Summer Newsletter and Donation Appeal - 2016
Orthodox Byzantine Icons    Saint Isaac of Syria Skete
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Summer Newsletter and Donation Appeal - 2016

Dormition of the Mother of God - F87

Dormition of the Mother of God - F87

"The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and forever more." 
(Psalm 120:8 in the Septuagint numbering, 121:8 in the Hebrew)

    Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      Bless!  The Lord!

We are on a journey, a journey outside in our daily life and interactions with others and what we do with our time and attention, and yet also a journey inside to work with Christ to bring His Kingdom down into our hearts and minds—to make us Christ-bearers—with the living God active and expressive in whatever we do on the outside.  Often we are unaware of the inner life and its inner choices which affect everything else we do, but this can change for us if we become more aware with deliberate attention and practice.  This inner work is the challenge to make our life truly the most meaningful and blessed, so let us begin to ask Christ for help today.

When we work to attain things in this world, it is usually done by trying harder and learning how to become better at whatever we are doing.  This is the worldly way of progress and moving towards goals and fulfilling our desires.  In the spiritual life, however, although we must make efforts and have goals too, it is not just these efforts that bring results, but a living conscious awareness and dependence on God coupled with seeing our own weakness.  Christ told St. Paul this clearly when St. Paul asked Him for help to overcome a temptation.  The Lord said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  If we use our natural weakness and wake up to its many dimensions without avoidance or excuse, and become humble and dependent on Christ, just then He really, really helps us.

Common Monastic Building

 Common Monastic Building: Summer 2016
w. New Solar Panels Showing on Right

Our Monastic Life This Summer

The weather this Spring and Summer has been generally milder than other years, and we have not had any large downpours that in times past resulted in flooding from runoff from the surrounding hills.  Some hot days, but not too many yet.  Inside, we have recently had a series of unexpected troubles with computers down, telephone and internet lines down, broken water lines, several air-conditioners failing, and all of this within a compact two weeks.  It was day after day of troubles one right after another.  This is all fixed now, thanks be to God.

Our life of prayer continues and as we are looking forward to the Dormition of the Theotokos Virgin Mary’s Fast in August.  We at the Skete still struggle to just make ends meet, and this Summer is hard because of the many unexpected repairs that were needed to just function each day. 

Our wood supply for the back valley’s heat will need some additions for this coming Winter, but not as much as the year before because last year’s Winter was milder.  All the trees are now in deep Summer green, beyond the Spring’s lighter color, and the grass is growing abundantly. The spring-fed brook flows over its rock bed and makes a soothing burbling sound.  The birds are here in large numbers.  It’s summertime in Wisconsin.  Even the weeds are big, the corn of nearby farms is tall, and the alfalfa is in its third cutting.



Common Monastic Building Bath

Common Monastic Building:
Finished Bathroom

Common Monastic Building: Solar Controller & Inverters  
Common Monastic Building:
Solar Controllers & Inverters

Common Monastic Kitchen Area

  Common Monastic Building:
Kitchen Ready for Appliances and Cabinets 

Good News in the Skete Back Valley

The best news just now is that from the generous response to our last few special fund-raising efforts for completing the Common Monastic Building, all the tiling is done, as is all of the interior electric work, and the other basic interior construction.  All the plumbing fixtures (toilets, sinks, showers, and water heaters) are just recently in place, as are the solar upgrades from 12 to 24 panels, and from one to two inverters.  Thank you for moving this forward so the building can be livable.  All these changes are a big blessing for us and directly from your generosity.

The priority now is to set up the kitchen at least minimally (a small stove, a refrigerator/freezer, basic kitchen cabinets and counters, two sinks, and a prep table to assemble food).   We just were given a refrigerator/freezer and a stove from a kind donor, and they are enroute as we speak.  This reduces the cost for basic kitchen function to about $7,000.  Half of that is pledged in matching funds.  All appliances and systems are low energy in design throughout the building because it is an off-the-grid solar system.  Each donation of just $20 to $50 moves this closer to the reality of daily use.



In Closing

Our daily needs are still very important and for this we really need your help.  We feel that our work in supplying to the Faithful reproductions of the widest possible variety of the great icons of the world is important, and  it is our primary outreach from us here at the Skete to you.  Our icons are found in many, many churches, church halls, monasteries, seminaries, offices, and homes.  We are processing now many new historic icon images  that may total over 2,000 additional images, over and above the 2,800 images we already have.  Icons truly enliven spiritual lives.  This really matters.  Please help us do it by buying icons and making donations now to help us support our monastic life and this icon mission outreach.

Our desire to quickly finish the construction of our Common Monastic Building is very important too.  It is very close to being done, with the completion now of the solar and inside electricity, the tiling, the woodwork, and the plumbing. The last step for basic living conditions in this wonderfully green building is just the rest of the cabinets, sinks, and a food prep table-- just $7,000.  Help us move forward now if you can.

In this Summer, we are thanking God for His abundance in nature and trying to live through the slower months in our icon reproduction business cycle, while still keeping a focus on inward things.  This is all blessed work.  Please let us be a part of your charitable heart in prayers and gifts as you are touched to do so.  You are in our prayers and thoughts too.  May we all thank God for His generosity towards us by helping those in need.

There is a neighbor nearby who we recently met who has advanced cancer and no one at home to help her.  She lives in a trailer park on the other side of Boscobel.  We have been sharing some of our pantry goods with her, inviting her over for some of our midday dinners, giving her rides when needed, and helping with bills and a recent broken window in her mobile home.  She is dear to us.  Please pray for Linda.  Mostly she needs a kind ear, attention, care, and loving support, and it is a blessing for us to reach out to her.  God sends people to us so that in giving His mercy to them we may receive mercy too.  “It is better to give than receive” is only really understood by practice.  It is also a lovely way to draw near to Christ.  May we all enter a deeper relationship with God by drawing near to Him and to His people, and someday live with Him in the bright sunshine of His glorious Light.

Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The monastics at St. Isaac of Syria Skete
            and at the Convent of St. Silouan,
            and the Faithful at St. Nicholas Church
            and the Staff at Orthodox Byzantine Icons
            and at St. Isaac's Bookstore
  Click for General Monastery Donations Page

  Click for Donations to Common Monastic Building 


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