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Holy Trinity to Provide Full Scholarships for Retreat

St Herman Retreat Flyer 2014As we have done in the past, middle school (grades 5-8) students are invited to participate in the St. Herman Middle School Retreat at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier.  The retreat will be conducted December 12-14 (this will be the Jr. OYA activity for December) and we would like have all registrations by this Sunday, November 16.

As a reminder, the Sunday School will cover tuition costs for registrations received by that time along with the transportation to and from the retreat.

There is approximately 20% discount if we register by this Sunday so your cooperation in being timely is appreciated.  The registration form can be downloaded here and may be submitted to Dn. Mark Oleynik, Director of Christian Education, either in person or through the “Contact Us” section of this website. (There is no need to complete the payment section of the form.
Download Registration Form

Parishioners Adopt Growth Budget for 2015

Logo (hi-res, color, with text)At the Annual Meeting today, parishioners unanimously voted to adopt a growth budget (10% year over year) for 2015 that funds expanded ministries and outreach operating out of three locations—Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in State College, a new parish and campus ministry center (Trinity House), and a new church building for the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Beavertown.

For more information on the 2015 Budget and to view the 2014 Rector and Ministry Leader Reports, please download the 2014 Annual Report.

Donate Online to Trinity House

Trinity House Logo (portrait)

Yes, I want to give to Trinity House!

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church is currently accepting secure online donations for Phase I until we reach our goal of $50,000 by the closing date (November 15, 2014). Your tax-deductible donation will be added to the church’s down payment, making Trinity House Parish and Campus Ministry Center a reality.

 

 

We also have immediate opportunities for donors to sponsor a specific room:

ADA Restroom   ($10,000)
Campus Center   ($7,500)   Donated!
Conference Room  ($7,500)   Donated!
Guest Suite  ($3,500)   Donated!
Kitchen  ($5,000)   Donated!

Donations can be given in honor or in memory of a loved one. If you would like to make a gift for Phase III, please email trinityhouse@holytrinity-oca.org or call the Parish Office at (814) 231-2855.

Knowledge Equals Knowing God

by Dn. Mark Oleynik

My daughter mentioned to me that she was hoping to take a test (the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, or psat for short) in a few weeks in preparation for taking the “real” college admissions test (the sat) in a couple of years. My wife and I agreed it was perhaps a good idea for her to take a test to get a feel for the testing procedures, types of questions, etc.

Remembering that I had taken this test many years ago when I was in high school, I have wondered what kind of score would I earn if I had to take the test now (I don’t remember what score I got so need to ask). But our discussion also got me to thinking: is there a “real” measure of what a person knows—not how much a person knows but rather what does a person know. These are two different questions.

There have been some great men and women in this world—people of great distinction, people of vision, people with great intellect—who do not find true happiness in this world, no real satisfaction. Some of the world’s greatest philosophers have lived an unhappy life. There are also a great many people who, outside of their professions, concern themselves about very little else. They read the daily newspaper headlines, check Twitter, watch some tv for news and sports but that is as far as their reading goes. But that is as far as their reading goes. But as to something higher or spiritual they remain unconcerned. They are merely concerned about the things of this world. So we see life consists not in how much we know, but in what we know.

Life does not consist in what we possess. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Life in many ways consists in knowing Jesus as our Savior and in knowing ourselves and our true mission in life. We cannot and will never know God in the fullest sense, but He has revealed Himself to us in such a way that everyone can have some grasp of Him and of His Son, Jesus Christ. And God has given to every individual the ability to look into His own soul and see how God works in him. To know Jesus and to know what He has done for us and what He means to us: these are vital items in one’s life. Do you want to know God and what kind of a God He is? Do you want to know what is His attitude is toward you; whether He is your friend and desires your happiness? If you are anxious about these things, then you want to know Jesus. Paul said, “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil. 3:8)

Dn. Mark at VBS 2014How may we know Christ better? A good start is the daily reading of Scripture and increased alertness in the House where He is proclaimed. Knowledge precedes faith. No man can hardly believe in anything that he does not know. Think about it, if you never heard of a thing in all your life, how could you believe it? People who do not read their Bibles and never come to a church where Christ is preached cannot truly know Him. Again, it is Paul who asks, “How can they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?”

If we would know more about Jesus there would be a higher standard of living because we would live on a higher spiritual plane. If we knew more about Jesus and His principles of living we would fight more bravely against sin. If the world knew more about Jesus there would not be so many destructive forces which tend to undermine Christianity, degrade morality and destroy human lives. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Not only an intellectual knowledge, but to know Him in our hearts, to know Him in such a way as to experience Him, gives us a new life, new encouragements, refuge for disappointments and afflictions, and a burning desire to know more of Him and to be more like Him.

