We Are Witnesses for Christ – Discipline

Fr. John Codis
November 18, 2012

Book Reference
The Selfless Way of Christ
Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life
By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

Our vocation as Christians is to follow Jesus on his downward path and to become witnesses to God’s compassion in the concrete situation of our time and place.

If we allow ourselves to become consumed by our “needs” and “desires” we lose our true vocation. It is within this tension that provides us with the necessity of spiritual formation.

To be witnesses or disciples of Christ we must be disciplined. Discipline in the spiritual life differs from discipline in other areas of our lives.

Three forms of Discipline

1. Discipline of the Church

2. Discipline of the Book

3. Discipline of the Heart

The Discipline of the Church

The discipline of the church is the way we remain in touch with our true story of God in history. This story is alive through the sacramental life of the church especially the celebration of the Eucharist.

The events of Christ’s life is realized among us in and through the church. It is Advent, Christ is coming; it is Christmas, Christ is born; it is Lent, Christ is suffering; It is Holy Week, Christ is dying; it is Easter, Christ is risen; it is Pentecost, Christ is sending his Spirit. All other events – personal, social, or political – derive their meaning from the life of Christ.

The Discipline of the Book

Reading the Scriptures is essential for anyone who wants to follow Christ on the road of downward mobility.

By the Word of God we are formed into living Christ, and this formation goes far beyond information, instruction, edification, or inspiration.

Reading and studying are often part of our attempts to be more relevant, spectacular, and powerful. We must however be mindful that even reading the Scripture itself can become dangerous for our spiritual life.

The Discipline of the Heart

“The discipline of the heart is the discipline of personal prayer. In the context of the liturgical life of the church, and supported by an ongoing meditation on the Word of God, personal prayer leads us to not just our own heart, but to the heart of God.” Nouwen pg. 82

Prayer as a spiritual discipline is necessary because it opens us to the reception of God, it prevents us from being filled by the world, and it allows us to pray and for God to pray through us.

The Witness of the Church

One way the church witnesses Christ is through the placements of Holy Icons. Icons are used throughout the church because they are associated with worship. The icon becomes a “window into heaven” and helps us direct our attention to divine things which go beyond the merely physical appearance.

Conclusion

“We will never be without struggle. But when we persevere with hope, courage and confidence, we will come to fully realize our innermost being that through the downward road of Christ we will enter with him into his glory. So let us be grateful for our vocation, resist our temptation, and be ever committed to a life of ongoing formation.” Nouwen

 

We’re Moving Ahead!

Dear Blessed Parishioners,

What a difference a week can make. Last week we announced the time line for the date of the Consecration of our Church much to the joy of hundreds of faithful. The project as you know by now has several parts to it:

  • Phase 2 of the iconography
  • The renovation of our small and greater hall
  • A brand new kitchen
  • God willing the paving of our parking lot
  • Fencing
  • New light system for our grounds
  • A new covered area over the outside of our small hall

The later of these depend on future donations. The responses we have received thus far have been incredibly positive and we are now planning for this once in a lifetime event.

Thank you to those who have already stepped up and been the forerunners of the project. Thus far we have received the following donations:

  • Chris and Raffaela Nichols – Medallion
  • Jordan and Evangelia Elrod – Medallion of St. Cyril
  • Curtis and Carmen Elrod – Medallion of St. Methodios
  • Dr George Georgakakis – Two Icon Veneration Areas in the Narthex
  • Harry Tangalakis – New Dome with Icons in the Narthex in memory of his father Charlie and a Mosaic Angel over the front entrance of the Church in Honor of his mother Xenia
  • Anonymous – One of the new doors in the Nave of the Church with etched-glass of the Archangels.

These first donations amount to $66,400. We are speaking with many other faithful and the amount of donations should approach over $100,000 very soon. A great thank you to those who are leading the way. This Sunday we will announce more donations that have been received. Please be aware as we have stated multiple times that we will not be incurring debt to complete the project but will order icons and their installation once we have received the donation. A percentage of the funds collected will be set aside for the hall renovation project and as these funds become available we will begin the incredible task of renovating our hall.

We would like to finish the icons on the balcony as well as the design work and the new glass railing first so if you haven’t yet made a commitment we would ask that you consider giving in this area first. Giving opportunities start as low as $500 and go to $45,000 and can be given over a three year period. If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of us.

Thank you again and may God continue to bless you. Great things are happening at St. Demetrios and we are sure you want to be a part of them.

 

Fr. Christopher Metropulos

Chris Nichols

We Are Witnesses for Christ – Temptation

Joseph Olas
November 11, 2012

Book Reference
The Selfless Way of Christ
Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life
By Henri J. M. Nouwen

The Lure of Upward Mobility

1. In what circumstances have you encountered the temptation to be relevant? How can we resist this temptation?

2. How does the desire to be spectacular show our insecurity, as well as a lack of faith in God?

3. Why is the experience of God’s unconditional love the basis of all ministry?

4. According to Henri, what is the role of contemplative prayer? What role does this kind of prayer play in your spiritual life? What disciplines does Henri see as necessary for attaining communion with God?

