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Interview with Antiochian Archpriest Gregory Hallam, Manchester, UK

Archpriest Gregory Hallam, Dean of the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and blogger at Antioch Abouna, recently launched a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. Titled A Voice From the Isles, the podcast features Fr. Gregory's sermons and lectures, delivered to Orthodox Christians and inquirers in the United Kingdom. Recently, antiochian.org caught up with him in cyberspace, where he graciously answered our questions.
 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Father. How does a Christian clergyman in the United Kingdom end up as a priest and Dean in the Antiochian Archdiocese?

I wasn't raised in the Anglican Church but I served it for 12 years as a priest after coming to faith in my early 20s.  My journey to Orthodoxy is a long story so I will just give you a reasonably detailed but short summary. 

My first encounter with the Orthodox Church was at Anglican seminary 30 years ago when I attended a liturgy in English at a parish in the Greek Archdiocese in Southampton.  This was in the context of an ecumenical visit from our college to the church there.  I was blown away by the worship much in the same way that the emissaries of Kiev reacted after experiencing the Liturgy at the Great Church in Constantinople.  I then began a theological exploration of Orthodoxy while still at Anglican seminary and found that it rang true in every aspect of Christian life.

OCPM Urges Faithful to Remember Prisoners During Holidays

During the Holiday season, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, a ministry of SCOBA, has encouraged all Orthodox faithful to remember those who are behind bars, with our love, prayers, visits, and gifts. Go here to donate to OCPM.

 

 

 

Chaplain's Corner: What Happened to Christmas? A Lesson For All Godly People

By V. Rev. Archpriest Fr. George Morelli, Ph.D.

It is no secret that God and religion are being marginalized, that is to say considered irrelevant in modern secular society. Many work hard to remove all reference to God in our culture and nation. Consider Christmas, although a legal holiday by Act of Congress (signed 1870, June 28, by President Ulysses S. Grant) the religious significance is being systematically eradicated. For example, the secular “language police” have made sure a Christmas Tree is now a Holiday Bush and the proper greeting is no longer “Merry Christmas!” but “Happy Holidays!”” Here in San Diego a popular community celebration, for years called “Christmas On the Prado” and held in beautiful historic Balboa Park, was renamed a couple of years ago as December Nights in order to mollify the secular language police. The list goes on and on.

Orthodoxy Today Smart Parenting-Preparing For The Extinction Explosion

ORTHODOXY TODAY SMART PARENTING-PREPARING FOR THE EXTINCTION EXPLOSION

by V. Rev. Fr. George Morelli, Ph.D.

"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God." (Lk 18: 16) 

In previous essays (Morelli, 2008c) on marriage and parenting I have pointed out the importance of parents perceiving the spiritual and the psychological implications of their vocation.  A male and female, blessed by God in Holy Matrimony, are called up to be "[united] in one mind and one flesh, and grant them fair children for education in Thy faith . . . ."  This has to be  in the context that the married couple are individuals themselves, as are their children, made in God's image and called to grow in Divine illumination and  become like Him.

Bishop Joseph's Thankgiving Greeting

"O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever." (Psalm 107:1)

Beloved in the Lord:

Greetings and blessings in the Name of our Lord.

I wanted to wish all of you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. I thank God for all of you, and for your commitment to His Holy Church. May our time together this week with family and friends give us the opportunity to thank God for all that we have.

Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving, I remain,

In His Service,

+ Bishop JOSEPH

New AFR Podcast "Let My Prayer Arise" Focuses on the Psalter

The Psalms have been called the “Hymn Book of the Church” and contain rich and prophetic references to Christ. In this new Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Let My Prayer Arise," Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth, priest at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois, will be taking listeners through the Psalter to help them make the Psalms the prayer of their hearts. "The Lord's Prayer is the flower and the fruit, of the roots, stalk and stem of the Psalms," says Fr. Ellsworth. "When we pray, we are not alone," he adds. The Psalms, he explains, have three important aspects. First, they are a historical connection to the prayers of God's people. Secondly, the Psalms are Christological--Jesus Himself pointed out that the Psalms spoke of Himself. "They are nothing less than the prayers of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He would have been immersed in these prayers from infancy." Third, the Psalms are liturgical. "In this podcast, we will often reflect on where and how these Psalms are used in the Orthodox liturgy," promises Fr. Wilbur.

"I encourage you to listen with the Psalm text before you. Begin to read, and then, to memorize."

