Tenth Anniversary of A Return to Ministry and Mission
So the vespers program text is below. The sermon is posted separately.
In service to God and humanity,
Fr John Brian
August 6, 2009
Holy Transfiguration & Return to Active Ministry
Festal Vespers Program
Celebrant: Reverend Father John-Brian Paprock
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Madison, Wisconsin
August 5th, 1999 evening
Transfiguration is one of the Great Feasts of the Festal Calendar and is always celebrated throughout the Orthodox Church on August 6th. It commemorates the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, when the divinity of Christ was revealed to the three holy apostles who recorded that Jesus Christ was seen conversing with Moses and Elijah.
Traditionally, Orthodox services were completely chanted (only occasional prayers were spoken by the priest). This made for services that would last entire days without interruption. People would come and go as their bodies and souls dictated. To shorten the services for the unique character of modern Americans, many hymns are read. At times, if the chant is difficult to sing, a reader may read a hymn instead even though music is provided.
The entire theology and spirituality of the Orthodox Tradition can be heard through the services. Listening to the various hymns that will be read tonight can give insight into Christianity and into the Truths of the Great Feast of Holy Transfiguration.
The Blessing of the First Fruits (traditionally grapes) demonstrates the integration of Orthodoxy into the regular cycles of life. It is traditional to receive the celebrant’s blessing at the end of the service and to take a bite of the abundance of the fruit of our labors.
As you may or may not know, I was pastor of the Chapel of the Holy Transfiguration here in Madison for five years before my leave of absence (in 1992). Among the many facets of that ministry was a local newsletter that had the title of “These are Transfiguration Times.” That title seems as relevant for this time as it was seven years ago.
Although I have been reinstated to the Holy Priesthood of the Orthodox Church, I am still in the process of discernment. My call to ministry includes community in the most ancient of Christian traditions. I am dedicated to bring whatever healing and encouragement I can to individuals, groups, and the Church. Every chrismated (confirmed) Christian has a ministry. I hope to be honored in assisting and developing a Eucharistic community of Christians discovering and realizing their ministries in these “Transfiguration Times.”
There is a lot of work to be done and I hope you will support the ministry and join in the labor. Please feel free to contact me. My phone number and email are below.
There are so many who have sent their prayers and loving support from across this country. I would like to thank those that could not be here for their spiritual support and good wishes. Many thanks to my wife, Teresa - without her loving support and encouragement, I would not be returning to ministry. Thanks to Peter Scott Rawson for his enthusiasm and support. They also consented to be readers tonight. Thank you for your prayers and attendance at tonight’s celebration of a return to active ministry. I am honored and touched by your support and interest.
All things done for the glory of God and the welfare of mankind will be blessed. God bless and keep you and all your relations.
Rev. Fr. John-Brian Paprock