Bulletin

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church:
What’s Happening December 2022

"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.
For a printer-friendly PDF version of our weekly update, click here: HTOC Weekly Update.

Christ is born! Glorify him!

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church is the little church with a big heart and room for all, where Jesus nourishes modern lives through ancient roots! With our 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 share groceries with hungry neighbors through our friends at People Helping People in Hernando County.

Unholy Mess?

Ever feel like your life is too much of an unholy mess for God to find a place in it?

Consider, then, under what circumstances God was born into the human race — which we'll celebrate this month on Christmas (December 25), the Nativity of Christ Jesus. He was born homeless in a stinky stable from an unwed mother in a seemingly suspect pregnancy that bewildered her fiancé. What's more, his family tree had a few skeletons in the closet: a Canaanite call girl, a pushy Gentile daughter-in-law, and a king who covered up his adultery with murder most foul!

Not quite the accommodations or credentials one might expect for a Messiah! Yet God was born into such a mess nonetheless. Five-star lodgings and squeaky clean pedigree obviously matter little to him. What matters to him is you — because "God is love" (1 John 4:15). Welcome him into your life, then!

Mark Your Calendar!

Tuesday, November 15 - Saturday, December 24
Nativity Fast

Sunday, December 4 · 9:30 a.m.
Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost
Divine Liturgy

Sunday, December 11 · 9:30 a.m.
Twenty-Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
Sunday of the Ancestors of Christ Jesus
Divine Liturgy

Sunday, December 18 · 9:30 a.m.
Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
Sunday Before Nativity
Divine Liturgy

Sunday, December 25 · 9 a.m.
Christmas: The Nativity: Birth of Christ Jesus
Twenty-Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
Compline, Divine Liturgy and Carols

Milestones

"Rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15). Best wishes to our kinfolk in Christ celebrating special milestones this month! Anniversaries: Mark and LuAnn Donnelly Willenen (December 3). Birthdays: Father Michael Miklos (December 3), Luann Donnelly Willenen (December 5), Diane Orloff (December 9), Karen Ragone (December 22), and Stephen Kuzmiak (December 25). God grant you many years!

News and Notes

Nativity Fast (November 15 - December 24): This year, the Nativity Fast runs from Tuesday, November 15 through Saturday, December 24, to ready us for the celebration of Christmas, the Nativity of Christ Jesus, God's birth into the human race, on December 25. It invites us to go above and beyond decorating our houses, buying gifts, baking goodies, and stuffing stockings for the holiday by preparing spiritually through extra effort at almsgiving, prayer, and fasting — holy habits that keep our egos and appetites from making us lose sight of God and neighbor, on whom Jesus directs our focus (Mark 12:30-31). It's also a fitting time to take stock of our lives and clear our consciences in the sacrament of confession. Let's all make the most of the Nativity Fast, to the best of our ability, to keep us mindful of the real "reason for the season" — Jesus!

Help University of Florida Students to Help Ukraine!

War in Ukraine is still making life a living hell for millions of children, women, and men there while Russia's unprovoked invasion continues to defy God's commandments:Ukraine "Do not murder," "Do not steal," and "Do not crave what belongs to your neighbors" (Exodus 20:13, 20:15, and 20:17).

The University of Florida Ukrainian Student Association (UF USA) — a local group of college students from Ukraine and Ukrainian-Americans — is stepping up to the plate to relieve human suffering in war-torn Ukraine. Their Spring 2022 drive collected tens of tons of food, clothes, and medicine shipped to Ukraine. Their Fall 2022 drive kicked off with an ecumenical prayer vigil in Gainesville, Florida that netted over $1,200 in alms that went toward buying life-saving medical supplies inside Ukraine.

You can join in their From UF to Ukraine Humanitarian Aid Drive by donating through their GoFundMe webpage by clicking on this link: tinyurl.com/uf-to-ukraine.

The next round of donations will buy thermal underwear for Ukraine's first responders through MedGlobal, an international nonprofit partnered with Ukraine's Ministry of Health, so those brave men and women have the gear to survive outside in below-zero winter temperatures while they put out fires, rescue the injured, dig up landmines, and repair broken power grids bombed by Russian missles to deprive Ukrainian civilians of light, heat, and water amid freezing weather.

Every dollar counts: no donation is too large or too small. "Don't forget to do good and share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices please God" (Hebrews 13:16). Please give today at tinyurl.com/uf-to-ukraine.

Remembering and Reciprocating

"Remember how generous the Lord Jesus was: he was rich, but he became poor for your sake, to make you rich out of his poverty" (2 Corinthians 8:9). As Christmas reminds us, God gave us his all in Jesus, so it's only right that we give something back to him to show our thanks. Christian stewardship is about more than just funding our church — it's about remembering God's generosity and reciprocating (behaving likewise in return and in kind). Please drop your expressions of Christlike generosity in the collection plate at church or mail them — as checks payable to "Holy Trinity Church" (no cash, please!) — to our treasurer: Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, c/o Lydia Pinkowski, 7431 Glasgow Rd, Weeki Wachee FL 34613. Thank you!

Jesus' Christmas Wish List

At the first Christmas, the Wise Men gave Baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But nowadays more practical gifts are in order, for Jesus told us that we will find him in the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick, and the jailed — and how we treat them, for good or for ill, is how we treat him (Matthew 25:31-46). So while out shopping for Christmas, don’t forget to stock our parish charity bin with non-perishable groceries for sharing with our needy neighbors through our friends at People Helping People in Hernando County. After all, as the Bible reminds us: "If you mistreat the poor, you insult your Creator, but if you are kind to them, you show him respect" (Proverbs 14:31). Thank you!

Safe Church Regathering: Parish Pandemic Precautions

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

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

Wearing face masks and using hand sanitizer is recommended and encouraged.

Please practice physical distancing, respect personal space, and ensure safe 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.

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