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Family Pascha Guide

by Dn. Mark Oleynik

As we draw near to Pascha, our journey becomes more intense and our anticipation of the Great and Saving Night grows. The anticipation is particularly acute in children and parents should be prepared to take advantage of their curiosity. Below are some notes and tips to assist parents in guiding their children during the Paschal weekend (April 28-May 1).

Matins of Holy Friday (Thursday, 7 p.m.)
This service features the reading of the 12 Passion Gospels. The first gospel relates Christ’s discourse with His disciples at the Last Supper, the next ten gospels relate the Lord’s sufferings, and the last gospel describes His burial and the sealing of the tomb. These readings provide the narrative for the events that take place while the accompanying hymns sung throughout the service clarify and give deeper meaning to the text. Between the fifth and sixth gospels there is a solemn procession with the large wooden cross from the sanctuary into the center of the nave. We find additional clarity when visible actions are added to the gospels and hymns.

Parent Tips

  • This is a lengthy service so give your children advance notice (so you can limit the number of times the question of “how much longer?” is asked.)
  • Focus your children on how the text advances the events or provides additional detail in each subsequent lesson. If possible, read these gospels with your children prior to the service.
  • As always, everyone should stand or kneel during the gospel readings.
  • Explain to your children that although Matins is a morning service, this service is “anticipated” and is celebrated on Thursday evening.

Royal Hours (Friday, 10 a.m.)
There is no liturgy on Holy Friday since the Divine Liturgy is always a celebration of communion with the Risen Lord. We do however read the Royal Hours on Friday morning. This service takes its name from the fact that it used to be officially attended by the Emperor and his court in Constantinople.

Parent Tips

  • If you cannot attend, you can teach your children the significance of each of the hours: First—when Christ was led into the Praetorium (i.e., the palace of the governor) before Pilate (~7 a.m.). Third—when the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles on Pentecost and Christ was condemned by Pilate (~9 a.m.). Sixth—when Christ was released to the Jews, condemned, and nailed to the Cross (~12 noon). Ninth—when He died on the Cross (~3 p.m.).
  • This is the strictest fast day of the year. Help your child as much as possible to refrain from eating other than minimally.

Unnailing Vespers (Friday, 4 p.m.)
At Vespers on Holy Friday, the shroud (a large icon depicting Christ lying in the tomb) is lifted by the priest from the altar table and then carried in procession out of the altar to the specially prepared tomb in the middle of the church.

Parent Tips

  • The service’s structure is like Saturday Vespers so children should be able to recognize most parts.
  • The Gospel reading tells the story of the Christ dying on the cross. Don’t be afraid to discuss with your children (of all ages) that Christ really died and this is the story of how He died.
  • The most moving and solemn part is the carrying of the shroud to the special tomb. Children quickly understand this movement just as the children understood Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
  • You can show your child that the same words (“The Noble Joseph…“) sung during the carrying of the shroud are embroidered on the edge of shroud.
  • Ask your child what Joseph of Arimathea (i.e., the “Noble Joseph”) may have been thinking as he carried the lifeless Body of our Lord to the tomb.

Lamentations (Friday, 7 p.m.)
During Matins of Holy Saturday, the tone and theme gradually changes from lamentation to victory over death. We stand before the tomb—but it is revealed to us as the life-giving tomb. The shroud is carried in a procession around the church while all the people (including children) carry lighted candles and sing “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us…” Upon returning to the entrance of the church we walk under the shroud reminding us that we must pass through death to the Resurrection. While the church is softly illuminated with the faithful’s candles, we hear the Ezekiel’s dry bones prophecy and words of Pascha: “Let God arise…” As the day ends, we are left with a sense of anticipation.