5. Henri sees the desire for power as the most seductive of all temptations. Describe your own experience of this temptation.

6. Why does Henri see power as an illusion? Why is power incapable of giving us security?

7. Discuss the relationship between powerlessness and compassion.

8. Henri states “that in serving God we find our true self which no longer needs social affirmations but is free to offer a powerless ministry” (p. 65). How does the life of Jesus illustrate this kind of ministry? What might such a ministry look like in our world today?

He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)

Why is this My Church?

Dear Beloved in Christ,

This past Sunday we unveiled the Phase II Iconography and Hall Renovation project to the amazement and approval of hundreds of faithful who were in Church. As a reminder of that presentation we are sending out this email with a video link on You Tube for you to watch as well as the documents outlining the program. Feel free to share this email with those you love and who have at one time or another had a connection to St. Demetrios Church.

This is our time to build upon the work of our forefathers by completing the iconography in our Church and then simultaneously finishing the much needed upgrade to our hall. A portion of the donation you make for the icon of your choice will go to pay for the renovation and thus we will prepare the Church for her consecration in four years and celebrate the event in our newly much needed renovated hall. In the Fact Sheet that is attached you will see each of the items identified by a letter of the alphabet so you can coordinate your gift with the renderings that will now be displayed in the Church. If you have any questions just ask one of the clergy or any member of the parish council for direction.

Please watch the video which is the first of four to be produced to learn more about the program. As the videos are produced you will learn more from those who were around when the parish was founded as well as learn why people are saying, “This is my Church what is it to you?”

 

 

Once you have discussed the project with your family, pray and then select one of the giving opportunities so that you can participate in this once in a life time event. The giving opportunities range from as little as $500 given over a three year period to as much as $45,000. Then send in your card with your first payment or the entire amount which ever you select. You can also make your donation utilizing a number of options using your credit card. If you have any questions just call us. You may wish to make your donation in honor of or in memory of someone. Just make sure you make note of that in your Giving Card response. Please be aware that this project is in addition to our stewardship commitments that each and every one us make each year. We ask that you continue to give your stewardship at its current level during the project. We are so excited about this much awaited project.

We have already received eight specific donations of icons in honor of their loved ones. If everyone participates and all items are donated then we can finish our task. Let’s keep the excitement going.

God bless you,

Fr. Christopher Metropulos

Chris Nichols

Manny Daskos Speaks about Mercedes

Hello my name is Manny and I want to talk to you for about 30 seconds about a tremendous opportunity we have at St Demetrios to fund some of our ministries in a beautiful and easy way. Last year this man Mr. Olivio Treto won the Grand Raffle Prize of a new Mercedes Benz. He chose not to take the model we raffled off but rather to add to his winnings and upgrade to a large model. Just think for a moment if you were the winner…what would you do? The first thing is you would probably jump up and down a few times.

St. Demetrios is a vibrant, thriving spiritual community with a lovely church adorned with precious icons of venerated saints and martyrs. On any given Sunday generations of families can be seen worshiping together within our sanctuary. But years of service to her faithful are wearing on our facilities, our church, and especially on our community center. In an effort to respond to all our financial needs we present the Mercedes raffle opportunity to our members with the potential to raise the monies needed to make up the shortfall between the pledge stewardship and what we actually need to administer the expenses of our church.

 

 

By simply reaching out to your friends, neighbors and co-workers and asking them to buy an opportunity to win a brand new beautiful Mercedes C250 we can do a great deal to solidify the financial needs of our church. If everyone sold just 10 tickets we will reach our goal, oh and don’t forget about the bonus. The individual who sells the winning ticket will win $2,000! It’s not a gamble when everyone is a winner! Just look at the winner in this email. He decided to take his winnings and apply them to another Mercedes as an upgrade. You can do the same if you win.

So what are you waiting for, get busy and sell your tickets today…there is no time to delay. Better yet buy one yourself. How about sharing the video with your relatives and friends and asking them to purchase their tickets online. It is really simple to do.

Thank you.

We Are Witnesses for Christ – Mirroring Christ

Fr. Christopher Metropulos
November 4, 2012

Book Reference
The Selfless Way of Christ
Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life
By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

Something which existed since the beginning, that we have heard and we have seen with our own eyes; that we have watched and touched with our hands; the Word, who is life–this is our subject. (1 John 1:1)

1. To be a witness for Christ you must first know him. What ways can you employ in your life to do this? In what ways do you see yourself as a Christian witness?

