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The Promise

February / March 2011

Words of Wisdom
“Let us eagerly run our course as men
called by our God and King,
lest, since our time is short, we be
found in the day of our death without
fruit and perish of hunger.
Let us please the Lord as soldiers
please their king;
because we are required to give an
exact account of our service after
the campaign.”

- St. John of the Ladder

Dates To Remember Inside this Issue

Pastoral Message ..........................................2
February 9 & 23 Reminders ..........................................................3
Orthodox Study Class 6:30pm
News & Notes ...................................................5
February 26 / March 5 & 12 Patient Endurance .......................................7
Liturgy for the Saturday of Souls 9:30am
Cookies Galore! .............................................8
March 7 Happy Birthday ..............................................9
Great Lent Begins
Compline 6:30pm Special Events ................................................11
Our Covenant with Christ .....................13
March 12 & 13
Fr. Bill Cassis Presentation Congratulations!!! ....................................15
Lenten Services ............................................18
March 9/16/23/30 News & Notes ................................................20
Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm
February & March Calendar ..................27
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Pastoral Message

ost of us at one point or another have God within us. It is lit by the fire of faith in the Father,
probably heard the familiar Motel Son & Holy Spirit. It shines through the power of the
6 slogan: “We’ll leave a light on for you.” Holy Spirit, and it is maintained by prayer, worship and
But one could safely argue that this faithful deeds. We regularly pray, fast, attend the services
saying would also be an especially fitting credo for of the Church and serve the ministries of the parish,
every Orthodox Christian and Orthodox parish in not only to find comfort and strength, but in order to
America (regardless of hotel arrangements). Because be better able to shine the light of Christ. The truth of
the over arching duty of every Christian man, woman, the matter is, the more we actually live our life for Christ
and child has been, and will always be, to leave the light and practice our faith, the better His light shines. By
of Christ always on. Nothing should be more obvious radiating the light of Christ that is in us, we essentially
than the fact that it is our individual duty as Orthodox help others find exactly what they need. For although
Christians to “leave the light of Christ on” for all those lost people may be quick to list all of the things that they may
souls around us who have been want, the light and life in Christ
blinded by sin. Just as it is our is all that anybody really needs.
collective duty as members of The secular world may have
the Holy Orthodox Church to many tempting things to offer, but
work together in order to “leave Christians alone have the gift of
the light of Christ on” for a world
stumbling in the darkness of
Leave salvation in Christ to share. And
there is no luxury, philosophy
immorality and disbelief.
the Light or technological development,
that can match what we as light
We must leave the light of Christ bearers of the Lord have to offer.
on, not because we feel superior;
not because we are angry and
On So every time we are told to keep
not because we feel that there our faith in the Lord quiet, we
is something on this earth to be can be certain that this is nothing
gained by such an attitude. We less than a blatant attempt to
must leave the light of Christ on, extinguish the light of Christ.
because He is the light of the world and we are His Every time we are told that our Christian faith has no
torchbearers. place in the public square, we must realize that this is a
callous attempt to turn off the light of Christ. And every
The question then becomes, exactly how do we make time we are told that our Christian faith is a relative
a clever slogan a practical Christian reality? And the system of belief, we can be sure that this is a deliberate
fact of the matter is, the manner and means by which effort of ‘the darkness’ to overcome the light of Christ.
to accomplish this basic calling is neither clouded in
mystery nor the domain of an elite few. Indeed nearly As Orthodox Christians, we bear the beacon of hope.
everything we need to know on how to fulfill this Christ is redemption personified. He is The Way
mission is summarized in Matthew 5:16: “Let your and The Life. And when we are tempted to say to
light so shine before men, that they may see your ourselves that the earth is too large, humanity is too
good works and give glory to your Father who is great in number, and the challenges too vast for us to
in heaven”. make a difference; we must realize that the power to
illumine the world comes from God. Our task begins at
First of all, we can ‘leave the light on’ by letting: “... home, it extends to our circle of friends, and it reaches
your light shine before men...”. Our light, is the presence of (Continued on page 4)

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February / March 2011

Holy Friday
Valentine’s Day
Youth Encounter
Every member of the Annunciation GOYA and
Jr. GOYA is reminded that on Holy Friday, Love is just a word
April 22nd, we will be conducting our annual
Holy Friday Youth Encounter. The program
until someone comes along and
begins at 9:00am sharp, with the service of the gives it meaning.
Royal Hours and the program will end at the
conclusion of the Service of the Descent from
the Cross in the afternoon. This annual tradition
of the Annunciation is a perfect way for us to
How to Please the Lord
serve Christ’s Church as well as remain in His
holy presence as we commemorate the Lord’s Of the many ways
Crucifixion and Burial. This gathering is a we can show the
perfect opportunity for us to spend some time Lord just how
with each other, work together and give glory to important He is
God. If you require a letter for school, please to us and our life,
submit you name to the Church Office ASAP. perhaps nothing
Please note that all GOYAns are expected to be is as meaningful
present and participate in the Holy Friday Youth as when we come
Encounter (attendance is part of our Scholarship to worship Him at
Foundation requirements). His House at the
appointed time.
JOY  members are also reminded that we have To do this as an
planned a very special Lenten program just expression of love.
for them on Holy Friday that will also begin at It speaks volumes
9:00am with the service of the Royal Hours and about the content of
conclude with the Service of the Descent from our heart, the fervor of our faith and the importance
the Cross. of Christ in our life. Just as when our own children
do something we ask of them, not because they
This holy day by every definition “have to” but because it will please us, so too will
is a day of prayer the Lord be moved by an ongoing commitment to
and a time for people to gather together attend the services at the Annunciation punctually
at the Church in order to serve the Lord with ready hearts, minds and souls. Let us all strive
in word, thought and deed. to attend the Holy Services of the Church from the
very beginning and thereby glorify the Lord with
our worship as a Christ-centered church family.

