His Grace Bishop Thomas will be speaking at the Brotherhood of St Moses the Black's 19th Annual Ancient Christianity and African-American Conference on May 25-27, 2012 at the Antiochian Village.
The annual conference of the Brotherhood of St Moses the Black, the Ancient Christianity and African-American Conference offers an opportunity to explore the ancient African roots of Christianity as well as discuss the Orthodox Faith in relation to the African-American experience.
The Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black is a Fellowship of Orthodox Christians seeking to first bring ancient Orthodox Christianity to African-Americans. Secondly, the brotherhood attempts to root and nourish African-Americans in the martyric experience of their righteous Christian forefathers and foremothers, both in Africa and America.
The Bible Bowl for 2012 will be centered on the Epistle to the Romans. Materials to help prepare your teams can be obtained here. Please remember, all Bible Bowl questions will come directly from the text and not from the website.
Please also encourage your senior and junior SOYO members to participate in all of the festivals of the conference. Please go to the Festivals web page for additional information on the festivals contests, which will be added to the site in the coming weeks.
Lastly, please talk to your church school directors, youth directors and Teen SOYO advisers, and encourage them to include time in their activities to prepare for the Oratorical, Creative Arts, Photo, Writing and Poetry contests for the upcoming church year.
On behalf of the Metropolitan, thank you for your cooperation in making next year’s PLC a success!
Yours in Christ,
His Grace Bishop Thomas writes:
Beloved in Christ,
Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of the servant of God the Archpriest James Deep. Fr. James is retired and the former pastor of St. Anthony Church in Butler, Pennsylvania. Funeral arrangements are pending.
As the parishioners of St. Mary Church in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania were concluding their observance of the Dormition Fast in preparation for the Great Feast of the Dormition, their parish nameday, Bishop Thomas arrived in Chambersburg to celebrate with them.
Fr. Ted Pulcini, St. Mary’s pastor, drove His Grace into Chambersburg during the afternoon of Friday, August 12. That evening Bishop Thomas presided over the final Paraklesis service of the fast, leading a group of parishioners in their supplications to the Mother of God.
The next morning, Fr. Ted accompanied Sayyidna to the St. Seraphim Center, a FOCUS-affiliated ministry conducted by the parish to feed the needy in the Chambersburg area. The Center serves lunch to some 35 to 45 guests twice a week (on Thursdays and Saturdays), complementing the lunch schedule of the local Salvation Army. The Center will be observing its second anniversary this fall and is now well recognized as a welcoming community center in the Chambersburg area. Since last fall, the Center has also offered recycled articles of clothing, free of charge, to men, women, and children who need them. Bishop Thomas commended the work of the Center and gave his enthusiastic blessing to its continued efforts.
Antiochian hierarch His Grace Bishop Thomas is among a group of five bishops whose audio interviews have been posted in a special feature on the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America's website. More interviews are planned as the series unfolds over the coming months.
The Assembly site explains that the twelve-member Secretariat of the Assembly, led by His Grace Bishop Basil, initiated these conversations, "a series of audio interviews of the Assembly's fifty-three member hierarchs by Archpriest Josiah Trenham (proïstamenos of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, CA and director of Patristic Nectar Publications) for the purpose of providing a broad swath of perspectives to the Church-at-large on the significance and work of the Assembly."
Along with His Grace Bishop Thomas, the other bishops featured in this first set of MP3 interviews are: Bishop Daniel, Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Bishop Maxim, Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North America, Archbishop Nicolae, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, and Bishop Ilia, Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Please join us at the Antiochian Village from September 23-25, 2011 for the Patronal Feast of St. Thekla Convent. This is the 33rd Annual Pilgrimage at the Village and the 3rd since the founding of the monastery.
As Orthodox Christians, our lives are a type of pilgrimage, so why set time aside to attend the St. Thekla Pilgrimage? The key is in "setting aside." We invite you "to set aside all earthly cares" and to join us in refocusing and refreshing ourselves in our Orthodox life. Like St. Thekla, Protomartyr and Equal to the Apostles, together we will pray at the Divine Liturgy and services, obtain guidance and direction from the Gospels for our lives at home, and enjoy fellowship with other pilgrims.
Through the intercession of Saint Thekla, may this Pilgrimage be blessed!
Speakers and Workshops
The speakers for the weekend are His Grace, Bishop Thomas, who is our guest Hierarch and Mother Alexandra, who will offer a talk on prayer.
There will be four workshop sessions offered concurrently:
Orthodox Family Life
This session will discuss the daily Pilgrimage of Orthodox life in our homes, how faith directs us and how the love of God binds us.
On Friday, June 24, 2011, on the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, Bishop Thomas, the bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, made an episcopal visit to the faithful at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Lewistown, Maryland. St. John the Baptist Mission is the only Western Rite church in Maryland, and is one of only four Antiochian Orthodox churches in the United States that has taken the Forerunner of Christ for their name and patron saint. Bishop Thomas’ visitation coincided with the mission’s celebration of their annual patronal feast.
The celebration began with evening Vespers, followed by the tonsuring of Reader Jude (Marty) Hobbs by Bishop Thomas. The fact that Marty keeps a shaved head gave occasion for a bit of levity as Bishop Thomas took up the scissors, looked at Marty’s head, and proclaimed, “We’ll see what we can do here!” A bit of Marty’s goatee was sufficient for the ritual tonsuring, and with the prayers of consecration said by His Grace, the newly tonsured Reader Jude chanted his first epistle reading from Philippians 2 before Bishop Thomas and the people of St. John the Baptist.
Now that summer is in full swing, His Grace Bishop Thomas reminds all families that camp season is here! Urges His Grace, "Visitors to Antiochian.org should be linking onto the Camp website in order to see the children of their Diocese enjoying the Antiochian Village Camp."
Go here for regular Camp updates and new photos.
Message from Donna Starke, Creative Festivals Coordinator:
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As the coordinator of the Eastern Diocese, I would like to thank you, your Church School Coordinator and your young parishioners for participating in the Festivals. As you know this year’s theme is “Be mindful O Lord of the Priesthood, the Deaconate and every Priestly rank.” I am sure you will be pleased to see some of the artwork they have done and read some poems and essays showing how much of an impact you have on them! Attached you will find the list of winners for the 2011 Creative Festivals.
All students who participated will receive a ribbon, and winners in grades 1 through 12 will receive an icon in July at the Parish Life Conference from His Grace, Bishop Thomas. Please encourage winners from your parish to attend the awards ceremony. It is a lovely way for them to have their talents and efforts recognized.
At this time I ask that you make arrangements with someone in your parish to arrange to pick up all creative festival entries and prizes from the hotel at the close of the awards ceremony on Saturday, July 2.
If you have any questions, please contact me by email at or on my home phone.
Thank you again for your ongoing support.
Creative Festivals Coordinator
Donna_starke@comcast.net or (609)426-0429