2. How have you experienced the “pervasive drive for upward mobility” in your own life? “There is a profound difference between the false ambition for power and the true ambition to love and serve”. Henri Nouwen.

3. In what ways does our society punish those who can’t or won’t keep up with the quest for upward mobility?

4. How is downward mobility manifested at the center of Christian faith?

5. What does it mean to live as a disciple of Jesus?

6. Why does a simple imitation of how Jesus lived represent a misunderstanding of the truth revealed in Christ?

7. What is the spiritual life? In what sense is this a gift rather than something we achieve by our own efforts?

Conclusion

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self control are indeed the qualities of our Lord himself and reveal his presence in the midst of a world so torn apart by idolatry, envy, greed, sexual irresponsibility, war and other sin. (Gal. 5:19-23)

 

Our Purposeful Life – Giving

Fr. John Codis
October 21, 2012

Book Reference
Life of the Beloved
Spiritual Living In A Secular World
By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

Our purpose as Orthodox Christians is a constant learning on how to welcome God into our Lives to live and work through us.

Giving is the third leg in the tree legged stool that is our spiritual life; prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Almsgiving is giving of our times, talents and blessings that have been given to us.

What is giving?

Giving is not only giving of our time and talents but our real gift is not so much what we can do, but who we are. Who can we be for each other. Our greatest gift is to give of ourselves…our joy of living, our own inner peace, our own silence and solitude, our own sense of well-being.

Our gifts are more important than our talents

We may only have a few talents, but we have many gifts. Our gifts are the many ways in which we express our humanity. They are part of who we are: friendship, kindness, patience, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, love, hope, trust, and many others. These are the true gifts we have to offer each other.

As the Beloved Children of God, we are called to become bread for each other – bread for the world. The spiritual life is like the miracle of the Feeding the Five Thousand (Matt 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15). Is not our lives but a grain of sand that we must also trust to multiply itself and be able to fulfill the needs of countless people?

The trust in one’s fruitfulness emerges from a humble spirit.

Living in the world but not of the world

“The world is evil only when you become its slave.”

“The great struggle facing us is not to leave the world, to reject our ambitions and aspirations, or to despise money, prestige, or success, but to claim our spiritual truth and to live in the world as someone who doesn’t belong to it.”

Got not only says “You are my beloved” but he also asks us “Do you love me?” and offers us countless chances to say “Yes.” This is the spiritual life, saying “Yes” to God in all his works, to our inner truth.

Conclusion

Living the spiritual life means living as one unified reality. The forces of darkness are the forces that split, divide, and set in opposition. The forces of light unite. Literally, the word “diabolic” means dividing. The demon divides; the Spirit unites.

The purpose of our life is to lead us back to the “place” we come from, the “place” of God.

John Chrysostom gives us good advice from the 4th century.

“Some people see the houses in which they live as their kingdom; and although in their minds they know that death will one day force them to leave, in their hearts they feel they will stay forever. They take pride in the size of their houses and the fine material with which they are built. They take pleasure in decorating their houses with bright colors, and in obtaining the best and most solid furniture to fill the rooms. They imagine that they can find peace and security by owning a house whose walls and roof will last for many generations. We, by contrast, know that we are only temporary guests on earth. We recognize that the houses in which we live serve only as hostels on the road to eternal life. We do not seek peace or security from the material walls around us or the roof above our heads. Rather we want to surround ourselves with a wall of divine grace; and we look upward to heaven as our roof. And the furniture of our lives should be good works, performed in a spirit of love.”

Chrysostom, On Living Simply, pg 11

Phase II Iconography Project

Phase II Iconography Project
Hall Renovation and Kitchen Remodeling

THIS IS MY CHURCH

Purpose and Plan:

This undertaking will allow us to complete two very important projects that are integral to the sustaining, growing and improving of the spiritual and social life of our parish.

Phase II of our Iconography Project in preparation for the Consecration of our Church in 2017.
The complete remodeling of our community center. We will also, thanks to the generosity of the late Mary Kandaras, completely remodel and update the kitchen facility.

Special Note: Future plans will include the paving of the parking lot, fencing and new lighting system to our campus as well as a new canopy outside the small hall. God has always provided for our church through the generosity of our faithful. God bless everyone for your generosity.

Facts

DeSerras Hall built in 1964
Community Center built in 1976
Church built in 1988
Phase 1 Iconography 1993
Wall of Honor to be installed 2013
Consecration set for 2017

 

Iconography Giving Opportunities Sheet

2013 Grand Raffle Update

Through your generosity and love as of October 15th we have sold 270 tickets and raised $6750!!

We ask that you continue to support your community to reach its goal of selling 5000 tickets!!  You can purchase tickets online here at our website.  Also look for the raffle table in our hall during our Fellowship hour.