Bulletin

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church:
What’s Happening January 2021

"Let us not give up the habit of meeting together... Instead, let us encourage each other all the more,"
the earliest Christians said (Hebrews 10:25). So join us for worship and fellowship. To find us, click here: Find HTOC.
For a printer-friendly PDF version of our monthly newsletter, click here: HTOC Newsletter.

New Year, New Hope

In the wake of 2020's challenges, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church is shifting into 2021 with hope for a healthier and more humane year for one and all. With our new priest Father Alexis Woytek on board and common-sense pandemic precautions in place, we continue to gather safely for Sunday Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. and do good by collecting groceries for our hungry neighbors in partnership with People Helping People in Hernando County. Life in Christ is happening at HTOC — come join us in it!

Calendar

Friday, January 1
New Year's Day
Circumcision of Christ Jesus
Feast of Saint Basil the Great, bishop

Sunday, January 3
Thirtieth Sunday After Pentecost
Sunday Before Theophany
Divine Liturgy
9:30 a.m.

Wednesday, January 6
Theophany: Baptism of Christ Jesus

Sunday, January 10
Thirty-First Sunday After Pentecost
Sunday After Theophany
Sunday Observance of Theophany
Divine Liturgy and Blessing of Water
9:30 a.m.

Sunday, January 17
Thirty-Second Sunday After Pentecost
Divine Liturgy
9:30 a.m.

Sunday, January 24
Thirty-Third Sunday After Pentecost
Divine Liturgy
9:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 30
Feast of the Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom

Sunday, January 31
Thirty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
Divine Liturgy
9:30 a.m.

News

Thanks... Many thanks to everyone — on the front lines and behind the scenes — whose cleaning, decorating, preparing worship materials, donating, singing, and praying made our first Christmas with our new priest, Father Alexis Woytek, such a festive experience in Christ.

And Thanks Again! And many thanks to everyone — again, on the front lines and behind the scenes — who worked, gave, and prayed over the past challenging year to keep our church alive through 2020 by keeping our bills paid, our books balanced, our property in good shape, our parish staffed, our church online, our parishioners and friends connected, and our charity partners supported. Sharing your time, talent, and treasure as you have is what Christian stewardship and teamwork are all about — and that's what has kept our life in Christ and community outreach going through these trying times.

Feeding Hungry Jesus: Along with relaunching worship, our parish has resumed serving our needy neighbors by collecting groceries for People Helping People in Hernando County — putting into practice the holy habit of almsgiving Jesus taught us (Matthew 6:1-4). Our parish charity bin stands ready to receive your weekly gifts of non-perishable food for the hungry. For a grocery list of what's needed, click this link: HTOC Grocery List. Jesus said how we treat those in need is how we treat him (Matthew 25:31-46) — so let's make sure we treat him well!

Milestones

"Rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15). Best wishes to our kinfolk in Christ celebrating special milestones this month. Birthdays: Svetlana Palmer (January 1), Michael Narancich (January 8), Stephen Butko (January 9), Joann Kuzmiak (January 21), and David Palmer (January 28). God grant you many years!

New Year, Fresh Start

January 1 marks the dawn of a new year on our calendars — and with it a chance for a fresh start. God beckons us to leave the past behind and look ahead to him for something new in our lives: "Stop dwelling on past events and brooding over times gone by. Look, I am about to do something new!" (Isaiah 43:18-19). Sound advice and an encouraging promise — as individuals and a church, let’s make every effort this year to take God up on both accounts!

Theophany: Christ's Baptism and Ours

Theophany

On January 6, the Church celebrates Theophany by blessing water in remembrance of the Baptism of Christ Jesus. Saint John the Baptizer called on people to wash away their sins and clean up their acts by getting baptized in the Jordan River (Luke 3:1-18). So why did Jesus, sinless as God embodied in human flesh, get baptized? Because "for our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). By getting baptized, Jesus identified with us sinners and thus turned baptism into a way for us sinners to identify with him: "All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Galatians 3:27). At the baptism of Jesus, the voice of God the Father called him "my beloved Son, with whom I am quite pleased" as the Holy Spirit came down upon him like a dove (Matthew 3:16-17). In our own baptism into Christ, we sinners bonded with Jesus, thus becoming through him "beloved sons and daughters" of God and bearers of his Spirit, capable of growing ever more Christlike. In celebrating Theophany, let us not only recall the baptism of Christ Jesus, but also recommit to our own baptism as his followers and members of his body, the Church, called to live by his gospel values of love for God and neighbor, friend or foe. As one insightful Christian wrote: "Baptism is a one-time event that takes a lifetime to finish."

House Blessings: Home is Where the Church Is

Theophany kicks off a season of house blessings for Orthodox Christians. Why do we have the priest bless our houses with holy water every year? Because "church" isn't just the house of worship we visit weekly — it's a way of life we live daily, much of it at home. The sprinkling of holy water with prayer and praise in our homes every year reminds us that we are baptized people meant to live baptized lives of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting that turn our homes into "little churches" where Christ Jesus is in our midst as honored guest and constant companion. Keep an eye out for a sign-up sheet and instructions in church from our parish priest, Father Alexis Woytek, to schedule your house blessing this year.

Pray for Church Growth!

Leaf

God, thank you for this church. Help us to take care of it with our gifts and our toil. Make us grow together in spirit and numbers. Keep us faithful to your Christ, alert to your Spirit, and welcoming to one and all, so that they too may find your truth, love, and peace within this holy house of yours. Amen.

Safe Church Regathering: Parish Pandemic Precautions

Reopening our church amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means we must adjust our familiar churchgoing habits for the safety of one and all. Please join us in following these precautions:

Safety First

If you are feeling ill, please stay home, follow doctor's orders, and take good care of yourself.

Face masks and hand sanitizer will be available in the entryway of the church in case you forgot yours at home. Please use them!

Please practice social distancing and respect personal space. The seating and choir stands have been rearranged to ensure safer leeway between each other.

Please do not kiss icons, crosses, or the hands of clergy. Until less contagious days return, a simple bow is ample sign of reverence and respect.

Please drop any offerings in the collection plate set in the entryway of the church, so we do not have to pass it hand to hand.

To avoid any possible cross-contamination, there will be no "coffee hour" or other re-freshments served after church until after the pandemic.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our church experience as safe as possible amid these challenging times. It's all part of doing what Christ Jesus told us to do: "Love others as much as you love yourself" (Mark 12:31).