OCF's Four Holiday College Conferences Feature Notable Speakers

Orthodox Christian Fellowship reminds college students that registration for the 2010 College Conference is open HERE. This year’s conference focuses on the theme of “Behold, I make all things new,” (Rev. 21:5) and is being held in four locations, Chicago, IL area, Salem, SC, Bolivar, PA, and Dunlap, CA.

Hundreds of college students from throughout North America gather each year at College Conference in order to learn and grow with one another in their Orthodox Christian faith. With student organizers and participants coming from all jurisdictions, the event is an exemplary display of pan-Orthodox coordination and unity. During the Conference students participate in workshops facilitated by clergy and lay leaders which address topics relevant to college-aged students. As well, shared witness and Christian fellowship are woven into the time together making the event a truly edifying and transformative experience. Speakers include a scientist and professor Dr. Gayle Woloschak (Pennsylvania), Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA (Chicago), Archimandrite Meletios Webber (California)  and Father John Parker (South Carolina).

A limited number of scholarships are available and offered on a first come-first served basis. For more information and to register online please visit OCF's website.

Orthodox Christian Teen Survival Guides Available Online

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has announced that their newest resource, the Orthodox Christian Teen Survival Guide Brochure Series, is now available for free download. Each brochure offers teens the information they need to navigate through tough issues, some facts and statistics, the church's response, Q&A's, and resources for more information. The one-page handouts can be used for starting discussions, youth group gatherings, Sunday School, or even the church bookstore.

Starting in January, a podcast on OCN will supplement these materials. "Our kids today need a sacred image: our adults need to take a role," notes Fr. Christopher Metropulos, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Network. "It's tough being a parent, one of the most difficult jobs in the world," echoes Fr. Mark Leondis, Director of Youth Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Both priests will be hosting the podcast, which will target parents, youth workers, and all those who love teens. The podcast will mirror the online Survival Guide material for youth and help parents use the guide to discuss issues kids are faced with on a daily basis.

OCMC Mission Team Sign Ups Open for 2011

St. Augustine, FL – In 2010, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) sent 119 people on short-term mission teams around the world to offer a living witness to the Orthodox Christian faith through loving service and fellowship. Orthodox Mission Team opportunities are now available for 2011, and by the prayers of the Faithful in North America, OCMC hopes that even more people will answer the call to share in a journey of faith by spending one to three weeks abroad teaching the faith, providing healthcare, participating in outreach, ministering to youth, or helping to build and maintain churches.

Please contact Andrew Lekos or Pres. Renee Ritsi by phone at 1-877-GO-FORTH (463-6784) or by e-mail at teams@ocmc.org for more information. Visit the website here for additional details about, or to apply for, 2011 OCMC Orthodox Mission Teams.

House of Studies Alumni Society Formed

Visiting Fort LigonierVisiting Fort LigonierOn September 3, 2010, under the guidance of Bishop Thomas and Fr. Joseph Allen, the Antiochian House of Studies created the framework for the new AHOS Alumni Society. Writes the Rev. Martie Johnson Jr., U.S. Navy Chaplain and Association Vice President, "On this historic day, after some eight full hours of meetings, nearly thirty students erected the framework for the AHOS Alumni Society under the auspices of Bishop Thomas and Father Joseph.  The By-Laws, Board of Directors, and Officers are now in place to take the next step of ratifying, reviewing, and fully implementing the follow-on elements necessary to launch this organization after the prayers and counsel of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and Metropolitan Philip." Go here to view a photo gallery of the Village meetings.

Vice President Johnson's report reads as follows:

From:  AHOS Alumni Association Vice President

To:  His Grace Bishop Thomas

RE:  Report – Initiation and Planning Meeting for Alumni Association (ANECDOTAL)

Abstract:  On this, the thirtieth anniversary of our beloved Metropolitan Philip’s dream of educating the church and the world more fully in the Orthodox faith, the students of the AHOS, consistent with the vision and inspiration of Bishop Thomas and Very Reverend Joseph Allen, endeavored to construct a framework to establish an Alumni Association.

Antiochian Fr. Hans Jacobse Counters Atheism in OCF-Sponsored Debate

The University of Maryland's (Baltimore County) Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and the campus' Secular Student Alliance, co-hosted a formal debate on November 16. Titled "The Source of Human Morality," the discussion pitted well-known atheist Matt Dillahunty against the Antiochian priest and American Orthodox Institute President, the Rev. Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse. About 450 people attended the lively exchange, which is posted for viewing on YouTube in nine installments.

