February is a season for conferences, as Orthodox Christians go indoors to escape the cold while enjoying fellowship and spiritual enrichment.
In a cyberspace gathering on February 11 and 12, the organization Illumination Learning ("Bringing Together Orthodox Christian Resources to Share with Each Other") will be hosting "Orthodoxy in the Home" in the first annual Orthodox Christian Online Education Conference. The line-up of speakers includes Fr. Luke Veronis, who will talk about how to teach children about missions; the sister singers of Eikona, who will discuss "Teaching Our Families the Hymns of Our Church"; and Antiochian priest Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, who will expound on how humor and the funny moments of family life are teachable moments too. Go here to register virtually, for this virtual conference!
The following weekend, February 18 and 19, The Climacus Conference will tackle great themes in philosophy, theology and literature in their series of lectures held at St. Michael Orthodox Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Clothing, food, Plato, marriage, Dostoevsky, a movie screening and more, will be discussed by academic notables such as Vigen Guroian and by popular authors such as Conciliar Press writer Molly Sabourin.
That same weekend, the pan-Orthodox coalition North Texas Orthodox Missions, is sponsoring the 2011 Festival of Orthodoxy Conference in two Texas cities, Fort Worth and Dallas. Featured guests Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green and Dr. H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr. will speak to the theme, “From Conception to Dying: Orthodox Christian Views in Today’s World.” Go here for information and registration.
Katie Wilcoxson writes to Bishop Basil:
Master, bless! Furaha na Amani (Joy and Peace). I greet you and the Clergy Brotherhood of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America from Bukoba, Tanzania, where I now reside. I wanted to let you know that, recently, the Clergy Brotherhood of the Archdiocese of Mwanza gathered for their own retreat. The priests travelled on buses' (sardine-packed vans) and motorcycles to get to Bukoba. They were here for a weekend. His Eminence Jeronymos invited two instructors from the seminary in Nairobi, Kenya, where many of the priests in the diocese studied. Some of the topics were chanting the troparia for the different Feasts , the worsening economy, and a report from the annual synod meeting.
Please find attached to this email three applications: Camper, CIT and Staff applications, the Check List and the Parent Booklet have been sent to the youth advisors and are online at www.campstraphael.org.
Here is how the process works:
2011 CREATIVE FESTIVAL COORDINATORS
2011 DOWAMA Parish Life Conference
Hosted by St. Nicholas Orthodox Church
June 15-18, 2011
Below are the Creative Festival Coordinators for 2011. Entries for the respective festivals should be sent to the addresses listed for each coordinator. If you have any questions regarding the festivals, you may contact the coordinator or Vasiliki Oldziey (contact information below.)
Bishop Basil writes:
Tomorrow, Saturday, January 22, 2011, marks the 38th anniversary of the greatly-lamentable decision by the United States Supreme Court known as Roe v. Wade. You are asked to prayerfully remember the victims of abortion (see the attached PDF, Service of Supplication for Victims of Abortion), and to educate your congregations about and support the life-affirming, Church-related agencies and organizations, such as "The Tree House" (www.wichitatreehouse.com), "Zoe for Life" (www.zoeforlifeonline.org), and "Orthodox Christians for Life" (www.oclife.org).
On Saturday, January 15, 2011, the first Divine Liturgy ever was celebrated in the new Holy Annunciation Chapel in Taos, New Mexico. Fr. John Bethancourt celebrated the service, the first ever in the Taos area, with the help from Subdeacon Raphael Nava and members of the choir and congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chapel founder Claire Brandenburg and several other local Taoseños also attended the service. Following the Liturgy, Fr. John led a presentation and discussion on the theology of Holy Icons in the attached Heavenly Ladder bookstore and coffee shop. It was a delight to see the further development of the Taos mission project and to assist the vine of the Orthodox Church as it takes further root in northern New Mexico.
Heavenly Ladder Bookstore was featured in a recent edition of The Taos News:
A recent article in the Houston Chronicle discusses Antiochian Orthodox Churches in the Houston area and explores trend of American conversion to Orthodoxy:
Like many of his parishioners, Father Richard Petranek came to the Orthodox church in search of the past.
After 30 years as an Episcopalian priest, Petranek converted to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and leads a new but growing parish in west Houston, filled almost entirely with converts to the ancient faith.
"Most people come for the stability," he said. "The same thing that is taught today in the Orthodox church was taught 500 years ago, was taught 1,000 years ago, was taught 1,500 years ago."
At a time when most mainline Christian churches are losing members, Eastern Orthodox churches — which trace their beliefs to the church described in the New Testament - are growing, both in Houston and across the United States.
Last fall, Archpriest Fr. Don Hock of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Omaha, traveled to India with the OCMC, in order to minister with a teaching team in an orphanage in Bakeswar, and in Calcutta. Composed of three laymen and three clergy, the six-member team taught catechism classes, visited with orphanage children, served liturgy in the Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Calcutta, and visited several Christian churches and sites of interest there.
"In many ways," wrote Fr. Don in his journal, "this was a full-circle event for me, as some of the missionary experience my wife and I had was in reaching out to the Indian immigrant population in England. And now, I was heading for India itself to preach the Gospel as before, but this time we were also bringing the fullness, depth and richness of the Holy Orthodox Faith to the hungry hearts of those waiting for us to come and minister to them." Read all of Fr. Hock's daily thoughts and impressions here in his Mission Trip Journal.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
WORTHY! Deacon Methodios Ingalls of St. Sophia Church in Dripping Springs, Texas was ordained to the holy priesthood and Subdeacon Gregory Farman of St. Elias Church in Austin, Texas was ordained to the holy diaconate on the great feast of Theophany which I served at St. Elias Church in Austin with all the clergy of the Central Texas Deanery. Fr. Methodios will soon return to St Tikhon's Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania to complete his final semester of graduate theological studies, while Deacon Gregory has been assigned to St. Elias Church.