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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.

Michigan SOYO Teens Participate in Pan-Orthodox Mission Outreach

The young members of our parish—the SOYO of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Livonia, MI—just returned from a trip that made history. We were all so blessed to participate, support, and watch this holy work take place!

On July 18, our twelve teens: Ibrahem Alrabady, Melissa Ansara, Celine Barghout, Pascal Barghout, Hani Kandalaft, Marisa Khamis, Joseph Nicolas, Michael Nicolas, Elena Saliba, Natalie Samaan, Katerena Sirhan, and Kaila Ziadeh, and two trip leaders, Christina Stavros and Michael Ansara, traveled four hours north on the first ever, 2015 SOYO Summer Mission Trip, to help "build up" the first Orthodox church in Traverse City, MI, the Archangel Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church. To our knowledge, this is the first mission trip, ever, in the history of our parish and, perhaps, the first time one mission parish has offered to help a mission parish in another Orthodox jurisdiction build their church.

Diocese of Toledo SOYO Newsletter, September 2015

2015-2016 Midwest SOYO Board with His Grace Bishop Anthony2015-2016 Midwest SOYO Board with His Grace Bishop AnthonyThe Diocesan SOYO Board for the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest has released their September 2015 newsletter. They write:

"Christ is in Our Midst! He is and Ever Shall Be! The summer is now coming to a close, and most of us are returning back to school, and preparing for an amazing year of "Living the Orthodox Faith in Christ!" This summer was very busy for many as the 52nd Archdiocese Convention took place in Boston!

During the convention, we participated in Leadership Training to better serve you and your SOYO. Feel free to contact us and ask questions! We can help! It was a very successful meeting, as we discussed meeting etiquette and past, present and future events. We were very blessed to meet His Beatitude Patriarch John X and had a chance to ask questions! What a blessing!"

Read the full newsletter.

Midwest Clergy and Laity Fall Gathering + October 16-18, 2015

The 2015 Midwest Clergy and Laity Fall Gathering will be held on the weekend of October 16-18, 2015 and hosted by St. George of Fishers, Indiana. There will be a 'Village at home' theme providing a similar schedule of events as those held at the Antiochian Village camp. Register early before October 1st for $35 and after for $40. There will be fun for all ages!

A flyer, registration form and a parental consent/teen code of conduct form are attached below to fill out and send. Please register soon! 

Diocese of Toledo SOYO Newsletter, October 2015

Christ is in Our Midst! He is and Ever Shall Be! The Midwest Board hopes that you are having a great start to the 2015 school year! If you couldn't already tell, the year is flying by! Not only is October the beginning of Fall, but October marks the beginning of Youth Month!

Throughout the month, SOYOs all across the Archdiocese take on a lot of responsibility, but most importantly, grow closer to their faith during this month. Like last year, we will have a Youth Month Challenge for your SOYO to send us pictures! Your pictures will put you in a drawing to win the package of a gift card to your favorite pizza place, prayer ropes, and an icon! Some examples your SOYO can do is Epistle readings, help out with candles, ushering, collecting trays, and raise money on SOYO Special Olympic Awareness Day October 18th!

Read the full newsletter

Diocese of Toledo: St. George Church in Indy Hosts Successful Fall Gathering

This year's Clergy and Laity Fall Gathering, our diocese's annual Delegates' Meeting, was hosted by St. George Church of Indianapolis/Fishers, IN, under the leadership of Fr. Nabil Hanna and with the assistance of Dn. Joseph Hazar. The Fall Gathering (formerly Midwest Delegates Meeting) is an opportunity for our diocese's clergy, lay leaders, teens, and others to meet for spiritual fellowship and to work toward a common vision for the year. This was the best attended Delegates' Meeting in many years, with a total of 203 participants made up of 32 Clergy, 70 youth, 41 Ladies, 32 Young Adults, and 28 Men.

The aim of this gathering was to offer something to every group so that the members of this diocese could come together as a family. The meetings began on Thursday, October 15 and 16 for the Clergy. Sessions were offered on the subject of youth ministry by the Director of the Antiochian Village, Fr. Anthony Yazge, as well as a session by His Grace Bishop Anthony.

The theme for the weekend was "Village at Home," where the staff of the Antiochian Village brought aspects of summer camp to the parish.

Diocese of Toledo SOYO Newsletter, December 2015

Christ is in our Midst! He is and Ever Shall Be! The Midwest Teen SOYO Board would like to wish all a very happy holiday season! Due to some technical difficulties, we were not able to have a newsletter for the past month, but should be up and running for the rest of the year!

With this being said, we would like to formally thank all the parishes that participated in the Youth Month Challenge, as well as those who attended the Fall Gathering! The Fall Gathering was hosted by Saint George of Fishers, Indiana, and had a well-attended gathering! In terms of Youth Month, we would like to also recognize the winning parish of the Youth Month Challenge, The Basilica of Saint Mary, in Livonia, Michigan! We would like to stress how grateful we are that all of those who participated and had many a great deeds done! May God bless all those who participated in the unity of your SOYO within Youth Month 2015!

Read the full newsletter

Save the Date: Annual Orthodox Christian Camping and Youth Worker Conference is January 21-23, 2016

The Very Reverend Dr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, has announced that the January 2016 Annual Orthodox Christian Camping and Youth Worker Conference for parish youth workers, SOYO Advisors, and Teen Advisors, is set for January 21-23, 2016.  The Conference will be held at St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas, TX, and the theme is "Feed My Sheep: Crisis, Trauma, and Everyday Life."

Parishes are encouraged to send their Parish Youth Workers, Youth Director and Teen SOYO Advisors. More information will appear on the Orthodox Christian Camp Association website's conference page, once additional details are confirmed.

Assembly of Bishops to Host September Youth Gathering in Conjunction with Chicago Meeting

His Grace Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland & the Mid-Atlantic, writes:

A Youth Gathering will take place on Tuesday September 15, 2015, during the Assembly of Bishops Meeting in Chicago. Please pass the word – All young people are invited.

When: Tuesday evening, September 15, 2015
Where: Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral - 5701 North Redwood Drive - Chicago, IL 60631
Who:  High school and college students from the Greater Chicago area with the bishops of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox bishops of the United States
What:  A dialogue between our Orthodox youth and the bishops of the Assembly

As of now I believe there will be:

1. A service – led by the Assembly of Bishops
2. Perhaps a discussion with the youth prior to the service to gather questions and prepare them for the event and help them to get to know each other
3. A Question and Answer period with a panel of bishops and the high school and college students
4. Food to follow

Please get this news out, and bring your young people to this event.

Next Pan-Orthodox "Be the Bee" Youth Retreat is August 29 in Austin, TX

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry, encourages youth workers, parents, and young people to attend their nearest Pan-Orthodox "Be the Bee" Retreat. The retreats are starting in August 2015 and repeating each month in different locations throughout the United States, until May 2016.