Fr. George Morelli Offers Resources For Clergy and Laity

Priest and clinical psychologist Fr. George Morelli has published a treasure trove of informative, insightful articles readily available on this website. In his Chaplain's Corner, Father addresses pastoral concerns with a frank and practical approach. His "Good Marriage" articles blend the best of current psychological insight with the writings of the Fathers, and in-depth reflections such as "Beauty-the Divine Connection," draw extensively from both his clinical experience and his knowledge of Scripture and Holy Tradition. In his recent treatise, The Ethos of Orthodox Catechesis (published in six parts), Fr. George examines in depth the singular Orthodox approach to catechism, and how parents, teachers and pastors can integrate a truly Orthodox ethos in their teaching ministries. 

Conciliar Media Messenger, Nov. 2010, Features Interviews and Profiles

This month, in keeping with the theme of our new release, Letters to Saint Lydia, our Conciliar Media newsletter Messenger is focusing on saints and icons. We have an interview with Melinda Johnson, the author of Letters to Saint Lydia; a feature about Paul Hibberd, who mounts icons for Conciliar Press; an icon-related announcement from AFR; a look at some children’s books that focus on saints and icons; and an excerpt from Fr. Patrick Reardon’s book on the saints of the Bible, Christ in His Saints.

Fr. Aaron Warwick Reviews Fr. Tarazi's Book, Land and Covenant

From The Word, November, 2010

Fr. Paul Tarazi’s book, Land and Covenant, is a must-read for Orthodox Christians or anyone else who desires to acquire a Scriptural mindset. When I decided to read Land and Covenant I was expecting a technical and academic study of precise biblical terms – land and covenant. Although the book is certainly precise and intellectually deep, it was written in a manner that would make it understandable and appreciated by those with little prior biblical knowledge. In the end, Land and Covenant is a brilliant summary of the entire body of Scripture (from Genesis to Revelation), showing clearly how the message of Jesus Christ to all nations and people had always been God’s will, from the very beginning (Genesis 1). The most disappointing aspect of Land and Covenant is the book’s title: it is so much more than a study of these technical terms!

A consistent theme emerged in my reading of Land and Covenant, one that is present throughout Scripture and is also very much present in the tradition of the Orthodox Desert Fathers: non-possessiveness. Fr. Tarazi indicates that his desire to write Land and Covenant stemmed from the common misreading of the Bible that has led to much bloodshed over who “owns” the Holy Land. By offering a purely Scriptural – as opposed to political or historical – critique of the current situation in the Holy Land, Fr. Tarazi shows that the wrong question is being asked. Scripturally, God is the only “owner” of any land; we humans who were taken from the earth are given the gift of a certain earth/land on which we may subside, but it is never our property – all things belong to God. Likewise, no human society “possesses” God – He is the God of all people and all creation.

November 21 is IOCC Sunday: "A Day of Sharing"

As Orthodox Christians finish up the first week of the Nativity Fast and prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will be observing IOCC Sunday on November 21. Themed "A Day of Sharing," the event will be spotlighting the ministry of IOCC at parishes all across the United States. Orthodox Christians are being encouraged to:

  1. Make a generous donation to support the humanitarian work of the IOCC
  2. Become a volunteer for the organization
  3. Become a Parish Representative (information available here)
  4. Participate in a local IOCC Event and
  5. Pray for all those in need.

For more information, or to download Sunday bulletin inserts, go the IOCC website's special section devoted to IOCC Sunday.

Old Testament Women at The Annunciation: Gleanings from the Western Rite Lectionary

From The Word, November 2010

Not All by Herself

Orthodox believers of both the Eastern and Western Rites celebrate major feast days in honor of the events in the life of the Theotokos. St. Luke records three of these important occurrences: the Annunciation, March 25 (1:26–38), the Visitation, July 2 (1:39–56), and the Presentation, February 2 (2:21–39). A common feature in the three stories is that our Lady is never alone; other people share in the events of her life.

'Mary deliberately goes to be with her cousin Elizabeth after Mary’s annunciation. Mary is not alone at the Temple when she presents the infant Jesus, because the Gospel tells us that at least her husband, Joseph, the priest, and Saints Simon and Anna are there for the occasion. Mary’s annunciation itself, however, seems a little different. Yes, the archangel Gabriel comes to her, but he leaves after delivering his message, and we do not read that she has anyone else with her. Or, does she?

