Corona Virus Updates

 

Live Stream of Services at Our Parish

Live Stream of Services at Other Parishes

Divine Liturgy Service Book - Ages Initiatives (Phone App available at App Store or Google Apps)

Links to Lenten Service Books Other Than Divine Liturgy  

Messages From Metropolitan Gerasimos

Helping Families and Individuals in Need

Corona Virus Information From the Harvard Medical School 

Things to Keep You and/or Your Children Busy

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Parish Announcements to Date (In Chronological Order - Latest First): 

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April 2, 2020

From: Father Joseph

The Eparchial Synod has asked all Clergy to add the following two petitions to the "Litany of Peace" of the Divine Liturgy and other sacred services (additions in bold):

“For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger and distress, and from the peril of the coronavirus against us, let us pray to the Lord.

 “For our brethren, those who lead the fight against the coronavirus, the doctors, the medical workers and the scientists, let us pray to the Lord.”

Also, just a quick reminder that we join the monks of Mount Athos every day for fifteen minutes of prayer between 12:00 pm. and 12:15 p.m. 

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Your world"

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April 1, 2020

From: Philoptochos

Subject: Resources for Families

Dear Friends of St George,

In my position not only as Philoptochos President, but as a mother and especially a teacher in the Bakersfield Community I wanted to share with you some resources to help your families during this crisis that may help you and our young people stay connected. All of this information was provided by my school and I thought it was a great idea to pass along to you.

School Life:

All school districts are doing their best in getting out electronic devices (Chromebooks) to students as well as hotspots. If you do not have Internet access, you can call Spectrum at 1-844-488-8398 if you have school age children in your home and they will provide you Internet access for free. 

Food:

  • If you have children under 18 living in the home with you, you may go and get food (Breakfast and Lunch) provided by local schools daily Monday - Friday. Please realize that the children need to be in the car with you when you go to the school, and cafeteria personnel will provide the food for each child. This will be ongoing until school resumes and through Spring Break.
  • On weekends, the Boys and Girls Club is providing the same Grad and Go service yet they are providing Lunch and Dinner. The same rules apply, as long as the children are in the car with the adult, that many meals will be given to that particular car.
  • For families or students older than 15, if you arrive at the Gleaners Food Bank (1326 30th Street) at 7:30 am and volunteer, you can receive a week's worth of food for your family. 
  • St Vincent de Paul Church (300 Baker Street) is serving meals at 9:00 am and noon Monday-Friday and on Saturdays at 9:00 am. 

Mental Health:

Stay safe - stay connected - and keep the faith.

May the Panagia (Mother of God) help protect us during this time.

Elaine Dorlis

St George Greek Orthodox Church

Philoptochos President

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March 31, 2020

From: Your Parish Council

Stewardship

Subject: St. George Greek Orthodox Church Stewardship


First and foremost let’s pray that this pandemic will end soon and our beloved
church life will resume. In the meantime, at the current rate of 80% weekly decline in stewardship, the church will need to use cash from restricted fund accounts and or our small endowment fund to meet monthly obligations. A Stewardship Contingency Plan Committee and a Finance Committee have been formed to evaluate the situation and inform the Parish on dramatic changes to our budget. Details to come soon.

Stewardship is our response/thanks to God for his abundant gifts and blessings to us. As stewards, we contribute by giving of our time, talent and financial donations. Many thanks to those who are regular contributors in 2020! We encourage families to do your best to continue supporting St. George Church. Keep in mind young adults who are working and either living on their own or with their parents are considered their own family unit and should begin to contribute to stewardship. Instructions below will guide you on making a 2020 pledge. In addition, there are three giving options for you
to choose from.

How do I Pledge?
Making a pledge is simple. We ask parishioners to pledge and indicate their financial commitment to St. George on an annual basis. To fill out a Pledge card you can download the form on our website www.stgeorgebakersfield.org and click the Stewardship page, then click Stewardship Commitment Card. Complete the form and deliver it to the church office, drop off in church mail box or email it to stewardship@ourparish.us

Giving Options:
There are three easy ways you can fulfill your annual contributions. Weekly or monthly giving is encouraged, rather than one lump sum. Choose the one best suited for you.