Matins, 9:00am
Divine Liturgy, 10:00am

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Pastoral Message forward to help with every need by their own volition;
and not need to be asked or conscripted. The basic
(Continued from page 2) understanding being that the genuine joy of salvation
in Christ produces good works. It is the innate sense
out to the strangers we see and meet everyday. If we that all those who know Jesus Christ and thereby love
honestly intend to leave the light of Christ on, we must His Church, will always be initiators of good deeds and
not only embrace His light, we must share it! not require invitations to serve. For when all is said and
done, it is by our faithful actions that we take the light
This now brings us to the next aspect of transforming of Christ out from under a bushel and put it on a stand
a simple slogan into a blessed truth. In order for us for all to see. It is by our Christian stewardship that we
“to leave the light of Christ on,” the Lord tells us very enable others to see the vibrant light of Christ and His
clearly: “Let your light so shine before men that they may Church in their midst. Simply put, Christians are light
see your good works…” In other words, the Light bearers of the Lord that are self-motivated to do good
cannot glow based on vague ideas or distant aspirations. works and thereby keep the light of Christ always on!
Our Christian faith must be expressed in deeds. Doing
good works, being good stewards, serving the ministries Last but by no means least, to “leave the light of Christ
of the Annunciation are not far-flung options! They on,” our motivation must be as pure, as it is clear. We
are intrinsic elements to being Christian light bearers. do everything in our power to lift up the light of Christ
Hence in large part, the light of Christ comes through and hope that the world will look at our faithful actions
our spirit of stewardship. For all of the things that we and “…give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” We are
do as Orthodox Christians in service to the Lord and not dedicated Orthodox Christians in order to become
His Church are the very manner and means by which famous or highly regarded within society. Our quest
the light of Christ becomes real in the lives of others. is not celebrity, it is to lead others to Christ and His
Every time we do something charitable and or extend Church. We are motivated to love and serve all, so
ourselves in His name, we help to highlight Christ’s that everyone will learn to praise the Father, Son and
presence in the world. Believe it or not, through us and Holy Spirit. So many things are truly possible, when
our actions, lost souls may look, listen and believe. The we look at tasks in terms of bringing honor and glory
notion that we can somehow rely on others good deeds to God. When everything we say and do is guided by
and stewardship to satisfy our light bearing duties is as the notion of bringing praise to the Lord, can we rest
valid as the idea that one can be a faithful Christian and in the knowledge that we are doing our part to “leave
only occasionally participate in the life of the Church. the light of Christ on”.

No one who knows us or meets us, should ever be Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, Christ is the
surprised to learn that we are devout Orthodox light of the world! Let us as His faithful followers never
Christians. As the body of the saints prove beyond a tire of our duty to Him, or let go of our calling to
shadow of doubt,“leaving the light of Christ on” means share His light. Let us brightly shine as Orthodox
we that do not simply talk about Christ and His Church, Christians and thereby leave the light of Christ on.
but that we walk, the walk. Indeed, our calling is not to Let us enthusiastically do good works and leave the
simply do good works when called upon, we are to be light of Christ on! And let us give glory to God with all
a people that actively looks for ways to do good. As St. that we say and do; for in so doing, the Annunciation
Paul writes to Titus (2:14): “… Jesus Christ gave himself for Church family will do its part to leave the light of
us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people Christ always on!
of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” This perhaps
explains why the Church is generally not so adept at
“recruiting volunteers” as some organizations. For at Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Verdaris
its core, the Church believes that the faithful will come

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February / March 2011

A Gift to Your Family

Our Condolences
The parish is pleased to again offer everyone in the
The Annunciation family notes with deep sadness
Annunciation Church family with an Ecclesiastical
the passing of our brother in Christ, Elias Akel,
calendar for the home & wallet as well as a Bible Study
the father of Janet Alley, who fell asleep in the Lord.
Guide to all of its faithful stewards in order to help
 us all plan for 2011 under the guiding light of Christ
and His Church. If you have not yet received these gifts or
The Annunciation family notes with deep sadness would like an extra, please see a Parish Council member. With
the passing of our sister in Christ, Helen Helmich, God’s grace may these small tokens of love from the
who fell asleep in the Lord. Annunciation serve as a constant reminder of the
love of Christ and His Church for us all as together
 we strive to spiritually grow to new heights in 2011.
The Annunciation family notes with deep sadness
the passing of our sister in Christ, Hannae Many Thanks!
Khoury, the mother of Ibtisan Bishara who fell
asleep in the Lord. As the pictures in this edition of The Promise will testify,
a great time was had by all who participated in this
year’s Oklahoma City GOYA Basketball Tournament.
The Annunciation family notes with deep sadness While athletic ability on the basketball court is by
the passing of our sister in Christ, Dorothea no means necessary to participate and enjoy this
“Dots” Fry, who fell asleep in the Lord. wonderful outing, we are pleased to announce that
some our youth were recognized by the Tournament:
 Oksana Pavliv & Samuel Wilcox were named
All Stars, and Amber Alley & Rami Alley were
The Annunciation family notes with deep sadness selected as Most Valuable Players. Above all,
the passing of our sister in Christ, Kammy we are pleased to note that again this year all of
Khamis, the sister of Adam Khamis, who fell our GOYAns beautifully embodied the very best
asleep in the Lord. attributes of our Church family in all facets of the trip
and Tournament. Our Church family must also make
sure to give special thanks to the adults who along
Let us keep all of these families in our prayers and beseech with Fr. Nicholas made this worthwhile excursion
the Lord to offer them His comfort and strength. possible: Stephanie Alley & Alex Miron (graduates
of our GOYA ministry) Mike Bailey, Catherine Burks,
“May their memory be eternal.” Jarrod Russell & Presv. Maria. This year we even
had some fans from Little Rock show up! We were
honored to have Brian Alley & Randy Kassissieh pop up
to cheer the kids on! Our Church is not only blessed to
be able to provide our youth with such opportunities,
but we are also fortunate to have the adults willing to
make such events feasible. Without the commitment of
our entire parish, the Christian integrity of our youth
and the sacrifice of parents and advisors, such events
would be hard to envision. Thanks be to God for the
youth ministry at the Annunciation!
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Haitham Alley
Explore The Faith
d o x C h r is t ia n
Ortho and For the last several years,
e Lord
d ee p er in to the Word of th the Annunciation in
Let’s go
the Church! Little Rock has been
the teachings of ox
in g to ex p lo re our Orthod wonderfully served by
We are go f
h ri st ia n F a it h in the light o our brother in Christ
C ns.
r to the Roma Haitham Alley as Par-
St. Paul’s Lette
- n o p revi ou s experience or ish Council President.
All are invited st a desire to grow in
Christ! Though he is committed
q u ir ed , ju
expertise re to continuing to serve
ay , Fe bruary 9th at 6:30 our parish in a variety
W ed n esd
February 23rd at of other important
ways, he decided the
time had come to step down from his long service
on the Parish Council. Hence it was only fitting
that our Church family pause to honor him for
Our Parish Council his yeoman efforts. The Annunciation in Little
Rock presented him with the following plaque:
With the blessings of His Eminence
Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, the following On this, the 9th day of January 2011,
men and women have accepted the task of The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
serving the ministry of the Parish Council at in Little Rock, Arkansas, is pleased to present
the Annunciation in Little Rock. to you this plaque in recognition of your
thoughtful service to Christ and His Church as
Anna Clift, President Parish Council President. During your tenure
Jerry Horani, Secretary on the Council, you generously committed
Raouf Kassissieh, Treasurer the first measure of your many gifts with the
Mark Hunter, Treasurer Annunciation in Little Rock and as a result, we
Ron Harb, Stewardship & Outreach all have been blessed by your dedicated service to
Mike Bailey, Stewardship & Outreach the Lord. Your Church family offers this plaque
Kevin Wilcox, Stewardship & Outreach as a symbol of our love and as an expression
Hampton Roy, Facilities & Grounds of our abiding gratitude. While this chapter
Eva Sargent, Hospitality of your service to the Annunciation in Little
Rock has come to a close, we look forward with
We thank the aforementioned brothers and anticipation to the many ways in which you will
sisters in Christ who have offered themselves continue to faithfully serve this Church in the
to labor for the good of our parish and to the years ahead.
glory of God. By working together with Fr.
Nicholas, the future of the Annunciation in Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Verdaris
Little Rock remains bright. & The Annunciation Church Family