Parent Tips

  • Children love processions and they like to hold candles—here they can do both. Tell them they are a very important part of the service.
  • Ask them (especially older children) to listen to the music for “changes” (tone, rhythm, etc.), what they were, when they happened, and what was being sung at the time. Teens and preteens listen to a lot of music with their iPods: get them “into” the music and how the Church uses it to help us.
  • As you drive home, discuss how we are dependent on light (car lights, street lights, etc.) and how we could not function without it. Use this as a transition to discussing the light of Christ.

Vesperal Divine Liturgy (Saturday, 10 a.m.)
Saturday is called the “Blessed Sabbath.” For the Jews, this was a day of rest, but for us it is when Christ worked and our sorrow is transformed into joy. During Vespers, there are 15 Old Testament readings! After these readings, and during “Arise, O Lord” (which is sung in place of the “Alleluia” verses), the dark (purple) clerical vestments are exchanged for bright (white) ones. The votives and coverings and are also changed at this time—this is an exciting moment for kids. The “light” of Resurrection is really made visible to us as the Liturgy of St. Basil continues in this joyful light.

Parent Tips

  • On your way to church talk with your child about what they have experienced in the Church during the past few days. Certainly, they will remind you how long the services have been but you may be surprised by other things they may have noticed.
  • Perhaps you can dress your child in white/light colored clothes and have them wear a dark sweater or jacket as a top layer. During the changing of the vestments, have them remove the top layer.
  • Tell your children that catechumens were originally baptized and received into the Church during the Old Testament readings. (Later in the day, some of our Holy Trinity catechumens will be received into the Church as well.)

Great and Holy Pascha (Sunday, 12 a.m.)
Finally, we arrive at the Paschal night: the most joyous celebration in the Orthodox Church. After the shroud is carried into the altar and placed on the altar table, the Church is dark. As midnight approaches, the clergy begin to sing, “Thy Resurrection, O Christ our Savior, the angels in heaven sing…” Suddenly, the priest exits the Sanctuary with a lighted candle and by this candle all the people light theirs—one by one. We go in procession around the church until we arrive at the closed doors of entrance to the church. It is now that we hear for the first time “Christ is Risen!” After the doors are opened, everyone enters into a fully lit church where there is no darkness and we celebrate Matins and the Divine Liturgy in the middle of the night.

Parent Tips

  • Although it may be difficult, try to get your child to rest or take a nap on Saturday. Every kid wants to stay up late…this is their big chance!
  • Dress your child warmly and perhaps bring a blanket to wrap them in to keep the chill away.
  • Younger children will probably fall asleep at some point—this is to be expected. They will still probably remember many things about the night.
  • “Gently” rouse your child for communion several minutes before they will receive the Body and Blood.
  • Teach your children the Paschal greeting (Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!) in different languages. They will like to respond out loud to these greetings—especially in church.

Although the services are somewhat longer than usual, you can/should bring your children and prepare them to participate. Please be considerate and aware of your children’s whereabouts, actions, movements, etc., at all times during the services so those around you can also fully experience the joy of the Feast.

If Christ Be Not Risen, Our Faith Is Vain

by Fr. John Reeves

Last year on Western Easter, Marianne Budde, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, DC, opined that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it, “the entire enterprise would not come crashing down.” (virtueonline.org) This isn’t a new notion. In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it as doctrine. But it’s been around a lot longer than that.

The belief that Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead is part of the Gnostic family of heresies, this one in particular being called “docetism”, (from Greek, δοχειν, to appear). In other words, Jesus would only have appeared as man. This would make Him a divine spirit masquerading in human form; His death was only an appearance, as well as his Resurrection. If that is the case, the Resurrection would be superfluous.

Such errant preaching and teaching led me from the Episcopal Church to Orthodoxy almost forty years ago. It is sad to see how the denials of the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the Miracles, and oh yes, the Resurrection, have been multiplied over the past five decades.

Either Christ rose from the dead, or death is not conquered. If death is not conquered, we are still in our sins, to borrow from St. Athanasius (cf. On the Incarnation). Either Christ was and remains God in the flesh, before, during, and after his Passion and Resurrection, or all that we are about to celebrate is simply play-acting, a myth, a drama without much to compel it.

