Wednesday, august 1st

Supplication Service - 6:30pm

fRIday, august 3Rd

Supplication Service - 6:30pm

sunday, august 5th

gReat vespeRs foR the tRansfIguRatIon

6:30pm

monday, august 6th feast of the tRansfIguRatIon

Divine Liturgy - 9:30am

Wednesday, august 8th

Supplication Service - 6:30pm

fRIday, august 10th

Supplication Service - 6:30pm

monday, august 13th

Supplication Service - 6:30pm

tuesday, august 14th

gReat vespeRs foR the doRmItIon

6:30pm

Wednesday, august 15th the feast of the annunCIatIon

Matins - 9:00am Divine Liturgy - 10:00am

c felloWshIp houR d

If you or your family would like to commemorate

a special event, honor the memory of a loved

one or would simply like to after a gift to the

Annunciation family Fellowship Hour!

you too can sponsor a

Please check the Bulletin Board and sign up today!

Thought Provoking

A little girl noticed that

after the collection

was taken in a certain church, the ushers

brought it up to

the altar.

She whispered to her

mother, “Mommy,

how do they

get the money up to heaven?”

The

mother replied,

“The

church doesn’t but uses it to

send money to heaven, bring heaven down to us.”

Page 18

CheCk us out

Don’t

forget

our

website,

It

orthodoxchurch.com!

the proMise, serMons

It o rthodox c hurch . com ! t he p roMise , serMons has an

has an up to date monthly calendar, the latest edition

of

and all sorts of information; you can even contribute

to the Church online! Find us on faceBook at “Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church” and “Like” us!

If you know someone who might be interested in being a vendor at our Festival, have them visit greekfooDfest.coM: application forms and infor- mation are available online!

many thanks!

It is with the profound joy that the entire Annunciation Church expresses its thanks to all those who made extras special contributions in order to herald the glorious Resurrection of our Lord:

essa & Grace alley

cIndy GeorGe

andrew & alexandra GladdIn

amal & fayez, samer & ramez shamIeh

in memory of Naimeh Alley

Gordon & martha tyer

Faithful kindness is a blessing to all!

2012 Covenant WIth ChRIst

Congratulations to those youth in our GOYA & Jr. GOYA ministries who choose to embrace the challenge of the “2012 Covenant with Christ.”

Christopher Akel / Kaitlyn Akel / Benjamin Alley Bianca Bishara / Gabriel Bishara Gunnar Burks / Harley Burks / Kerri Moutos Oksana Pavliv / Grace Rutter Katherine Verdaris / Stephanie Verdaris

June - augusT 2012

Well done!

W ell d one ! The Annunciation family congratulates all of our Sunday School students on

The Annunciation family congratulates all of our Sunday School students on the completion of their 2011-2012 journey. Furthermore, we thank all of our Sunday School teachers and staff for their tireless dedication to this vital ministry; most especiallyMrs.DysleButts, our dedicated Director. Without the contributions of time, talent and love of all of our wonderful teachers and staff, the timeless lessons of the Ortho- dox Church and beauty of our Orthodox Christian faith would not be able to as effectively take root in a new generation.

This year we salute these graduating Seniors:

Amber Alley, recipient of the

issa anD sultaneh kassissieh scholarship

Jonathan Alley, recipient of the

chronis/plastiras scholarship

Rami Alley, recipient of the

kaMis anD naiMeh alley scholarship

Alex Harb, recipient of the

Dr. steven anD anna clift scholarship

Yaroslav Melnyk, recipient of the

pappas/wilcox faMily scholarship

Kerri Moutos, recipient of the

Dr. Doris Moutos scholarship

James Rutter, recipient of the

katherine kuMpuris scholarship

We all can derive much joy from our outstanding group of graduates. We also express our profound

thanks to our scholarship founDation BoarD and

all of their helpers for hosting yet another beautiful and enjoyable Graduation Luncheon!

Page 19

THE PROMISE

of the Year! Celebration
of the Year!
Celebration
THE PROMISE of the Year! Celebration
THE PROMISE of the Year! Celebration
THE PROMISE of the Year! Celebration
THE PROMISE of the Year! Celebration
THE PROMISE of the Year! Celebration
THE PROMISE of the Year! Celebration
THE PROMISE of the Year! Celebration

June - augusT 2012

Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures!
Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox
for the pictures!
J une - a ugusT 2012 Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures! P age 21
J une - a ugusT 2012 Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures! P age 21
J une - a ugusT 2012 Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures! P age 21
J une - a ugusT 2012 Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures! P age 21
J une - a ugusT 2012 Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures! P age 21

Page 21

J une - a ugusT 2012 Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures! P age 21
J une - a ugusT 2012 Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures! P age 21
J une - a ugusT 2012 Thanks to Stephanie Wilcox for the pictures! P age 21

THE PROMISE healIng soCIety

(Continued from page 17)

the sweDish exaMple

A recent Zenit Catholic international news agency

article, considers what a society that pushes the envelope

of atheistic secularism would be like. Sweden points the

way. The article lists some disturbing consequences. Since 1975, for example, abortion has been free on demand.