We should know ourselves and our purpose in life. It is the duty of every Christian to know himself, his sinful condition, his needs and his purpose of living. The sin of which we all are more or less guilty of is that we know others better than ourselves.

Often we are more concerned about other people’s business and faults than our own. However, our duty is to know ourselves and our relation to Christ. Ask yourself the questions, “What am I living for? Is my life to be spent for myself, or is there a higher purpose for my being here?” If we go to God in prayer and ask Him for wisdom from on high, we can rest assured that He will reveal Himself to us more fully, and we will be able to know more about our mission in life. The more we know and experience Him, the more eager we are to know.

Life and happiness do not consist in what we have, what we possess, but in what we are, what we do. It is not enough to have knowledge of God but to, “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This teaches us to practice what we believe and know. Our knowledge is vain and fruitless if it is not reduced to practice. Know in order to do.

No matter how much we know about our faith, if we are not doers of God’s will at the same time we are not living in harmony with the principles of Christ. It is not enough for a citizen merely to know the laws of his country, he must also live up to them; he must conduct himself according to those laws. The same holds true with every Christian in relation to God’s will. The mere fact that Paul became a Christian, with great faith in Christ, did not make him an outstanding personality in Scripture and in the work of God’s Kingdom. But it was the unceasing efforts that he put forth to do the will of God that was the keynote of his life. Paul was a learned man, he was capable of holding high position in secular work, but he was willing to renounce self and to give to that which God had in store for him.

To do the will of God means to renounce self, to renounce submit oneself to Christ. So many of us would like to be like Christ but we find it too difficult to renounce our own will and to be obedient to the will of God. It is quite easy for us to be Christ-like on Sunday but during the rest of the week we follow our own inclinations. Does that mean we forego everything that has been given to us? Not necessarily, but it does mean we must be like Christ in all of our daily walks of life. It means that what we do, determines our Christianity. The little word “do” is key to our life. Doing—not for oneself, but—for the glorification of God.

The fundamental principle of all this “doing” is love. Christ has given us the greatest possible pledge of love in the Cross. He has died for us, and thus, He asks us to live for Him and to love sacrificially. Our love of God will afford us joy and will bring us new experiences of His love. Life will mean more to us.

A person’s life is not defined by what he possesses or in how much he knows—it is about what and Whom he knows. Know God and experience His grace and love, and, in turn, you will know yourself.

Trinity House Moves Closer to Reality

by Fr. John Reeves

September has flown by. As was noted in last month’s Trisagion, the parish voted overwhelmingly to purchase the American Cancer Society building next door (123 S. Sparks St.) for $340,000, successfully meeting one of the three main criteria for the parish to secure the property.

The other two criteria have also been met: At its September meeting, Council authorized inspections of the property and delegated authority to Chuck Beechan and me to arrange for financing. The inspection revealed a sound building with mainly cosmetic issues to be dealt with after closing. Furthermore, Council endorsed a new vision for the building and renamed the structure, “Trinity House Parish and Campus Ministry Center.”

The proposed floor plan of the new ministry center and existing spaces are as follows:

  • Click to Enlarge.

    (Click on the image to enlarge.)

    The Lower Level will be used primarily for Sunday School and activity space for younger children. The parish will also make use of the ample storage space that is already in place.

  • The Main Level will include a reception area, administrative offices, and a conference room for use by ministry groups and the Parish Council.
  • The Upper Level will become the home of a new campus ministry center, featuring a lounge and study area, along with an office for Deacon Alex. In addition, a guest suite will be furnished for visiting clergy and alumni. On Sundays, middle and high school classes will meet here as well.
  • In our existing building, the Parish Hall will be rearranged to accommodate more tables with seating for fellowship;
  • My office will become a classroom for the pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Sunday School class. When class is not in session, it will serve as a Nursery for young children and their mothers.
  • The current administrative office will be reconfigured to include the Bookstore and additional storage, if necessary.

Darren Torbic is putting his civil engineering profession to work by designing new options for increased parking and additional green space behind both the church and Trinity House, as well.

One of the benefits of the financing we secured for the new building is that Fulton Bank is giving us an opportunity to consolidate the existing mortgage with the new one with an interest rate of 4.05% for the first five years, amortized for 25 years. Banking with Fulton will be convenient for the Chapel as well (they have branches throughout Synder County). Closing is expected on or around November 15.

Look in your mailboxes this month for more on Trinity House. Inside will be information about how you can partner with the parish in order to raise a total of $150,000 over the next three years to lower the mortgage principal and invest in our future.

