Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vasilisa's baptism

On the ninth Sunday after Trinity Vasilisa was baptized. She is fourth child to Alexey and Gloria. In Russia, where the average number of children per family is little bit more than 1, many people consider family with four kids as strange, even odd. But Alexey and Gloria never thought of their children as burden, they love them and take good care of them. And what is most important, they remember that their first duty is to raise kids in Lord's teaching. Their children are always at worship services, they go to Sunday school, they learn Catechism at home. We pray and hope that Vasilisa will start to attend Sunday school in couple years, and in due time will be confirmed and receive the Holy Sacrament.

Marriage on the tenth anniversary

On 10th of August a marriage took place in our parish. Oleg and Yulia joined our church being already officially married, that is their marital status was registered by the state (by the way it is the only legally acknowledged marriage in Russia). On their 10th anniversary Oleg and Yulia wanted their marriage to be blessed in the church.
It is always very touching to see people who lived together for many years expressing their love to each other.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Children VBS

Traditional children VBS took place in our congregation on the last two weeks of June. Every summer school teachers prepare biblical program and different activities for kids. During those two weeks children study the Bible, pray, play, go to field trips. The program keeps them busy the whole day.

This year the biblical part was titled as “Meeting Jesus”. We have selected eight stories from the Gospels where different people come to the Lord. They are educated (Nicodemus) and simple (Gadarene possessed), man (Thomas) and woman (Canaanite woman), they might be respected (Martha and Mary) and rejected (Samaritan woman), they are rich (Zacchaeus) and poor (Bartimaeus). But all of them need to meet Jesus, all of them receive His gifts not because they are smart or suffered enough, but out of His grace and mercy. We wanted children to recognize themselves (to some extend) in these people. We wanted them to realize that Christ is “available” to us even more than to those man and woman – in His word, in His meal, in His church, in His good gifts of creation.

Besides biblical program, children attended different classes, like “funny physics”, “how to's for boys”, origami class and others. We played outside, went to the Zoo and to a few different field trips. So, we had good time during those two weeks.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gifts to the abandoned children

In June we have visited Children city hospital and have brought the gifts there. Toys, sandals, disposable diapers, pencils etc. were bought for money collected at the Easter fair. This stuff we specially designated for babies without parents, who are treated or rehabilitated there. There are abandoned kids among them, that is, kids, who were left by their moms in maternity hospital. There are babies, whom mothers didn’t refuse, but cannot take care for them for now. There are babies who were taken away from problem families by welfare officers.

Natalia Leonova, the chief doctor of this hospital, told us that they had three-tear kids, who did not know, what is spoon, what is soup. Apparently, they were fed by inappropriate food at homes, so they could not eat soup at their threes.

Doctor Leonova (on the picture) explained why they asked us to buy those particular things: “Now the city is funding our hospital quite well. But still this budget does not include expenses on shoes, as kids supposed to be inside. But we want to take them outside, so that they can play at the playground, in sandbox. The same situation is with toys. They are not in the budget, but kids need to play and learn. Something is different with diapers. We can buy them for money designated for different sorts of medicine, but you understand, that medication is more important that diapers.”

Again it was a great pleasure to visit this hospital, to meet doctors, nurses, and volunteers helping to care for children and teaching them. It is obvious that all stuff care about babies, they want to create the best conditions for their treatment, rehabilitation, and living. And because they care, they are so grateful for any help. I’m glad to have a tradition of charity Easter fair in our parish. It is not just fun, or social time. We provide a real, though small, help. Children’s staying in the hospital becomes little bit better, funnier, more home-like due to equipment, toys, cloth and shoes we bring there. When I see kids there, it is clear that they are cared for very well. They smile, they play. It is very good that we can make the work of doctors, nurses, and volunteers easier. And also I’m glad that kids of our parish participate in the fair. They learn to care about neighbor (even if he or she is not so close to you), they learn to be selfless.

(For some legal reasons it is not possible to publish photos of children in the hospital. It’s a pity. They are cute.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Priestly pectoral cross was given to Andrey Lipnitsky

On the fourth Sunday after Easter Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin gave a priestly pectoral cross to Andrey Lipnitsky. Bishop said:

Brothers and sisters, today I give priestly pectoral cross to father Andrey, a pastor in our parish. At the ordination we couldn’t give it to him. The reason was simple: at that time we ran short of the crosses. When we were a part of the Estonian church, we received priestly crosses from there. But now we needed time to find, where those crosses could be produced in Russia.

According to our church tradition all priests are to wear identical crosses. It is one of the signs of the unity of the church, alongside with the same liturgy in different parishes of SELC.

This cross is a mark of our ministry and a sign that a cross of faithful preaching of God’s Word, Law and Gospel, and administer salvific sacraments.

Please, pray for father Andrey and for other pastors, give heed to them and help them.”

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Easter charity fair

Easter charity fair became a tradition of our parish since 2004. After the service everybody go upstairs in the big room, where the sale is organized. During the Lent parishioners make different things by themselves for this fair. We explain to them that it is one of the ways to hold fast properly. The fast could not be only a diet, but we should devote ourselves to liturgy, Scripture, prayer and deeds of mercy. When we spend our time and money for preparing things for this sale, we give to needy people. Last few years collected money go to a hospital, where new-born babies left by their parents live.

At the fair we see each other from unexpected side. One turns to be a good cook, making delicious cupcakes or pirogi. Another one can make nice knitted dolls. The third one makes a beautiful photographs.

Last years we bought some equipment for that hospital (like heaters, air-sterilizing devices, baby cots and cribs etc.). This year the hospital administration asked us to buy cloth, shoes, diapers.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Easter service, confirmation

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

This year Easter service at St. Andrew was lead by bishop Vsevolod Lytkin. Often he is absent in Novosibirsk because he tries to visit other parishes of our church as frequently as possible. About one hundred communicants attended the service plus a lot of our friends and relatives. So, we had a full nave.

Two people were confirmed at this service — young man named Maron and lady named Nelli. It goes along with tradition of the ancient church, where baptism was conducted at the Easter vigil. At the day of resurrection of the Lord His new disciples were resurrected also. Though we do not reserve only Easter for baptism and confirmation, we try to coincide it with this great celebration.