In

2009 it had the highest rate of abortion in Europe

for

girls between the ages of 15 and 19 (22.5 per 1,000).

want to reassert strongly, as I have written previously, that I eschew politics. My only concern is the morality

I

of

any issue or policy. With this proviso, let me point out

that Sweden has a policy regarding healthcare providers,

that is totally immoral, very similar to the policy proposed

by the Obama administration healthcare plan.

It should be noted that some consider even the compromise

that followed this plan to be immoral. The compromise exempts religious institutions from paying for, or providing, unconscionable healthcare procedures, but requires insurance companies to cover the cost of such procedures. The moral objection is that conscientious

objectors are forced to become involved, albeit indirectly,

by the payment of their insurance premiums.

In terms of abortion, for example, Swedish law does not allow for consideration of conscience informed by morality in the healing care given to their patients. What the Zenit article termed “Conscientious objection.” In 2011, the Swedish parliament, with almost no opposition, issued a decree obligating the Swedish delegation to the Council of Europe “to fight against the rights of doctors to refuse to participate in abortion.”

I am not de facto against Sex Education in the schools as

long as it is scientifically factual and age appropriate. I also have the expectation that a sex education instructor would point out that there are ethical factors to be considered and practiced in sex activity for humans. Furthermore, the students should discuss these moral issues with their parents. In this regard, my hope would

be that in any discussion about sexual practice Christian

parents would conform their minds to the Mind of Christ and His Church. However, this is not the way it is done

.sex education

in Sweden. The Zenit articles states:

is graphic and compulsory, and children are taught that

(Continued on page 25)

of Martyrs. While similar bodily persecution is undergone by Christians today in some places in the world, today in the West we are undergoing another type of persecution.

cultural persecution

Interestingly, Schmemann alludes to another type of persecution undergone by the early Christians. He

contact with the

termed as a type of persecution the

ideas and beliefs of surrounding Hellenism,” pointing

out that even in St. Paul’s (1Cor 1: 23) comment in this

.but we preach Christ

crucified: a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks.”

regard the full text reads:

In the late 20th and early 21st Centuries Godless secularism has replaced Hellenism in the cultural and political persecution of Christians in the West. Consider the New York Times account of a high school girl, Jessica Ahlquist, whom the newspaper described as an outspoken atheist, who won a lawsuit in early 2012 to get a prayer taken down that had hung from the wall of her high school auditorium for 49 years. It was originally written by a student in 1963 to serve as a moral guide to other students. A facsimile of the prayer, originally written on paper had been stenciled onto T Shirts:

to other students. A facsimile of the prayer, originally written on paper had been stenciled onto

Page 22

annunCIatIon mIssIonaRy

to albanIa

a nnunCIatIon m IssIonaRy to a lbanIa Through the Grace of God, we are pleased to

Through the Grace of God, we are pleased to announce that one of our graduates from the Annunciation GOYA & Sunday School, lee Bailey, has applied and been selected to partici- pate in a OCMC (Ortho- dox Christian Mission Center) Missions Team to Shen Vlash, Albania.

In the 20th century, Albania fell under dark veil of communism and suffered the most severe religious persecution in the world; all forms of religion were constitutionally prohibited and by 1991, more than 1600 Orthodox churches and monasteries had been destroyed, and only 22 elderly clergy remained. Today, under the guidance of His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, along with the help of Orthodox missionaries from the OCMC, the once-decimated Orthodox Church in Albania has been resurrected and is beginning to flourish.

This June our very own lee Bailey is going to personally contribute to the renewal of faith in Albania and the resurrection of the Church after decades of persecution. Lee will be part of a Missions team that will assist the Church in Albania at the Children’s Home of Hope in Albania. At present, the Home cares for more than 40 children in a foster care environment. The team will be

40 children in a foster care environment. The team will be J une - a ugusT

June - augusT 2012

working with the children (ages 3-13) and providing

a visible witness of the Orthodox Christian Faith in

a country where Christianity was ravaged and 60% of the population is now Muslim.

