THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
December 9, 2018
Feast of the Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary
On Civil Discourse
The Christmas season is a time for getting together with family and friends. These reunions are intended to be a time to rejoice. However, for many people, the holidays are filled with tension. In today’s charged political climate many worry about how to address discussions about politics and seek to avoid controversial subjects altogether. Fearing discord, even Christians are tempted to follow the old maxim, “don’t discuss politics or religion.”
To be sure Christians are not called to engage in worthless argumentation. If people want to argue with us about something of no consequence we are to avoid such arguments. At the same time, we are also not called to indifference or cowardice. Rather, we are to prayerfully and selectively discern which issues are issues of importance, and then speak to those issues with love and a gentle spirit.
In St. Paul’s’ second letter to the disciple Timothy he wrote:
23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Tim 2
What Paul writes in verse twenty-six is particularly instructive in that it reminds us that when someone is choosing an ungodly way of thinking or acting they have effectively succumbed to intense outside spiritual pressure. In fact, St. Paul describes this pressure as a kind of captivity where people are being forced to think, speak or do what is evil. A Christian worldview holds that when we see someone caught up in ungodliness we do not blame them, we blame evil forces. Even as God loves us in our sin, we too love those caught up in sin, including those forced to do evil against their will.
When we engage people in logical discussions and encourage reasonable dialogue, we are sharing Christ with them. In this light, reason is understood to be evangelical, as it is spreading the presence of Christ. Calling sinners to repentance is synonymous with calling people caught up in unreasonable ways of thinking into reasonable ways of thinking.
So when we hear people speaking in ways that are unreasonable about politics or religion we, who are to live as lovers of truth and reason are to try to engage them in reasonable dialogue. Encouraging them to examine this or that issue logically.
Calling people to examine important issues logically is calling them towards the truth.
So yes, we are to engage in discussions about politics and religion and any other important topics. Not because we love controversy, but because we love God and are called to lovingly represent the One who is Truth, which in turn will hopefully help others come to value Truth as well.
By Fr. Tavit Boyajian
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
2Thessalonians 1: 1-12 (page 187) New Testament
Luke 14: 12-24 (pages 70-71) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 37: 14-38 (pages 713-714) Old Testament
REQUIEM SERVICES: Karasoonk (40th Day memorial Service) today will be for:
– VAHAN MOVSESYAN on the 40th Day of His eternal life requested by the Movsesyan Family.
Hokehankist today will be for:
– ARAM AVEDIS AGHAZARIAN (1st Anniversary of His eternal life) in loving memory of her husband and their father requested by Lucy Aghazarian and Lori & Aram Alan Aghazarian.
– ALL THE 1988 ARMENIAN EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS requested by the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.
ALTAR FLOWERS: are donated today by Lori and Aram Alan Aghazarian in loving memory of their father ARAM AVEDIS AGHAZARIAN on the 1st Anniversary of His eternal life.
“Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing” (1Tim 2:8). Please pray for Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin, Anto Vartanian, Annabelle Alexanian, Alice Charles, Armenoui Aznavuryan and Pearl Jamgochian for a return to better health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Pray for our country and her leaders so that peace and kindness will prevail; for our children in their schools – that they may continue their education in a safe environment. Pray also especially for the families of the more than fifty people who have lost their lives, as well as their homes, in the deadliest of fires in California history. Include in your prayers those firefighters who have been risking their lives to help contain the fires. “Spread your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.” (Ps 5:11)
SPECIAL COLLECTION TODAY: His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, has asked every Armenian Church diocese to mark this occasion by contributing to a project that aims to help our countrymen in Armenia who live in inadequate housing. With directive of our Primate asking all parishes to pass a special collection plate on December 9, the entire proceeds of which will be sent to the Mother See to fund this humanitarian project.
NO COFFEE HOUR TODAY DUE TO THE HALL BEING RENTED
REMINDER: According to the Diocesan Bylaws, membership dues are to be paid no later than December 31st each year in order to be a member in “good standing” and to be eligible to vote at the annual assembly. Any monies received after that date will be applied to the new year. For any questions regarding your status, please call the church office.
