Saturday September 14th Exaltation of The Cross Feast Day

Parish Retreat 10am - 2pm Dr. Stephen Muse “the Way, Truth, and Life of the cross”

The Feast Day will begin with Matins at 6:45am followed by Divine Liturgy at 8am. Picnic Lunch will be provided. Please invite your friends and others who are interested in growing spiritually. his discussion will be interactive and compelling.

We are very blessed to have Father Deacon Stephen Muse as our guest speaker on the Feast Day of the Exaltation of the Cross.  He is a very well known leader of Orthodox retreats and conferences who has authored 10 books including 'Being Bread' our Lenten Book in 2018.  His Topic of "The Way, Truth and Life of the Cross" will challenge us to see How The places where we perceive God as absent and our burdens as great are the very crosses we can use to more deeply encounter Christ. He will challenge us with provocative statements like "The Cross is the presence of God in a human experience of God's absence". 

He described his secondary theme of "Eucharistic Living" this way as a recap of The topics and contemplation of "Being Bread" :

"Suffering And joy, both permeated by and rooted in the longing for Christ, have given meaning to the experiences and prompted the life-giving dialogues that have been transformative for me over the years. For me these are an essential nourishment, a daily being bread seamlessly connected to the Eucharist. The philosopher Miguel de Unamuno in his book the Tragic Sense of Life says “those who believe that they believe in God, but without any passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God-idea, not in God Himself.” Elder Alexander of Gethsemane makes a similar and related observation when he says, “The amount of suffering that the soul can accommodate is also how much it can accommodate the grace of God.”  I think we study and write books about the things we are Trying to learn. In that sense, the book a small testimony to what I have learned and how much I have yet to learn about the great challenge of learning how to truly listen to another person, and to love them."

His very impressive bio below:
Dn. Stephen Muse, PhD, LMFT, LPC, BCETS, ACS is senior pastoral psychotherapist and Director of Clergy-in-Kairos, a nationally recognized week-long intensive stress and wellness program for clergy and their spouses at the Pastoral Institute, Inc. in Columbus, Georgia.
Prior to his entry into the Greek Orthodox Church in 1993, he pastored a Presbyterian congregation for 11 years and helped begin an out-patient psychiatric clinic in Delta, PA. He served on the Assembly of Canonical Bishops Pastoral Praxis Committee, and the OCA task force on Spiritual Abuse. He is past president of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion and now serves on their Advisory Board.
Fr. Stephen trained and supervised U.S. Army and Air Force Chaplains in pastoral psychological integration for 21 years and has worked extensively with combat veterans, persons experiencing spiritual pain and Trauma and with clergy, physicians and therapists suffering professional stress and burn-out. He has an active practice in pastoral psychotherapy and teaches and leads workshops and retreats throughout the U.S. and Internationally in areas related to Orthodox theology and psychotherapy, particularly healing and growth from stress and trauma and marriage as a spiritual path.   
He graduated from Davidson College with a degree in Philosophy, with an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary where he was first introduced to the Philokalia and studied patristics briefly with Fr. Georges Florovsky. He earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Loyola University of Maryland in the field of Pastoral Counseling and did post graduate studies in marriage and family therapy at University of Georgia. He is Diplomate certified in Pastoral Counseling and in CPE; in Professional Psychotherapy and Traumatic Stress. He is a Certified Professional Counseling Supervisor; AAMFT Approved  Supervisor and State licensed in Georgia as a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist.
He has published ten books, contributed chapters in ten others, and is author of 60 articles and book reviews for various professional and trade Magazines including national award-winning research in the area of religious integration of therapists and their capacity for clinical empathy. His work has been translated into Russian, Greek, Swedish, Serbian and Romanian. He served as Managing Editor of The Pastoral Forum from 1993 to 2002.
Fr. Stephen is the founding church planter and first parish council President of Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Columbus, GA Where he currently serves as a Deacon. He and his wife Diakonissa Claudia have four children, a grand-daughter and three grandsons. They live in Columbus, Georgia.
His books include

  • (in press) Words Into Spirit: Pastoral Resources for Confession, Muse, S., and Thermos, V. (eds.) Waymart, PA: St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press.

  • Isha’s Voice, Sebastian Press, 2019.

  • Pain, Suffering and Resilience: Orthodox Christian Perspectives, Muse, S., Berg, J., Woroncow, H. (eds.), Sebastian Press, 2018.

  • η φωνή της Εύας (Dimitra Psychighiou, illustrator) Phosphorus: Athens, Greece, 2018.

  • Treasures in Earthen Vessels: Prayer and the Embodied Life, Waymart, PA: St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press, 2017

  • Be Your Self - Amim’s Great Discovery (Dimitra Psychighiou, illustrator), (Greek and English editions, 2016).

  • Caregivers as Healers & Confessors, Muse, S., Berg, J., Woroncow, H. (eds.), Witchita, Kansas: Eighth Day Institute, 2016

  • The Peddler and the Disenchanted Mirror (Greek and English Edition, 2016)

  • Being Bread (2013, 2015)

  • When Hearts Become Flame: An Eastern Orthodox Approach to the διά-Λογος of Pastoral Counseling. (2011, 2015) (Greek Edition in 2014)

  • Raising Lazarus: Integral Healing in Orthodox Christianity, (2004)

  • Beside Still Waters: Restoring the Souls of Shepherds in the Market Place (2000)