The Promise of God

Thanksgiving Promise

I’ve been so busy with family, work, church, and planning a prison ministry workshop that I’ve been slack in my day to day prison ministry efforts, like letter writing. I was going to skip sending a Thanksgiving card this month and haven’t even started on the November December Good-Newsletter. Then I got this letter from Elijah and, well, I let you read it for yourself.

Sometimes we think what we do doesn’t matter, but it does. Every prayer, every pocket full of change tossed into our donation jar, every signature on a birthday card is, as Elijah says, “part of this promise from God” Thank you for your support!

Please visit our FaceBook page and promote our Prison Ministry Workshop to your Orthodox friends and family.

The Ultimate Test

Prison Ministry Good-Newsletter

Letter from Marvin

Marvin is new to the group. He started reading the GNL a good while back, getting copies from another participant. When his friend was relocated to another facility, Marvin wrote me and asked to be put on our list; he wanted to continue to get the Good-NewsLetter. We exchanged a few personal letters and I find him to be sincerely seeking truth and friendship.

Being new, he’s still worried about bothering me in my busy life and is apologetic for the intrusion. Nevertheless, he seizes the opportunity to ask for prayer for his daughter, ask burning questions about faith, and reach out for help getting information.   Reading his letter, can you see how it would be easy for anyone, even you, to answer him? this is how personal prison ministry begins!

Lives are changed (including our own) when we take a leap of faith and reach out to one person in prison! If you would like to write to Marvin, send him a book on the history of Christianity and perhaps do a little research on programs for people in prison, send me an email at [email protected] and let’s get you started!

Please add Marvin and Aleiya to your prayer list and remember them daily. Thank you!

Join us in prayer + action for Christ!

This Weekend: Hierarchical Services

This week was the start of the Diaconate Boot Camp hosted by our parish and we are concluding the conference with the Hierarchical services of All Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy this weekend.

Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Archpriest Andre Papkov and Protodeacon Vadim Gan will be joined by our visiting clergy attending the conference.

Saturday evening, after the All Night Vigil, we will be hosting a banquette at 8:00PM to raise funds for the new temple for our parish. The cost is $10 a plate with both meat and vegetarian options.

Come and meet the Bishop, visiting clergy and students!

 

 

 

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, May 5th, 5:00PM – Hierarchical All Night Vigil w/confessions. PLEASE NOTE EARLY TIME

Saturday, May 5th, 8:00PM – Banquette Fund-raiser Dinner.

Sunday, May 6th, 9:00AM – Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

Sunday, May 6th, 12:30PM – Lunch

Prison Ministry Good-Newsletter

Letter from John

Now look what you’ve done! You made a grown man cry!

It may be hard for you to believe that one little birthday card can mean so much, but truly, I hear this all the time! Men who had sad childhoods and are long forgotten by family and friends are overwhelmed with emotion when strangers take the time to scribble “Happy Birthday” and sign their name to a card for them; to think about them for even a moment. Many list and thank everyone who signed by name. John sent two letters, one to the church and one to “Mama-Jo”,  and a card thanking us a total of a dozen times! I’ll post the one letter and the card on the bulletin board.

Last fall John found the church address on “A Timeline of Church History” brochure that he inherited from one of our participants at Alexander Correctional, where Fr. Onouphry holds monthly meetings. He wrote, but his letter got misplaced. Months later, when I finally  sent an introductory packet, he wrote me two 10+ page letters in a week! John, like many of the guys who write, has been seeking God and Studying the Bible for a long time. Finding Orthodoxy is like finding a treasure. Finding a community to pray for and who will pray for them is priceless!

New people ask a lot of questions and share  testimonies about God working in their lives. God is very present in prisons; He is working on men’s hearts! It’s wonderful to see how Orthodoxy can answer burning questions and give their time new purpose. It surely stimulates a lot of conversation!

Thank you for bringing John to tears on his birthday! Thank you for signing cards, for including John and our other participants when you pray for those in prison. Thank you for supporting this ministry with your prayers and donations.

The prayers of people like John are truly lifting our community up before God and we are truly being blessed by them.

The Bishop is Coming!

Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan is coming to our parish!

For the past month we’ve been promoting the 2018 Diaconate Boot Camp that our parish is hosting next week, starting Wednesday, May the 2nd through Sunday, May the 6th.

Joining us will be Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, along with our teachers: Archpriest Andre Papkov and Protodeacon Vadim Gan. Not only is Fr. Andre the dean of Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Chicago, he is also the director of the Jordanville Liturgical Music School and dean of the Pastoral School. Fr. Vadim is the Protodeacon of the Synodal Cathedral in NYC.

Students, consisting of laypeople, deacons, readers and subdeacons, will be traveling from all over the US to learn the art of the Diaconate from these masters! As the weekend arrives, everyone is invited to attend the Hierarchical services: Vigil with confessions on Saturday evening, May 5th at 6:30PM and Divine Liturgy Sunday morning, May 6th at 9:40AM.

WE NEED YOUR HELP:

To prepare for this important event we are having a parish work day this Saturday, April 28th from 9AM all the way to Vigil at 6:30PM. Lunch and dinner will be provided by St. Nicholas.

Aside from a much needed cleaning after our Pascha celebration, we also want to get the parish and her grounds ready for the extensive filming that will be going on during the Diaconate Boot Camp. So much needs to be done and we are hoping you can make time to help us out!

LET’S GET THE CHURCH SPARKLING THIS SATURDAY!

  • We will focus on the interior, exterior of the temple including the grounds
  • Starts at 9AM then break for Lunch at 1:00PM
  • Continue working at 2:00PM then break for dinner at 5:30PM
  • Vigil with confession, pre-communion rule starts at 6:30PM

For more information about the Boot Camp, visit the Liturgical Arts School website.

Please Pray for Joseph

We’ve been praying for Joseph and his foster father, Bruce Morton, who was struggling with cancer. Joe called me this past Thursday evening. He was really worried because a prison employee had casually said, “You won’t be allowed to go to no wake ‘cause you’re not blood related”. Joe was confused. He thought that perhaps the family was planning ahead for when the time came because “it couldn’t have happened so soon, could it?” He was hoping against hope to see his Pops one more time and technically, because Bruce was his Guardian, Joe should have been able to go, but there would have been a lot of red tape.

While Joe was on the phone, I looked online and found the obituary; Bruce had passed on Sunday the 4th; four days had already past! By the grace of God, I was able to break the news and be there for him for the rest of our 10-minute prison-service call. I read him the obituary and it said that memorial donations should be sent to foster care and adoption service providers.  “That was Pops, always thinking about us kids!”

I told Joe how we say, “Memory Eternal”, and keep a person’s memory alive by celebrating the anniversary of their birth into Eternal Life. In the last minutes of the call, I asked Joe to share a memory. As he started, a computerized voice interrupted, saying “You have 60 seconds left for this call”. Then, half way through, “you have 30 seconds left for this call”.

Please pray for Joseph and for the repose of his “Pops”, Bruce Morton.

(April 10, 1938- March 4, 2018)