|2012 Vacation Church School - 08/10/12|
Over 50 youth and adults participated in our Vacation Church School August 6-10, learning about the Parables of Christ.
|Parish Life Conference 2012 - 07/11/12|
The 2012 Parish Life Conference for the Eastern Dioceses took place July 4-8 in New Brunswick, NJ. Over 20 people represented St Philip's at church services, organizational meetings, luncheons, entertainment events, and the Bible Bowl & Oratorical competitions.
Our Teen & Adult Bible Bowl teams didn't win this year, but each scored very well. Abay Tadesse, our Junior Oratorical participant, won the trophy in his division. Congratulations! (Photo shows Abay holding his trophy, accompanied by Bp Thomas and Teen Advisors, Subdns. Vince Kaufmann & Ben Daniel.)
|Annual Lenten Retreat - 02/14/12|
Saturday, March 10, 2012
FAITH & SCIENCE
Presented by Fr Victor Gorodenchuk
Pastor, St Stephen Cathedral, Philadelphia
In light of the history & nature of science, should we “dogmatize” that which current science believes is a well-established fact about such things as development of the Universe, of life, or of the writing of the Scriptures?
Is the story of Creation in Gen. 1 and 2 an attempt at a scientific description of how Creation happened? If science cannot explain everything about this world, is there another way in which we can approach Mystery?
Can there be a balance between scientific & mystical, between material & spiritual, between earth & heaven, so that the whole of Creation can lead us to the Creator?
Babysitting & children’s activities will be provided. (Please call to register.)
There is no charge for this event.
To assist us in our planning, however, please call to let us know that you are coming.
~~ An offering will be received ~~
9:00 a.m. Welcome & Refreshments
9:30 a.m. 3rd Hour & 1st Session - What We Think We Know
10:45 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. 6th Hour & 2nd Session - Does the Scientific Approach Hold all the Keys?
12:30 p.m. Lenten Luncheon
1:30 p.m. 3rd Session - The Creation Story in Genesis: More than Meets the Eye
3:00 p.m. 9th Hour & Akathist “Glory to God for all Things”
4:00 - 4:30 p.m. Concluding remarks
- Finding a Balance so all of Creation can lead us to the Creator
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Q & A, Coffee, Fellowship, Book Table, and Confessions
6:00 p.m. Vespers
Fr. Victor Gorodenchuk was born and raised in the Ukraine, which until early 1990s was part of Soviet Union. He grew up in a society that extolled science and often wrote off religion as only fit for the “uneducated.” After graduating High School, Fr. Victor went on to pursue his interest in physics and in 1995 received degree of Master of Science from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. While studying in Moscow, he discovered for himself Christian faith and through much discussion and reading was convinced of the truth of the beliefs of the Orthodox Church. In 1996, Fr. Victor received an opportunity to come to the United States to study at St. Tikhon's Theological Seminary. He was ordained to Holy Priesthood in 2004 and in 2005 he and his family moved to Philadelphia to serve at St. Stephen Orthodox Cathedral. Fr. Victor continues to have a lively interest in the questions of relationship of faith and science, both as these questions are presented by our society and as they can be viewed in the light of continuing advancements in our understanding of the Creation.
|Uganda Mission Trip - 08/16/11|
Penny McClintock is a nursing student and a certified EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), and participated in a summer mission trip Uganda with the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. Following is her account of her experience.
The Work of the Holy Spirit is in Uganda
The OCMC - Orthodox Christian Mission Center
- organizes many different mission trips, centered upon healthcare,
teaching, or missionary work. As a twenty-one year old nursing student, I
joined a healthcare team based in Uganda. We spent two weeks setting up
healthcare clinics and administering basic medications through the
Orthodox Church in Uganda. This experience was incredibly humbling, and
one that I will carry with me in both my spiritual and professional life
as a nurse.