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February / March 2011

Patient Endurance Jesus’ message:

by Fr. George Morelli
he who endures will be saved.
The words of Jesus, recorded by St. Matthew (10: 22-25)
reflects St. Luke words of Jesus but extends it to all of us
who claim we are imitators of Christ; those who proclaim
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering Christ enlivens their lives: “And you will be hated by all
produces endurance, and endurance produces character, for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will
and character produces hope, and hope does not be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to
disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone
through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man
our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given
comes. “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant
to us” (Romans 5: 3-5). above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like
his teacher, and the servant like his master.” Clearly Our
There is a theme, echoed in the epistle of the 3rd Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ is clearly stating we
Sunday of Pentecost of the Eastern Church that is found (if we be His committed followers) can expect no less
throughout scripture and the church fathers: patient that the way He, True God and True Man was treated:
endurance. In the time of the Old or First Covenant, bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, brutally scourged, and
the book of Job relates that after a series of calamities, crucified; a true tribulation.
including the violent death of his children Job (1: 21-
22) says: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and
The apostles continue the message
naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has
taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this But these words of Jesus are further transmitted in the
Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” letters of St. Paul. As in the opening quote from the
great missionary apostle to the Gentiles’ letter to the
Tribulation is in the world Romans: “ ...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that
suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces
St. Luke (21:9-19) records Jesus words: “And when character, and character produces hope, and hope does
you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured
this must first take place, but the end will not be at into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been
once.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against given to us. (Rm 5: 3-5).
nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be
great earthquakes, and in various places famines and To the Thessalonians St. Paul reminds them endurance
pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs takes work and effort, mission and devotion to duty. “
from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands Before our God and Father, we remember the effort
on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the that from your faith, the hard work that from your love,
synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before and your endurance which from the hope in our Lord
kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be a Jesus Christ. Brothers , God loves you. You know He has
time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your chosen you.” (1 Thes 1: 3-4)
minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I
will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your
Tribulation is a necessity
adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You
will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and This will is not easy. St. Paul emphasizes the fact that
kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to tribulation is necessary to lead a Godly life. St. Paul
death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But is telling us that the tribulations of life are essential in
not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance teaching us endurance. To St. Timothy St Paul writes:
you will gain your lives. ” (Continued on page 10)

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LO R E !

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February / March 2011

March 9th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Monica Sadaka

Happy Birthday March 11th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andreea Terlea
to our parishioners celebrating March 13th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kristen Mirontschuk
during the upcoming months! March 15th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jim Pappas
Martha Tyer
March 18th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Forrest Abdo
February March 23rd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Helen Hronas
February 1st . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bek Kaiser March 24th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tyler Alley
Teri Kaiser Lee Bailey
February 4th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Luka Lelovic March 26th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harriet Delfos
Laura Meti Simon Gess
February 5th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Essa Kassissieh March 27th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Matthew Wilcox
February 7th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gabriel Bishara March 28th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Giovana Stanford
February 8th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mary Cantrell March 29th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Anaissie
February 11th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tania Anaissie March 30th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christina Hronas
Bianca Bishara March 31st. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zain Fanek
Pete Vratsinas
February 12th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Richard Akel
February 13th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrew Alley
Outreach Committee
February 14th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gordon Tyer Meet & Greet Schedule
February 15th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Majida Kdeiss
Libby Vaden
February 16th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nicholas Cora February 6th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mark Hunter
February 18th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Becka Masching February 13th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robin Jones
February 19th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Georgia Freeman February 20th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Susan McDowell
February 27th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sharon Johnson
February 21st. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Philip Miron
February 22nd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kamis Alley March 6th . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christopher Huckabay
February 23rd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kayla Reeves March 13th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carole Hawkins
February 24th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hannah Farah March 20th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jack Weatherly
Mary Masching March 27th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mark Hunter
February 26th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ashleigh Plastiras
February 27th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Isabella Akel
February 28th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eva Pappas
cF ellowship Hour d
If you or your family would like to commemorate a
March special event, honor the memory of a loved one or
March 1st. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Catherine Burks would simply like to after a gift to the Annunciation
Jacob Farah family... you too can sponsor a Fellowship
Nadia Rose Mousa Hour!
March 3rd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nicholas Bell Please check the Bulletin Board
March 6th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edward Farah and sign up today!

Page 9
Patient Endurance in Sacred Scripture that does not contain readings
incorporated into the Divine Liturgy. My approach to
(Continued from page 7)
quoting this book is to similar to the approach of Flegg,
who states the goal of his book An Introduction to
“Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus Reading the Apocalypse: “Hopefully, we shall be able
will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go to read the Apocalypse in a way which will provide us
on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But as with spiritual sustenance ....get behind the imagery to
for you, continue in what you have learned and have the spiritual meaning which underlies it.” The most
firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and concise description of the Orthodox use of the Book
how from childhood you have been acquainted with Of Revelation (The Apocalypse), and which is the
the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for spirit of my quotes in this article is the pinpoint concise
salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is statement of the Orthodox approach to this book by
inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, Fr. Frank Marangos who tells us: “Orthodoxy treats
for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 the text of Revelation as simultaneously describing
Tim. 3: 12-16). Now righteousness could be considered contemporaneous and future events. Since Orthodox
as moral, proper, ethical, principled and right-minded interpreters of the Apocalypse view contemporaneous
thought word and deeds. This is summarized quite events as foreshadowing future occurrences, they reject
succinctly by our holy spiritual father Nikitas Stithatos attempts to predetermine present-day events. Orthodox
who tells us the law of righteousness “..consists in merciful scholars understand the Book of Revelation as a
compassion for our fellow beings.” (Philokalia IV p. 82) warning for spiritual and moral preparedness.” Spiritual
preparedness would accurately describe my reason to
Spiritual warfare weapons to ward off reflect on St. John’s spiritual vision of tribulation, patient
tribulation endurance and the reward to follow.
St. Paul tells us in his first letter to St. Timothy that we
should avoid: conceit, envy, dissension, slander, base Tests over time
suspicions, wrangling, being among those depraved in As St. John tells us he was undergoing an ordeal himself,
mind and truth, imagining that godliness is a means of that he had to endure patiently. Our Lord spoke to him in
gain can greed saying: “love of money is the root of all a spiritual vision: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says
evils ....” Then using the metaphor of battle and fighting, the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come,
implying spiritual endurance the Saint tell us: “But you, the Almighty. I John, your brother, who share with you
O man of God, run away from these things. Follow after in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient
faith, love, endurance, what is good, godly, and gentle. endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account
Fight the good fight of the faith. Hold onto eternal life.” of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Rev 1:
(1 Tim 6: 10-13) 8-9) It would appear St. John is telling us evil itself, the
evil people do and those who do them have to be tested
In his letter to the Hebrews St. Paul places emphasis on with patient endurance. This implies that a test is not
the reward of endurance. As is said in the daily prayer of a one time occurrence. It is an evaluation over time. “I
the Hours of Prayer of the Eastern Church: “Therefore know your works, your toil and your patient endurance,
do not throw away your confidence, which has a great and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those
reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you who call themselves apostles but are not, and found
may do the will of God and receive what is promised.” them to be false; I know you are enduring patiently and
(Heb 10: 35-36). bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown
weary.” (Rev 2: 2-3) Bearing tribulation over a time
Tribulation in the Apocalypse period is an important defining characteristic of what
The Book of Revelation is a controversial book in the spiritual fathers will call “patient endurance.”
the Eastern Church. For example it is the only book (Continued on page 12)
Page 10
February / March 2011