Having made special collections to help our local missionary go forth and manifest the light and love of Jesus Christ, let us make sure to keep Lee in our prayers! By praying for Lee and his Missions Team, our Church family can help spread the Good News of Christ across the Atlantic.

can help spread the Good News of Christ across the Atlantic. May God abundantly bless Lee

May God abundantly bless Lee Bailey & the Missions Team to Albania!!!

honoRIng

the 4th of July

“those who expect to reap the blessInGs of freedom, must, lIke men, underGo the fatIGues of supportInG It.”

- Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809)

Page 23

THE PROMISE exploRIng mattheW

(Continued from page 9)

WIsdom of the fatheRs

“A rich man is not one who has much, but one who gives much. For what he gives away remains his forever.”

- st John Chrysostom

Once again, our parish was able to rise to the occasion and manifest the beauty

Once again, our parish was able to rise to the occasion and manifest the beauty of faith and love in action through the 2012 taste of the

MeDiterranean

&

greek

fooD

fest

golf

classic. Knowing that these two endeavors are dedicated to strengthening the work of the Annunciation and supporting the children of Central Arkansas through the wonderful efforts of Easter Seals & Community Connections, the Lord once again graciously blessed these two events with a great spirit of generosity as well as a healthy dose

of good weather & fun.

as well as a healthy dose of good weather & fun. The wonderful Taste of the

The wonderful Taste of the Mediterranean on Thursday, May 10th led to another successful Golf Tournament on Monday, May 14th. We are most grateful to our parishioners that worked to ensure the success of these projects - most especially haithaM alley & wayne alley. These two fund- raisers enabled us to lift up the light of our Orthodox Christian faith as well as serve to remind our friends and neighbors in Arkansas that our parishioner’s drive to serve the Risen Lord and support all of His people is boundless.

St. Matthew explains that the murder of the Holy Innocents occurred to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah that: “A voice in Ramah was heard, weeping and mourning great; Rachel was weeping [for] the children of her, and she would not be comforted because they are not.” (Matt. 2:17-18). This prophecy of Jeremiah, as quoted in the Gospel of St. Matthew, uses the same Greek word for comfort that was used in the Beatitude.

The use of the same word for comfort so close together in the text should not be quickly dismissed or treated as fortuitous or coincidence. The first time the word is used in verse 2:18; it is in the context of a quote from a prophecy of the Old Testament. The second time the word is used, less than three verses later in verse 5:4, it is Jesus Christ himself, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, speaking. Thus, it is fair to conclude that the comfort promised to those who mourn, whether it is the ones mourning their sins or the ones mourning the loss of things that give happiness, will receive the comfort declined by Rachel. This is comfort so great it would have been efficacious to a grieving mother who had lost her children.

To state the matter differently, our Lord promises us the extent of comfort necessary to comfort our mourning. If it is the mourning over sins, this comfort can follow immediately after the sacrament of confession. In that case, the comfort would be received presently. For the mourning of the sources of happiness, you may have to await the coming comfort in the time to come. But, as this comfort is promised by Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we know it will be overflowing and sufficient for all the ones mourning.

the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we know it will be overflowing and sufficient for

Page 24

healIng soCIety

(Continued from page 22)

whatever feels good sexually is OK. The age of consent

is 15.” I maintain that, in this case, the Swedish state has

overstepped its moral bounds; actually, the statement indicates that the Swedish state has no moral bounds in this regard.

the personhooD of MankinD is BaseD on Being createD in goDs iMage

The Holy Spirit-inspired writer of the first book of the Old Testament gives us the foundation of the value of the personhood that constitutes the unique nature of Man. “And He [God] said: Let Us make man to Our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to His own image: to the image of God He created him: male and female He created them.” (Gn 1: 26-27)

The understanding that God “breathed into his face the breath of life (Gn 2: 27) can be taken that it is by the action of the Holy Spirit that, right at the moment of creation, mankind partakes of the Divine Nature even though in limited form. This Divine action makes mankind above all the materially created world. Mankind’s obligation and responsibility to care for creation can be understood from God’s instruction, described by the writer of Genesis: “And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth” (Gn 1: 28). There is a spiritual and psychological similarity but simultaneously a uniqueness in the make up mankind.

