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Sunday School to Enjoy Day at Amusement Park

DelgrossosAumusementPark-forweb-120The Sunday School will enjoy a day at Delgrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton (about 25 mins from State College) for a Sunday School Fun Day on Thursday, June 30!

All Sunday School student admission tickets to the park will be paid for from our Gertrude Hawk Candy Sale conducted earlier this year. All students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and are responsible for their children at all times.

The park is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Our group will meet at the entrance at 12:30 p.m. and enter the park together.

There are variety of rides and a water park. For more info you may visit the DelGrosso website or contact Deacon Mark Oleynik, Director of Christian Education.

Dn. David Smith to be Ordained a Priest on June 18

Deacon David and Matushka Brenda Smith.

Deacon David and Matushka Brenda Smith.

By the Grace of God, Dn. David Smith will be ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek the weekend of Pentecost—the patronal feast of both Holy Trinity and its mission outreach, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

Providentially and fittingly, the event will take place at the Chapel (145 North Kern Street, in Beavertown) where Dn. David has faithfully served as co-founder and administrator for several years. It will occur during the Saturday, June 18 Memorial Lit-urgy at 9 a.m., with a celebratory reception to follow at the Beavertown Firehall on 222 South Sassafras Street.

Reservations are required for the meal only by calling (814) 231-2855 or emailing ordination@holyspirit-oca.org.

There is no charge to attend the formal reception, but a freewill offering is being collected in honor of Deacon David and Mka. Brenda for the Chapel of the Holy Spirit Fund. Your generous gifts memoed “Smith Ordination” will help the Chapel and their newly ordained priest continue their ministry to the people of the central Susquehanna Valley. Thank you.

Before being received into Orthodoxy, Dn. David served as a Lutheran pastor for 20 years. He helped to establish the Chapel in 2008, and hosted services in his home while the community prepared to build its new temple. To further the Chapel’s apostolic work, he was ordained to the diaconate on the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul (June 29) in 2013. Father’s first full liturgy as priest will be Pentecost at Holy Trinity (June 19, 10 a.m.). He will also serve the Holy Spirit Day (June 20, 9 a.m.) and Nativity of St. John liturgies (June 24, 8 a.m.) here at Holy Trinity before commencing weekly Sunday services at the Chapel.

Your prayers and presence are requested.

Christ is Risen!

Christ is Risen! From the Paschal Message of St. John Chrysostom:

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in no wise be deprived there of. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a Body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.

About the Author: St. John Chrysostom (347-407), Archbishop of Constantinople, was a notable Christian bishop and preacher from the fourth and fifth centuries in Syria and Constantinople. He is famous for eloquence in public speaking and his denunciation of abuse of authority in the Church and in the Roman Empire of the time. He had notable ascetic sensibilities. After his death he was named Chrysostom, which comes from the Greek Χρυσόστομος, “golden-mouthed.” The Orthodox Church honors him as a saint (feast day, November 13) and counts him among the Three Holy Hierarchs (feast day, January 30), together with Saints Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian. (from orthodoxwiki.org)

Overnight Parking Ban Lifted for Pascha

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 18.39.24At the request of Holy Trinity, the Borough of State College has lifted the 2 to 6 a.m. on-street parking ban on all the surface roads surrounding the church.

In addition to on-street parking on North and South Sparks Street, other suggested places to park include Patterson and Gill Streets, Nittany Beverage (139 N. Patterson St.) and the former Montessori School (300 S. Sparks St.). All the spaces in the Holy Trinity lot, including those accessible by Calder Way (numbered 10 through 18) are also available.

Tonight’s Divine Services for Great and Holy Pascha begin at 11:30 p.m. with the chanting of Nocturns. Following the rush procession, the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection continues with Matins, Hours, and the Divine Liturgy sung in quick succession. The blessing of baskets and a festal meal follow in the Parish Hall.

All are invited.

A Reflection on the Bridegroom Icon

BridegroomOur faith teaches that Christ became man so that we might by grace become God.  It is in this icon that we clearly see the import of this exchange. Here we do not see as we might expect, a groom full of joy and dressed up in handsome clothing, with a king’s crown on, and ribbons binding the hands of the couple as a symbol of how love binds them together. Rather,  in this icon we see a sorrowful Christ, a captive whose hands are bound, who is without a wedding garment, and who is wearing a crown of thorns.  It is here in this icon that we see Christ as having fully entered into the mess, the brokenness, the sorrow, of the Fall. He comes to his bride in humble clothing to match hers.

We know however, that the story does not end here. Although here He “weeps over Jerusalem” yet, “for the joy set before Him he endured the cross”—The joy over one sinner who repents, the joy of seeing His bride without spot or wrinkle, dressed in the glorious garment of His purity and light.  It is at Pascha that we will see the groom and bride as we expect in the fullness of joy and the beauty of holiness.

The Paschal Icon focuses our gaze on the Kingdom to come in hope and expectation, but it is in this icon that we are reminded of Christ’s example for us of how to live in a fallen world—that in the face of sin, love must be humble in order to act as a healing balm to the proud, love must be sacrificial and self-denying as a healing balm in the face of the selfishness surrounding us.  It is in this icon that we see what it means that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It is in this icon that we hear Christ saying, “As I have loved you, so you also must love one another.”

— Anna Stickles

Youth Pascha Workshop This Saturday!

On Lazarus Saturday (April 23), our Church School is sponsoring a free Pascha preparation workshop for children of all ages. There will be a variety of activities, including baking, crafts, and egg-dying. Bring the whole family!