Attention College Students!

Ware to
Visit the
of Detroit

The renowned Orthodox With the promotion tag line, “Do something REAL
hierarch, theologian and this spring break,” Orthodox Christian Fellowship has
author of many seminal announced the opening of registration for its 2011
books on Orthodox Real Break trips.
Christianity including The Orthodox Church and
The Orthodox Way, will be visiting the Detroit, Each year hundreds of thousands of college students
Michigan, metropolitan area in February. His in North America travel during their spring break
visit will include several special events for clergy for oftentimes, empty experiences. Since 2001, OCF
and laity. The schedule of events open to all are has offered their annual Real Break trips as Spring
as follows: Break alternatives that provide life-transforming and
spiritually uplifting opportunities to do “something
Thursday, February 17 real” during this time. Since its inception, over one
7:00pm Presentation at St. John, Sterling Heights thousand college students have had the opportunity to
“Clergy and Laity in the Orthodox Church” spend their time away from school helping others and
Book Signing and Reception to Follow growing in their Orthodox Christian faith.

Friday, February 18 Entering its 10th year, OCF Real Break continues
7:30pm Presentation – St. Nicholas, Ann Arbor to offer the transformative, priest-led trips both
“Why Follow Christ” domestically and internationally. The eight trips in
Book Signing and Reception to Follow March 2011 will include: Buenos Aires, Project Mexico,
Romania, Constantinople, New York, Guatemala I and
Saturday, February 19 Guatemala 2 and Toronto.
6:00pm Evening Vespers and Presentation
Holy Cross Church, Farmington Hills To find detailed information regarding the 2011
“The Inner Meaning of the Divine Liturgy” Real Break trips and to register, please visit
Book Signing and Reception to Follow Be a part of this year’s life-
changing week-long Real Break experience.
Sunday, February 20
10:00am Hierarchical Divine Liturgy
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF)
Sts. Constantine and Helen Church, Westland
Metropolitan Kallistos as Homilist

Page 11
Patient Endurance St. John Chrysostom
(Continued from page 10) commenting on
St. Paul’s letter to
The rewards of patient endurance: the Romans tells
us: “Tribulations, 1
> Wrongs will be righted: The reward of patient
that is, are so far 5:16-18:
endurance is wrongs will be righted. Lies will be
from confuting (that
uncovered and truth restored. Jesus Himself will protect
is disproving) these
those who “hold fast” during through turmoil’s greater
hopes, that they “Rejoice always,
than those already encountered. “Behold, I will make
even prove them. For pray constantly,
those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are
before the things to give thanks in all
Jews and are not, but lie--behold, I will make them
come are realized,
come and bow down before your feet, and learn that
there is a very great circumstances;
I have loved you. Because you have kept my word of
fruit which tribulation for this is the will of
patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of
hath —patience; We God in Christ Jesus
trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those
do not see what use
who dwell upon the earth. I am coming soon; hold fast
patience will be of for you.”
what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. He
in a future state, and
who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of
the making of the
my God. (Rev 3: 9-12) The imagery of a crown after
man that is tried,
enduring and winning a fight was not lost on St. Paul,
experienced. And it contributes in some degree too to
who told St. Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I
have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth the things to come.”
there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which
the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that The paradox of a good God permitting
Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved
his appearing.” (2 Tim 4: 7-8) It is just such tribulations however which confound
both Christians and non Christians alike. The age old
> We will be numbered among the saints: In question: How can a good God permit such tribulations
St. John’s apocalyptic spiritual vision, endurance in and travails? Such calamities are perceived as evils by
commitment to Christ and His commandments, will those who ask. This question did not escape, was not
lead us to be numbered among the saints: “If any one is even missed by one of our holy spiritual fathers St.
to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays Peter of Damaskos, who wrote: “I was also astonished
with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a how God, who is good beyond all goodness and full of
call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Rev 13: 1). compassion permits all the many and various trials and
St. John re-echoes this message again later in the Book afflictions of the world. Some He allows as sufferings
of the Apocalypse: “Here is a call for the endurance of conducive to repentance. These include hunger,
the saints, those who keep the commandments of God thirst, grief, privation of life’s needs, abstinence from
and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven pleasure, the wasting of the body through asceticism...
saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the anguish, fear of death...the dismay, the oppression, the
Lord henceforth.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, throttling of the soul in this world and in the next. And
“that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds they there are all the dangers facing one in this world:
follow them!” (Rev 14: 12-13) shipwrecks, illnesses of every kind, lightening, thunder,
hail, earthquake, famine, tidal waves untimely deaths-
all the painful things that God allow to happen to us
The Church Fathers on tribulation and
against our will.” The saint lists also the sins of mankind
(Continued on page 16)
Page 12
February / March 2011