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev reflects on the alternate

use of the singular and the plural in Sacred Scripture,vi

a seeming antinomy, in its referencing both God and

mankind. From two human beings the third, their child, is to be born: the fully realized family - husband, wife and child - which is

a reflection of the Divine love of in three Hypostases [persons of the

.This interchange emphasizes the unity of the nature

Holy

of [mankind] even though each individual person is unique.‘God is

June - augusT 2012

a Nature and three Persons; man is a nature and “innumerable”

persons; God is consubstantial and in three Hypostases, man is consubstantial [nature] and in innumerable hypostases [persons].

the ultiMate goal of personhooD is Being “likegoD

The Holy Father St. John of Damaskos summarizes in very practical terms the meaning of personhood in mankind: a reflection of the Divine personhood: First,

every man is said to be made in the image of God as regards the

is immortal and endowed with free

will, and in virtue of which he rules, begets and constructs. Second, every man is said to be made in the likeness of God as regards his

possession of the principle of virtue and god-like actions

deep sympathy for one’s fellow men, in mercy, pity and love and in showing heartfelt concern and compassion. (Philokalia II).

St. John is emphatic in pointing out that because of our being made in God’s image it is the likeness of God that we must attain. The image is but a stepping stone, so to say, to achieve our ultimate worth: being ‘like God.’ But only a few - those who are virtuous and holy, and have imitated the goodness of God to the limit of human powers - possess that which

having

dignity of his intellect and soul

is according to the likeness of God.

Furthermore, St. John distinguishes sin and its opposite virtue in terms of body and soul, with the soul being on a higher level than the body, as he says, more “excellent and precious.” St. John notes that “this is especially true of those virtues which imitate God and bear His name.” This leads him to the conclusion that “the vices of the soul are much worse than the passions of the body.” His down-to-earth discourse on this distinction is very insightful both psychologically and spiritually: I don’t know why, but people overlook this fact. They treat drunkenness,

unchastity, adultery, theft and all such vices with great concern, avoiding them or punishing them as something whose very appearance is loathsome to most men. But the passions of the soul are much worse and more serious then bodily passions [emphasis mine]. For they degrade men to the level of

demons

insensitivity, avarice - which according to the apostle [Paul] is the root of all evil. (cf. 1Tim 6: 10) - and all vices of a similar nature.

These passions of the soul are envy, rancour, malice,

It is clear that St. John of Damascus is not downgrading the sins of the body, but rather astutely indicating that (Continued on page 27)

Page 25

THE PROMISE

Thank You to these

annunCIatIon famIlIes foR CompletIng a

2012 steWaRdshIp CaRd:

c hristopher h ucka Bay Mark & Jana hunter sharon Johnson roBin Jones Mary karrant raouf & taMara kassissieh phoeBe kutait sarah lee Brock & christina Martin k.v. & aMMini Mathen terry & crystal Mccoy lynn & susan McDowell a rt & M agi Dah M natzaganian Dean & toni Moutos Mark & christina Myers Michael & DeBra napoli J a M es & e va p appas pat & alice pappas angelo & Dena parker nick & sarah pasliDis Mike & kaye rutter haythaM safi D avi D & e va s argent gorDon & Martha tyer steve & liBBie vaDen fr. nicholas & presv. Maria verDaris John & Marlene verDaris gus & irene vratsinas pete vratsinas Jack & Jill weatherly kevin & stephanie wilcox

richarD & aManDa zraick

As of May 18th, we have received Pledge Commitments from 66 families for a total
As of May 18th,
we have received
Pledge Commitments from 66
families for a
total of $158,996 towards the
goal of $300,000.

ranDy & nisreen akel richarD & star akel essa & grace alley haithaM & tina alley Mike & raeDa alley wayne & clair alley katherine apostle Mike & aMy Bailey Mark & nicole Bell DaviD & tetyana Brice Daniela Buhayevska Jesse & catherine Burks paul & Mary cantrell anna ciMino saM & giovana ciMino steve & anna clift BraD & anna coBB Mihaela coMan JaMes & eleanora Daly pat Diggins iBrahiM & naDine fahDi keith & allison freeMan cinDy george peter & Jennifer gess aDaM & lisa gianulis cathryn gillaspy r ay & l ea g ing lyle & Josie glass leila harB Michael & Darla harB ron & Joyce harB John & carole hawkins ken & linDa haycook helen hronas

Page 26

ouR lenten ChaRIty pRoJeCt: Sharing the good newS of the riSen ChriSt with Love &
ouR lenten ChaRIty
pRoJeCt:
Sharing the good newS
of the riSen
ChriSt
with
Love & generoSity
“Whoever receives
one little child like
this in My Name,
receives Me”
Matthew
18:5
This
year
in
preparing
our
heart
and
soul
to
herald
the
of
our Savior,
extended itself beyond
Resur rection
our Church family
earnestly maintaining
the financial wellbeing of
the Annunciation,
by
sharing
our
blessings
with
the
hogar
rafael orthoDox orphanage in guateMala
with
additional
almsgiving. Despite a difficult
economy, our Church family was able to raise
$4300 with the second tray during Great Lent.
This is beautiful evidence of how our love for
Jesus Christ is able
to respond in
tangible
ways
to
His Glory.
May the
Orphanage in
Guatemala be
renewed by
our Church
family’s simple
offering of love
in the name of
our Risen Lord.