Great Lent: Rejoice in the Fast

by Dn. David Smith

Smith - Version 2Winter has the potential to give us “snow days”—days of grace and contemplation because of a winter storm, when life is “forced” providentially to slow down and our agendas com-pelled to yield to the greater work of God. It is an opportunity granted to us for refreshment if we but step into it and receive it with faith, hope, and love as God’s gift.

Such is Great Lent, the Great Fast. We have entered into this providential season of contemplation and of grace: of prayer and of fasting and of almsgiving. Like the other fasts, this one is afforded to us by the Church for our renewal through the personal and communal practice of intensified spiritual disciplines. It is the Great Fast, however, because of its more intense rigor, a rigor preceding and leading us into the Resurrection of Christ God, a rigor worthy of the Church’s participation and of the Great and Holy Pascha. It is a holy season and a divinely appointed opportunity for our spiritual renewal and reclamation (shades of Ebenezer Scrooge here).

But, the question is: Will we receive this holy season as a gift of utter grace for our salvation or will we bear it, begrudge it, put up with it, tolerate it, resent it, and not find joy in the salvation it offers us? May we not forget last month’s parable of the elder brother of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). It is the younger brother, the prodigal, who tends to get our attention and limelight. (Pesky younger siblings and troublemakers tend to!)

ProdigalSonA

Icon of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24), courtesy of oca.org.

However, this parable of our Lord is just as much about the older brother as it is about the younger. It is a sad commentary that the elder—and obviously, more responsible—sibling could not rejoice in the return of the family’s black sheep to the fold. Perhaps it takes the heart of a father to thoroughly bask in such a return or repentance.

But, at the same time, it certainly is not out of the question for such joy to be shared by all in the family, including the dutiful older brother. Sadly, despite never leaving the family estate and the preserve of his father, the dutiful elder son of the family could not tolerate such wasteful extravagance on someone who had obviously failed and proven his unworthiness!

Sadly, having served faithfully his father “these many years,” going about his father’s business each and every day without so much as a request, the elder son, loved dearly by his father, had lost the joy (I wonder, did he ever have it?) of being a part of the family, of celebrating the fact that he was the son of so loving and forgiving a father as his. It is so very easy to “neglect [the joy] of so great a salvation” (Heb. 2:3) when we get focused solely on our fulfill-ing of “obligations” and start comparing ourselves to others who may not be living up to our standards. Insidiously, the old devil turns our attention from whence we have come and saps our hearts of the joy of being made sons and daughters of our heavenly Father by Whose utter grace “we live, and move, and have our [very] being” (Acts 17:28)

In these holy days of “obligation,” the Church invites us to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” (Matt. 5:12) in the midst of the “duty” of our Lenten labors, basking in the sublime reality that we are profoundly loved by God our Father, though unworthy sinners that we are. Through the coming of our true elder Brother, Jesus Christ, in the flesh we have all been made children of the Most High to share in the joy of His Kingdom (Rom. 14:17-18).

First Children’s Choir Practice to take place Sunday

The Children’s Choir (grades 3-8) will practice on Sunday, January 16 at 9:30 a.m. in Trinity House. Students will be accompanied to the rehearsal and then to the church.  All students in these grades are invited to be a part of this ministry.
Parents are encouraged to spend some time with your child(ren) discussing the importance of music in the Church: music is not an ornamentation to the liturgical services but is an essential element of the services, the medium by which the Church instructs the faithful. Prayerfully consider taking advantage of this readily available means for your child(ren)’s spiritual growth and education.
It is understood that not all children may want to be part of the choir, but perhaps they can attend a few practices first to get a “feel” for it (students not rehearsing this Sunday will be dismissed to you).

Sunday School Moves to Trinity House this Sunday

IMG_9906 (1)Trinity House Ministry Center officially opens on Sunday, January 10. For students in the Sunday School and their parents, here is some important information regarding classroom changes:

  • Parents, teachers, and students will assemble in the Parish Hall at 9:00 a.m. sharp! for our opening prayer and then proceed immediately to our classes with the the Sunday School teachers:
    • Students in the Pre-K and Kindergarden class will  meet in the Holy Trinity Nursery (i.e., Father John’s former office in the Parish Hall);
    • Students in grades 1-5 will meet in the Trinity House Lower Level entering via the rear  entry door;
    • Students in the middle school (Conference Room) and high school (Atty Lounge, Second Floor) classes will enter Trinity House Main Floor using the Sparks Street (front door) entrance.
  • The driveway between Holy Trinity and Trinity House will be closed for the safety of students traveling to and from class. Motorists will be asked to enter the parking areas from Calder Way and Lark Alley only.
  • At the conclusion of the classes (9:45 AM) students in grades Pre-K to 5 will return to the Parish Hall to meet up with parents so that you may go together to the Liturgy.
  • Older students will be dismissed directly from class to return to the church for the Liturgy.

Next Sunday (January 17) during the Parents Session (we will meet in Trinity House Lower Level) Deacon Mark will lead parents in a discussion on these new procedures and make adjustments as necessary using your feedback.

Children to Prepare Blankets for Charity

In conjunction with rehearsing for Holy Trinity’s annual Christmas play, children will also have an opportunity to participate in a charitable project this Saturday.  While the children practice the songs, students will “finish” a few winter blankets for the less fortunate of our community. This will be a simple activity of tying knots on the fringe of the blankets. The blankets will then be given to the residents of the House of Care, a group home just a few blocks from our church on Beaver Avenue, which serves people with mental/physical illness who don’t have any family to support them.

Teens and parents who wish to participate should arrive early at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 19 to complete the final preparatory steps.  This will include the cutting of some material to precise measurements.

For more information, please contact Dn. Mark Oleynik, Director of Christian Education, at dnmark@holytrinity-oca.org.