Our first day of setting up a healthcare clinic in a small town in rural Uganda was a mild frenzy. Our small team of eight Americans, consisting of two doctors, three nurses, and two students, was faced with the great challenge of providing basic medical care and medications to over a hundred Ugandans crowding around a church door and open window, which we turned into a makeshift doctor’s office and pharmacy. Amid the chaotic crowds waiting to receive their medicine, the piles of triage cards, and the constant chatter of mixed English and Lugandan (the major language spoken in the district of Sembabule), we managed to successfully treat and provide medication to children with intestinal worms, families stricken with malaria, babies with fevers, scalps balding due to ringworm, and women and men suffering from various STDs. Most patients received their prescriptions with enormous smiles, saying “Webale” (meaning “thank you”), and would depart us with a shake of the hand in gratitude. It felt wonderful to provide these people with the medicine they needed, eat with them, discuss our lives together, and connect over sharing a common faith although living an entire ocean apart.
However, not every patient’s story was one of success that day. Of the hundreds of faces I met, the face of a teenage girl, simple and serene, held slightly crooked while she walked from the church on a crutch, stands out in my mind from that first clinic. We were able to diagnose the large infected wound in her shoulder as osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone and bone marrow. Without treatment, her infection was becoming progressively worse. Even though our team offered her grandfather enough money to provide her transportation to a hospital, he refused to take her, and we had to leave the town that day knowing we could do nothing to help her. And yet, as our van made its way down the red dirt road away from the church, she smiled at us with the most grateful eyes, and waved us on our way.
Over the course of the next week, our team vastly improved our efficiency in triage and prescription filling in the pharmacy. We would transform a stone church filled with wooden pews into a waiting area, examination area, shot area, wound care area, a working pharmacy, and a medication dispensary. Our team worked together, along with the help of some wonderful translators and Ugandan Orthodox priests, to take what we learned from the chaos of the first clinic and turn it into a smooth and systematic operation.
However, riding down the bumpy road to our last clinic, none of us were prepared to be faced with our biggest challenge yet. The church we had to work with was not a large, empty room filled with convenient wooden benches, but a dark, tiny hut made of mud and straw. We had only a couple benches to use for the doctors and pharmacy, and there was already a line of people eagerly awaiting our arrival. Because it was too dark inside the church for the doctors to see, we had to set up outside… and there were dark rainclouds forming in the distance. But although we were using boxes to make work tables, filling prescriptions in the back of a van, and grabbing the medicine and running inside the church every time we felt raindrops, we managed to see every single person who came to us that day. Just as the girl with osteomyelitis welcomed what little help we had for her, and did not pout at her misfortune but responded to us only with gratitude for what we could give her, I felt that our meager resources that day only made us more determined to run a successful clinic. Despite the simple setup, we provided the same quality of care and medicine, and felt even deeper the spirit of the people we had come to help, experiencing life the way they do each day. This spirit-one of hospitality, gratitude, love, and delight in simplicity- is the most striking mark of the people in Uganda, and the most evident way that our team was able to experience the work of the Holy Spirit in Africa.
|Teen S.O.Y.O. Trip to Holy Myrhhbearers Monastery, Otego, New York - 08/15/11|
Very early on the morning of August 13, 5:30 a.m. to be exact, we left St Philip’s for the monastery. It was a long drive up, but it turned out to be totally worth it. Everyone was very welcoming upon our arrival; they almost immediately had us begin working!
The monastery is not what we would call "new," so it needs a lot of work done on it, and unfortunately with our lack of numbers and time we could not help them with as much as we would have liked, and as much as they need. Our first task was to move hundreds of hay bales from two huge wagons into the barn. It was a rough task, but the nuns were very thankful, because they said that it would have taken all of them two days to do that, whereas it took us two to three hours.
After that we got to meet many of their animals, which consist of goats, rams, sheep, chickens, cats, and two guard dogs. Some of us even got the chance to milk goats and bottle-feed baby goats.
Throughout the day we had a few church services, too. All of them were very spiritually beautiful.
Then in the afternoon, we moved all the contents (furniture, icons, etc.), out of a church building down the road and into a trailer. They hope soon to make this building a Bible study meeting place, after a group from Chicago comes and redoes the collapsing floor.
Our day ended with a very nice vigil and delicious dinner.
The next morning, a Sunday, we had liturgy with the nuns and their mission parishioners, and soon after, we left for our long journey home. It was an amazing experience, and we hope that next year we can go again with an even larger group.
