June 2010 letter
A few days ago we started the fast of the Apostles, that we agreed to dedicate every year in remembrance of everyone away from God. Just as the apostles suffered for Christ’s love and spread the faith in the whole world, so the least we can offer for our brothers is to fast and pray to God for them, for He does not wish the death of a sinner but to return and live.
It seems appropriate during this fast to read and study the book of Acts, which explains the features of the early church and how was the powerful spread of early Christianity through a small number of the apostles and disciples. In fact there are many features of the early church, including: the clear work of the Holy Spirit – regular prayer and communion – care for education – the life of the company and one heart … and so on. Let us focus on only 3 features:
Apostolic succession: every church was founded by one of the apostles, for which he ordained bishops and priests. Thus the teachings in the apostolic churches is guarded by the teachings of the apostles and fathers, and no person has the right to invent a new idea or doctrine, by which he would establish a new church.
Continuous education: based on the Bible, and we note a strong knowledge of the apostles of the Old Testament and their quotings from the Prophets and the Psalms.
The life of the communion: which is based the Holy Communion. An interesting remark is that on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles as tongues of fire, to address the problem of babbling of tongues which occurred prior to that hundreds of years, giving to humanity the sense of unity rather than division.
Regarding our church news, through God’s grace we started the procedures for purchasing the third house next to the church, and have agreed to designate this house as “St. Mina and Pope Kyrollos”. By adding this house, the land becomes almost square, enabling us to build a services building to accommodate the growing needs of the service. For example, when the church service started in 2002, the number of Sunday school classes were 7, and now they became 13, this in addition to other services that need to be accommodated. So, after the completion of the procedures, architectural work will start that we hope will end soon so we get the required approval, and then let the start of construction for of God’s grace.
Asking you to keep the church, its priest, servants and all services, in your prayers. May the blessing of Saint Mary, Saint Philopateer Mercurius, and the holy apostles be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, June 1, 2010