by Dn. Mark Oleynik
Advice: You can hardly go anywhere without getting it from someone or something, whether it be from the magazine rack at the checkout line, the millions of self-help books, the television shows that are on 24/7, or your co-workers, neighbors, and family. Just open the browser on your computer or phone and you could miss several meals getting immersed in trying to find the best way to get a fast start in the morning to how to get a good night’s rest—and everything in between. Even more, we are mostly being given advice without asking. (Good thing most of the time, it’s free.)
The right place to start looking for good advice is in your Bible since Paul tells Timothy that all scripture is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). You can also look to your elders, clergy, and to people whom you respect and have something in common.
During one of our Parents Sessions, parents were asked to provide what advice they would give to other Orthodox Christian parents for raising a child. Here are some of their pearls of wisdom:
- Pray more for them and with them every day.
- Support your spouse.
- Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what you are doing.
- Look for comfort and answers in the Bible.
- Pause: you don’t need to answer every question immediately.
- Stay in touch with the Church, your faith, and trust God.
- Teach by example.
- There will be many bumps in the road. Think ahead.
- Make the Church relevant and alive to them every day.
- Don’t worry about small things worry about eternal things.
- Listen carefully to everything kids say and teach them to listen to others.
- Go to church as much as possible and as often as possible.
- When bad things do happen, assess if it will be important in ten minutes and/or in ten years.
- Use the saints as examples of real heroes.
- Love regardless.
- Trust your kids.
- Make every opportunity an opportunity for kids to realize others needs before their own.
- Simplify your life and enjoy your children.
- Read Scripture at mealtime.
- You create normal for your children. Icons, prayers, church aren’t weird or counter-cultural when your child is immersed in the life of the Church.
- Let your children be themselves.
- God’s love is unending—make sure you child understands no matter what God will still love him or her—and so will you.
Year after year every January hundreds of thousands come to the nation’s capital to give a voice to those who do not have one—the unborn.
This year’s March for Life was historic, however, as for the first time ever, the sitting vice president appeared in-person. Quoting Philippians 4:5, Vice President Mike Pence shared his optimism for the pro-life cause, exhorting the crowd to “Let this movement be known for love, not anger; … compassion, not confrontation… [T]here is nothing stronger than gentleness.”
Following the rally, more than a dozen from Holy Trinity and the Chapel joined His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, head of the Orthodox Church in America, and several Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, and laity in praying for the victims of abortion, before making the two-mile trek from the White House to the Supreme Court.
Holy Trinity’s support of life doesn’t end with this annual event. Throughout the year, our parish partners with the State College Pregnancy Resource Clinic to educate and encourage men and women to make informed life choices.
Holy Trinity and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit are currently accepting reservations in the Narthex and by email for the annual one-day pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. in support of the unborn. Our vans will depart Friday, January 27 at 6:30 a.m., and return around 10 p.m. RSVPs are required by Tuesday, January 24 so appropriate transportation can be secured.
College students and youth (with their parents) are especially encouraged to attend. As in previous years, all transportation costs are fully sponsored by Holy Trinity.
January 22, 2017 marks the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States, and Orthodox Christians from across the US will be among those gathering in the US Capital on Friday, January 27 to participate in the annual March for Life. [Due to the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, this year’s March will be held one week later than usual. Sanctity of Life Sunday, however, will not be affected, and will be observed on January 15.]
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon will join other Orthodox Christian hierarchs, seminarians, and clergy and faithful from around the country in the annual March, which will conclude with the celebration of
Memorial Prayers for the victims of abortion near the US Capital.
The theme of this year’s March is “The Power of One.”
The March will begin at noon on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The delegation from Holy Trinity and the Chapel with gather with fellow Orthodox Christian participants at the “Orthodox
Christians for Life” banner, which will be prominently displayed to the right of the stage near Constitution Avenue, between 15th and 17th Streets North West. Metropolitan Tikhon and other hierarchs will be
present on the stage for the opening prayers and presentations prior to the March.
Metropolitan Tikhon also will offer the benediction at the annual Rose Banquet on the evening of the March. General information on the March and the banquet—including details on making reservations—is available on the March for Life web site. Information on Orthodox Christians for Life is also available.
Additional information will be posted on the OCA web site as it becomes available.
by Dn. Mark Oleynik
Many years ago, I had a conversation with a friend the day after Christmas and he said something which surprised me. He sadly said, “There is nothing more done than Christmas.” This was surprising because he was the most joyful and outgoing person you would ever want to meet—and a real ambassador of Christ. I learned much later that it was at that precise time he was going through a personal tragedy and that year Christmas was quite difficult for him. Fortunately, in time his pain eased and he was back to his old self. But I never forgot his words and what they meant to him that day.
In preparing for the Nativity of our Lord, most parents try to teach their children to be joyful givers. But we all know a child’s focus on Christmas is on “getting the gifts” and it’s probably likewise true for many adults. Most assuredly, parents do their best to provide at least some of items from their child’s wish list not to mention gifts for their spouse, parents, and friends. But when the presents are all unwrapped, the Christmas meal is over, and the house is probably turned upside down from the children and all the guests—do you feel kind of let-down? Do you feel Christmas is done?
