Notices

ALL SAINTS:  NOTICES -- HOLY PENTEKOST, 2024
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THE HOLY SPIRIT IS DESCENDED!
Beloved Christians,
Today we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at Holy Pentekost, fifty days after our Lord’s glorious Resurrection. Pentekost (Πεντηκοστή) is considered the birthday of the Church; the Church is where Jesus is present in His Most Precious Body and Blood; the Church is guided, indwelled, by the Holy Spirit.
The fire of Pentekost is God's unconditional LOVE which both cleanses and illumines our heart:  katharsis - photis – theosis is the trajectory of the process of our salvation - cleansing through Baptism, enlightenment by the Spirit, union with God.
The Church is a Pentekostal phenomenon; and for us Orthodox Christians, every day is a Pentekost because the Holy Spirit has never ceased to be poured out upon the Church in the Church’s sacramental Mysteries (Mυστήρια). 
Christ is the noetic 'light of the world' (John 9:5), and because of the descent of the Holy Spirit, we too can become participants - we are granted the ‘light of life’ (John 8:12).   Which brings us to one final and not unimportant aspect of Holy Pentekost, the volitional coming together of the Apostles ‘with one accord in one place’. Such divine unity, as we also see in Ephesians 1:10, is significant and unique.  This in contrasted with the ‘dispersion of the Greeks’ [John 7:35] and the machinations of the Pharisees seen in today’s Holy Gospel (John 7:37-52, 8:12). The Church, the Eκκλησία, is not dispersed, fragmented, or sectarian, but ‘gathered together’; the Church is ‘one and holy’, it is the sole locus of our rebirth into Christ.
The Church, upon which the divine and uncreated fire of Pentekost is constantly poured out, is the only true preparation for eternity. And to that end, it is important to point out that the pentekostal 'speaking in tongues' is not speaking gibberish, but is articulate and coherent speech. Following the teachings of the Holy Apostle Paul, the Holy Church has always placed a higher value on coherence and intelligibility than on the ecstatic. Correct glorification generates a propensity for salvation, ‘Glory to God in the highest’ generates ‘peace on earth’ by way of an axis of uncreated light.  
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FAST-FREE
To honour holy Pentekost there is no fasting this week.
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SATURDAY, 29th JUNE -- HOLY APOSTLES SAINT PETER AND SAINT PAUL
08:45 - our holy temple opens.
10:00 - Divine Liturgy.
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NEXT SUNDAY: 30th JUNE -- PARISH FEAST of ALL SAINTS -- PICNIC LUNCH 
08:45 - our Holy Temple opens. 
10:00 - Holy Matrimony of Aaron and Catherine. Followed by DIVINE LITURGY.
The holy services are followed by a bring & share picnic lunch. All are welcome! Please bring food & drink to share.
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GIFTAID NEWS
We have received £2884 from the government as a result of your giving by Giftaid. As in previous years we will be donating this money to other charities.
If you have not already done so, please consider donating regularly by Giftaid. It is very easy, it helps us and enables us to help others.
Our sincere thanks to Susannah, our parish treasurer.
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ALL GLORY TO GOD!
All who attended the holy services, today; those who stayed (especially the children) for the Esperinos, and then shared food and fellowship afterwards.
Julia - for gift of an eikon.
Ted (katechumen) - for gift of bread and vegetables.
Thomas - vacuuming, after the holy services.
Angel - disposing of rubbish.
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YOUR HOLY PRAYERS
Emily & Ross - as they prepare for their wedding (next Sunday); also, for godparents, Susannah & Thomas.
Crina-Mihaila - brain tumour; seriously unwell; confused.
Ted and Dan (katechumens) - as they approach reception into the holy Church.
Those who are travelling:  Stephen & family (tomorrow); Jennifer (non-orthodox) (tomorrow); Daniel (Friday); Joshua (Saturday).
Rareș (child) - exams: Tuesday, Thursday.
Kristina - expecting a baby, awaiting being induced.
Harrison (non-orthodox, young person) - struggling with mental health issues.
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THE HOLY SPIRIT IS DESCENDED!
FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH!
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With love and prayers, in Christ God,
the sinner and unworthy presbyter, Father Jakob


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LOOKING AHEAD -- TWELVE GREAT FEASTS
To help you plan ahead, for those of you who are able to take time off work, etc., here are the dates of GREAT FEASTS for the year ahead.
These are dates upon which we should try to be in Church (sadly, many of us do not always have this choice).
These are days upon which the Divine Liturgy should be served at All Saints. Servers, singers, helpers- please do whatever you're able.

