Skete.com: Summer 2007 Newsletter and Donation Appeal
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Summer 2007 Newsletter and Donation Appeal

The Season After Holy Pentecost

My Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 Glory be to Jesus Christ! 

 When the Church commemorates feasts, we not only remember those holy events that so inspire us, but we All Saints - F89 actually in some mysterious way enter into the intersection of time and Eternity where the past and present meet.  Thus we are present at this great Feast of Holy Pentecost as the Holy Spirit in the form of cloven tongues descends from on high and illumines and enlightens the Most Glorious Apostles of Christ so that they may fulfill the Divine Mission of the Church to preach the Gospel to the whole world.  Here begins the healing of the division of tongues and of the confusion of language and thought by the bright knowledge of God infused into the hearts of the Faithful. 

 We are the children of these Holy Apostles, and in this mystery, also their contemporaries, and they are both our fathers and our brothers in this God-given revelation of the Faith.  May our hearts be open to that same Holy Spirit and that same Holy Faith, so that by the bright radiance of Grace we may become Christ’s disciples too in these later days.  How can we do this?  By bold entreaty, and by bold belief that the same God Who loved them from the beginning loves us also, and that in hearing their divine words both in our ears and in our inmost being, we may have “our hearts burn” as did Luke and Cleophas on the way to Emmaus with the words and acts of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  O Holy Apostles, pray unto God for us!

 We are very excited at this time in our lives as our Open House and Sacred Arts Festival is so near, coming up soon on June 23 and 24 this year.  We are quickly finishing our detailed planning to accommodate the many pilgrims and friends that will be with us this year.  Choosing a date this year that is five weeks earlier should hopefully make this event at a cooler and more freshly green time of the year.  June is very beautiful in Southwest Wisconsin, and we hope to see you this year.

   Our wonderful new church dedicated to St. Nicholas has come a long way since last year. Even since our last newsletter, much has changed and I was so glad to see just today the woodworking on the iconostasis, or icon screen, finally completed.  The upper hand-carved cherry panels are in place, the turned rope columns are attached, the cross on the Holy Doors is put on, as is the cross on top of the the Royal doors arch, and the trim under the angel icons is put on.  Our new oil lamps are here and ready to go up in the next few days.  When things consistently turn out better than you thought, only God can be thanked, as He has blessed this church with holiness and with great beauty.  It makes me wonder what it will be like when all of the final hand-painted iconography on the walls and ceiling are in place.


  Iconostasis Iconostasis Close-up
 

 Iconostasis

 

 All of the remaining trim on the windows, doors, closets, and the baseboards (which are also cherry wood) is in place too, and we are putting the protective finish on the exterior doors and windows right now, which should be done by this weekend.  We want everything to look beautiful for those who will come this year and be with us in just a few weeks time at the Open House.   Two entry way cabinets, one to hold all of the icons for the year, and the other for the candles for the Faithful are just completed as is the new entry way coat rack.  There is a new cabinet also installed in the vestry to house the rest of the priest vestments and altar vestments.  Each part of the trim, cabinetry, coat rack; as also the rope columns and crosses on the iconostasis are all done in beautiful hardwoods, either cherry or walnut.  I was speaking with our carpenter and good friend Ignatius Vereschagin today as he was putting the knobs on the cabinets how fortunate we are to use such fine materials, and he said, “Of course, it’s for the church, Father,” and he continued, “I just love this kind of work!” 

 

      New Cabinets    New Cabinets
 

 In Holy Altar                        +++++++++                      Entryway

 

 New candle stands, a new holy table, and a new seven branch candleholder are on the way from overseas, as are two folding lecterns and a censer stand.  It is possible that some of this will also be here for the Open House, but we will have to see.  For the first time in this construction project, we have gone into debt to finish what we can in preparation for the consecration still set for this September 22, 2007.  We owe the monies for the rest of the interior cherry doors, the last carpentry work and materials for the trim, cabinets, coat rack, and iconostasis completion.  This was necessary to keep the work flowing while the fine carpenters were still available (we lost a window of opportunity once before in this church construction that cost us five months waiting).  We are intent on finishing within the time restraints for this consecration.  It is the same necessity of timeliness for the items in the holy place and the candle stands that has made us willing to take on these debts, but now we must pay them back. 

 Won’t you help us complete our task?  Right now we owe about $5,000 more for the doors, stairs, and balustrades; $4,000 more for the vestry and entry way cabinetry, the iconostasis completion, and door, window, and baseboard trim, and the finishing of the exterior doors and windows; and about $6,000 for the overseas items for the altar place and candle stands.  This is a total of $15,000 that we wish to pay as soon as possible so that the very final preparations for the consecration of St. Nicholas’ Church will be ready, and so we may maintain its striking beauty both inwardly and outwardly.  Please see if you can help us once again.  Our last donation appeal was less than we hoped and so we have had to come back with more requests sooner than we had planned.

 In the past I have divided the amount that we asked by a hundred or hundred and fifty possible donors and asked for $100 to $150 so that if those donors responded, we could keep going on with this construction to bring the church nearer to completion.  This time I am asking for more, if possible.  Your goodwill and great generosity have sustained the consistent and steady moving forwards on the church.  I won’t do the math for you, but ask that you be most generous and most prayerful, and give whatever your heart tells you, and pray that we do our part to make all this be for the manifest glory of God and His Saints.  At the consecration we will prepare plaques with all of our donors memorialized (but not each amount, just the names of those who have generously contributed), and we will continue always to pray for our benefactors in each Vespers, Orthros or Matins, and Divine Liturgy church service, asking that God give divine gifts for your earthly gifts, and make your homes a seat of mercy, and a place of grace.  Ours is a good symbiotic relationship as we pray for one another, and support one another in every good work. 

 Most of all, we pray that the true gift of God in the descent of the Holy Spirit be upon you in this Holy Season after Pentecost, and so bring your hearts and minds up into the Heavenly Realms.  May your lips praise the Most Holy Trinity and may that Infinite God, Who knows all things, see our good intentions, our willingness in spite of our weakness, and our heartfelt prayers for one another, and bring us up together to the blessed abode and Kingdom of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen. 

   



 

    God bless you and keep you in His Holy Name.

 

        Keep us in your prayers and love,

 

            Your Brother in Christ,

 

            Father Simeon, Abbot and Archimandrite

              and the brotherhood of St. Isaac of Syria Skete

              and the sisterhood of St. Silouan’s Convent

              and the community of St. Nicholas Church

 

 



 

 
 



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