Our Covenant With Christ always, part of their commitment in this covenant is
between them and God (prayer, almsgiving, fasting), but
there is a part of this pledge that can be observed, and
that is their attendance of Church services. So in addition
Great Lent BEGINS on March 7th and with it, the
to their faithful Sunday Divine Liturgy attendance and whatever
Holy Church offers a series of evening services to
other means they will personally employ to honor our Lord and
nourish our souls in anticipation of the Resurrection
Savior during this most sacred season, our young people are
of Christ. Again this year, the Annunciation invites
being asked to attend at least one Lenten Service
young and old alike to make a special commitment to
every week of Great Lent: Wednesdays Presanctified
our Lord and Savior this Great Lent through what we
Liturgy at 6:30pm or Fridays Salutation Service at
like to call the Covenant With Christ.
6:30pm. a minimum of four services during Great
Lent (there are 11 evening services in Lent and takes
On the Sunday of Forgiveness, Sunday, March 6th,
into account a possible absence for those going out of
we will all be invited to consider the great love of God
town for Spring Break). In addition, during Holy Week the
and the manner and means by which we will choose
youth are asked to commit themselves to attend every single
to respond to Him. In order to help us focus on this
evening service of Holy Week (this means seven
blessed endeavor and put
evening services in addition
this spiritual journey in its
to the two day services of
proper perspective, everyone
Holy Friday which are a
in our Church family will be
part of their responsibility
invited to make a personal
in attending the Good
“covenant” with the Lord.
Friday Retreat, for a grand
Hopefully, this call to
total of nine services during
action will help those who
Holy Week.)Then in order
choose to participate to
to support and acknowledge
grow in their relationship
such a faithful commitment,
with Christ through the
the Annunciation Church
instructions and disciplines
family will present those
of the Holy Orthodox
members of the GOYA that
Church. This covenant is
choose to complete this Covenant With Christ at the
meant to be a source of motivation to greet each day of
conclusion of the Resurrection Service on Holy Saturday
Great Lent with even greater determination than the day
with a blessed symbol of love.
Parents as you personally strive to fulfill your own
On the Sunday of Forgiveness, we will all receive a
“covenant” with the Lord, please help your child develop
small reminder of this most blessed season in the hopes
into a faithful Orthodox Christian by encouraging them
that it will help us put life’s demands and our spiritual
to embrace this spiritual challenge. Nothing would be
quest into proper perspective. The call to fasting,
more beautiful as we herald the Resurrection of Our
prayer and almsgiving is open to all. Hopefully, the
Lord during the wee hours of Pascha than to be able
Covenant with Christ will again motivate everyone
to gather together (young and old alike) as a people
in our Church family to embrace the services and
who are consciously walked together the journey that
work of Great Lent & Holy Week to the glory of God.
His Church has prescribed for centuries. Consider
the spiritual joy we will experience in proclaiming
For the younger members of the Annunciation, ages
His Glorious Resurrection and knowing that we have
12-18 (with a little help from their parents) we are
seriously sought to prepare our heart body and soul and
establishing some important goals should they choose
that of our children for Him and Him alone.
to participate in the Covenant With Christ. As
Page 13

A Memorable Christmas

Page 14
February / March 2011

Rising Star
Westminster College senior
Jeff Chacko has been
named to the ESPN Magazine
Academic All-America Men’s
Soccer Third Team by the
College Sports Information Directors
of America (CoSIDA). We are pleased to learn that our very own Gus
Vratsinas has been selected as the 2011 Easter
He is the eighth student-athlete
Seals Arkansan of the Year. Gus is being
in Westminster’s history to
recognized for his many contributions to Arkansas
earn CoSIDA Academic All-
through business, economic development and his
America honors.
tremendous spirit of philanthropy. Gus not only
A faithful member of the Annunciation GOYA, diligently works for our parish and the Greek Orthodox
Acolyte Leader and a graduate from Catholic High Archdiocese of America, but he also dedicates his time
School, Jeff is a four-year starter on the Westminster to area charities like Easter Seals of Arkansas, where
men’s soccer squad. He is a Biochemistry and Classics he has been an active board member for thirteen years.
major, a Dean’s List student and a member of Chi As a lifelong member of the Annunciation, our Church
Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor family has always appreciated and been blessed by
Society. Gus’ leadership, faithful example and tireless spirit.
We all know what a special man he is, with or without
During the 2010 season Chacko was a team captain this award, but as a Church family, we could not be
and led the Blue Jays with six assists. He tied for the more proud and happy to see our dedicated servant
team-lead with two game-winning goals on a team of the Lord being recognized by our local community
which finished 12-6-1 and tied the school record for being a model Arkansan. In previous years this
for wins in a season. Chacko earned his second high honor has been awarded to governor’s, senators
all-conference certificate this season and his third and renowned business leaders; and this year our very
consecutive academic all-conference award. own Gus Vratsinas will join these rare ranks and be
Well Done Jeff!!! the first member of the Annunciation and Orthodox
Christian to ever be so recognized.

On Thursday, March 10, 2011, at the Statehouse

Convention Center Ballroom a grand affair will take place
lat to honor Gus. If you would like to attend please
Cong t h at o ur very
contact Easter Seals of Arkansas for tickets.
e a s e d to note r a d u ated fro The Schedule of events is as follows:
pl g
recently th a degree o
We are A lley i Cocktail reception: 6:00pm
w A
Heathe M University tional Studies.
Dinner: 7:00pm
A& rna eer
o f A r t s in Inte advisor, her car , Tables of ten can be purchased for $2,000
r d
Bachelo YA member an Washington DC Individual tickets are $200
G O e to
le d h e r to mov siting us often. Friends of Gus sponsorship $1,000 (includes 2 VIP
e e vi
has sinc e s he will b tickets and 2 dinner tickets with special recognition
h o p
but we on event marketing materials)

Page 15

Patient Endurance the many blessings that God has given him in this world
he should suffer punishment in the world to come....
(Continued from page 12)
He looks on himself as in God’s debt for everything.”
(Philokalia III p 85) Both knowledge and understanding
among calamities: “wars, the tyranny of the passions; which would include human knowledge and spiritual
the derelictions, dislocations and vicissitudes of life; the vision and thanksgiving to God for all things is in part
anger, slander and all the affliction that we of our own what the saint means here.
will bring upon ourselves and one another against God’s
will.” (Philokalia III p. 75-76) The purpose of all tribulation is healing-
union with God

Our free will response unites us to the Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before
Holy Trinity His passion, crucifixion and death on the cross as St.
The answer St. Peter comes up with is that we have Matthews account renders: “And going a little farther he
been given free will by God and “the beginning of our fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible,
salvation; by our free choice we abandon our own wishes let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but
and thoughts and do what God wishes and thinks.” It as thou wilt.” (Mat 26: 39). Christ made the choice He
is in this context we should view all of the tribulations requires of us if we are to be his follower. When we follow
we encounter. “If we succeed in doing this, there is no God’s will, amidst all tribulation, and, Christ indwells in
object, no activity or place in the whole of creation our hearts, we become a ‘living icon’ of that same life-
that can prevent us from becoming what God from the giving Christ. Through us, all around us, can see Christ.
beginning has wished us to be: that is to say, according to St. Gregory of Sinai indicates “The principle and source
His image and likeness, god by adoption through grace, of the virtues is a good disposition of the will, that is to say,
dispassionate, just good and wise, whether we are rich an aspiration for goodness and beauty. God is the source
or poor, married or unmarried, in authority and free or and ground of all supernal goodness.” Our grace enabled
under obedience and in bondage—in short, whatever vivifying emulation of truth, beauty and love (because
our time, place or activity. ‘God is love,” 1 Jn 4:7-8), is the bridge to our union with God.

