the Seattle area. Fr. Alexander had been part of a hospitalchaplaincy program in Seattle andis well known to the Orthodoxclergy of the area. Having finishedhis training in Seattle, Fr. Alexandersaw a great need in the area of spe-cial care for seriously ill children inRussia. Over the course of severalyears, a hospice program for seri-ously ill and dying children cameinto being.The Hospice provides not only medical care, but psychological,nutritional and spiritual care for thepatients and their families.It seemed to me the Hospice pro-vided us, and especially our ownchildren, with a golden opportu-nity to reach out and help others. We could certainly provide somenecessary funds, but they couldprovide our children with a win-dow into the lives of other childrenfar away in Russia, Orthodox chil-dren, who had very serious needs. What a wonderful thingit would be if our children made friends and pen pals withthe children of the Hospice. What a wonderful thing it would be for our children to learn the joy of opening theirhearts to others and the joy of giving.I am grateful to Fr. Michael Anderson who helped de-sign the project: “Youth Making Change with Change”. It was our first attempt to involve children directly in raisingfunds to help other children get badly needed pain medi-cation, medical procedures, nutrition and other items which could bring them some physical comfort. We also wanted to let the Russian children know something about what it is like to be an Orthodox Christian in America, toopen their sense of the world by bringing them into directcontact with our children through photo journals and let-ters.
[For related story, see page ____.]
I am so glad to report, our children, with help from
O R T H O D O X
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought itnot robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form
Around the Diocese
by His Grace, Bishop BENJAMIN of Berkeley
of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: Andbeing formed in fashion as a man,he humbled himself, and becameobedient unto death, even the deathof a cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).
The Cab Ride:
Last month, I was hurrying toChrist the Savior Church on AnzaStreet for their parish feast day andI needed a cab. After some wait, acab pulled up and we began our tripacross town from Raphael House. After one or two blocks, the cabdriver began to engage me in a con-versation about who I was and whatI, as an Orthodox Christian, be-lieved. The conversation quickly went to the heart of the matter: Who is this Jesus of Nazareth? As itturned out the cabbie was a Mus-lim and it quickly became clear hesaw Jesus as a prophet, a humanbeing and nothing more, while Iknow Him to be both what I amand what God is. Then he said these very thought provok-ing words: “Don’t you think it is rather degrading for Godto take on human flesh?” And there was the difference.His God was the God of “surrender” and “submission”.But, the God I worship loves mankind so much that Hetook upon Himself our broken, wounded humanity andmade it His own. Like a parent whose child has fallen intoa muddy puddle, He could not and cannot bear to see Hisbeloved creatures perish. Rather, He stepped into the muck to rescue what is precious to Him and became what weare. We follow God’s law, His commandments, not be-cause we fear He will obliterate us, but because we loveHim. I prefer our God.
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Back in January of 2006, I met and spoke with Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko, Director of the
Children's Hospice in St. Petersburg, who was visiting in