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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 HTOC Club met at 9 AM on Oct. 19th, beginning its day with a breakfast of freshly made blueberry pancakes, bacon, and coffee, courtesy of Steve.

Barbara handed out an article on “How Are We Saved?” by Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos, and available on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website. It addresses the time-honored question by comparing the views of Evangelicals to those of Orthodox Christians.  In contrast to a single “born again” event in life, the Orthodox believe a combination of faith and works are needed in the quest for salvation. The author logically develops each point by quoting from the teachings and parables of Jesus, and by drawing upon the writings of St. Paul on the sacraments. Fr. Stylianopoulos concludes we are engaged in a life-long process, energized by free will, good works, and faith, and working together with the grace of God, in hope of receiving “the awesome gift and mystery of salvation.”

Steve offered a homily by Mother Christophora  printed in Life Transfigured: A Journal of Orthodox Nuns.  It hypothesizes how the founder of a monastery, Mother Alexandra, might have answered modern objections to observing  ancient monastic saints by explaining  what are they trying to teach us. Mother Christophora suggests three areas of discussion. The first is “Don’t Be Afraid.” Take courage. You have the Truth. Having lived through communism, physical pain, and deep hurt from family members, Mother Alexandra nevertheless knew how to forgive and was not easily discouraged. In the second area, the suppositional Mother Alexandra advises her audience to “Join Together.” As Christianity becomes smaller, suppressed, even fought against in our nation and culture, it’s time for all Christians to unite in mutual respect. The final advice Mother Alexandra might give to readers, according to Mother Christophora  is, “Be Fruitful.”  Use your God-given gifts to help others. It’s important to take risk. Don’t waste your life. Share your dream and glorify God.

The discussion ended, and the date of the next meeting was chosen:  Sat., Nov. 16th, 9 AM.

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