In writing to the Church in Corinth, this is St. Paul’s point: our faith, our life, and our eternal salvation are all based upon the Resurrection of Christ. If the Resurrection is not true, in what then do we place our hope? St. Paul says that his preaching, and our faith, would then be vain, pointless. He does not talk about the moral teaching of Jesus. He does not exhort the Corinthians merely to live ethical lives. He is blunt: Christ’s resurrection is our hope of resurrection. Without His victory over sin and death, we are all losers.

The story is told of a young man arrested during Soviet days for shouting “Christ is risen!” in front of Lenin’s tomb. Upon being interrogated, he was asked why he was “disturbing the peace.”

He asked his questioners simply, “Is there a body in Lenin’s tomb?”

“Of course, young man! Everyone knows that!” was the brusque reply.

“Christ’s tomb is empty! Christ is risen!”

On Pascha night, at Orthodox churches around the world, bishops, priests, deacons, and laymen will wait for the “Light of Christ” to pierce the darkness, in anticipation of the Resurrection. We know Christ’s tomb is empty. We fill the night skies with the cry which makes devils tremble: “Christ is risen!”

And we will say it, not merely because it is our tradition, but because it is the truth, a truth we believe down to the core of our being, down to the marrow in our bones. That in a nutshell is Orthodoxy: the Truth about God, the Truth about Man, and the Truth about Christ—God’s rising from the dead to save Man from sin and death. Otherwise, why bother?

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Cor. 15:14)

 

Why Do Orthodox Christians Bless Homes?

by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

The Orthodox Church teaches that we do not have two separate lives—a secular one and a spiritual one–but one human life, and that all of it must be holy. We must not be Christians for just a few hours on Saturday and Sunday, spending the rest of our life godlessly that is to say, without God. The person who has united with Christ in the sacrament of baptism cannot be a part-time Christian, but must be faithful to Christ everywhere and at all times—in church, at work, at home, in relationships with other Christians, and in those with non-Christians. We must be faithful to Christ in the fullness of our life.

The Orthodox Church teaches us that a temple is not only a building in which we worship, but that we are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16); that the Body of Christ is not only that of which we partake at the Divine Liturgy, but that we are the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27). And just as the Gifts of the Eucharist are treated with reverence and kept in sanctified vessels in the altar, so should every Christian’s life be full of reverence and sanctity not only during a church service, but likewise outside the walls of the temple. A Christian’s home must become a small temple, a small Church.

The Church blesses the very foundation of a home in the same way that it blesses the foundation of a church; it blesses a new Christian home in the same way that it blesses a new temple; and yearly, after the blessing of a parish temple with the water of Theophany, the Church brings this holy water into the homes of the faithful. The prayers for the blessing of a temple are different from those for the blessing of a home, because the function of a home is different from that of a temple, but the sanctifying action of the Holy Spirit is one. And just as in the baptism of our Lord all of creation is washed clean and sanctified, every year after the feast of the Baptism of the Lord (January 6), Christians sanctify themselves and their homes with the water of Theophany.

The Church teaches us to sanctify everything: dwellings, places of work, all our pursuits, and the fruits of our labor. And just as a temple and sacred vessels, once sanctified and set aside for sacred use, can no longer be used for anything profane, in the same way a Christian washed in the baptismal waters, and his home, and all his works can no longer be the dwelling of sin and the works of Satan, but only and always the temple of the Holy Spirit and the fulfillment of the will of our Heavenly Father. This is why the Church blesses everything that can be found in a Christian home; and if something is not worthy of being blessed, then there should not be a place for it in the home of a Christian.

 

Holy Trinity Closes on Adjacent Property

Trinity House Blessing

Following a molieben (prayer service) of Thanksgiving to God following the Divine Liturgy on November 23, Fr. John led the parish in procession to bless and tour the newly bought facility. For more pictures, visit http://facebook.com/holytrinitysc.

by Fr. John Reeves

It’s official now: we closed on the former American Cancer Society building on the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos in the Temple (November 21) and our newly named Trinity House became ours.

