Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Those of us who are of a certain age might remember the days when, even in public
schools such as the one I attended, there was never any controversy surrounding the
annual school “Christmas Program” and no questioning of the fact that it could be
understood as exactly that: a Christmas program which highlighted the celebration
of Christ’s Birth, albeit with Santa and his elves, Rudolph, and Frosty also taking
the stage. I remember well, when I was in the third grade, that my class, all of
us dressed as angels, walked into the school auditorium, went on stage and mounted
the risers (with one of my classmates dressed as the Virgin Mary clinging onto her
baby doll) to sing “Silent Night,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and a relatively new
and modern Christmas song, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Some fifty and more years
later, this Christmas song has found its way into the canon of Christmas music, has
been recorded by countless artists, and is played and sung regularly throughout the
Because we so often hear and sing Christmas carols and songs without putting a lot
of thought to their words or their meaning, I think it’s worth taking the time to
reflect upon the few simple lines of this now-popular song:
“Do you hear what I hear? A song, a song, high above the trees with a voice as big
as the sea…”
“Do you see what I see? A star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as
Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, “Do you know what I know?”
In your palace
warm, mighty king, “Do you know what I know?”
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold,
Let us bring Him silver and gold; Let us bring Him silver and gold.
Said the king to the people everywhere, ”Listen to what I say; Pray for peace, people
everywhere! Listen to what I say!”
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night -He
will bring us goodness and light…
He will bring us goodness and light…
As we hear and sing these words again during this year’s celebration of Christ’s
Birth, we are invited to remember that we, as Orthodox Christians, have something
to tell the world, something valuable to share. We are called to tell the world
what we have seen, what we have heard, and what we know through our own life experience
and the Faith we share: that the Child Whose birth we celebrate, that Child who “shivers
in the cold” of the cave in Bethlehem, is the Word Made Flesh, the Splendor of the
Father. The infant born of Mary is the Son of God Who “came into the world to save
sinners…” And all we do in our lives, both now in this holy season and throughout
the year, is about Him!
Every day of the year provides us the opportunity to share our faith with others,
but we are all too often reluctant to discuss our faith with others for fear of somehow
offending those around us who may not be religious, or otherwise somehow being seen
as somewhat “out of touch,” or because we’re afraid we don’t know enough about our
faith to speak about it. However, take courage in the fact that this “most wonderful
time of the year,” the Christmas season, provides a possibly “safer” and possibly
more natural time to share with others about what we believe, about how we celebrate
and what we celebrate, about our church and parish activities and customs, about
the services we attend and the joy that surrounds all we do in our church and in
our homes. I invite you to take advantage of this special season to share your faith
– a sharing that can be done in a very natural way, without worrying about how much
you know or don’t know. For what you share is really about Who you share: Jesus
Christ, the Son of God and Son of Mary born in the cave in Bethlehem, the One you
know as your Lord and Savior.
What the Holy Apostle and Evangelist writes in his first Epistle sums up the message
we bring to the world: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which
we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this
we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify
to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has
appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also
may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son,
Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1-3). Indeed, what we share and what we celebrate in this
holy season is about what we have heard, seen, touched… and know.
I extend my prayerful best wishes for a blessed and holy celebration for all of you.
May He Who was born in a cave and laid in a manger, Christ our True God, bless you
and yours abundantly now and throughout the New Year.
With love in the Lord,
Bishop Daniel, Rector
Father David Balmer, Attached, Retired
Deacon Drew Maxwell
Stephanie A. Homyak, Church School Director & Newsletter Editor
Barbara Peterson, Myrrh Bearers
Andrew Evans, Council President
Pat Starkey, FOCA President
Barbara Harp, Choir Director
Mara Hecht, Teen & Young Adult League
Mike Wagner, Webmaster
Bishop Daniel’s Message for December
The Most Blessed TIKHON
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
The Most Reverend BENJAMIN
Archbishop of San Francisco and the Diocese of the West
Teen and Young Adult League
Project Mexico 2017!
Click Here For Flyer with Full Details
We will be going to Mexico with a large pan-orthodox group from the valley, about
35+. I am not sure exactly how many spots Saints Peter and Paul will get, but I'm
hoping 7 to 10.
FUNDRAISING will be our focus over the next few months as we prepare to be a part
of Project Mexico 2017!
June 7th through the 13th, 2017 are the tentative dates for
us to travel to Mexico and build a home. These dates will be confirmed after we register
Sunday of the Forefathers
The Sunday that falls between December 11-17 is known as the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers.
These are the ancestors of Christ according to the flesh, who lived before the Law
and under the Law, especially the Patriarch Abraham, to whom God said, “In thy seed
shall all of the nations of the earth be blessed”
(Gen. 12:3, 22:18).