By: Rachel Howanetz
|Installation of Dormition Mural & Iconographer's Presentation - 08/13/11|
Our new icon mural, the Dormition of the Theotokos, has been installed on the west wall of the church. On Saturday, August 13, we welcomed iconographer Nick Papas, who blessed us with a presentation on Church iconography and the Dormition icon mural in particular. The text of his presentation can be accessed here: Dormition-Meaning.
|Turkana Missions Walk - 05/21/11|
About 22 St. Philip's parishioners, both children and adults, gathered on Saturday, May 21, 2011, for a Missions Walk to help raise money for the Turkana people in Kenya. The distance walked varied from person to person; some walked a half a mile, while others walked three miles. It was a beautiful day, sunny, light breeze, with a temperature around 78 degrees. A special thanks to the OCMC, all of those from St. Philip's who participated, and all our generous donors.
|Pan-Orthodox Lenten Vespers - 03/27/11|
On Sunday, March 27, St Philip's hosted the Lehigh Valley Orthodox Churches for a Lenten Vespers. Our featured speaker was Fr. Gerasim of St. Herman's Monastery in Platina, CA, who also served the Divine Liturgy with Fr. Noah and Dn. Herman on Sunday morning.
|Feast of St Philip - 11/14/10|
On Sunday, November 14, we celebrated the feast day of our patron, St Philip. Celebrating with us was Fr. Alexander Atty, Dean of St Tikhon's Seminary in South Canaan, PA, who in his homily challenged us to be neighbors to our neighbors, following the example of the Good Samaritan.
|Basket Auction and Harvest Luncheon - 11/13/10|
The Women of St Philip's hosted a Basket Auction and Harvest Luncheon Saturday, November 13. Thirty-one beautiful baskets, valued from $125 to $375, were available for bidding. In addition, there was a 50/50 raffle and more than 50 door prizes were given to our guests.
Baskets were provided by the faithful of St Philip's, as well as a few area businesses. Thank you!
All proceeds benefit the St Philip's Needy Fund, supporting needy families at St Philip's and in our area.
Thanks to all who worked, attended, and supported this event. Watch for our next event scheduled for fall 2012!
|Pastoral Visit from Bishop Thomas - 10/10/10|
God's Blessings Come to St. Philip, Souderton, PA
By God's grace, the prayers for many, and the wisdom, love, and forbearance of Sayedna PHILIP and Sayedna THOMAS, much good for the Kingdom of God is being accomplished here in Souderton, PA.
We were recently blessed with a special visit from Bishop THOMAS, October 7-10.
Thursday Sayedna accompanied me and Cranford Coulter, the founder and director of The King's Jubilee, to Center City Philadelphia where a food, clothing, and a good word was shared with about 150 homeless and hungry people. (For more on The King's Jubilee see www.shoutforjoy.net)
Saturday our parish hosted the Deacons of the diocese for a retreat. It was a beautiful day full of prayer, education, and fellowship. The retreat leader, Dn. Nicholas Belcher, Dean of Students of Holy Cross Seminary, spoke to our parish in the afternoon regarding "Youth and Young Adult Ministry in an Age of Relativism". It was an excellent talk wherein he underlined the reality that LOVE = TRUTH, and the two
can not be separated. But since our relativistic society tells us otherwise, we must struggle to main this essential bond of truth and love in our minds, our hearts, and our actions.
The services were especially inspiring with all of the deacons "flying about like angels". All of the nervousness that this young priest inflicts upon himself when his bishop visits vanished during the powerful chanting of the Hierarchical Trisagion Hymn.
Our parish was especially blessed with the ordination to Sub-Deacon of two faithful men of the parish who desire to grow in ministry: Vincent Kaufmann and Ben Nectarios Daniel. Many years of service to God and His Holy Church to Ben and Vince and his wife and angelic little daughters!
Following Liturgy, Sayedna enjoyed a relaxed Coffee Hour and then spent quite a while visiting the Sunday School classes.
Besides the usual Lord's Day and Feast Day services and ministries that we undertake as faithfully, smoothly, and lovingly as possible, I'd like to highlight the following special undertakings:
+ Youth Choir will begin rehearsing for Vespers and Artoklasia for St. Nicholas. Also, every Sunday they join the choir after they've received Holy Communion to lead the congregation through the rest of the Liturgy.