In fact, those who attend Orthodox Western Rite parishes discover in the lectionary readings for the Feast of the Annunciation that five women from the Old Testament spiritually join with the Blessed Virgin Mary. These women, in order of their liturgical appearance, are Eve, Sarah, the Psalmist’s royal Queen, the conceiving Virgin in Isaiah, and Hannah.

Children's Relief Fund Holiday Appeal

 November 2010 

In as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. (Matt. 25: 40) 

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

As we anticipate celebrating God’s greatest gift to mankind in the Nativity of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we greet you once again, and pray that you continue to receive the gifts of His love and His peace. 

Christmas is that time of year when we are especially reminded to share our blessings with others in the form of gifts. It becomes an increased blessing when the privilege of giving is extended to provide partial education scholarships to needy children in Lebanon and Palestine. 

Because of your generosity in past years through the “Christmas Appeal” of the Children’s Relief Fund, we have been able to increase the number of sponsored children from 206 in 2003 to 333 in 2009. Currently, CRF is sponsoring 343 children in Lebanon and 40 in Palestine. 

The necessity to continue our work is now more challenging as more and more children are in need of financial assistance (we have some 90 applications of children waiting to be sponsored). 

For those of you who are already sponsoring a child, we offer you our most profound thanks and gratitude, and we ask for your continued support. We encourage all the faithful in the Archdiocese to support our cause. 

New sponsors are encouraged to open a window of concern by sponsoring an individual needy child at a minimum of $300 annually or making a donation to the general fund. Please print out the application HERE and mail it. 

CHILDREN'S RELIEF FUND DONATION FORM

 

 

 

 

 


 

ENCLOSED

■■ is my charitable gift of $________________ to sponsor a child ($300.00/year).

■■ is a donation of $________________. We cannot sponsor a child at this time, but would like to contribute to the general fund.

Please provide the following: (information remains private)

Donor(s) ___________________________________________________________________________________

Address ____________________________________________________________________________________

City_______________________________________State__________________________Zip________________

E-mail _____________________________________________________________________________________

I prefer to sponsor a: Boy ________ Girl ________ No Preference ________

From Lebanon ________ From Palestine ________ No Preference ________

All contributions are tax-deductible. Please detach and return with your donation to

Children’s Relief Fund

c/o The Very Rev. George M. Rados

P. O. Box 60692

Potomac, MD 20859

Thank you for caring about children.

Beyond My Eyes

By Janice Bidwell

The color of my brown eyes will never change. My eye color is a constant part of me from start to finish, and most days I don’t give the color of my eyes a second glance. When I’m in a sea of blue eyes, my brown eyes feel very brown.

"Flip Flops For Haiti" Project Delivers Thousands of Shoes

Josephine Katzbach ("Josie"), a parishioner at St. Matthew Orthodox Church in North Royalton, Ohio, has returned from Haiti, where she successfully delivered 2200 flip flops for those in need.  

An experience in Haiti was the source for Josie’s idea. Months ago while she worked there in a clinic building project, several aid workers had to escort an ill woman from a clinic in town back up the mountain. Struck by her lack of material possessions, Josie literally gave the woman the clothes off her back, with the exception of her flip-flops, the only shoes that would fit Josie's swollen feet. So when she and her friend returned to Chicago, inspiration struck and Josie said, “Hey, I have an idea. Let’s do ‘flip-flops for Haiti.’”

Josie is no stranger to helping others. She takes food and water to the homeless in Cleveland twice a month with parishioners from St. Matthew’s or St. George of Cleveland. A “life-changing experience”– that’s how Josie describes her first trip to Haiti. Although the city’s poverty and devastation are great, the poverty is even more extreme in the mountains. “They are the poorest of the poor,” says Katzbach. The earthquake did not have as much of an effect on them; instead, poverty is a way of life.

On October 26, 2010, St. Matthew's held a fund raiser: "Flip Flops For Haiti All You Can Eat Italian Dinner." All proceeds went to benefit shipping and the distribution of flip flops. Josie's husband Mark and her sister Antonette chaired the affair, and the people of St. Matthew came forward and ate and gave, enabling Josephine to return to Haiti with several thousand shoes. Josie was able to distribute several hundred, while a Catholic priest and nun offered to deliver the remaining shoes to those in need.

St. Athanasius Academy: Ministering for 34 Years

St. Athanasius publicationSt. Athanasius publicationThirty four years ago, a group of evangelical Christians on the road to Orthodoxy founded St. Athanasius Academy with the vision of serving the Church through long distance study programs, theological studies, and research. From the start, they strategically focused on publishing materials for the laity, as well as producing audio and video tapes, and ultimately, the Orthodox Study Bible. Fifteen years ago, the Academy began to minister to prisoners who were discovering the Orthodox faith through their Prisoner Education Program, which provides study scholarships to qualifying students. Current Academy Director Paul Goetz says, "We have a steady prisoner-student list of 100 active prisoners. And we mean active. We grade and respond to nearly 120 lessons per month. Their enthusiasm is marvelous."

