Thu, 19 Nov 2009
Message from Saint Stefanos Outreach Ministry
Dear friend of Saint Stefanos,
We pray this communication finds you and your family well.
If you haven't had a chance to check out the updated website, click on the link: www.ststefanos.org.
A special thanks to KDM Design and Marketing, Peter Konstantakos and Demi Meader for a job well done.
Also, if you want to go online to listen to Father John's weekly sermon, click on the following link and save as a favorite: http://www.ststefanos.org/church-ministries/teams/outreach-a-evangelism.html
This Sunday we will hold our General Assembly following the Divine Liturgy. Be sure to show up and learn more about the state of affairs at St. Stefanos. There was not enough stewards at last week's meeting, so we will proceed this week regardless of attendance.
Please enjoy the attached sermon. You will find the pertaining Gospel reading below. Again, feel free to share with others. Click here for the reading.Lastly, if you have any news you would like to share with the St. Stefanos community, or ideas and opportunities for the Outreach Ministry to improve, we welcome your suggestions. Thanks and have a wonderful week.
Thank you to the A.B.C. small bible study group for sharing questions for Fr. John to answer. See the question and answer below.
We hope to see you this coming Sunday,
Saint Stefanos Outreach Ministry
UPCOMING EVENTS AT SAINT STEFANOS:
Sunday Services - 8:15AM Orthros, 9:15 Sunday School, 9:30AM Divine Liturgy
Ongoing on Wednesdays – 5:30 PM - Small Paraklesis, 6:30 Bible Study
Can't attend on Wednesdays? Small Neighborhood Bible Study groups are available during the week. Call the church office for days, times, and a location near you.
Sunday, November 22nd - General Assembly following Divine Liturgy
Wednesday, November 25th - Special Thanksgiving Divine Liturgy
Sunday, December 13th - Children's Christmas Program - 4 PM
December 26th - 27th - St. Stefanos Feast Day Celebration - Vespers and Divine Liturgy time to be announced next message
For specific information on the above events, contact the Church directly or reply back to us via email information request. Please email us with any upcoming dates that need to be added
Ask Father John:
Who created the ecumenical councils?
To understand better the answer to this question we should consider the text below.
But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Corinthians 12:24-27).
If the Church functions like a body; the body had a "built in" immune system. This is what the body of the Church did in the instances of the Ecumenical Councils. Teachings of faith that were foreign of the spirit of the original Church founded by Christ and continued by His apostles, appeared across the centuries (they are still today). There was an acute need to bring up what was right/orthodox in the teaching of the faith. Conflicts stirred by theological controversies appeared in various parts of the Roman Empire and the Christian world. Something had to be done. The Church leading personalities and theologians had to come together (as the anticorps in a body) to keep the purity of the faith. The only one who had a great authority in convoking and bringing people together was the Roman Emperor, who also provided all that was necessary for the hundreds of participants at the councils. Some of them lasted for months in row
A very brief answer to the question would be: The Ecumenical Councils are the work of the Holy Spirit in the living organism of the Church with the purpose of preserving the purity of the faith - the orthodoxy, as it was handed down by Christ and His apostles.
At that time, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, "Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back." Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
©2009 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Outreach Ministry - Saint Stefanos Greek Orthodox Church
Rev. Fr. John Bociu, Presbyter
3600 76th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33710