Option 1 = Credit Card using our Square App – Send an email to
stewardship@ourparish.us or text message to 916-778-9739 requesting
authorization for charge to your credit card. We need:
1) Full Name and telephone number
2) Credit card number, expiration date, security code and billing zip code
3) Stewardship contribution amount (you can choose recurring payment if desired)
Option 2 = Pay Pal – Visit www.stgeorgebakersfield.org and click on the Donate tab to automatically be directed to PayPal to enter your donation with a few simple steps. You can also select the box for automatic monthly donation.
Option 3 = Check – Please complete the check payable to St. George Greek
Orthodox Church and ensure your name is noted on the check. Note the details of your donation on the memo line. (For example: Stewardship) St. George Church non-profit Tax ID number is 95-3575365.

Further Questions?
Please contact Stewardship Chair Julie Pierucci juliepierucci@sbcglobal.net

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March 30, 2020

From:  Father Joseph

Subject: Zoom Chats with the Youth of our Parish

Dearly Beloved Parishioners,

We continually pray to our loving God for all our parishioners and our world for healing and restoration.  May God prepare us all for Holy Week and to celebrate Pascha with the joy of the Resurrection regardless if we must do so from our home churches.  

It is vital that utilize whatever means we have at our disposal to remain united as a parish and in touch with one another.  We have been encouraged by the Metropolis (and Archdiocese) to utilize the Zoom application/forum to stay in touch with one another and to hold our Parish meetings.  For those who are not familiar with Zoom, it is extremely easy to use, something like FaceTime or Skype.   We will be using Zoom regularly in the Parish so if you desire to participate in our meetings, discussions or the scheduled “Open chat with your Priest" it is essential for each parishioner and/or family to have an account.  

One may get an account for free (see link below).  One may use it on their desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, or even call in with their cellphone or landline to participate with audio.   Below are the links for learning how to use Zoom, how to get a free account, and how to join the meetings we have scheduled for tomorrow (and in the future).  You might have to cut and paste the link in your browser for the link to work.  Please contact your Parish Council if you need more information.

We continue to pray for you and ask your prayers for us and one another.

In the love of Christ,

Fr. Joseph

Here is the link to a video on how to use Zoom :

https://www.youtube.com/embed/hIkCmbvAHQQ?rel=0&autoplay=1&cc_load_policy=1

Here is the link for families go open a free account.

https://zoom.us/pricing

Here are the links to join the following meetings scheduled tomorrow.

2:00pm Chat with the Priest for Elementary aged parishioners (20 minutes)

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/457937188?pwd=L2hyOUZTR3A1V0Fja0ExR29zS2ZwZz09

Meeting ID: 457 937 188

Password: 000707

3:00pm Chat with the Priest for Jr. High and Sr. High parishioners (20 minutes)

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/135127906?pwd=QThycjcwZzhnNkwvamQ5Q1YrUWI3dz09

Meeting ID: 135 127 906

Password: 068555

7:00pm Youth Group Meeting with Daniel Andrews and Fr. Joseph (1 hour)

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/643696550?pwd=djBXZFhmMnhCNjY4cVl3WGhMdVpDQT09

Meeting ID: 643 696 550

Password: 029501

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March 29, 2020

From: Your Parish Council

Our Treasurer, Osama Dawood, has put together the attached comprehensive review of benefits available through Federal and State Programs, many of which have been put in place to deal specifically with financial hardships as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

Please take the time to read through the attached document as there is information that is pertinent to all of us (especially regarding tax filing dates).  

Osama has also made himself available to help any parishioners with questions and he can be reached at 916-778-9739 or omdawood@msn.com

Federal and State Benefits and Information Related to the Covid 19 Pandemic

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March 27, 2020 (From Father Joseph)

Letter from Father Joseph and Communion Update

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?... in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:31,37

March 27th, 2020
Holy Matrona of Thessaloniki
 
Dearly Beloved,
 
Let me begin by conveying the paternal blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos to you all. He is praying constantly for his flock, and for the health, salvation and preservation of the church during this crisis.
 