June - augusT 2012

healIng soCIety

(Continued from page 25)

the sins of the soul are the source of these bodily sins and thus ultimately more primal. They indwell in the heart of the soul. As Christ Himself said “But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man.” (Mt 15: 18-20)

the Meaning of MartyrDoM

The word ‘martyr’ means witness. Martyrs are described by St. Diadochos of Photiki as those who “confess their faith despite all persecution.” (Philokalia I) commenting on the “witness (martyria) or public confession” of Christ in the early Church, says that it was seen as inspired by the Holy Spirit. He notes the words of Jesus to His Apostles, Peter James John and Andrew: “And it is needful for the Gospel first to be proclaimed to all the nations. But whenever they lead you away and deliver you up, cease taking thought before what ye should say, neither be meditating. But whatsoever shall be given to you in that hour, be speaking this; for ye are not the ones who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mk. 13:10-11). As I pointed our previously in this article, early Christians were subjected to physical torture and death in mimesis of the passion and death of Christ Himself.

spiritual preparation for Being a Martyr-witness in the MoDern worlD

Martyrdom may be laudable, but there can be grievous spiritual danger for Christians in public display of their commitment to Christ, as I noted in the introductory quote from St. Matthew (6: 5-6). It would do all of us well to reflect on Blessed Theophylact’s commentary on Christ’s teaching: “He also calls those men hypocrites who pretend they are looking to God when in fact they are only looking to men; and from men they have received the only reward they will receive.” In contemporary terms we must be aware of cultivating ‘purity of intention.’ St. Simeon the New Theologian writes: “In brief, do everything as if you were in the presence of God, so that your conscience does not rebuke you.” (Philokalia IV). We would want to purge ourselves of any witness that may be carnal, (Continued on page 28)

Page 27

THE PROMISE healIng soCIety

(Continued from page 27)

soul is liable to sin in three ways: in actions, in words, and in thoughts.” This suggests that if our hearts are imbued with the spirit of Christ, so, too, then will be our actions, words and thoughts. With this “armor of God,” we are now prepared to face our modern martyrdom, that is to say witnessing Christ. As St. Paul reminds the Ephesians (6: 11-13): “Put on the full armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; because for us the wrestling is not against blood and flesh, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the cosmic rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of evil on account of the heavenly things. For this cause take up the full armor of God, in order that ye might be able to withstand in the day, and having counteracted all things, to stand.” An important caveat is to recall that sin is not only what we do; it is also what we fail to do.

witnessing in the MoDern secular worlD

examPle one: A Simple Personal Example For many years in the past, when dining outside of my home, say in a public eatery, in the spirit of Christ’s instruction to pray in secret (cf. Mt 6: 6) I would make the Sign of the Cross and Grace before Meals mentally. In today’s world, which marginalizes God, Christ and His Church any public display of commitment to Christ it is likely to be considered worthy of castigation and surely not given honor. Thus, all the more reason for Christians to say such prayers in public and not limit themselves to private times. I now make a public confession of my commitment to Christ in this manner and strongly urge others dedicated to Christ to do likewise.

examPle Two: A Public Sports Figure The sports news that captured the attention of the media in the United States in 2011, if not around the world, was the very public acknowledgement of God by National Football League (NFL) quarterback Jim Tebow. After making a favorable play, he would drop to his knee and bow his head. The act generated a new word in American English language; it came to be called

“teBowing.”