St. Peter of Damaskos is taking the questions asked Grace builds on nature
the Romans (8: 35) by St. Paul: “Who shall separate us St. Peter of Damaskos pointed out that patient endurance
from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, can be aided by human understanding, that is “natural
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or knowledge given to us by God.” As pointed out in a
sword?” But telling us it is of our free choice itself if such previous paper. St. Maximus the Confessor taught: “the
a separation takes place. Love of God despite all real or grace of the most Holy Spirit does not confer wisdom
perceived evil around us is our responsibility. Separation on the Saints without their natural intellect as capacity
from God’s love in the midst of tribulation is our choice. to receive it.” Goodness and wisdom is granted to man
by his “volitive faculty, so that what He (Christ) is in His
Spiritual aids essence the creature may become by participation.”
Are there spiritual aids to respond to God’s grace and in (Philokalia II) It not only behooves man therefore to
the face of tribulation acquire patient endurance? Once prepare himself for the grace of goodness and wisdom by
again St. Peter of Damaskos tells us: “From knowledge, all means possible but in this case it can be used to use it the
or understanding, is born self control and patient natural psychological process given to us my God synergy
endurance. For the man of understanding restrains his with cooperating with His grace to build patient endurance.
own will and endures the resulting pain; and, regarding
himself as unworthy of anything pleasant, he is grateful Synergia with grace:
and thankful to his Benefactor, fearing lest because of building a healthy personality

Page 16
February / March 2011
It is a commitment to the Kingdom of God we make * Know and operate by your inner moral values (for Christians,
now in the midst of tribulation, as proof of our love and Christ’s teachings)
key into gates of paradise. Interestingly it is these same * Make decisions based on your inner moral values, not the values
of others.
characteristics that according to some psychologists * Make sure to always abide by the truth.
(Maslow, 1968, Shostrum, 1993) that characterize persons * Be aware of your feelings in the decisions you make and actions
with “healthy” personalities. These personalities are you do.
described as having: a mission in life which is their * Be spontaneous, but always in line with Christ’s norms.
reason for existence. Such personalities are described * Hold on to your viewpoint if based on the principles above, even
in not popular.
as placid, lacking worry, and being devoted to duty.
* Be sincere, and use failings a growth experience.
Such personalities rely on inner vision: are stable in
* Accept differences between people
the face of tribulation, they are independent from
* Do not fear to be compassionate, kind and tender.
demanding or expecting respect from others. They
have an inner moral standard. Means and ends are not
Based on the guiding principles listed above, here are
confused. Goals have to be gained by correct means.
some practice exercises:
They also transcend the demands of any particular
culture or tradition which is in conflict with their values.
Practice exercises:
For a Christian the healthy personality * Choose a worthwhile goal. See how the goal is related to
has to be built on Christ one or more of Christ’s teaching. Put yourself into the
For Christians the values must be Christ and His goal fully, selflessly and vividly and let the work absorb
teachings. St. Paul reminds Timothy: “You have followed you. For example if you were planting a garden. Reflect
my teaching, my life, my purpose, my faith, my patience, on God, who created the plants or vegetables and give
my love, and my endurance. You know my persecutions, Him thanks and relate the beauty to His Glory.
the kinds of things I suffered ... I put up with all kinds of * Find a decision you can make or a action you could do that
persecutions, but the Lord rescued me from all of them. would lead to growth in the life of Christ. It may be as simple
Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will as saying: “God I accept your will in this. Permit me a
be persecuted. Evil men and cheaters will become worse personal example. I have a hard time dealing with traffic
and worse. (2 Tim 3: 10-13) Now a reference to the words (as may others do). As a country boy growing up I would
of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ: “No one can frequently see no other vehicles for miles. Now when
serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love in traffic I pray the Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of
the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the Moscow: “O Lord, teach me to treat all that comes to me
other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt 6:24) today with peace of soul and with firm conviction your
will governs all.”
Application of Maslow’s Model * Think of an example of something someone wanted you to do or
One way of applying Maslow’s model to humanly aid the say that was un-Godly. Practice a ‘script’ you can employ to
spiritual practice of patient endurance is to effectuate some respond to them, that is charitable but also is assertive: an
daily goals based on these characteristics. I have chosen items honest and true communication of your Christ-centered
from a test of Maslow’s healthy personally: the Personal values. An example from a clinical case I had several years
Orientation Inventory developed by Shostrom as objectives. ago: A young newly married man was invited by his male
Although designed as a test of a healthy personality based co-workers to visit a topless bar after work for a drink. We
on Maslow’s characteristics, the “question” items can easily rehearsed his assertive response which went something
be goals to be applied in everyday life: like this: “You know I am really not into that kind of thing,
I really think it takes away my feelings for my wife. Thanks
for the invite but I do not really want to go.”
Guiding principles
(Continued on page 23)
* Make it important as to how you are living here and now.
Page 17
The Upcoming Services
SUNDAY, March 20th -
of Lent:
Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas
Matins: 9:00am / Divine Liturgy: 10:00am
SUNDAY, March 6th -
Forgiveness Sunday WEDNESDAY, March 23rd -
Presanctified Liturgy: 6:30pm
Matins: 9:00am / Divine Liturgy: 10:00am
Parish Lenten Luncheon
Thursday, March 24th -
Annunciation Great Vespers: 6:30pm
MONDAY, March 7th -
Great Lent Begins
Compline Service: 6:30pm FRIDAY, March 25th -
Annunciation Divine Liturgy: 9:30am

WEDNESDAY, March 9th - Salutation Service: 6:30pm

Presanctified Liturgy: 6:30pm

FRIDAY, March 11th -
Salutation Service: 6:30pm SUNDAY, March 27th -
The Adoration of the Cross
Matins: 9:00am / Divine Liturgy: 10:00am
Saturday, March 12th -
Parish Feast Day Luncheon
Third Saturday of Souls: 9:30am

 WEDNESDAY, March 30th -

Presanctified Liturgy: 6:30pm
SUNDAY, March 13th -
Sunday of Orthodoxy
Matins: 9:00am / Divine Liturgy: 10:00am FRIDAY, April 1st -
Salutation Service: 6:30pm

WEDNESDAY, March 16th - 

Presanctified Liturgy: 6:30pm
SUNDAY, April 3rd -
FRIDAY, March 18th - Sunday of St. John Climacus
Salutation Service: 6:30pm Matins: 9:00am / Divine Liturgy: 10:00am

Page 18
February / March 2011

Another Page is Written

Page 19

The Orthodox Church
and the Annunciation
in particular, had the
privilege to welcome
into its warm and
uni s
mm on
loving embrace through
Co necti
n Chrismation the beloved
servant of God Sarah
Elizabeth Lee, whose
If you are passionate about Golf and want to help a entrance into the Holy
critical fund-raiser for the Annunciation along with Church was sponsored
a super charities like Easter Seals & Community by Mark & Jana Hunter.
Connections, consider supporting the 2011
GreekFest Golf Classic on May 16th! It is a Having been formally received into the Orthodox
fantastic time that does great things for a player’s Church and becoming a beloved member of our
body and soul. In these troubled financial times, Church family in November, we look forward to
our participation and sponsorship are needed now walking together on the path of life and faith.
more than ever! With our newly enlisted Orthodox Christian, let
 us ask our Lord and Savior to continue to show
us the way of the Christ centered life.