In the midst of the crisis, let us remember that we are never alone, for Christ always walks by our side; and with Him are His mother and all the saints. Together we are one body, His Body, and as long as we remain united to Him and to one another, we are “made more than conquerors”, we will persevere, we will overcome, and the church will ultimately be made stronger.
 
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our community and all our aspects of our life, we, your shepherds, and all the parish leadership remain dedicated to you, our parishioners, and to exploring new and innovative ways to include you in our services and ministries in a safe and effective manner. With God’s help, we will overcome the unique challenges we are faced with.
 
In order to provide some pastoral guidance to assist our parishioners in their time of need, the Metropolitan put together a devoted team of experts who came up with a road map to help guide the clergy and parish councils to this end. The Metropolitan “met” with all the clergy (via Zoom, a video conference forum) to prayerfully and carefully review this excellent plan.
 
In order for us carefully review this road map and set up the necessary task force, the parish leadership “gathered” via Zoom (a first for us as a parish). We will be redesigning our ministries to keep them accessible to everyone via Zoom. This will take some adjusting on all of our parts, but we believe we are up to the task. We will keep you updated. Please read the present directives applicable to all the Orthodox churches under the Patriarch of Constantinople.
 
You remain in our prayers, pray for one another and for us that God would help us to guide the parish during these trying times.
 
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Fr. Joseph
 
Present directives of the Greek Orthodox Archdioceses of America applicable to all her churches
 
A. Federal, State and local directives either discourage or forbid public meetings, so through this crisis the church building will remain closed. Please keep in mind that YOU are the church, not the building, and we will continue our sacred calling with some temporary accommodations.
 
B. In order to protect the flock, all Orthodox jurisdictions have agreed to encourage their faithful to stay at home, and to stay united by following the services via the internet. The priest and chanters will continue the services, and they will be broadcast over the internet. Though the church doors are closed, the gates of Heaven are always open; your prayers at home will joined with ours at church and together we will continue to pray for the protection of our parishioners and the end of this epidemic.
 
C. Holy Communion is the very Body and Blood of our Lord Christ—the Healer of mankind—and as such, HE can never be a means for spreading any disease. Yet the people, areas and surfaces (rails, door handles, pews etc.) where the holy sacrament is administered are still capable of being carriers of the virus. Most Orthodox jurisdictions, including ours, have decided that it is safer to error on the side of caution, and encourage the faithful to remain at home until this pandemic has resided. Until then, Holy Communion is reserved only for the critically ill. Let us pray and hope this crisis will soon end.
 
D. Several ministries of the church will continue to “meet”, but only online via Facebook or Zoom, not in person. These includes our Parish Council, Philoptochos, bible study class, faith class, youth group, and others. Please refer to our website for more information and updates (http://stgeorgebakersfield.org/corona-virus-updates/).
 
E. We have formed ministries to care for all our parishioners in need, and to stay in touch with the regularly. You can expect calls just to see how you are doing, and if you have any needs the parish might be able to assist with. Please call your fellow parishioners and keep their spirits high. If you have a need or know of some who does, please contact the parish secretary at 325-8696 or stgeorgesecretary@gmail.com.
 
F. We ask everyone to continue to support the church in their stewardship in any way you are able. Your parish council is already leading the way by example. We are exploring ways to help our parish economize and limit expenditures. The Stewardship Committee will provide several options to allow everyone to send in their stewardship gifts to the church.

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March 27, 2020 (From Father Joseph and the Parish Council)

From:  Father Joseph and Your Parish Council

Please see the important following announcement from Metropolitan Gerasimos.   Let's all pray together for the healing of the world. 

 

Beloved in the Lord,

 

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

 

Though we may be physically separated from one another, we are always united by our faith. Prayer is especially important during this global health crisis. We have a unique and special opportunity as Orthodox Christians to all join in prayer on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. PST, at which all of Mount Athos will be praying a vigil dedicated to the Theotokos and Saint Haralambos for deliverance and healing from the Coronavirus pandemic. I encourage you to separate yourself from distractions and offer your personal prayers at this designated time.

We are deluged by news reports, but these must not be the focus of our attention. Rather, let us call upon the name of the Lord, as our Savior and the Healer of our world.