English language; it came to be called “t eBowing .” material-minded, profane or unspiritual. This would

material-minded, profane or unspiritual. This would be the spiritual understanding of St. Paul’s teaching to

the Corinthians: “But a material-minded man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he is not able to come to know it, because it is spiritually examined.” (1 Cor. 2:14) In order to attain purity of heart or intention the virtue of humility must be cultivated. St. Isaac the Syrian (Holy Transfiguration Monastery) counsels: All these good things are born to a man from the recognition of his own weakness. For out of his craving for God’s help, he presses on

toward God

intention, God also draws near to him through His

and to the extent that he draws near to God in his

cultivating a heart enliveneD By christ

When we think of sin we think that it springs from what is in our hearts and into our thoughts, words and deeds. “For out of the heart cometh forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.”(Mt. 15:19). So, too, to witness Christ in the modern world we have to start with our hearts, that is to say our inner disposition, and be in conformity to the mind of Christ and his Church. As I have previously written: Secularism can be defined as the marginalization of God and the Church, and in place of God and His Church, a focus on “earthly things” (Php 3:19). That is to say, the values of contemporary western world, including: radical individualism; moral relativism; and religious and political correctness, which guide individual and social behavior and inform political/public policy. Thus we must start our witness of Christ, from the depths of our personhood, with our hearts focusing on ‘Godly things.’ St. Hesychios the Priest is clear what must be done to bring this about: The heart which is constantly guarded, and is not allowed to receive the forms, images and fantasies of the dark and evil spirits [earthly things] We should wage this spiritual warfare with a precise sequence; first, with attentiveness; then, when we perceive hostile thought attacking [worldly values], we should strike at it angrily in the heart, cursing it as we do so; thirdly, we should direct our prayer against it, concentrating our the heart through the invocation of

So, then, what follows from our heart is either sinful or Godly. As St. Ilias the Presbyter succinctly put it: “The

Jesus Christ

(Philokalia I)

Page 28

This act has been copied by others:

This act has been copied by others: Can we not see this as drawing people to

Can we not see this as drawing people to God and helping to re-establish the importance of God in society and our personal life? At a time in which Christ and his followers are being disparaged, deprived of fundamental rights, ignored and sidelined from public life and political policy, this display is a welcome witness. It should be noted that the witness that Tim Tebow gives is Christ-centered. While in college play he had the number “Jn 3:16” on his sun protection eye black, a reference to the well-known Gospel verse:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that everyone who believeth in Him should not perish, but may have everlasting life.” The use of any number or text for under-eye sun protection is not allowed in the NFL. However Tebow’s Christian orientation was made known. In fact, he commented that: “It just goes to show you the influence and the platform that you have as a student-athlete and as a quarterback at Florida.” May I comment on how much influence any of us could have who are true witnesses to Christ in our lives? Consider Christ’s direction: “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” (Mt 10:27) The eyes of the world are around us and upon us.

examPle Three: Engaging Moral Issues It goes without saying that if Christians are in political life or have societal leadership of any kind, they are to follow Christ’s moral teachings in what they legislate, propose, support, vote on, execute or adjudicate. To name but a few contemporary political-social issues that have moral implications: abortion, same-sex

June - augusT 2012

marriage, and torture. These activities are a grave illness, infirmity, missing of the mark, that is to say sin, and are thus antithetical to Christian moral teaching; not worthy of sincere Christians, and should be against the conscience of those who claim to be Christians.

What about the rest of us, however, who are not politicians, business executives or who, like me, actually eschew politics? Let us recall the ways of participating

in sin. We are culpable by: counsel, command, consent,

provocation, praise or flattery, concealment, partaking, silence or defense of the sin. Permit me another

personal example. I was recently exiting a market when I was approached by a young lady. She asked me: Do you support civil rights for gays, lesbians and

bi-sexuals? Without hesitation, very directly and firmly,

equal pay

for equal work,

intuition as she was asking the question, I discerned the

motive behind her question and where it was leading, so I continued responding with no pause whatsoever). but not same-sex marriage, that is a moral issue, not one of civil rights; marriage can be only between a male and female, and blessed by God.” Let me say, she

(by God’s grace working on my

but in charity, I answered: “I certainly,

was stopped in her tracks. I guess my Christ-centered response-witness was certainly unexpected. I had a genuine smile and said something like: “Take care and God bless!” Let us recall on the ways I have acted in

a similar way when confronted by others supporting

un-Christlike moral issues. Psychologically what I was doing was responding assertively. I might call such

encounters ‘assertiveness for Christ.’

a shaMe for christians that Many who Deny christ have no proBleM witnessing

It is well known that many who deny Christ as true God and true man have no problem publicly witnessing their view. In Europe, this view of a young lady is a common sight:

publicly witnessing their view. In Europe, this view of a young lady is a common sight:

(Continued on page 30)

Page 29

THE PROMISE

healIng soCIety

(Continued from page 29)

Public Schools Toronto Canada allow formal prayer services for Moslem students during the day in the schools:

services for Moslem students during the day in the schools: In fact, among Moslems it is

In fact, among Moslems it is a duty to perform public worship.