Our Stewardship
As we move forward into Great and Holy Lent, let
us continue to remember the Holy House the Lord
has entrusted unto us - the Annunciation in Little
Rock. Through our prayers, our presence, our
In addition, mark your calendars for Friday, May generosity and our service to the Church, together
14th and the Taste of the Mediterranean we can lift up the Resurrected Light of Christ before
Bash! This is going to be another “tasty” evening the world. These are indeed challenging times, but inspired
that you will not want to miss. This annual event by the love that Lord shows us every day, let us generously
is not only delicious and fun, but it also goes a long contribute to the well-being of the Church that He has
way towards helping support the work of Easter Seals entrusted to us here in Little Rock through our Stewardship.
& Community Connections and the ministries of the
Annunciation. Tickets go on sale soon! With everyone’s Stewardship commitment to the
Annunciation we can truly help our corner of the
world “Come & See” Christ in action at our parish.
 With every Church family member joyously sharing
If you would like to help with these critical their time, talent and treasure with Christ at the
fundraisers to the Annunciation please see Annunciation, we all can honor the Lord and
Haitham Alley, the more the merrier! keep the doors of His House open unto the
Page 20
February / March 2011

Easter Flowers are Needed!

In the celebration of Christ’s Holy Resurrection,
flowers play a special role in the Church’s expression
of profound joy. Not only is the Church beautifully
adorned with flowers, but the very services and customs
of Holy Week mandate the use of flowers. With that in
mind, we can help support the liturgical expressions of
Holy Week and Pascha by making an extra donation for
the flowers that will play an integral role in heralding
the life-giving news of Christ’s Resurrection.

May 20 - 22, 2011 We seek extra donations for the the following:
$300 for Holy Week
As we prepare this parish-wide herculean effort,
everyone in our Church family is urged to get involved $300 for Pascha
in this dynamic and powerful ministry tool! With your 24 Potted Lilies for $10 each
help, our Church is going to have another outstanding
International Greek Food Festival!! If you can make a donation of any kind to help the
As we all know, this grand project is a critical component Annunciation meet this need, please see a Parish
in the financial wellbeing of our parish. The proceeds of Council member or submit such a specific offering to
our annual Festival help ensure that our parish is able to the Church Office.
share the Good News of Christ by helping to meet some
of the financial obligations necessary for continued
growth. By volunteering at the Festival we ensure The Festival Pastry
that the ministries of the Annunciation are never stunted
by a lack of funds. And because our Church is always Project Needs
mindful of the broader community which we endeavor
to minister to, every year through the grace of God we
Your Help!
highlight the work of local non-denominational charities
We are asking for members of our Church family
and share a portion of our bounty from the Festival with them.
to please find some time Monday through
In addition to the Annunciation Scholarship Friday between 9:00am - 3:00pm to come
Foundation, this year we as a parish have selected the to the Church kitchen and help prepare some
following charities to support and increase the awareness of our delicious pastries for the Festival. This
of their good works: monumental project cannot be fulfilled without
Love Truth Care Ministries everyone’s help. The more people who come to
Centers for Youth & Family help with this endeavor, the more manageable
Easter Seals the entire mission.
Harmony Health Clinic
CARTI Can’t commit to a week?
Community Connections How about a day?
CASA How about a few hours?

Let’s do our part towards helping Please see Anna Clift or Pat Diggins if there
the Annunciation to shine! are any questions.

Page 21

2011 Embracing the Beauty of

Great & the Annunciation

Holy Lent
BEGINS One of the great feasts of the Holy Orthodox
Church and the blessed feast day of our parish
March 7th is on the horizon! On March 24th & 25th let
us rearrange our private schedules to honor
the example of steadfast faith and obedience
embodied in the person of the Theotokos as well
as celebrate the gift of salvation that unfolds with
Making Lent Great the great feast of the Annunciation. For these are
the basic elements to our identity as Orthodox
Christians and members of the Annunciation in
With Great Lent drawing near, we have a blessed Little Rock.
opportunity to change!

The choice for us this Lenten season is to either

continue to follow the flawed routines of the past The Feast of the
that have kept us from glorifying the Lord regularly
and at the appointed hour or to meaningfully
change our ways and honor the Lord by attending
the Divine Services faithfully and on time. Our
spiritual life is in the balance! Either our life in
Christ can be refreshed by faith in action, or we Great
can fail to be vigilant about our spiritual life and we Vespers
will keep His love at bay. Thursday,
March 24th
This Lenten season, let us all redouble our at 6:30pm
efforts to gather at the Annunciation at 10:00
am at the latest in order to worship our Lord
and draw closer to Him and one another.
March 25th,
2011 Parish Assembly at 9:30am

Sunday, April 3rd

“Working together for the glory of
Feast Day Luncheon
God and His Holy House!” Sunday, March 27th

