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New Scholarship Available for Youth Workers in House of Studies Youth Ministry Program

In an effort to educate Antiochian parish youth workers, the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) is pleased to announce that with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, SOYO will award the first scholarships to Antiochian Archdiocese parish youth workers this fall, specifically for those registered in the St. Stephen Youth Ministry Concentration. The Scholarship Application and Policy statement are available online; the deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 31, 2015.

Currently the Scholarship Fund has $217,095.87 invested (as of April 30, 2015). Teen SOYO raised and gifted $200,000 to establish this Youth Worker Scholarship during the 2013 Archdiocese Convention.

Download the application here.
For a complete listing of scholarships, view our Scholarship page.

2015 SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarship is Available

Presenting the check for the Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker ScholarshipPresenting the check for the Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker ScholarshipWith the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, NAC SOYO announces that the application for the 2015 SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarship is now available.

Download 2015 Application Form (PDF)
Due Date: July 31st, 2015

Requirements for Eligibility

The following are the requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for the Youth Worker Scholarship.

  • The applicant must have been an active member of an Antiochian parish for at least the last five years.
  • The applicant must be active in youth work.
  • The applicant agrees to enroll in a recognized Orthodox Christian program with a youth ministry focus or component; programs such as the St. Stephen's Youth Ministry Concentration of the Antiochian House of Studies.
  • The recipient will seek direction from the Chairman of the Archdiocese Department of Youth as to which institution is available for training.
  • The applicant is willing to make a minimum three year commitment to parish youth work in the Antiochian Archdiocese either as a volunteer or on a paid basis, but only following completion of the program [EC1] .

Youth Ministry Leaders Meet with Metropolitan Joseph

L to R: Fr. Joseph Purpura, Sandy Mitchell, Fr. Noah Bushelli, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain, Khalil Samara, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Anthony Yazge, Carole BulezaL to R: Fr. Joseph Purpura, Sandy Mitchell, Fr. Noah Bushelli, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain, Khalil Samara, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Anthony Yazge, Carole BulezaOn Tuesday, April 21, 2015, Metropolitan Joseph convened a meeting at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ, with all of the Antiochian Archdiocese Youth Ministry leaders.

In attendance were:
V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura – Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry
V. Rev. Fr. Anthony Yazge – Chair of the Department of Camping and Director of College Ministry
V. Rev. Fr. Noah Bushelli – representing home school parents
Carole Buleza – Director of the Department of Christian Education
Khalil Samara – Fellowship of St. John the Divine (Young Adult Ministry)
V. Rev. Thomas Zain – Spiritual Advisor of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine
Sandy Mitchell – representing Antiochian Orthodox parochial schools

His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn, NY, also joined the group for lunch.

His Eminence set forth his vision for youth ministry in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and called all of those in attendance at the meeting to start working together in their efforts to form the youth of the Archdiocese. He also stressed the importance of increasing our efforts to form our youth in Christ.

"It's time to renew our efforts, not to abolish what has been done," he said. "We must build upon what we have received, what has been delivered to us....We have a great task before us to improve these ministries to our young people across the Archdiocese. It is the right time for change and improvement.

"We cannot bury our talents," he concluded.

Department of Youth and SOYO Launch Improved Donation Portal

Fr Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, writes:

Christ is Risen!

The Department of Youth and NAC SOYO have implemented a new donation page that now gives donors the opportunity to select the area of youth ministry they want their donation to be applied.

Donate securely online today to the following ministries:
General Fund (for youth projects)
Department of Youth Ministry
Healthy Youth Program
SOYO Leadership Conference
SOYO Metropolitan PHILIP Youth Worker Scholarship
SOYO Special Olympics
Teen SOYO General Account

Utilize our secure online donation page through the Antiochian Events hosting service.

May our Risen Lord continue to bless all of your good works!

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph
frjoseph@orthodoxyouth.com
Twitter: @FrPurpura

Applications Being Accepted for Summer Music Institute for Youth: July 9-12

Chris Farha, the Diocesan Sacred Music Coordinator for the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America writes:

This will be our fourth year for Youth Music Ministry at the Department of Sacred Music's summer Sacred Music Institute. Each year, the numbers grow but every year the students walk away changed, inspired and better equipped to serve their churches with a heightened awareness, more knowledge about the hymnography of the Church and a better skill set with which to vocally execute the music of the Church. They establish deep friendships with their peers who are of like mind and cultivate those friendships throughout the year. It is a wonderful program that I also feel blessed to participate in and hope that you might help promote it in your parishes.

