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The Chrismation of Brett
Brett, who was originally baptized Roman Catholic was Chrismated (Confirmed) in the Orthodox Church with the permission of his parents and by the request of his grandmother who brings him to Church each Sunday. It is the practice of the Orthodox Church for children to become full members of the Church when they are baptized and Chrismated.
Brett, who was given the name Michael, is being anointed with the Holy Chrism on his far head, eyes, ears, mouth, chest, hands and feet with the words "The seal of the Holy Spirit." After the anointing Michael received Holy Communion.
This Sunday was Stewardship Sunday at St. Luke's Parish. At St. Luke's Parish rather than pay a set amount of dues, all parishioners are encouraged to tithe a percentage of their income as a pledge to God. The parish council then takes these pledges for the upcoming year and determines the next years budget. Following Liturgy our Stewardship Committee members presented a powerpoint presentation on Stewardship.
Next the pledge cards were collected and presented to Father Andrew.
Father Andrew then led the congregation in a prayer over the gifts and blessed them as an offering to God.
Vigil service for the feast of St. Michael
The four OCA parishes in south suburban Chicago celebrate their Patronal feast days together. The photo shows the clergy gathered around the altar of St. Michael's in Burbank with Archbishop Job celebrating the Vigil service for the feast of St. Michael.
After the Liturgy of the feast, Fr. Luke Nelson, rector of St. Michael's, invited all the celebrating clergy to join him at Avaiana Banquet Center for a delicious dinner.
General Assembly of the National Council of Churches of Christ
Father Andrew is a delegate of the Orthodox Church in America to the National Council of Churches of Christ which met in Orlando, Florida this week. The photo is of a wall hanging made up of the symbols of the member churches of the NCCC. The Orthodox Church in America's symbol is on the right side, fourth from the top in blue. It depicts the various Orthodox church architectural styles which make up the OCA.
The delegation from the Greek Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America were seated together. Around the table are Bishop Dimitrios Couchell, Very Rev. Demetri Kantzavelis Bishop-elect, John Paterakis, Fr. Andrew Harrison, Deacon Serge Kapral, and Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky (not pictured).
Bishop Dimitrios and Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos giving a report about the situation in Lebanon after the recent hostilities. They reported about the devastation and the need to help the Lebanese people to rebuild their country. Rev. Michael Livingston, the current president, is at the podium.
The Oriental Orthodox delegation having lunch by the pool side on the warmest day in Orlando. Bishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Church in America is seated in the center. He is president elect of the NCCC and will be installed in New York City next year.
John Paterakis, Treasurer of Church World Service (CWS) giving his report. CWS is a sister agency of the NCCC which is involved in world wide humanitarian aid. CWS partners with other church agencies for disaster relief. They are supporting aide in Lebanon which is supervised by the International Orthodox Church Charities.
At every General Assembly all Orthodox delegations have a meeting to discuss mutual concerns. The meeting this year was held at Christies Restaurant in Orlando. One of the topics of discussion was the effort to invite the Antiocian Orthodox Church to return to NCCC. It was felt that there was a misunderstanding of certain actions taken by the NCCC which the Orthodox Church does not support. The Orthodox Church delegations are always clear when they disagree with any policies. Membership does not require total agreement. The membership of the Orthodox Jurisdictions in the NCCC helps to maintain a balance so it remains representative of the middle church rather than those of the extreme religious right or left.
Children's Sermon on Halloween
Fr. Andrew read a story to the children about whether Halloween is real. The story is about children who ask about the meaning of Halloween. Their parents tell them that it was a pagan holiday in which Christians changed the meaning. It became a day to remember and pray for departed family members. The story tells about evil spirits and the Spirit of God. He asked the children to memorize a verse from the Bible which can be said when you get scared. The Lord will never give you a spirit which you should fear but rather a spirit of power and Love. The verse came from 2 Timothy. 1:7