COFFEE HOUR: This year we are looking for individuals or families, to run a Coffee Hour each Sunday. (Those who have been running it, are overloaded with doing more than one job on Sundays.) There are sign-up sheets for the next 4 month of Sundays. Anyone wishing to sponsor a special Coffee Hour (Birthday, Anniversary, 40 Days or more, etc.) other than the normal Coffee Hour must contact Merle Santerian 215-205-1507, to make arrangements 2 weeks ahead of time. Under the new scheduling, if a Sunday has no one signed up on the Board, to run the Coffee Hour, there will be no Coffee Hour that Sunday. So, please volunteer and let’s fill all the Sundays in on the Schedule. It is not that involved, and Merle will explain what you have to do to run one. Any questions just see her on any Sunday or call her at the above phone number. Thanks, for your cooperation! We know how much everyone enjoys the Fellowship Hour and we would like to keep it going.
We Need Your Help! Imagine children and teens sitting in a classroom wearing coats and scarves because they have NO HEAT. That’s the reality for the 130 children and teens who attend the Sunday school of Soorp Asdvadzadzin in Vardenis, Armenia. The school, which serves an impoverished region, may need to close its doors in the coming months. As it is, their devoted pastor has done his utmost out of his own funds to see that they get to the church center and have a pleasing room to gather. For $6800, a permanent heating system can be installed. The Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) has asked Sunday schools across the Diocese for help. During this holy Advent and Christmas season, when so much is spend on so many who have everything, please think of those who are struggling and give generously! Checks, payable to Holy Trinity Church School, can be given to Merle Santerian or Nancy Basmajian. (Please write “Vardenis” on the memo line. We thank you for your kindness and your open heart!)
FAR UPDATE: Ayo! is in its final push to fund its #ReviveTheSoil project. #ReviveTheSoil aims to purchase a new tractor and a grain drill to benefit the 1,490 families of the Lori Berd Region and its nine surrounding communities. Lori Berd is the second poorest region of Armenia. While there’s fertile land in Lori Berd, much of it is just uncultivated because most people have insufficient agricultural tools which haven’t been replaced since the Soviet era. With the proper tools, more people will be able to grow crops for sale and consumption. With only a few days left in the campaign, you can help make this project a success. Even a small donation goes a long way. Give the families of Lori Berd the gift of opportunity this holiday season. To read more, go to: http://farusa.org/2018/10/29/ayo-ayos-latest-project-to-help-impoverished-rural-communities-become-more-self-sufficient/
2018 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:
7 – 76 people $384.00
14 – 92 people $446.00
21 – 96 people $642.00
28 – 95 people $510.00
4 – 123 people $660.00
11- 80 people $392.00
Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00
PARKING REMINDER –
> Non-Disabled Persons parking spaces are designated with white lines.
> Disabled Persons Parking spaces are designated with blue lines and are reserved for vehicles with a State-authorized disability placard or license plate.
> No parking is allowed in the driveway nearest to the kitchen door.
THANK YOU for your cooperation!
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
Sunday Dec 16 Lunch with Santa
Sunday Dec 30 Pomegranate Sunday
Saturday Jan 5 Theophany Eve and Fellowship
Sunday Jan 6 Feast of Theophany / Blessing of Water
Sunday Jan 13 Simultaneous Translation of Selected Hymns Day of Remembrance
Sunday Jan 20 Tour of Sanctuary with Fr. Hakob
Sunday Jan 27 Instructed Liturgy
Using the Pew Book: In order to enrich understanding of the Divine Liturgy, we encourage our faithful to follow along in the large two-part Pew Book. Part One includes the classical Armenian used in the Liturgy; the facing page is the translation in modern Western Armenian. Part Two contains the transliteration of the classical Armenian; the right-hand page has the English translation. This Pew Book includes the prayers of the celebrant usually offered inaudibly. The prayers offered aloud are indicated in boldface type.
THE NICENE CREED/ HAVADAMK – This is the Profession of our Faith which is recited every Sunday moments after the Gospel is read from the altar. Sometimes it is sung, but more often it is recited by the Deacons and/or the Choir. We invite you to affirm your own “Profession of Faith” by reciting along with us. God longs for all of us to express our faith and devotion to Him.
THE KISS OF PEACE: After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us. The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.
Anyone who wishes to request any Requiem Services MUST inform the office by 1:30pm Wednesday the week before. If you also want to sponsor the Fellowship Hour you MUST call Merle Santerian at 215-947-3777.
Would you like to:
– receive this Bulletin on Friday via email?
– request a Hokehankist, house blessing or hall rental information?
– find in-depth information on our faith, our parish and our activities?
– sign up for an event online?
– If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please visit our parish website at www.holytrinity-pa.org
WE ASK THAT EVERYONE KINDLY TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES and all other such electronic devices prior to entering the sanctuary out of respect for the sanctity of our services.