With Love in Christ,

+Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco

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March 25, 2020 (From the Monks of Mt. Athos and Father Joseph)

Dear Reverend Fathers and Friends,

The holy monks of Mt. Athos have requested for Orthodox Christians all over the world to pray a special form of the Jesus Prayer every night (Greek time) from 10 pm to 10:15 pm (12:00 p.m. to 12:15 p.m. local time) for all the world suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Your world!"

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Please join us in praying this prayer every day at noon for 15 minutes (Mt. Athos is 10 hours ahead so our time 12:00 noon to 12:15pm).  This will be broadcast from St. George daily starting tomorrow.  Please find your prayer rope or purchase one from the bookstore (Julie will bring it to your door if needed).  As the local Body of Christ, let us unite our prayers with whole Body of Christ around the world for Christ’s intervention and healing.

In Christ, 

Fr. Joseph

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March 20, 2020 (From the Parish Council)

From:    Your Parish Council

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Your Parish Council met Wednesday night and made a commitment to provide regular updates, information, and resources as we work together as a parish in this difficult time.   Father Joseph also agreed to provide regular words of encouragement to help us all through this difficult time.

We established a Corona Virus update center that can be accessed here.   It can also be accessed from a link on our parish homepage at stgeorgebakersfield.org.

This site will serve as a repository for all things related to our response to the current Corona Virus pandemic.  This includes:

A library of past messages that have been sent to the parish. Links to stream live services from our parish and links to other parishes that stream their services. Links to Liturgical Resources Messages that we have received from Metropolitan Gerasimos Ways to help families and individuals in this parish navigate through this difficult time. Corona Virus information from the Harvard Medical School

We are today adding a new information page:  Things to Keep You and Your Children Busy.  This page has links to activities, information, and entertainment.    If you have suggestions for additional links to be added please email webmaster@ourparish.us.

We also wanted to share the following two resources:

Orthodox Homeschooling Resources – A list of resources that you can use to supplement your child’s current public school or home school curriculum.

Food for Hungry People 2020 Calendar – A fun and interactive way to gather money to help those less fortunate through Benevolence Fund. 

Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns please send them to webmaster@ourparish.us.  They will be forwarded to the appropriate party and we will monitor to ensure a response. 

May Christ guide us through this time of uncertainty, and give strength to all our parish. 

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March 18, 2020 (From Father Joseph)

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8.

Dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our world is facing perilous times, unprecedented for our generation. The global Corona virus crisis is deeply affecting all of us. As Orthodox Christians, no matter how faithful one might be, we are not immune to the fear and anxiety surrounding us. During these trying times, let us remember that we are God’s own children, and as such will be cared for by Him: Let us even more deeply “entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ”. In Him we will overcome.

Our beloved hierarchs and your priests are striving to be good shepherds and do everything possible to protect our flocks. Our hierarchs are in constant contact with our national and statewide health officials and departments and are being regularly updated and on what steps we should all take to keep ourselves and one another safe and out of harm's way. In turn, they are relaying these steps and directives to your priest so he is able in turn to share them with you his flock.

Allow me to share (at the end of this letter) the latest updates and directives we have received from our hierarchs: their aim is to help protect our parishes, and our community at large. Your Priest and Parish Council together are striving to work hard to keep all of our beloved members safe, to keep our parish united, to keep our services running as smoothly as possible, and to keep our beloved church clean, safe and financially sound during this crisis. Please keep us in your prayers.

Let me close with an encouraging true story I recently heard, concerning this present crisis and one of our latest saints who lived in our lifetime. St. Nikephoros the Leper suffered horribly, but patiently, all of his life from leprosy. He remained a tremendous source of encouragement to those around him and was given many gifts from God, including the gift of healing through his prayers. In Greece, just recently, a spiritual father shared a story about his spiritual children, a couple well known for their exceptional humility, faith and piety. They were weeping for the plight of the world and deeply distressed over the Corona virus and the panic,
deaths and sickness it was causing. At some point St. Nikephoros the Leper appeared to them and told them to take courage and not despair, that God had heard his prayers and would listen and heed to his intercessions for the world to end this crisis. This too will pass.