Synaxis of the Saints of Georgia
Having examined the history of Georgia and the hagiographical treasures attesting
to the faith of the Georgian nation, we become convinced that Heavenly Georgia— the
legion of Georgian saints, extolling the Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom with a single
voice—is infinitely glorious. It is unknown how many cleansed themselves of their
earthly sins in merciless warfare with the enemy of Christ, or how many purified
their souls in unheated cells through prayer, fasting, and ascetic labors.
To God alone are known the names of those ascetics, forgotten by history, who by
their humble labors tirelessly forged the future of the Georgian Church and people.
St. George of the Holy Mountain wrote: “From the time we recognized the one true
God, we have never renounced Him, nor have our people ever yielded to heresy.”
A decree of the Church Council of Ruisi-Urbnisi states: “We will not depart from
thee, the Catholic Church which bore us in holiness, nor will we betray thee, our
pride—Orthodoxy—to which we have always been faithful, for we have been granted the
honor to know thee, the witness of the Truth Itself!” This relationship to Orthodoxy
is the cornerstone of the life of every Georgian believer.
It is impossible to count the names of all those Christians who have been raised
up from the earthly Church in Georgia to the heavens, let alone to describe all the
godly deeds they have performed. For this reason December 11 has been set aside for
the commemoration not only of the saints whose Lives are known to us but also of
the nearly three hundred more whose names, but not stories, have been preserved as
Most Georgian people bear the name of a saint who is commemorated on this day, and
they entreat the saint to intercede before the Lord in their behalf.
Announcements for December
Saint Nicholas Community Outreach
Our parishioners are invited to join together on Saturday, December 10, as we host
our friends and neighbors for a Christmas party. It is at this time that the Christmas
gifts donated by parishioners will be distributed to the local neighborhood children.
Parish Family Christmas Caroling: Let’s Sing Like the Angels!
Please join us in sharing the spirit of the Christmas Holiday with our neighbors
and friends. We will be Christmas caroling around the church neighborhood as a follow-up
to our Christmas Outreach event with our neighborhood children. Let’s take advantage
of the joyful spirit of the season to be friendly and celebrate with our neighbors.
Date: Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 3:45 p.m. (we will gather in the church parking
lot and leave from there, on foot, at 4:00 p.m) Please feel free to bring a hot beverage
to help keep warm. We will conclude with Vespers in the church at 5:00 p.m. Music
Sheets Will be Provided! All are welcome! For more information, send all questions
to Anne Ferbrache via email (email@example.com) or text 602-999-5179.
Saint Nicholas Celebration
Our annual visit from Saint Nicholas will take place during coffee hour on Sunday,
December 11th. Saint Nicholas will join us in preparing for our celebration of Christ’s
Birth and, as he always does, distribute pre-Christmas “treats” to the young and
to the young at heart.
Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska
December 13th marks the Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska, the first saint glorified
in North America. The Orthodox Church in America rejoices in the life and example
of Saint Herman and gives thanks for his intercession for us before the Lord. This
is also the nameday of His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN. The Divine Liturgy in
celebration of this feast will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 13, at 9:00 a.m. Many
years to His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN! Eis polla eti Despota!
Christmas Flower Donations
Please donate toward the Christmas Flower fund in order to help beautify our church
for the bright and festive celebration of Christ’s Birth
Parish Christmas Card
To have your name included in the Parish Christmas Card, please fill out a form available
in the vestibule of the church or at the bookstore counter. Deadline is December
Holy Supper on Christmas Eve
In many Slavic cultures, it is traditional for families to gather for a special meal
on the Eve of the Nativity of Christ. This meal has come to be known as the “Holy
Supper” or “Vigilia.” Traditional symbolic foods are shared as part of the Christmas
celebration. Our parish family also observes this traditional Christmas Eve observance
every year. This year’s Holy Supper will take place in the Parish Cultural Hall following
Compline at 5:00 p.m. Please contact Marty Gala to confirm that you will attend this
special celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity.
SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
Saturday Dec. 24th , Eve of the Nativity
Compline at 5:00 pm, followed by Holy Supper.
Sunday Dec. 25th , Nativity Of Our Lord
Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!
LITURGICAL TRAINING PRACTICUM
Our parish will serve as the setting for a Liturgical Training Practicum sponsored
by the Diaconal Vocations Program of the Diocese of the West, January 13-15, 2017.
Participants from around the Diocese, as well as from our own parish, will have
the opportunity to be further trained in the manner of serving the Divine Liturgy,
with special emphasis being given to the Divine Liturgy as it is served by a Hierarch.
Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov and Bishop Daniel will be the instructors and also provide
guidance to the deacons, subdeacons, readers and altar servers who participate. We
look forward to welcoming our guests.