Sacred Gift of Life Sunday

January 20, 2013, is the Sunday that precedes the 40th anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court Decision of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. This Supreme Court decision overturned all moral and logical reasoning that most citizens of our society held and practiced. Since 1973, over 43 million lives have been aborted. Approximately 93% of the women who have had abortions cited they did so for social reasons (i.e. unready for responsibility, can’t afford the baby, concern over how baby would change her life, etc) as opposed to issues regarding the mother’s health, the baby’s health, rape or incest. These few facts are very alarming for us as Orthodox Christians who hold all life as sacred and holy.

The teens of our archdiocese are very concerned about this issue and desire to do whatever is in their ability to help bring about change that leads to godliness and holiness. The members of the North American Council (NAC) of SOYO, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, are leading our Archdiocese in observing the “Sacred Gift of Life Sunday: Protecting the Life of the Unborn”. Our teens, as part of the celebration of January as Orthodox Education Month, are furthering their education, understanding and commitment regarding the Orthodox Church’s teaching on the sacred gift of life and abortion. In turn, they are helping to bring a greater awareness to the faithful of our parishes and throughout their local communities.

The teens are mailing to every Antiochian Archdiocese parish a packet of resource materials linked below.

First Annual NAC Teen SOYO Day of Service

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, chairman of the Archdiocese's Department of Youth and Parish Ministry, announces:

On Saturday, March 21, 2015, the first Annual NAC Teen SOYO Day of Service will be hosted by SOYO chapters across the United States and Canada.

In reverence to the fundamental virtue of love, NAC Teen SOYO has asked that its chapters across the country dedicate this common day to the service of their local communities. SOYO members are being encouraged to organize an event on this date that will enable you to show Christ-like charity to your neighbors. 

View the flyer for more details

Youth Workers Meet at Antiochian Village, Announce New Events

Youth workers representing Orthodox jurisdictions from across the country met at Antiochian Village on January 22, 2015, and are excited to announce a new series of unprecedented, inter-jurisdictional "Be the Bee" themed events. "Be the Bee" is a popular weekly video podcast hosted by Steven Christoforou, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's Youth Protection/Parish Ministries Coordinator.

Orthodox youth and young adults are invited to a series of monthly, day-long retreats. Each month, from August 2015 to May 2016, "Be the Bee" will be visiting a different city across the United States, offering Orthodox youth an opportunity to worship, learn, and have fun together. Retreats will also offer programs for young adults, parents, and youth workers. For more information, please contact the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese at y2am@goarch.org.

Additionally, Orthodox teens and parents are also invited to a "Be the Bee" retreat Veteran's Day weekend next year, November 11-13, 2016. It will be held at Camp Nazareth, in the Pittsburgh area, and will offer a unique, multi-day "Be the Bee" experience. For more information, please contact campnazareth@acrod.org.

Youth workers are also invited to next year's Orthodox Youth Workers and Camp Conference, to be held January 28-30, 2016. For more information, please contact the Orthodox Church in America's Chair for the Department of Youth, Youth Adult, and Campus Ministry, Andrew Boyd, at aboyd@oca.org.

New SOYO Spiritual Advisor Appointed for Diocese

Fr. Mousa HaddadFr. Mousa HaddadFr. Patrick KinderFr. Patrick KinderArchpriest Joseph Purpura, Department of Youth Chairman, reports:

For several years Fr. Patrick Kinder has served the youth of the Diocese of Toledo exceptionally well. We are very grateful to Fr. Patrick for his good work. We pray that the next six months, in which Bishop Anthony has granted Fr. Patrick a sabbatical period of rest, are very fruitful ones.

With the blessing of Bishop Anthony, Fr. Mousa Haddad of Palos Heights, IL, has been appointed as the new Spiritual Advisor for SOYO for the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. I ask that you give him your full cooperation. Please pray for both of them.

Father Mousa Haddad is the pastor of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Palos Heights, IL, Chicago's southwest suburb. Father Mousa was born the eldest of four children. His parents immigrated to the United States from Jordan, making Chicago's southwest side their new home. Growing up, he was very involved in the Church, serving in the holy altar from a very young age.

OCCHY Offers Videos on Substance Abuse Prevention

The Antiochian Archdiocese's Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) is a unique national alliance founded and supported by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Archdiocese. The ministry focuses on establishing, training and leading substance abuse prevention and intervention coalitions across America.

On May 22, 2014,  OCCHY's active Cicero, Illinois Coalition hosted a Town Hall Meeting for parents and teens, titled "Underage Alcohol & Substance Prevention." Sponsored by the federal government's Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration, the meeting featured law enforcement and mental health professionals, who presented talks about how to ensure safety and sobriety for teens. The presentations are available on YouTube and may be viewed on OCCHY's website.