We are never alone, but have powerful people in high places, who love us and love God, and who God listens to and heeds to their prayers. Through their intercessions may Christ have mercy on us and our fallen world, and save us once again from this terrible crisis.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph

Corona Virus Directives
SERVICES
The Patriarch has instructed our Greek Orthodox churches to suspend all Liturgies,services and rites effective today. For your benefit, Presbytera and I will try to do all services and broadcast live on Facebook so that they can be viewed remotely by all our parishioners wherever they might be. The services will also be recorded so that they will available for later viewing. Please check our website for links to these recorded services. Please check our website for updates and the latest news concerning our church services.

PROGRAMS
All programs, ministries, fund-raisers, events etc. where parishioners normally meet or congregate are cancelled effective immediately. You will be informed of any changes. Please check our website.

VISITATIONS
If anyone comes down with flu-like symptoms, that is fever, cough, or sneezing,please refrain from visiting anyone. Please stay home and seek medical help if needed. Please call your priest!: There are several in the parish who are trained, prepared and ready to assist you in any way we are able. We want to make sure you are safe and well cared for.

Until further notice, parishioners should refrain from exchanging handshakes, hugs and kisses among fellow parishioners. Please use extreme care and caution if you are going to visit our elderly or immune compromised parishioners. Call them first. During this crisis, it is prudent to wear a face mask and sanitize our hands when visiting them. Let us remember to carefully clean/sanitize any gift we might give or container we might use to share food etc. with any of our fellow parishioners.

SACRAMENTS
Every effort will be made to provide our parishioners access to the Holy Sacraments, especially Holy Communion and Confession, as practically and as frequently as possible. We are in the process of exploring our options and seeking direction on how we may do this in full compliance with all the directives we have been given. This is the challenge all our parishes are facing.

FACILITIES
The Church Hall and Sunday school building will be cleaned and sanitized and remain locked. The hall bathrooms will remain clean and sanitized, and for now, accessible only to the Priest, secretary and Parish Council members. I am waiting to receive the latest directives on what access to the church our parishioners might have during non-service hours. As your priest, I will remain available during office hours, and in church during appointments and services, and throughout the week to care for the needs of our beloved parishioners.

CARE FOR OUR FELLOW PARISHIONERS
We are a family, and as such, we will keep in close contact with our elderly, shut-ins and all those who might need our help during this crisis. Some of those needs will be for prayer, some will very likely be financial or for basic needs. The Benevolence Committee will be ready to help as we able. All the needs will be listed on our website when practical, and as usual, those who have material needs will be kept anonymous. Please be ready to be called upon to assist your fellow parishioners during this most difficult time. Please check our website for the latest updates. May St. George and St. Nikephoros continue to intercede for us.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph


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March 11, 2020

Archbishop Elpidophoros and Metropolitan Gerasimos have asked that the following procedures be implemented immediately in all Greek Orthodox parishes to help contain the spread of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus).  The procedures were developed based on the instructions of the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).

  • All parishes will provide stations in the Narthex and for the Faithful to disinfect their hands as they enter the Church.
  • Signs will be posted at the entrance that recommends sick persons not attend the Services, but participate via our Facebook page. You can also access live video from St. Sophia Cathedral on Sunday morning as well.
  • The clergy will not offer their hands to be reverenced and will refrain from touching the faithful either through handshakes or an embrace.
  • Signs will be posted recommending that honor be shown to Icons and the blessing cross by only bowing.
  • No books (Liturgical or Scriptural), will be kept in the pews. Divine Liturgy books will be provided that can be taken home and brought back for services. The services can also be accessed at the Ages Initiatives website. Select the date and the “Divine Liturgy”.  Weekday Lenten services can be found on our website (http://stgeorgebakersfield.org/lenten-resources/lenten-service-books/)
  • The Faithful will not receive the Antidoron from Father Joseph, but the faithful will take them on their own as they leave the church. In the case of the use of flowers (Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, Palm Sunday, Holy Friday), the Faithful will take them on their own as they leave the church.
  • On Holy Wednesday (Holy Unction), Father Joseph will anoint each of the Faithful using separate cotton-tipped swabs. The Eucharist will be distributed as per usual.
  • When the “Kiss of Peace” is exchanged, parishioners will avoid contact but instead bow to one another. After every service, all liturgical objects and surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned.