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Monthly Message from Father Niko – November 2019

 

manger

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

It seems that every year I read in the Wall Street Journal about the impact that holiday shopping has on brick and mortar stores, large corporations, and online sites – and it is tremendous! Companies determine their health for an entire year or even more, based on how successful they are in the fourth quarter of a year, during the times that Americans look for gifts for their loved ones. In some cases, it is booming business, while in other cases, the sales are less so and the company’s future might be in question. In either case, it is clear that shopping at Christmastime to try to find that perfect, all-elusive gift for our family members is a very big deal!

Gifts certainly are a wonderful expression of love for one another, in whatever country and whatever culture one belongs to. For us as Orthodox Christians, who are citizens of another “country,” our focus during this time period is on gifts, yes, but not those that we buy on Amazon.com or in stores. We focus on the gifts which God Himself has given us and continues to give us; namely, Himself. In all the bustle of the season – not just shopping but all the events we try to make it to – we would do well to remember that the greatest “Christmas gift” that has ever been given was given to us by the Creator Himself! Our tradition of giving gifts to one another comes from the gifts which the Magi brought to the new king, but we sometimes forget that it was the Lord who gave a gift first!

Through Jesus Christ, we are saved. His salvific ministry began in the cave in Bethlehem, that humble beginning which ushered in a new day for all creation because “God… visited His people,” (Luke 7:17) and in doing so, came to save us. Saint Paul reminds the early Christians of his time that what the Lord has done for us has absolutely nothing to do with merit. He came for the both lowliest sinner and the most virtuous, just the same. God came out of His love for us, and gave us the greatest gift of all, Himself. He began in the cave, surrounded by animals, and went all the way to Golgotha for us. It is this gift which we celebrate on this and every “fourth quarter” of the year, first and foremost.

May we embrace and celebrate this love which the Lord has shown and continues to show us, and remember that everything we have been given is a gift from Him to us. Amen!

Καλα Χριστουγεννα! Merry Christmas!

With love in Christ,
Father Niko Bekris

Our Church

Our Priest and Our Team

Liz Levy

Office Administrator

Marcelo P. Souza

Site administrator, teacher.

Renee Taylor

Communications Coordinator

Fr. Niko Bekris

Parish Priest since 2015

Anna Teodosiadis

Youth Director
Our Ministries

Latest Updates

The Crab Feed has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 4, 2020 due to the delay of the Bay Area commercial Dungeness crab season. Tickets are still available. Adults $50, Children $20 (12 and under). Contact the church office (office@cvresurrection.org or 510.581.8950) to reserve a table today!  

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Thanksgiving is a special time for all of us to give thanks to God for all He has done throughout the year and to consider how we might give back to Him. Please prayerfully consider giving a gift to the Lord by year end so your Parish can continue to strengthen her ministries and expand services for our beloved Parishioners.

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We Recognize and Celebrate the Veterans of the Resurrection Parish. We shall forever be grateful to the heroes who inspire and encourage us with their unselfishness, courage, and willingness to protect our freedom.

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Second Annual Ornament Exchange and Fast Friendly Potluck – Sunday, December 15th, 4:30 p.m.

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Mark your calendar and help us usher in 2020 in style!

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Our fabulous Resurrection Choir invites you attend their 37th annual Crab Feed on Saturday, December 7, 2019

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Join George Papageorge for an evening that will Ignite vision, discussion and brainstorming within the parish!

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All interested adults and middle/senior high school youth are encouraged to attend this new education class with Justin Bosl

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Join us for a potluck dinner and night of fun! All are welcome.

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Please join us for this year’s Golf Tournament at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton where once again, our Gyro Chefs, Baklava Sundae Scoopers, and team of Bartenders will be serving up our delicious Greek fare & treats!

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Life is short. Eat the Pastitsio. Dance the Syrtaki. Drink the Retsina. Channel your inner Greek and join us at the Castro Valley Greek Festival!

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“Proclaim” is the theme for the 2019 YAL Conference hosted by the SF Metropolis over Labor Day Weekend in Long Beach.

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From the Fathers

Spiritual Sayings

How mistaken are those people who seek happiness outside of themselves, in foreign lands and journeys, in riches and glory, in great possessions and pleasures, in diversions and vain things, which have a bitter end! . . . Happiness is found within ourselves, and blessed is the man who has understood this. Happiness is a pure heart, for such a heart becomes the throne of God. Thus says Christ of those who have pure hearts: “I will visit them, and will walk in them, and I will be a God to them, and they will be my people.” (II Cor. 6:16) What can be lacking to them? Nothing, nothing at all! For they have the greatest good in their hearts: God Himself!

The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.

A certain monk told me that when he was very sick, his mother said to his father, “How our little boy is suffering. I would gladly give myself to be cut up into pieces if that would ease his suffering.” Such is the love of God for people. He pitied people so much that he wanted to suffer for them, like their own mother, and even more. But no one can understand this great love without the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Do not say, “this happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.” In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance … How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God?

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