Page 22
February / March 2011

Patient Endurance the most pleasant thing one could picture happening
to you “in the entire universe”. Parishioners or patients
(Continued from page 17)
infrequently have trouble imaging a very pleasant event
(zero). Sitting on a sun drenched tropical beach is a
* Make sure what you are doing is done well. It is easy to slide, typical image. Those seeking counsel often n need great
especially when confronted with calamity and you feel help however, imaging a worst event (the 100 end of
under stress. Look over the activities of the day and the ruler). Patients or parishioners I counsel frequently
examine if they were done the best you could do them. characterize ‘the death of loved one’, especially a child, as
the “most awful thing on earth” — often such responses
are couched in sanitized and/or abstract terms.
Rational thinking
Many previous articles have discussed the role of Caveat: validate grief but do not endorse
irrational thinking, also known as cognitive distortions catastrophe
in producing dyfucntional emotions and the cognitive- While a counselor certainly must help a person with the
behavioral intervention in treating such cognitive errors. grieving process allowing in particular, the expression of
The main cognitive distortion related to sabotaging feelings, he must take care not to endorse a catastrophic
patient endurance is over-evaluation or catastrophizing. mental ruler appraisal by saying “Oh! Indeed how awful
how terrible.” For example, while the loss of a child is
Healing: Linking body, mind, spirit tragic and the cause of great sorrow and grief, unless it
Identifying and disputing these cognitive distortions, reaches the scale of “100” it is not the “most awful thing
identified by the clinical research studies of behavioral one can suffer.”
science is not dissimilar to the Spiritual Fathers who
said evil thoughts have to be acted on to “rebuff them.” A vivid concrete catastrophe
(St. Symeon the New Theologian, Philokalia IV p. 74) (100 on the mental ruler)
Modern psychology gives us more tools to do this. On a human level in helping the committed Christian or
patient to counter this I offer the example the unsanitized,
The Church Fathers, especially those involved in spiritual quite concrete example of a true event: a medical
direction would surely have welcomed such procedures. missionary in South East Asia several years back who
These fathers often employed the disputation process suffered a horrifying death. His captors placed chopsticks
in spiritual guidance. The disputational or challenging in his ears and hammered them in a little each day until
questions are: they penetrated his brain and killed him.
* Where is the evidence (the evidence for the evaluation)?
* Is there any other way of looking at it (e.g. re-rating the The spiritual or eschatological ruler
calamity)? In the case of the spiritual virtue of patient endurance
* Is it as bad as it seems (how does the previous evaluation however we have a different situation. That which is to
compare to the re-evaluation)? be evaluated, the calamities, sufferings and tribulations
* What is the effect of holding onto my distorted thoughts (what which we encounter must be evaluated in the
would happen if I changed my thinking)?
eschatological scale of the Kingdom of God. This is can
be easily seen in a very simple comment of death made
Catastrophe management by a very holy elder of the Church recently deceased.
A technique effective with over-evaluation or Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain remarked: “When
catastrophizing is the “Mental Ruler Technique”. Please I see Christians cry because their fathers passed away,
note this ‘ruler is ‘Ruler on a Human Scale’. The ruler I am upset, for they neither believe, or understand that
‘tool’ involves evaluating the calamity situation on a zero (Continued on page 26)
to 100 scale. The zero end of the ruler is made using
Page 23

Page 24
February / March 2011

“I am going to leave my purse

Why is everyone running r Fans!!! here as a deposit
away? Supe ... for a future rental!”

“Hello, Kobe Bryant? “Please

How would you like to become God...
a member of the Annunciation? just
this Are you sure visualization exercises
one are effective?

I don’t remember this

Basketball Fun!
class at the Seminary.

With ‘look
we don’t n ’ like these...
eed a bask
“I think
We need to
we might
Trophies are NOT necessary

Great, a
I miss one free throw and Coach o k fe ll a s, T HIS is what
oks like,
has me running with a bull... How can we TEXT some points on basketball lo nge...”
d ora
blindfolded! to the board? its round an

Page 25
Patient Endurance
(Continued from page 23)
You Are Invited!
death is simply a journey to a life of another kind.” This
almost shrouded comment actually contains the brilliant
pearl of the center of spiritual wisdom: All is God, all
else is meaningless. Did not St. John (17: 24-26) tell us: Who:
“Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given Fr. Bill Cassis
me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory from Holy Trinity - St. Nicholas in Cincinnati OH
which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the
foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world
has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these
know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy Where:
name, and I will make it known, that the love with which The Annunciation in Little Rock
thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

The challenge of the Christian: lack of human

understanding, but complete trust in Christ.
Surely catastrophic evaluations on a human level
Saturday, March 12th
frequently broadcast a lack of commitment to Christ and 3:00 - 4:30 pm
His teachings on a divine level. Surely the commitment
of the Christian is in a God Who freely gives life and
calls us back to Him. God does all for love and even Why:
though some events are beyond our understanding, we For a Presentation Entitled:
can nevertheless know that some events have a greater,
higher, and divine purpose even when we don’t see what
they might be. This gives an entire different meaning to
The Top 10 List
the quote of St. John in the Book of Revelation (1:8): “I
am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who
is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Orthodox Christians
Thus in closing we contemplate the words of St. Isaac (Theology for average Christians)
the Syrian: “A time of trial is beneficial to everyone: the
diligent are tried so that their wealth may increase; the
lax, so that they may be preserved from harm; those
spiritually asleep, so that they may prepare themselves Fr. Bill is a very well known speaker within the
for watchfulness; those whose who are far from God, Archdiocese and will be spending the weekend
so that they approach Him; those who are God’s close with us at the Annunciation to share some
associates, so that they may come closer to Him in insights and ignite our Lenten spirits. This is a
freedom of speech. FREE EVENT for all ages and all backgrounds.
Tell a friend, bring the kids and SAVE THE
Thus to patiently endure: DATE!!!!
We are bringing another fantastic guest speaker into
“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances;
town and its especially important for our Church family
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
to be in full attendance.
(1 Thes 5: 16-18)
Page 26
February / March 2011



F ebruary 2011
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5
Presentation of the
Liturgy 9:30am

6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Sunday of the Canaanite
Matins 9:00am
Divine Liturgy 10:00am

Parish Council Meeting Orthodox Study Class

6:00pm 6:30pm

13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Sunday of the Publican
Matins 9:00am
Divine Liturgy 10:00am
Bishop Kallistos Ware Bishop Kallistos Ware Bishop Kallistos Ware Bishop Kallistos Ware Bishop Kallistos Ware
Visits Detroit, MI Visits Detroit, MI Visits Detroit, MI Visits Detroit, MI Visits Detroit, MI

20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Sunday of the Prodigal
Matins 9:00am 1st Saturday of Souls
Divine Liturgy 10:00am President’s Day Liturgy 9:30am

Orthodox Study Class


27 28
Judgement Sunday
Matins 9:00am
Divine Liturgy 10:00am

Page 27



M arch 2011
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5
2nd Saturday of Souls
Liturgy 9:30am

6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Forgiveness Sunday
Matins 9:00am Great Lent Begins 3rd Saturday of Souls
Divine Liturgy 10:00am Liturgy 9:30am

Parish Lenten Luncheon Fr. Bill Cassis

Great Compline Presanctified Liturgy 1st Stanza Salutations Presentation
6:30pm 6:30pm 6:30pm 3:00pm - 4:30pm

13 14 15 16 17 18 19
The Sunday of Orthodoxy
Matins 9:00am
Divine Liturgy 10:00am

Presanctified Liturgy 2nd Stanza Salutations

6:30pm 6:30pm

20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Sunday of St. Gregory
Matins 9:00am The Annunciation
Divine Liturgy 10:00am Liturgy 9:30am

Presanctified Liturgy Great Vespers for the

6:30pm Annunciation 3rd Stanza Salutations
6:30pm 6:30pm

27 28 29 30 31 April 1 2
The Sunday of the Cross
Matins 9:00am
Divine Liturgy 10:00am

Parish Feast Day Luncheon Presanctified Liturgy 4th Stanza Salutations

6:30pm 6:30pm

Page 28