14th SEPTEMBER -- EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
21st NOVEMBER -- ENTRY OF THE THEOTOKOS INTO THE TEMPLE
25th DECEMBER -- NATIVITY OF CHRIST
6th JANUARY -- HOLY THEOPHANY
2nd FEBRUARY -- PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD IN THE TEMPLE
25th MARCH -- HOLY ANNUNCIATION
17th APRIL -- ENTRY OF OUR LORD INTO IERUSALM*
5th May -- HOLY PASCHA*
13th JUNE -- HOLY ASCENSION*
24th JUNE -- HOLY PENTEKOST*
6th AUGUST -- HOLY TRANSFIGURATION
15th AUGUST -- HOLY DORMITION

[ * The dates of these feasts vary from year to year. ]

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ORTHODOXY 101 : ATTENDING THE DIVINE LITURGY

Christianity is experiential; it is not just 'read about', it must be lived. The Holy Eucharist is at the centre of our worship, at the centre of our Life in Christ.

We come to the Church, we remain in the Church in order that our souls be saved. That is all. It is our soul's salvation - there is nothing else.

The Holy Services are a store-house of spiritual treasures. To be saved, we need to gain knowledge of ourselves. We do this by discovering our sins and weaknesses, and by fighting against their pull. Our faith is war on personal pride. When our pride is wounded in the course of Church life, we should thank God!

We fight best when we are supported. For support we have the Holy Gospels; the Holy Fathers, their Lives and Teachings; we have God and we have each other.

The Church Community (both living and departed) is our Family in Christ. Our God is LOVE. And we are giving of our best, when we give love to God and to each other.

The Holy Eucharist is the body and Blood of Christ. It is life itself, it is Salvation. It is our treasure: "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also"​(Matthew 6:21). We spend time with - we are attentive to - the people, the things we love the most.

Canon LXXX (Sixth Oecumenical Council) reads, "A cleric or layman shall not go three consecutive Sundays without attending church, unless some necessary business requires him to leave his town. The usual penalties apply: deposition for a cleric; excommunication for a layman".

It is not always possible to come to every holy service, but our good practice, and simple good manners, is to notify the priest of our absence, or if we have moved away. Notification demonstrates love and humility, and allows the priest and community to pray for us, for example - when we are sick.

We pray for those who are absent from the divine services for legitimate reasons. The others, who come infrequently or have not attended for long periods, have become prodigal sons, wanderers. They have distanced themselves from Christ and from their Christian family. Their love has become luke-warm. A full and proper return to Church requires a full and proper repentance, taking responsibility for our failings.

Church life is about responsibility. It is about stepping up and being adult. This is done by singing, standing throughout the holy services, fasting, making regular confession, reading in Church, serving, cleaning and tidying, cooking, reading the morning and evening prayers every day, preparing properly for confession and communion. Above all it is about praying.

To be blunt, Church (parish) life is about giving time and money to the glory of God. Church life is about commitment. Without commitment, we will never become deeply Orthodox or even remain Orthodox.

Love of God and love of neighbour are entwined. We cannot love God if we do not love our neighbours, especially our fellow Christians; and we cannot love our neighbours if we do not love God (1 John 4:20).

We spend time with God, we spend time with each other. We do so not because we feel 'obliged' or even because we 'want to' but simply because our heart draws us, and we follow Christ's new commandment (Luke 10:27): "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself".

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AΓAΠH = CARITAS = CHARITY = LOVE

John 4:16: Ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη (koine Greek) = Deus caritas est (Latin) = God is Love (English)

GIVING TO OTHERS

All glory to God! Our small parish has been able in little ways to help the poor, offer love to the stranger, to help heal the wounded.

GIFTAID

This past year we received £2,000 back from the UK government. Our parish trustees have authorised this and future monies raised through giftaid to be passed on to our poorer neighbours. If more of us donated by giftaid we could do even more to help the poor, the wounded, and the marginalised who are our neighbours.

'HOW CAN I HELP?'

Every penny helps! Donate to our parish via gift aid. If you pay tax in the UK you can use giftaid. It's free, it's easy, and as you can see above, it helps us to help others. The UK government pays us back for what you give to us via gftaid. This is the only official help that UK charities receive.

Our hope and ambition is that every penny given to us by you comes through giftaid.

LAZAROS, OUR NEIGHBOUR

The dying Lazaros is lying outside our door (Luke 16:20). We Christians have a duty of care (John 21:17), this is a constant in our life (Matthew 26:11), we must not ignore him (1 John 3:17). Let us do all that we are able to help to help our neighbour (John 15:12). May I ask you - please make a start, and donate to the parish by giftaid.

CHRIST IS RISEN!

In the Risen Lord,

Father Jakob

Presbyter, All Saints North Benfleet

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