Over 300 College Students Move Mountains!
Boston, MA - Mountains were moved through faith, fellowship and worship during the fantastic five day College Conference offered by Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) focusing on the theme of "The Faith to Move Mountains". Over winter break, over 300 Orthodox Christian college students from across North America attended OCF's annual College Conference held on the East Coast at the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA and on the West Coast at St. Nicholas Ranch in Dunlap, CA.
These conferences, which are planned and run by members of local OCF groups, aim to promote unity among Orthodox Christian young adults and to rejuvenate their faith as they continue on their personal journey to salvation. This year's conferences featured two well-known and dynamic keynote speakers: at the West Coast Conference renowned author and speaker Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of Saint Vladimir's Seminary; and at the East Coast Conference distinguished author Fr. John Chryssavgis, Theological Advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch on Environmental Issues. In total the conferences showcased 15 enlightening and dynamic workshop speakers with topics including "Faith to Follow vs. Faith to Lead," "Faith in Today's Society,"
"The End of Times and Life After Death," and "Purity, Virginity, and Sanctity." In addition to these presentations the conferences held daily worship services and social events. Social activities included snow tubing, a trip to Sequoia National Forest and Pre-New Year's Eve Dances. The conferences also offered a focus on serving others with 120 participants registering for the National Bone Marrow Registry and 75 letters sent to Orthodox Missionaries and Prisoners.
This year's conferences were a tremendous success with 305 total participants and six out of nine SCOBA jurisdictions represented.
One participant declared,
"I felt that this conference was spiritually moving and a great way to meet others who share the common interest of Christ."
Another student stated,
"The conference was incredible. Small groups...those are the best, most inspiring and life-changing times."
Over the past ten years thousands of college students, high school graduates, and young adults have gathered for the 5-day events sponsored by OCF, the official campus ministry of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). In reflecting on the growth and success of the College Conference, Program Coordinator for OCF, Joseph J.
Samra shared, "These conferences serve as a pivotal mid-year re-focusing point for so many of the participants. The fellowship seen in the social activities, the service accomplished by helping others and the worship witnessed when 220 students come to Compline at 1 AM attest to the positive impact 5 days can have in the life of a college student."
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official campus ministry effort of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). It is a Pan-Orthodox effort, overseen by an Executive Committee and aided by a sixteen-person Student Advisory Board. The office is located in Boston, MA, where a full time staff develops OCF programs and resources.
The staff is available to guide and support local OCF chapters through communication with the larger Orthodox community, national programs, and development of resources for use by Orthodox college students. SCOBA designated the 3rd Sunday in September each year as "College Student Sunday" to raise awareness of our students on campus and OCF's activities.
A group of College students pause for a picture in between activities at the OCF East Coast College Conference. Daily activities included worship, workshops and social events.
OCF will continue to grow these conferences, which have become powerful influences in the spiritual lives of Orthodox Christian young adults. For more information, or to become a participant in future College Conferences or OCF programs, go to www.ocf.net or call 800-919-1OCF.