Dearly beloved by the Lord,
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever! The community of St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Mission  in Iowa City, IA has a very urgent opportunity that we would like to share with you. As you will see in the accompanying pamphlet , we have a wonderful chance to purchase a building that would allow us to continue to grow and serve God in our Midwestern college town. I cannot speak highly enough regarding the generosity and sacrificial giving that has characterized our own members, but I rejoice that we are not in this alone. We are, perhaps, a little toe on the Body of Christ. You are part of that Body as well. We are all connected to the Head through our common baptism and the reception of the same Eucharist.
Simply put, we have 75 days to raise $275,000. This will allow us to complete the purchase and renovate the interior so that it is a fitting place for Orthodox worship. With this building, we will be able to provide adequate space for all who want to come, instead of seeing people leave on Sundays, because they literally cannot squeeze in. We will also be able to have sufficient space for our Sunday School so that we may invest properly in our youth, the future of our church. Finally, with this building, our visible profile in the local community will be raised, and we will be able to more effectively reach out to those who haven’t heard of us or the Orthodox faith.
All gifts donated during this drive will be deposited in our Building Fund, which is currently has a balance of $46,000. If for some reason we are unable to complete the purchase of this property, all the money in this fund will be used to secure a larger and more permanent church building when another opportunity arises.
Would you partner with us, to help us insure that the Orthodox Church sets deep and lasting roots in Iowa City, Iowa? Please look over the enclosed information and act quickly to help us meet our goal. We want to be here for our children and grandchildren, and also for future generations of students, faculty and staff of the University of Iowa. In the cooperative spirit of our patron saint, we are happily pan-Orthodox and are here for people of all backgrounds.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art the good steward, who redeemed Adam and Eve of their failed stewardship by offering Thyself for the life of the world. Thou didst teach us in the feeding of the multitudes that whatever we give to God is returned to us multiplied. Thou didst praise those good and faithful servants in the parable of the talents who returned to the Master their gifts. So help us to learn the joy of stewardship, remembering that everything we have comes from Thee and belongs to Thee. We know, Lord, that we often live in fear of the future and insecurity. Help us to remember the lilies of the field and so to trust in Thy providence. Grant to us a cheerful and generous spirit. Enkindle in the hearts of all Thy people a zealous love for Thee. For Thou art the Good Steward, and to Thee we give thanks, praise and glory, together with Thy Father who is from everlasting and Thine all holy good and life-giving Spirit now and ever and onto the ages of ages. Amen.”
(A Prayer for Stewardship from www.stewardshipadvocates.org )
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Ignatius Valentine