+ The young women of our parish enjoyed a "Handmaidens' Tea" wherein they discussed opportunities for service for women: service professions, marriage, monasticism, missions, hospitality, baking Prosphora, etc... They each were given a copy of the wonderful book _The Illustrated Life of the Theotokos_ and encouraged in modesty, obedience to parents, and the Life in Christ.
+ We hosted an Open House on September 18th. It was an enjoyable day with, thank God, excellent weather, free food and children's activities, many visitors, engaging church tours, edifying lectures, information booths on parish ministries and other aspects of our Life in Christ, and a stirring choir concert. We learned a great lesson: Personal Invitations are the best way to bring people in.... Of the 35 visitors, only one of them came because of our advertising, the rest came as invited guests.
+ Our Altar Boys have been organized into executing their liturgical tasks and many clean-up tasks through the efforts of Deacon Herman and the older servers. Simeon Acker, our eldest server and captain, has them buzzing around like bees straightening up the church before they head out to Sunday School following Divine Liturgy.
+ At the request of many parishioners, we've added a regular mid-Week service: Wednesdays at 7 p.m. we offer different Akathist Services on a rotating basis. The Akathists have proven to be short, accessible, easy-to-participate-in services, and mid-Week boost; it has been a great blessing for myself and all who attend them.
+ Ben Daniel, one of the new subdeacons, will be teaching an adult Bible Study on the Book of Revelation with special reference to insights of the Fathers. We are hoping that this series will be a good outreach event and also strengthen our Orthodox understanding of eschatology against the wild speculations that many Christians hold.
At St. Philip's, the seeds of salvation have been planted into the rich soil of missions: modeled after the pattern of relational evangelism of its Patron, St. Philip the Holy Apostle (who invited a future-apostle to Christ with these simple words: "come and see"), under the blessing of Sayedna PHILIP and the inspiration of his dream to "make America Orthodox", and by green thumb Fr. Boniface Black. I ask for your prayers as we keep growing in missions and evangelism, an essential dimension of our faith in Christ, who was sent from heaven for the life of the world and its salvation.
Your Servant In Christ,
+ Fr. Noah
|Handmaidens Tea - 09/25/10|
The St. Philips Handmaidens Tea was held on Saturday afternoon, September 25th. The “Tea Room” in Miss Naomi’s classroom offered a private setting with elegantly arranged tables, fitting for the occasion. Over a cup of tea (or iced tea) and refreshments, we spent time in friendly conversation before listening to Maria Roeber, our special guest, who talked about her desire to offer her medical nursing skills in serving the poor in Tanzania. Khouriye Elizabeth led opening and ending prayers and each Handmaiden was given a book about the life of the Theotokos, our true role model for all Orthodox women.
The Handmaidens Tea was the perfect launch for the St. Philip's Handmaidens. Future activities are being firmed up, including workshops for Holy Bread baking and icon flower decorating, plus Holy Week activities. We welcome any and all young ladies ages 6 to 18 in our parish to join the Handmaidens group. Please see Beth McClintock for more information or to be added to our Handmaiden updates.
|Orphanage Church Tour and Lunch - 07/16/10|
On Friday, July 16 the Church hosted a luncheon for orphans, workers, and volunteers of 'The Love Cradle' mission, based in Souderton. The Protestant mission provides for the needs of orphans in the Ukraine. It was felt that by extending hospitality by opening St. Philip's Church to the orphans, they would have an opportunity to learn about their heritage. Fr. Noah welcomed the orphans in the narthex, where they received name tags and learned the story of St. Noah and the Ark. Inside the holy temple the children sat respectfully while Fr. Noah taught them some basics of Orthodoxy and took questions from them, calling special attention to the many lovely icons which the parish is privileged to have. Many thanks to the people who provided donations of food and volunteered to set up and clean afterward.
The Ukrainian children's visits are being sponsored by the multi-denominational, nonprofit "Rainbow of Hope" program. Families who are interested in sponsoring visiting orphans are encouraged to contact Stephen Yagilnicky, President of The Love Cradle Mission: www.lovecradleint.org (215) 723-0263.