Adds Goetz, "Along with our Correspondence Division (its primary focus being the laity), and our Prisoner Education Project, we continue publishing our research. We are providing live classes – even webcam studies – on the Orthodox philosophy of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, Orthodox theology, studies the Book of Romans and the Gospel of John, and monastic principles for non-monastics. Even here, we provide detailed study notes based on the renowned Fathers of the Church."

Recently, antiochian.org interviewed Paul Goetz about the ongoing work of St. Athanasius Academy. Read the interview in full here.

Listen to an interview with Fr. Jack Sparks, St. Athanasius Founder, here, and listen to Part II here.  

Paul Goetz Explains the Ministry of St. Athanasius Academy

St. Athanasius publicationSt. Athanasius publication1. Most of us are familiar with the name "St. Athanasius Academy," but we're less familiar with who you are. Can you refresh our memories by telling us a bit about your ministry--how it was started, the role Fr. Jack Sparks played for years, and what your focus is today?

People ask me about who I am.  Yet please know, even after I tell you something about myself, I am only trying to be a worthy mouthpiece  for that which Fr. Jack Sparks and Fr. Richard taught me, along with the spiritual insight gain from working with them on the OSB-Septuagint Old Testament Project, published in 2008.  These men were profound influences in my life and their love for Christ Jesus and His teachings, remains with me and saved my life in times of great illness. My name is Paul Goetz and began working with St. Athanasius Academy after first meeting Fr. Jack Sparks and Fr. Jon Braun in Los Gatos, CA in 1992.  I later met Fr. Richard Ballew in 1993, and this sealed within me the need and commitment to change priorities. I left my chosen profession of 15 years and began working with Fr. Jack while the Academy was yet in Ben Lomond.  

Center for Family Care Releases Results of Study on Orthodox Family Life

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Center for Family Care has just completed its first study: "The Orthodox Family in America at Home and in Church." Information came from 646 respondents from 100 Greek Orthodox parishes, all of whom had children 18 and under living at home. In addition, the priests from these parishes filled out a survey as well.

The study examined the following:

  1.  Religious practices at church and home
  2.  Main stressors experienced
  3.  Availability of parish support
  4.  Interest in workshops and knowledge of current supports
  5.  Significant predictors of increased religious and spiritual practices at home and at church

Go HERE to view the results in their entirety.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's Center For Family Care, in the words of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, exists “both to affirm the importance of the family as a blessed gift of God and to address the specific needs of families as they try to live in a very challenging culture and world. As Orthodox Christians, we know that each and every family needs to be connected to the Church—a place where true relationships with God and one another are nurtured and sustained. Thus, through this program we will be working to bring more aspects of our faith into the home and to bring more families into the Church.” The Center provides resources such as parish family night ideas, parent training seminars and retreats, resources for marriage, family prayer, study and Gospel reading, and outreach ideas such as family mission teams.

2010 Clergy Wives Weekend Inspires and Refreshes

By Valerie Zahirsky

“Everywhere Present and Filling All Things”: The Holy Spirit or the Clergy Wife? was the theme of the second annual Clergy Wives Weekend, held at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA from October 29-31. Over 70 wives of priests, deacons, and wives of seminarians headed for ordination from all across the country – including Alaska! - came together for this pan-Orthodox weekend of prayer, reflection and informal, enjoyable fellowship.

The program included a welcome on Friday night by Maria Abdalah, daughter of Kh. Joanne Abdalah – in whose memory the Weekend is dedicated. Presenting a short overview of the Weekend’s focus, and how we have experienced the Holy Spirit since the dawn of creation, Kh. Stefanie Yazge set the stage for the Weekend’s speakers. The evening concluded with Little Compline. (Click HERE to view a photo gallery of the weekend.)

How St. Nicholas Church, Cedarburg, Came to Be

The following is an excerpt from Fr. William Olnhausen's new book, A Modern, American Orthodox Pastor

December 6, 2006

I am convinced that in the year 1985 earth time, the Lord Jesus must have said to Saint Nicholas, "We need an Orthodox church on the north side of Milwaukee. Go work on that Olnhausen fellow."

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