Reports the OCA's Diocese of the South website, "Dr. Jeffrey and Caryn Macdonald have been accepted as Missionary Candidates by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, to serve the Orthodox Church in Albania. Dr. Macdonald will be assisting the Holy Resurrection Seminary outside of Durres as a long-term missionary.
Christianity, and indeed all religious life, was outlawed in Albania under communist rule. With the end of communism in 1992, the Church has begun to rebuild both Church buildings and the Christian community. To help to rebuild Church life and provide teachers of the Gospel, the Holy Resurrection Seminary in Durres was established to train local Albanian clergy and Church workers.
Dr. Macdonald previously taught Church History and Old Testament at St. Herman’s Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska, helping to prepare Native Alaskans for service in their local Church. Dr. Macdonald studied at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, following an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies and Archaeology. He later completed a Ph.D. in Early Christian Studies.
The Macdonalds and their five children live in Texas and attend an Antiochian parish, St. John the Forerunner Orthodox Church in Cedar Park. They are now raising support for their future work in Albania."
Biographical information available here.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
Attached hereto is a subscription form to sponsor an ad in the Souvenir Journal being published by the Church of St. Anthony the Great in Spring, Texas on the occasion of the opening of their new church temple. Note that these are reduced subscription rates which are only applicable for ads sponsored by DOWAMA congregations. Questions? Be in contact with Fr. Anthony Baba, proistamenos at St. Anthony Church, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember also that Souvenir Journal ad placements for the 2011 DOWAMA Parish Life conference are available and the deadline is May 1st. Click here to download the order form (PDF).
His Grace Bishop Basil passes along an update from Japan:
Dear Orthodox family, thanks God, through the prayer of Orthodox family, situation of the suffered places is getting better. We appreciate your e-mails with prayer and thoughtfulness. They were translated and uploaded to Japanese page to encourage brothers and sisters struggling in Tohoku. And we were much grateful to know donation for this disaster had started in many places. Yesterday, we received photos of two church located in the Sanriku Coast, uploaded to the website: http://www.orthodox-jp.com/westjapan/earthquake/201103earthquake_en.html. There were five churches along Sanriku Coast, with deeply indented coastline, suffered by tsunami. We found out that one is destroyed, one is still unknown, but the other three were safe, even though minor repairs seemed necessary. Especially, Holy Ascension Church in Sakari (Ofunato) is quite safe, even though City of Ofunato is one of the worst destructed places. Bishop Seraphim of Sendai said the Diocese made contact with 80% of parishioners living in the coastal area and continue investigation on damage of parishioners, too. Please continue keeping us in your prayer. Fr. George and Maria
What is IOCC doing to help in Japan right now? Emergency Response Coordinator Jamie Helfer gives us the latest on the situation on the ground, what help is being offered and what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months. Click here to listen to the interview on OCN.
The latest update from the IOCC:
March 18, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — With financial support from an emergency grant of $25,000 from the National Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society and contributions by private donors, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will provide humanitarian assistance such as medicines, food and other essential items to communities in the earthquake and tsunami-damaged Pacific coastal districts of Japan in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaragi. The assistance is being distributed by the Orthodox Church in Japan in cooperation with regional authorities. All of the aid to be distributed is expected to be obtained locally in Japan.
The faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese wish to offer their fervent prayers on behalf of those suffering from Friday's earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Via his grace Bishop Basil, some information regarding the Orthodox community in Japan from Maria Matsushima Junko:
We appreciate your love and prayer. I received many emails from friends.
Nagoya, where I live is all fine. But northern Japan are suffered much. Vladika Seraphim of Sendai called Tokyo office by his cell phone and said that the cathedral in Sendai is safe, but he cannot contact with parishioners or recognize situation and damage of his territory, as telephone and electricity stopped. There are many small churches and chapels there and many brothers and sisters. Fr. Vasili is old and sick, living near coast.
"Master, bless! I am very privileged to be a daughter of DOWAMA! I am overwhelming thankful for the generous donation of $1,000.00 the Diocese's Clergy Brotherhood has donated to my support fund through the OCMC!! I am grateful for and humbled by our Diocese's continued support while we are beginning the medical ministry here in Tanzania. It is amazing how exciting these past seven months have been. I am so grateful also for the Diocese's continued prayers for my teammates and me. Thank you, holy fathers of the DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood, for asking my dad about me and for asking how things are going here. Please visit my website and share with your parish about the ministry beginning in Tanzania! My personal website page is http://missontanzania.blogspot.com/ and my OCMC profile page is http://www.ocmc.org/missionaries/missionary_profile.aspx?MissionaryId=12 In Christ's Everlasting Love, Katie Wilcoxson."
Retreat Master: Fr. John Ballard
Friday, April 1st, to Sunday April 3rd
Located at John Knox Ranch near Wimberly, Texas.
Hosted By St. Elias Teen SOYO, St. Elias Orthodox Church, Austin, TX
Contact Fr. Dave Lewis for more information:
Cost is $50 per participant. Registration form and Medical Release are Mandatory! Forms and $50 registration fee must be sent by March 27th to
St. Elias Orthodox Church
408 E. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78701
C/O Fr. Dave Lewis
Paul Sidebottom of St. Mary in Wichita, will leave for Kolakata (Calcutta), India in mid-March where he has accepted a position at St. Ignatius Orthodox Boys' School. Paul wrote to Bishop Basil: "Your Grace: Your blessing. I can give a little history of the mission there. Father Ignatios (Sennis) a hieromonk of Stravronikita Monastery on Mount Athos began the current mission in India in the 1990s. He was later joined by his cousin, Sister Nectaria (Paradisi) - their family is from Corinth, Greece. In India, our Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration is in Kolakata, blocks away from the Hindu temple of Kali, the goddess of destruction and patroness of the city.
With all eyes and hearts focused on Jesus Christ, a pan-Orthodox gathering of clergy and their parish councils came together for a common meal in Oklahoma City, OK. With this being the third annual gathering on February 13, 2011, a solid tradition is being established for Orthodox unity in central Oklahoma.
St. Elijah (Antiochian), St. George (Greek) St. Mary’s (Ukrainian) and Holy Ascension (Antiochian) all had a chance to share what the Lord is doing in their midst. Mr. and Mrs. Kory Warr were our hosts and The Very Rev. Constantine Nasr was our emcee. Father Jeremy Davis, of St. Elijah, shared about a successful seminar that will be implemented annually at St. Elijah called, “Sex as God Intends.” That is a two-day seminar for middle-school and high-school students with presentations made by the clergy, medical personnel and laity. By sharing this, it helped to spark the interest in duplicating that ministry for the other Orthodox congregations.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
We thank God for everyone's safe return to their homes and families following the close of our 39th Annual DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat, led by Dr. Krastu Banev of the University of Durham in the UK, which was held at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas this past Tuesday through Thursday.
Update: Unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances this event has been cancelled.