Christ the Savior Orthodox Mission
Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of New England
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January Bulletin

January Bulletin

Christ the Savior celebrates the creation of a Church Parish Council and formal adoption of Bylaws based on a Parish Meeting held after Services on November 13. Elected to Serve were: Chris Maas (President and Treasurer), Joan Proudman (Vice-President), Lisa Metropoulos (Secretary), Victoria Bucklin, Michael Boucher (Website and Media), Michael Kelley, Johan Selmer-Larsen, and Fr Scott Ceraphim Mitchell (as Attached Priest). We are honored by the size and the quality of our new Council and will plan on Monthly Meetings Starting with our next meeting on Sunday January 15 after Services.

We have a Nursing Home ministry every Sunday afternoon from about 1:30 – 2:30 at the Maine Veterans Home off Hogan Road in Bangor. All are welcome to join us there. It is a memory loss unit with about 20 people coming to services. We sing old time hymns and preach a bit and make short comments and basically share time and the love of Chirst with the residents. See Father Scott Ceraphim if you would like to come and help gather residents and sing and touch them as God allows!

The Roman Catholic Church officials met with Chris and Fr Scott Ceraphim and have approached us with a plan to utilize St Teresa’s Church in Brewer for worship at a cost of approximately $600/month. We expect an affirmative response on their end in early January, but must pray that God guide us in any relocation as it will strain our finances and still require us to set up and be in a “foreign land”. We should continue to be in prayer for a permanent home of our own in the Lord’s time!

Prayer requests: Please remember the following in your personal prayer both Orthodox and Non-Orthodox included. (Place names on the prayer sheet for inclusion herein)

For Health and Salvation: Erin Farrar, Andrea Adams, Mrs. Whitehouse, Mr. Scott, Melvin, Andre, Karen, Laurence, Rebecca, Sean, Deb, Dale, Richard,  Don Berry, Susan Brookes.

For Repose and God’s mercy: Robin Ball, Tatiana, Innocent, Alice, Richard.

For Consideration: We are working on development of a Church logo. Please see a prototype at the head of this month’s Bulletin. We hope to have it finished and available for consideration at the next Council meeting. Our desire is to create a readily identifiable symbol for our Parish. This draft includes the famous scripture from Matthew 22:37-40 and ties us as a Parish to the love that Jesus declared to be the single quality upon which hangs all the law and the prophets. It is colored in gold, particularly rose gold, to symbolize royalty and purity. It is centered by a three bar Russian cross to express our spiritual heritage in the Russian Orthodox Church, which granted our OCA its autocephaly. Pray that God guides us all in approval and discernment of an appropriate symbol for us at Christ the Savior Mission!

Orthodox Teaching of the Month

Penance

The sacrament of penance is our formal act of reconciliation with God in the Church when sin has severed us from the Church’s life. Because penance is the way to communion with God when that communion has been broken by sin, it is often referred to in Church Tradition as the renewal of baptism, or as the reestablishment of that condition of life with God, which was given to men in the basic sacraments of inauguration into the Christian life.

Not every sin requires the necessity of formal penance through sacramental ritual. This is obvious because Christians are never completely without sin. Certain grave sins or the prolonged separation from Holy Communion, however, do call for the act of sacramental penance. In addition, Christians living in communion with Christ are expected to make use of this sacrament periodically in order to humble themselves consciously before God and to receive guidance in the Christian life from their pastor in the Church. It is the teaching of the Orthodox Church that sacramental penance is necessary for those receiving Holy Communion when they have committed grave sins or when they have been separated from the Eucharistic meal for a long time.

The sacrament of penance exists in the Church to allow for the repentance and reconversion of Christians who have fallen away from the life of faith. There are three main elements to the act of formal penance. The first is a sincere sorrow for sins and for the breaking of communion with God. The second is an open and heartfelt confession of sins. At one time, this confession was done publicly before all men in the midst of the Church, but in recent times, it is usually done only in the presence of the pastor of the Church who stands in behalf of all. The third element of penance is the formal prayer of absolution through which the forgiveness of God through Christ is sacramentally bestowed upon the repentant sinner.

The fulfillment of penance consists in the reception of Holy Communion and the genuine reconciliation of the repentant sinner with God and all men according to the commandments of Christ. From this there obviously follows the necessity of a sincere attempt by the penitent to refrain from sin and to remain in faithful obedience to God and in uprightness of life before Him and all people.

The sacrament of penance, like all sacraments, is an element of the life of the Church, which presupposes a firm belief and conviction that Christ himself is present in the Church through his Holy Spirit. A person without the experience of Christ in the Church will not understand the meaning of sacramental penance and the need for the open and public confession of sins. When the Church is experienced as the new life in Christ and as the genuine communion with God in his kingdom already present with men in sacrament and mystery, then not only will sacramental penance and the confession of sins be understood, but it will be cherished as the great mystery of God which it is: the unique possibility for reunion with God through the forgiveness of Christ who has come to save sinners who confess their sins and who sincerely desire to change their lives according to the ways which he himself has given.

The Orthodox Church strictly adheres to the teaching of the Bible that only God can forgive sins, that he does so through Christ in the Church, that his conditions are genuine repentance and the promise of change, which are witnessed by confession; and that confession, by definition, is the open and public acknowledgment of sin before God and all mankind.

Thinking about our Faith

We would like to share thoughts and essays from our Parish in our monthly bulletins. This first article is by Carolyn Stripling-Pike. Please consider sharing your thoughts or an essay on a topic of interest to you and our Parish; send articles to Fr Scott Ceraphim. Thank you.

On Becoming a Parent

Carolyn Stripling-Pike

December 9, 2016

Today is the Feast of the Conception of the Theotokos by Saint Anna, my patron saint. It is also my mother-in-law’s birthday. She had four children with a man who had children from a previous marriage. I recently married my husband who has two children by previous marriages and we had a baby girl in August. I also have a son by a previous marriage. There are many blended families these days but it is not a new concept. In the Epistle for the day, Saint Paul speaks to the Galatians, in 4:22-27, of the sons given to Abraham by two women, Hagar and Sarah, one of the flesh and one by promise. The Theotokos was also given to Saint Anna by promise, as she was barren. In the Gospel for the day, Luke 8:16-21, Jesus says His mother is not simply the one who gave birth to Him but the one who hears the word of God and does it. In these two kinds of families, the blended family and the barren family, what is a good parent?

We are told to be like the little children, but we do not have an example of this. We do not know what Jesus was like as a child. Being a child, or a son of God, is something we are, not something we become. Somehow, a child embodies the perfect form of humanity, something like Adam and Eve before the fall. Would they have had children as we do today or is having children a responsibility God has given us after the fall? We are called to “grow up” and become parents. We have the adult life of Jesus as an example of how to become a good parent. Although Jesus was not Himself a parent, He gave us an image of a perfect man. We can raise our children through example, by imitating Jesus. Like Hagar, we are in bondage and have children of the flesh. With the coming of Jesus and the new covenant, we, like Sarah, “the mother of us all”, can freely raise our children. I love my biological son and daughter because they are physically from me. But I am free to love my step-children as I will. In a way, we are called to love all children freely and become one family in heaven. We are one big blended family, lighting our lights and letting them shine. We rejoice because our children are no longer desolate and we have been given the promise of life and salvation. To become good parents, we must hear God, who tells us who we truly are and what we are to do. To be good children, we must also listen to God. As His children, we are loved and saved by his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.