News and Notes for the weekend of May 13-15th

St. Thekla Orthodox Young Adults Group

Tonight, this Friday May 13th, the St. Thekla Orthodox Young Adults group is hosting a night at YFC (33 King St. Winnipeg), between 6-9:00 pm

The St. Thekla Orthodox Young Adults Group is dedicated to building the community of Orthodox young adults in Winnipeg and the surrounding area. Though it is a group which is focused on Orthodox young adults, all those who are curious about the Orthodox Church and those wanting to deepen their faith in Christ are very welcome.

Along with food and games, a short workshop will be led by Wesley Giesbrecht entitled “Help my unbelief: The role of doubt and skepticism in the Christian life”.

We are blessed to have young adults, and doubly blessed that both Yuri and Wesley are working to provide a context in which Orthodox youth can have fun with each other, and talk about Orthodoxy without skipping the hard stuff. May the Lord bless this work.

Grave Blessings.

One of the greatest things about being a priest is having the opportunity ot serve at gravesides in this season of light and joy. There is no better prayer to say than “Christ is Risen” for our departed loved ones. It is our petition that they may be  partakers in the glory of the Lord’s resurrection, and redemption.

Although we will be blessing the graves at St. Nicholas after the Liturgy on  June 5th, I can serve Panikhidas (memorials) across the city where needed. Please contact me to arrange a date.


Rubbermaid containers.

Recently I came in contact with a family in need of sealable Rubbermaid (or similar) containers to help with a bed bug infiltration in their apartment building. It is a terrible situation that they are patiently working through. Having sealable containers would go a long way in limiting the spread of these little monsters. Again, please contact me if you have an extra bin or two to spare.

Special parish general meeting

On May 29th after the Liturgy, we will be holding a special general meeting. At our AGM this past February it was decided that we needed some time to consider finding a replacement for the position of the vice-president on parish council. David Pensato who had diligently served as this for the past four years has moved on, wanting to dedicate his time and energy to other aspects of parish life. For that new direction he is taking and for all his hard work on parish council, we are genuinely thankful to God. May the Lord grant him many years!  

If anyone is interested in serving on the parish council or knows someone who might like to serve on council, please let either a current council member or myself know.

One of the other items to be discussed is what options and alternatives are available to help us engage the members of our parish, and the community at large, from the bigger tasks like fundraising, to the seemingly minor tasks like cleaning up after lunch on Sunday morning. This is your parish, and you have a say in how we can best function given our resources, in directing the work of the Church to bear witness to the saving work of Christ.

If you have any questions or comments, please talk to a current council member or myself.


The Crowning of Aaron and Tina Wiebe.

The one element that defines so much of the Orthodox Church’s understanding of itself , is the sacramental presence of God in our lives. There are no symbols here, but the real and abiding presence of a God who acts to save humanity through the stuff that surrounds us (matter).

Whether it be water, oil, bread and wine, or ourselves, we offer something to God. He confirms and changes it, and offers it back to us, and by it unites Himself to us in the process.

Although in western culture marriage is primarily seen as a contract (either divine or secular), the Orthodox Rite of  Crowning (marriage) is understood as a sacrament. A couple comes together, and they offer their lives to each other and to the Lord. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, their union is consecrated, to rise above the primordial animal necessity to procreate, and the desires of self-fulfillment, they begin to process of becoming holy in the Lord’s holiness, and become divinized to be divine in the unending love of the Holy Trinity.

This Sunday after the Liturgy, after having to have a well needed cup of coffee, we will crown in marriage our newly-received parishioners Aaron and Tina. It is not as if Aaron and Tina were never really married before they became Orthodox, and now the Church has to fix it.

Obviously they are married with a  beautiful family, and their journey to Orthodoxy underlines this. But in the same way that an Orthodox priest doesn’t start acting like a priest the moment he is ordained (rather his ordination is the confirmation of his offering and service), the lives of Aaron and Tina (and little Isabel) have demonstrated the importance of Christ in their lives. Why not offer that to God in thanksgiving for His mercy and love and by it establish Christ as the cornerstone of their household eternally.

It won’t be a fairy-tale wedding necessarily, with lots of guests; and there might not be a crazy reception afterwards (although who knows). But it will be a chance for those of us who share in their Christian struggle to join them, and pray with them in this blessing.

If some can stay after Church, they are welcomed; if not,  please remember them in your prayers.

May the Lord continue to bless and keep Aaron Seraphim, Tina Sophia, and Isabel for many years.