It is well known that in some Moslem countries any public display of commitment to Christ is prohibited and harshly dealt with. I saw a video a couple of years ago of a world known Orthodox bishop who had to wear a sport shirt and pants while in Turkey, because his clerical garb was not permitted. Unless under Church obedience, I have no intention of ever visiting a country that will not permit me to wear my appropriate clerical garb and possess my Sacred Scripture, readings of the Church Fathers and service books. I pray that God would give me the strength that if ever I were somehow forced into being in such a location, I would be a witness-martyr in this regard even unto death.

our BaptisMal vocation anD responsiBility:

Being a Martyr for christ

The last words of Christ to His eleven Apostles as recorded by St. Matthew (Mt. 28:18-20) is this instruction: “All authority is given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever

I commanded you; and behold, I am with you all the days until the completion of the age. Amen.” All those baptized into Christ, as we chant in the Baptismal Hymn: “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Alleluia,” means that now all the baptized are of the royal priesthood. They themselves are called to make those of all nations become committed, baptized followers of Christ. Writing to the persecuted

Churches in Asia Minor St. Peter told them, “But ye are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for

a possession,” that ye might “tell forth the virtues” of the One Who called you out of darkness into His wondrous light, who

.”

once were “not a people,” but now are “a people of (1Pt 2:9-10)

Now, God has created us with different personalities and different gifts. As St. Paul told the people of Corinth: “Now there are distributions of gifts of grace, but

the same Spirit, there are distributions of ministrations, and the same Lord. But to each one the manifestation of the Spirit

.” (1Cor. 12: 4,5,7) One

gift that we all share is the gift to witness-to martyr Christ. At the very least, we can all make the Sign of the Cross, say a prayer, and (with discernment) say that something we may encounter is contrary to the teaching of Christ. Let us remember Christ’s words to St. Paul, and his response: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for My power is being made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ might dwell upon me. Wherefore I am well pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions, in straits, for Christ’s sake; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12: 9-10)

is given to the profit of

BlesseD are they who have Been persecuteD on account of righteousness, for theirs is the

kingDoM of the heavens.

BlesseD are ye whenever they reproach you anD persecute you, anD say every evil worD

against you falsely on account of Me.

Be reJoicing anD Be exceeDingly glaD, for your rewarD is great in the heavens. for so they persecuteD the prophets who were

Before you.

(Matthew 5: 10-12)

Page 30

ouR CentennIal

With little more than 200 days until our Centennial year, the committee has been meeting and is organizing some several endeavors in order for us to all commemorate our 100th Anniversary. If there is a way in which you can help us all honor the legacy of our parish, please step forward and or attend an upcoming Centennial Meetings.

1) puBlicity

We need a chairperson to help coordinate efforts to work with the press and community about this milestone.

2) coMMeMorative alBuM & DvD

Having begun the process to collect pictures and material. We want to explore the potential of off- setting the cost of the Album with advertising. We need someone to explore and advance this aspect of the project.

3) icon show

Father, Peter Gess & Robin Jones are exploring a venue for such an event that would expand its out- reach opportunities.

4) orthoDox christian foruMs

Invite (2-3) clergy to make presentations on Ortho- doxy one specific weekend for parishioners & gener- al public to discover more about our legacy of Faith.

5) a Missions trip

In celebrating our 100 years, to help sow the seeds in order for others to one day celebrate a Centennial. Peter Gess is exploring this possibility.

6) parish picnic

Presv. Maria is looking at have a “tasty” fellowship picnic in the park after a Divine Liturgy.

7) cultural night

Haitham Alley is exploring an evening fellowship event featuring music, dancing, ethnic Hors d oeuvres or Pot luck.

8) charity funD-raising Banquet:

M ay 9, 2013

Sam & Janet Alley / Steve & Anna Clift are heading up a very special “Taste of the Mediterranean” (with

June - augusT 2012

Celebrating 100 Years
Celebrating
100 Years

auctions, sponsorships & tickets) whereby we would split the proceeds with charities, and apply our portion towards offsetting the costs of the Parish’s Centennial celebrations & Courtyard/Garden.

9) parish centennial gala:

septeMBer 21-22, 2013

The Parish Council will heading up an evening for our Church family to formally celebrate our blessings. The visit of the Archbishop & Metropolitan to visit us September 21- 22, 2013 has been set.

10)courtyarD & garDen

To highlight and commemorate the legacy of the parish we are exploring the construction of a Courtyard (in accordance with Church tradition) in addition to a Garden. The Lily Garden Club has developed some ideas for a potential Garden along Napa Valley Drive and our Landscape Architect will develop a design and prepare a schematic drawing of a Courtyard for all of us to see and consider.