The generosity of many parishioners and non-parishioners alike has enabled us to take this leap: Forward, Together, in Faith.

Over the next three months, we will review bids, hire a contractor, and oversee work on the project, hoping that we can move in sometime in February. But, as with any building or remodeling program, end-dates end up being flexible. If we can’t get in by then, we’ll simply take time this Lent working on being patient.

If you still would like to contribute to Phase II—a gift to be paid out over the next three years—and/or to donate all or a portion of the ADA restroom on the main floor (Phase III), your benefactions would be joyfully received.

Chapel Opens New Doors to the Community

In other news, beginning with Vespers this Saturday, December 6, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit will begin worshipping in the MACC on 67 Elm Street in Beaver Springs—the same location of the Family Fun Nights. The Chapel’s temporary relocation opens doors for new-comers, inquirers, and those that have expressed a need for a more central and accessible location. For a full schedule and directions, visit holyspirit-oca.org.

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)   Donated!
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.

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).

Chapel’s Prayers for Conestoga Answered

by Alfred Kentigern Siewers

IMG_0736On a quiet summer day in rural central Pennsylvania it is hard to imagine that the small factory across from the lot where we are building our temple would have its fate decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC today.

Conestoga Wood Specialties, owned by a Mennonite family, along with better-known Hobby Lobby, was the focus of today’s final Supreme Court decision for this season.

The case centered on whether companies because of their owners’ religious beliefs could opt out of government-required abortifacient contraceptive insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or face crippling fines that would have forced Conestoga out of business.

Every week for months during Liturgy, around the corner from the plant, at the temporary house church where we meet, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit has prayed for those defending the sanctity of life through civil disobedience, keeping Conestoga in particular in prayer. The company has a reputation as a good neighbor and of treating its employees well, but because of the religious beliefs of its owners faced closure as a result of penalties for not adhering to the ACA provisions under dispute.

But the Court decision today not only helped keep Conestoga open, but provides a bit of legal breathing space in “post-Christian” American politics for traditionalists concerned with an emerging array of issues also of concern to Orthodox Christians, from abortion to marriage…

Today’s decision offers some partial relief for concerns about government action toward traditional faith communities in the U.S., but no salvation from an Orthodox perspective… Orthodox Christians aware of their own history would do well to do some summer reading in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago and the recently published English translation of Ivan Sokolov’s The Church of Constantinople in the Nineteenth Century, which both illustrate graphically the past sufferings of the Church in antagonistic cultures, and the salvific power of the witness of martyrs.

Thankfully we haven’t reached anywhere near that point in the U.S. yet, but despite today’s decision, the trajectory of our culture doesn’t offer grounds for optimism. The decision itself is a reflection of that trajectory, and the severe persecutions faced by many Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and Africa in particular require our prayers…

We should pray and work in support of the freedom of people like the Hahn family, owners of Conestoga, and for our own freedoms as Orthodox Americans to pass a living tradition across generations to our biological or spiritual children and grandchildren. But finally, we pray to the Lord to preserve His commonwealth…

[One] can be grateful of the liberties one enjoys, and use one’s franchise to advance the work of trustworthier politicians (and perhaps there are more of those than I have granted to this point), and pursue the discrete moral causes in which one believes. But it is good [not] to mistake the process for the proper end of political life, or to become frantically consumed by what should be only a small part of life, or to fail to see the limits and defects of our systems of government.

After all, one of the most crucial freedoms, upon which all other freedoms ultimately depend, is freedom from illusion.

Editor’s Note: Kentigern’s full article and future reflections can be found on Orthodox Christian Network’s website.

