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Wonders of the Small Church

The small church has incredible importance and value, although it may not carry the pomp of churches in Europe and elsewhere. I have one particular small church in mind: ours.

The Book Club met on Saturday, November 15, 2013 from 9-11 AM in the Church Hall. After a lenten breakfast of English muffins, fresh pineapple and coffee, those present discussed 2 articles presented by Barbara Lacey and one brought by Steve Bradford.

Barbara's first article, "Whose Gift List?" by Fr. Dan Kovalak responded to current attitudes of preparation for Christmas.

Group members noted how today so many social contacts are available to us but many can be impersonal. Yet Christ is the ultimate Word, and should be the focus of any social dialog, especially as we prepare to celebrate his birth in a more and more secularized world. Our ultimate gift to anyone can be our honest witness to Christ Himself, the true focus of the season.

Barbara's second article was a take-home reflection by Fr. George Papadimitriou of Hellenic College, Boston on relationships with other faith traditions. Each group member noted how American Orthodoxy has focused in the past on an ethnic dimension to the Faith. This often missed an opportunities to witness to Christ and the real message about our Faith. The point was made that we as laity have many opportunities to witness to others in a quiet way what Orthodoxy is truly about, as discussed in the morning's first article. We as laity have many real chances to bring others to Christ in the providence of daily life and can be more effective than even clergy, since we are right there on a daily basis for our neighbor. All the more reason to be articulate in what we believe and in what we practice.

Steve's article was a lengthy discussion on how the Orthodox understanding of the preparation for Christmas is often far from Western conceptions of what happened. We discussed the role played by St. Joseph in the whole event and his relationship to Mary, very different from how other Christian faiths perceive events.  These articles can be accessed online. However, it was the wish of those present that discussion continue face-to-face, as much is learned from the discussion.

Also discussed was the idea of doing a bit of Scriptural study over the next few sessions, using what resources each participant has to exchange reflection on the chosen passages. These will be developed during Sunday coffee hours between now and the next meeting, tentatively scheduled for December 21, 2013.

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