At the September 16th Parish Assembly, we will decide if we wish to proceed with this project and the manner by which we will raise funds and honor the memory of those who have gone before us. If it is accepted at the September Parish Assembly, we will then submit the project to the Metropolis of Detroit for approval.

NEXT Centennial Meeting: T.B.D. All are encouraged to participate & contribute!

Page 31

THE PROMISE

Happy BirtHday! (Continued from page 14) August 21st Mike Alley Jeffrey Chacko August 22nd Christine
Happy BirtHday!
(Continued from page 14)
August 21st
Mike Alley
Jeffrey Chacko
August 22nd
Christine Lewis
August 23rd
Nina Diggins
Brock Martin
August 27th
Nicole Bell
August 28th
Chris Moutos
Kaye Rutter
August 29th
Ashley Kassissieh
August 31st
Ann Pappas
outReaCh CommIttee
meet & gReet sChedule
June 3rd
Robin Jones
June 10th
Susan McDowell
sCholaRshIp
foundatIon RemIndeR!
June 17th
Sharon
Johnson
June 24th
Christopher Huckabay
attention current scholarship
recipients anD parents:
July 1st
Jack
Weatherly
July 8th
Mark Hunter
July 15th
Robin Jones
A reminder that the upcoming deadline for
requesting Scholarship funds is may 30th
to June 30th. Please submit current
grades to Catherine Burks at:
July 22nd
Susan McDowell
July 29th
Sharon
Johnson
annunciation
greek orthoDox church
August 5th
Christopher Huckabay
August 12th
Jack
Weatherly
1100 Napa Valley Drive
Little Rock, AR 72211
OR
email: agocscholarship@gmail.com
August 19th
Mark Hunter
August 26th
Robin Jones
When submitting current grades, please
include the student’s email and cell phone.

Page 32

June - augusT 2012

A Grand Graduation! Thanks to Lyle Glass, for the pictures!
A Grand
Graduation!
Thanks to Lyle Glass, for the pictures!
J une - a ugusT 2012 A Grand Graduation! Thanks to Lyle Glass, for the pictures!
J une - a ugusT 2012 A Grand Graduation! Thanks to Lyle Glass, for the pictures!
J une - a ugusT 2012 A Grand Graduation! Thanks to Lyle Glass, for the pictures!

Page 33

J une - a ugusT 2012 A Grand Graduation! Thanks to Lyle Glass, for the pictures!
J une - a ugusT 2012 A Grand Graduation! Thanks to Lyle Glass, for the pictures!

THE PROMISE

annunCIaTIon GREEk oRThoDoX ChuRCh

1100 naPa VaLLEY DRIVE, LITTLE RoCk, aR 72211

rev. dr. niChoLaS J. verdariS, PaStor

June 2012

ev . d r . n iChoLaS J. v erdariS , P aStor J une 2012

Sun

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

         

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Pentecost Matins 9:00am Divine Liturgy 10:00am

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

Sunday of All Saints Matins 9:00am Divine Liturgy 10:00am

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

2nd Sunday of Matthew Matins 9:00am Divine Liturgy 10:00am

h appy f athers D ay!

24

25

26

27

28

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Nativity of the Baptist Matins 9:00am Divine Liturgy 10:00am

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June - augusT 2012

annunCIaTIon GREEk oRThoDoX ChuRCh

annunCIaTIon GREEk oRThoDoX ChuRCh

1100 naPa VaLLEY DRIVE, LITTLE RoCk, aR 72211

rev. dr. niChoLaS J. verdariS, PaStor

July 2012

Sun

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

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4th Sunday of Matthew Matins 9:00am Divine Liturgy 10:00am

national clergy laity conference

national clergy laity conference

national clergy laity conference

national clergy laity conference

national clergy laity conference

in Phoenix, AZ

in Phoenix, AZ

in Phoenix, AZ

in Phoenix, AZ

in Phoenix, AZ

God Bless the USA!

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5th Sunday of Matthew Matins 9:00am Divine Liturgy 10:00am

Metropolis southern st. nicholas caMp

Metropolis southern st. nicholas caMp

Metropolis southern st. nicholas caMp

Metropolis southern st. nicholas caMp

Metropolis southern st. nicholas caMp

Metropolis southern st. nicholas caMp

in Pleasantville, TN

in Pleasantville, TN

in Pleasantville, TN

in Pleasantville, TN