Cross Planting to Inaugurate a New Era for Chapel

Chapel Group Photo for 2014-06 TrisagionArchbishop Melchisedek will devote a significant portion of his upcoming visit to our community promoting the Chapel of the Holy Spirit and its building campaign. On Saturday, June 7, at 9 a.m., His Eminence will celebrate the Memorial Divine Liturgy of Pentecost at the building site (weather permitting) and plant a cross, officially dedicating the project to God in advance of the groundbreaking that is expected later this summer.

Following a lunch reception for all in attendance, His Eminence will host an informal question-and-answer session at the Smith home to demonstrate that the Archdiocese is firmly committed to underwriting the Chapel’s construction costs, and that the only issue remaining is the terms of financing.

Related: Special Parish Meeting Information—Sunday, June 22

The bishop’s busy weekend with us will not end there in Beavertown. Returning to State College that same evening, His Eminence will pray the Pentecost Vigil with us beginning at the special time at 5 p.m. Moving Matins to Saturday night and starting an hour earlier allows the celebration to end at the same time and will give more people an opportunity to greet our hierarch on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. in advance of the Divine Liturgy and “Kneeling” Vespers. Both day’s celebrations will end with food and fellowship: on Saturday night there will be a light dinner reception in the Parish Hall, on Sunday, the annual parish picnic at Holmes-Foster Park (hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks will be provided, bring a side or dessert to share).

Related: Full June 2014 Calendar — electronic version | print version 

On Monday at 8 a.m., His Eminence will celebrate another liturgy with us. This is an opportunity to gather around our bishop one last time, offering prayers that God would send down His Holy Spirit upon us and the Chapel on its patronal feast day.

Was Lent Worth It?

by Dn. Mark Oleynik

Now what? It’s the week after Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, and after working all day I find myself sitting at my desk and day-dreaming. Although full of joy I find myself thinking about the “good old days” of Lent. Yes, back in those days there was so much to do and so much to pre-pare. There was focus and intensity. The schedule was liturgically full. Certainly, the days and evenings in the coming weeks will be filled with things to do (no problem with that in my family) but it just won’t be the same “good” busy that became so familiar and comforting in the past seven weeks. And then I wonder, was the struggle and sacrifice really worth it?

There are two ways in which the question may be addressed. It can be asked from the standpoint of pleasure. The one who asks it in this manner has seen the summer of pleasure suddenly turn to winter. Dis-appointed and amazed, he feels that life has deceived him. In this way, the question is hardly worth asking because the answer is easy: No.

“Was Lent worth it?,” also can be asked from the standpoint of duty. In this sense, it is asked from a perspective of living and working for the highest things in life, from resisting evil, embracing the good, worshipping God and trying to do good for others. Asked in this manner, the question is very important and well worth asking.

To this question, St. Paul has a great answer. The answer comes at the end of one of the most beautiful passages of the Bible, where Paul climbs to the stars of inspiration, unfolding the glorious destiny of redeem-ed mankind. We are familiar with St. John Chrysostom quoting Paul in his Paschal sermon, “O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?” But just two verses later, Paul has a far greater conclusion than that: “Because of what I have told you about life to come and the triumph of good over evil, therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15)

With that statement Paul provides two reasons of great assurance for the purpose of our struggle—our personal immortality in Christ, and the ultimate victory of the Kingdom of Christ.

First, because Christ is risen, and because we rise with Him, and live forever, life is not a vain or an empty thing. Death was the final and most dangerous enemy, but since death is conquered and we now live forever, life is baptized with sacred and glorious meaning and value.

You can feel the power of Paul’s argument if you try to imagine him giving the troubled Corinthians worldly advice. Suppose he had said this: “My friends, you will die and disappear forever, all of you; but remember the human race goes on, the generations of men come and go like the leaves on the tree every season; the tree remains, and so the human race remains: The stream of humanity flows forever on.”

