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The Messenger   ~ October 2019

“Nevertheless the foundation of God stands firm, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ stand off from injustice.'"
2 Tim. 2:19

A Good Confession

St. Innocent of Alaska

What is Confession? Confession is the oral avowal of one’s sins which lie heavy upon the conscience. Repentance cleanses the soul and makes it ready to receive the Holy Spirit, but confession, so to speak, only empties the soul of sins.

Let us present a simple analogy and comparison to confession. For example, suppose you had only one vessel of some kind, which you through negligence or laziness let reach a stage where little by little it accumulated all sorts of dirt so that your vessel became not only unuseable but even unbearable to look at without repugnance. But what if a king wanted to give you as a gift some sort of fragrant and precious balm, one drop of which could heal all infirmities and protect—what then? Would you refuse such a valuable gift only because you had no other clean vessel in which to put it? No! It would be very natural for you to accept such a gift and you would try to clean your vessel. How would you begin to clean your vessel? No doubt, before anything else, you would rid it of all uncleanness; you would begin by washing it with water and, perhaps would even burn it out so that it no longer retained any of its former odors. Isn’t that so?

Now let the vessel represent the soul given to you by God, which you have brought to such a state that it has been filled with all kinds of transgression and iniquities; let the sweet-smelling balm, given by the king, signify the Holy Spirit, Who heals all infirmities and afflictions, Whom the King of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, freely bestows upon us. To examine your vessel signifies feeling your guilt before God and recalling all sins which have stolen into your heart. To clean out the vessel typifies the confession of your sins before your spiritual father, and washing with water and burning with fire signifies a sincere and even tearful repentance and a voluntary resolve to endure all unpleasantness, needs, afflictions, misfortunes, and even calamities that befall us.

Now tell me: Is Confession profitable or needful? Certainly it is profitable and even essential; because, just as it is impossible to cleanse a vessel without ridding it of all uncleanness, so it is impossible to purge your soul of sins without confession. But tell me, is confession alone enough for the reception of the Holy Spirit? Certainly not, because in order to receive the sweet-smelling and precious balm into a defiled vessel it is not enough to just empty it, but it is necessary to wash it with water and refine it with fire. Just so, in order to receive the Holy Spirit, it is not enough just to confess or recite your sins before a spiritual father, but it is necessary together with this to purge your soul with repentance or contrition and grief of soul, and burn it out with voluntary endurance of afflictions. So then, this is what confession and repentance mean!

What does a true and correct confession consist of? When we wish to cleanse our conscience of sins in the Mystery of Repentance -
1) before everything else it is necessary to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and firmly hope that He is ready to forgive all sins, no matter of what magnitude, if only the sinner repents open-heartedly; it is necessary to believe and hope that the God of all wants and seeks our return …
2) It is necessary to have a broken heart …
3) It is necessary to forgive all our enemies and offenders all the harmful and offensive things they have done to us ...
4) It is necessary to reveal your sins properly and without any concealment ...

Finally, it is necessary to set forth a firm intention to live prudently in the future. If you want to be in the kingdom of heaven, if you want God to forgive your sins—then stop sinning! Only on this condition does the Church absolve the penitent of his sins. And he who does not think at all about correcting himself confesses in vain, labors in vain, for even if the priest says, “I forgive and absolve,” the Holy Spirit does not forgive and absolve him!

Set Service Schedule: 
     Weekend schedule
- Every Saturday, Great Vespers 5:30 pm.
- Every Sunday, Hours at 9:10 am & Divine Liturgy at 9:30 am.
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     Weekday schedule 
+ An Akathist is served at 6:30 am every Tuesday.
+ Matins is served at 6 am, every Wednesday & Friday.


Coffee fellowship:  
Bible Study / Orthodox Education: Every Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Not meeting on the 16th.
Upcoming Major & Great Feasts: 116th Parish Feast Day: Friday, November 8th.
Women's group: Women's Retreat at Holy Protection Monastery, Saturday the 21st. 


“Remain true to Christ, then His grace will not let you lose your way in the darkness of the temptations of today”
Met. Onuphry of Ukraine


Parish notes

During the summer time, please remember that modesty in dress is always the standard in church. 

Orthodox Education / Bible Study will resume on Wednesday the 11th of this month at 6:30 pm. 

Women's retreat will be on Saturday, Oct. 12th, at Holy Protection Monastery. Look for a sign-up sheet in the fellowship hall with details. 

Men's retreat dates are Thursday, Oct. 31st – Saturday, Nov. 2nd at Archangel Michael's in NM.

On Saturday, Oct. 19th we will have the Fall church grounds clean-up. Please come and tend to your church grounds! Lunch will be provided. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: our 116th Parish Feast Day is Friday, November, 8th. Make plans to be there! Archbishop Benjamin will be with us. Service schedule – Thursday: Great Vespers with Litya at 6 pm; Friday: Hours at 8:20 am and Div. Liturgy at 8:40 am. 
There will be a festive potluck following the Div. Liturgy, please bring a dish to share! (remember it is a fast day but fish, wine, and oil are permitted.) 

Orthodox Education / Bible Study will resume in September. 

A church cleaning list is now in the Narthex, please consider signing up to clean the Church nave for a month. 

Confession is an integral part of true Christian living. An Orthodox Christian who is regularly partaking of Holy Communion needs, for the health of their soul, to be partaking of Holy Confession at least on a monthly basis. This practice of true Christian living should be respected and practiced by all responsible members of the Church who are approaching the Chalice frequently. 

Library note: if you have had a library book for awhile please remember to return it. Remember the library is a honor system.

A note on Prosphora bread: Prosphora is blessed bread partaken of after Holy Communion and at the conclusion of the Div. Liturgy. Please be mindful of crumbs, it is important to instruct children to eat it with reverence. If you share with a member of the congregation who has not partaken of Holy Communion, please only give one or two pieces. If you notice a number of crumbs on the floor please pick them up and deposit them outside. Prosphora should never be thrown in the trash.

Parents: please make sure that your children do not go to the restroom unattended. This is for the greater safety of our community and children.

Another reminder: Generally speaking there should be no unnecessary moving about during the Div. Liturgy; specifically during the reading of the Gospel, the Anaphora, and the Our Father all moving about should cease, unless it is an emergency. Parents are encouraged to help their children focus during these times.

Diapers and wipes: we are partnering with a Caring Pregnancy Center through supplying diapers and wipes. Please bring donations to the church. This is an ongoing ministry. A Caring Pregnancy Center helps woman make an informed choice for life. Protecting life at every stage is the job of every Christian.

Coffee Hour: Please be mindful which group you belong to and please be diligent in bringing food. This is in fact a ministry. It is the listed group's responsibility to make sure the coffee is made, please communicate with your group members as to who will do this. Thank you for all your hard work!

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Archangel Michael Orthodox Church Newsletter and Calendar
Set Weekend Service Schedule: 
Every Sat/ Great Vespers 5:30pm 
Sun/ Hours 9:10 & Divine Liturgy 9:30am
For other service times please see the calendar

See the calendar below to view our monthly calendar; it includes weekday services, Bible studies, fellowships and more!