In just the few short weeks preceding Christmas emotions are built up to a fever pitch: the shopping and baking, the plans to be made, and the endless commercials for the latest-and-greatest, all mixed in between the innumerable Christmas movies. To top it off, research shows that for many Christmas is one of the saddest times of the year. Not only sad memories of those who are no longer with them—but often the tragedies witnessed both in their families and in the world at large provide stark contrast to joy of the season. So, given the combination of too much emotion, too much excitement, too much to eat and to drink, and just the general chaos of the season…is it any wonder you might feel a slight letdown?
Certainly you and your family will receive wished-for presents, but will you receive the real gift at Christmas—the gift of Christ Himself? His peace, and joy, and presence in whom we find the only lasting source of Life. The true gift giver on this and every day is Christ, but you must include Him on your Christmas list—invite Him to be the most important part of your life and your family’s life. Amidst all of the worship and singing of our grace and our customs, plan to take personal and family time and ask the Savior, “Lord, come and dwell with my family and me this day. Be by our side so that we may know and walk with you throughout all our days.”
If you have eyes to see it, the world is flooded with His joy. If you have the heart to receive it, your life will be touched by His. And if you have faith to live it, He will be with you all your days, and all your hours. For behold, truly we all have been given good news of great joy – for unto us, if we will receive Him, is born into our hearts Christ the Savior. And if we will receive this gift for Christmas, all our days will be blessed.
So what do you really want to receive this Christmas? What will you allow God to give you this Christmas? Will it really be the gift of Himself—or in all the busyness of the season will you not take the time and really ask Him.
It’s up to you. At the end of it all, Christmas can just be “done” … or it can be done rightly.
Angels Appearing this Month
Plan to stay after the liturgy on Sunday, December 18 for the annual retelling of the story of Christ’s birth by our Church School. Our students will once again present a living icon based on the Nativity scriptures, complete with angels, shepherds, wise men, and assorted animals. You will not want to miss it!
Sunday School will commence this Sunday, September 11 for children in Kindergarten through grade 12. Classrooms are located in multiple locations on the church’s campus, but all classes begin with prayer in the Parish Hall at 9 a.m.
Volunteers are needed to assist teachers in one of the five classes (grades K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12); those interested should plan to attend the first teacher meeting this Wednesday before Vespers and Litiya for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos.
To register your child(ren) or for more information, please contact Dn. Mark Oleynik, Director of Christian Education.
The 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.
VBS Kids Now Fully Staffed
“I Just Wanna be a Sheep” Now Latest Craze
STATE COLLEGE, PA — It was pizza day and as the VBS kids met for the last time this year, they gathered with our Archbishop Melchisedek to hear his words on being the shepherd of a flock. It was stated that his flock is different from flocks of sheep that the kids had the chance watch yesterday (see article below).
As part of their discussion, the students learned that just as a shepherd carries a staff to direct his flock for protection of his herd in case of danger a bishop carries a staff as a symbol of being our shepherd. Additionally, the students found that the top of a bishop’s staff (crozier) is made to resemble two serpents’ heads, recalling the Saviors’ words: “Be ye wise as serpents”. As a serpent each year forces its way through thorny plants to shed its old skin, so also must the bishop lead others and follow himself along the thorny path which leads of the renewal of our souls. (Ed. Note: Students made staffs this to help them remember Psalm 23.)
As the week began with the students uttering the first words of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd” today the VBS concluded with the affirmation, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The sheep are content and “at home” with the shepherd—and want to stay with Him forever.
Sheep Farm Tour Shows VBS Kids Life as a Sheep
On Thursday, the Holy Trinity VBS took it first ever field trip to a sheep farm in Sunbury, PA. After a 1.5 hour bus trip, the students were greeted by an array of farm animals but mostly by a whole lot of sheep.
During the tour the students were able to pet the sheep, walk through the pastures, and learn about a sheep’s necessities (water & salt) and some of the dangers (copper, falling over). It was particularly fun to see the shepherd Caroline and her dog gather the sheep and run them back and forth – and how well the sheep followed the shepherds commands.
At the end of the tour each student was given a piece of wool from one of the sheep as a keepsake. All the “sheep” returned home safely and happily.
FPO — For Parents Only
It was once again a great joy and pleasure to be with your children this week. It was a bit hectic but it was fun and they are going to be amazing sheep. As much as possible include Psalm 23 in your daily prayers and with your children. Knowing the meaning behind the words will give them great comfort and peace. Thanks!
For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2016 Vacation Bible School homepage.
Students Take a Trip to a Sheep Farm
VBS Kids See First-hand What Sheep Are Like!
STATE COLLEGE, PA — Today there was no issue of the VBS Daily News because our reporters were in the field—literally. Here are some pictures from the remote location.
FPO — For Parents Only
- On Friday, there will be Vespers at 5:00 p.m. Please try to bring your children early so that we can pray together. Dinner and VBS will follow immediately. Additionally, our bishop will be visiting and will share some “shepherding” stories with the kids.
For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2016 Vacation Bible School homepage.