All my best for a good month.   — Fr. John

Study Group to Explore St. Paul’s Exhortative Epistle

High Priest in HeavenHoly Trinity’s Adult Study Group returns this Fall, moving to alternating Thursdays beginning September 18. Fr. John will lead an examination of The Epistle to the Hebrews, High Priest in Heaven by Fr. Lawrence R. Farley.

Meant to feed both the heart and the mind, the study will be both devotional and exegetical, drawing from several patristic sources. Working from a literal translation of the original Greek, the commentary examines St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews section by section, explaining its meaning in everyday language.

Intended for those already Orthodox but open to all adults, this bimonthly educational opportunity resumes on September 18 at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Books will be available to purchase or to borrow.

Introducing Trinity House

Trinity House Logo

What’s in a Name?

When the parish authorized the purchase of 123 S. Sparks St., a new name became
necessary—we could not keep calling it the “American Cancer Society building” forever. Providentially at last night’s Council meeting, parish leadership endorsed a new vision for the building next door, and with this new vision, comes a new name.

Entitled Trinity House Parish and Campus Ministry CenterTrinity House for short—this new name provides a snapshot of the multiple uses envisioned on its three levels: Sunday School classes, administrative offices, meeting space, and a new home for Holy Trinity’s growing campus ministry. When completed in 2015, Trinity House will be only the second-known Orthodox campus ministry facility in the US.

Closing is expected around Thanksgiving. February is forecast as a possible opening date, allowing for needed refurbishing, painting, and new floor coverings.

Fr. John’s Monthly Keynote: See You in September!

DSCF2107 - Version 2

by Fr. John Reeves

Actually, it is September, the beginning of another Church year, and another school year. Things seem to get back to normal after summer, whatever normal is. Another cycle of life and worship starts anew; we settle back into routine.

Marking cycles of time has historically served two purposes for man: one, the obvious, immediate cycles of day and night, months, and seasons marked times for work and rest, the hunt and harvest—things needed for survival, day by day, week by week, month by month.

Yearly cycles began to mark something else, however, taking on deeper meaning, not merely the present and ongoing but the past as well, recalling ancestors and their stories, their triumphs and their tragedies. In other words, the yearly festivals became ways to celebrate who a people were.

In the Old Testament, we find examples of both—Sabbaths and New Moons and Harvests, as well as new years, (annual) days of atonement, Passover, and the Giving of the Law. By keeping them all, weekly and yearly, the Jewish people gave a meaning to life which set them apart from that of their (heathen) neighbors.

Holy Days in September

NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS
Vespers: Sunday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m.
Liturgy: Sunday, Sept. 8, 8 a.m.

EXALTATION OF THE PRECIOUS
AND LIFE-GIVING CROSS
Vespers: Saturday, Sept. 13, 6 p.m.
Matins: Sunday, Sept. 14, 9 a.m.
Liturgy: Sunday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m.

God created Light and Darkness, labor and rest. As well, God continued to act in the midst of His people. The annual cycles and festivals tended to commemorate His ongoing actions, signs of hope for and His enduring presence with Israel. Time took on new meaning.

Church School Begins

Fr. John blesses students at a prayer service marking the beginning of Church School.

So it is with the Church. Weekly cycles combine with annual ones. God’s providence in our lives and His activity in our history gives us meaning, hope and purpose. We are not merely ambling through time, but God is moving and acting in our midst. This is precisely why we celebrate Holy Days: the Twelve Great Feasts, the other major Holy Days in the lives of Our Lord, His Mother, and the Forerunner, together with all the Saints’ days throughout the year. They are annual memorials of historical events: God has acted in our midst and is wondrous in His Saints.

The days of the Church calendar give meaning, hope and purpose to our lives as Orthodox Christians which the world does not know and cannot comprehend. That is, they give meaning, hope and purpose if we keep them. Otherwise, one day will be as the next and all that is portended by their observances will pass us by. Life dwindles away and time loses its potential for transformation, both of our lives and that of the cosmos.

So, see you in September: Nativity of the Theotokos, (September 7-8); and Exaltation of the Holy Cross, (September 13-14).

Parish Votes to Purchase Adjacent Building

123 S Sparks StAt a meeting of the parish today, members voted to approve a $340,000 offer to purchase the building adjacent to Holy Trinity (123 S. Sparks St.), which the American Cancer Society has owned for the past twenty years. The vote tally was 60 votes in favor, 7 votes against, with 2 abstentions.

Closing on the building is expected in November. In the meantime, the Parish Council will explore several options to maximize its sustainability and usability in order to meet our needs, the needs of our community (Penn State and State College), and the Church beyond our parish.

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