Imagine the troubled and grieving Christians of that day in Corinth, or anyone today, getting strength or satisfaction or hope out of such assertions. St. Paul challenges this notion, arguing that if death is the end of all, then we might as well forget all about virtue, truth and honor (for these virtues have meaning only in the light of immortality) and take for ourselves the motto, “Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Instead of that, Paul says Christ is risen and has become the first fruits of them that slept: We shall live as He lives, with the glorious body of the resurrection, assured of the final triumph of right and truth, and the ultimate victory of good over evil.

Sometimes our hearts grow sad at the condition of affairs in the world. Sometimes we grow heavy-hearted thinking we have made only a little impress-ion in the world. All our efforts seem like bailing the ocean with a cup, and we come to believe that evil might indeed triumph over good, or that there will forever be a perpetual recurrence of what we now see—a ceaseless conflict between right and wrong. This casts a serious doubt on the meaning of life for us, for the heart of man longs for the victory of truth, the complete conquest of evil.

What, then, is it that saves us from doubt and pessimism and despair? What is the ground for our faith and our courage? This is the same thing that Paul gave to the Corinthians, who feared that their best labors in the Lord might prove in vain. Paul did not speak about the evolution of human society or the disappearance of old systems of evil and iniquities in the past. No, he told them to look through the struggles and behold Christ their King, victorious, reigning until every enemy is put under His feet, when He shall deliver the kingdom over to God. Then the sun will rise but never set. Then none shall say, “I am sick.” Then no aggressor shall oppress and persecute the weak. Then there shall be no more night, and no more curses, and no more separating death, and no more tears and justice and peace and mercy shall flow down like a river, and God shall be all and in all.

No one ever spoke, or lived, or fought, or died for truth in vain. Not the labor of a single hour, not a single blow struck for the right, not a single choice of good as against evil, not one deed of mercy, not one sigh of anguish or pity shall be in vain if done in the Name of Christ.

Is it worth it? The answer is easy: Yes! Be of good courage and lift up your hearts. Be faithful in the work and place appointed to you. Be steadfast, unmovable, against all the tides and storms of evil. Your life counts forever because you labor in the Lord.

Chapel Approved for Building Financing

Special Parish Meeting Called for Sunday, May 18

Chapel of the Holy Spirit Proposed Design

A proposed profile of a new building for the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Beavertown. Featuring an ascending nave and a large narthex that doubles as a fellowship area, it is roughly based off traditional Alaskan Orthodox designs.

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP — At its spring 2014 meeting here at the Chancery, the Diocesan Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a loan for the construction of a church building in Beavertown. According to the financing plan terms, the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh will offer the Chapel of the Holy Spirit $160,000 amortized over a 20-year term.

If approved by the May 18 special parish assembly called by the Parish Council, the financing agreement calls for a zero or negligible annual percentage rate during the first five years, calculated such that the Archdiocese breaks even on the loan servicing (but not to exceed 3%), making the Chapel’s monthly payments in the $600-800 range. After that time, a 2% and 4% surcharge will be added to the APR for years 5-10 and 10-20, respectively. The diocese can require full repayment only after the tenth or fif-teenth year,  provided the council and diocesan bishop concur. The Archdiocese will have a lien on the already-purchased lot and any structure built upon it. The Chapel will make a down payment of $40,000 from reserves and fundraising to be determined, to meet the estimated project cost of $200,000.

The sole item on the assembly’s agenda will be to authorize this loan to the parish corporation. A super-majority of two-thirds of the parish’s members is required for quorum. Should the quorum not be met, the meeting will be postponed until the following Sunday, at which the members that attend shall con-stitute a quorum. Parishioners in good standing that were registered with the parish as members last year and who have fulfilled their Lenten 2014 obligations of Confession and Communion may attend and vote. Balloting will occur at both Holy Trinity and the Chapel immediately following Liturgy.

Should you have any questions, please contact Frs. John or Basil, or Council President Chuck Beechan. Or, attend the next regular meeting of the Parish Council on Wednesday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m.