Dept. of College Ministry News
November 15, 2013
Each year during Christmas Break Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for four days of fellowship, prayer, and some of the best Orthodox speakers around. The conferences are currently held at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania and St. Nicholas Ranch in California. This year's theme is "Behold now, what is so good or so pleasant as for brothers to dwell together in unity?" from Psalm 132:1.
The year's Keynote Speaker for the College Conference West is His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, Archbishop of San Francisco and the West, Orthodox Church in America (OCA). In the East, the Keynote Speaker is His Grace, Bishop Gregory of Nyssa, Primate of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA.
For information about scholarships and registration, visit the OCF's Website page for the Conferences.
The month of October has been designated as Orthodox Awareness Month by Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) to foster an awareness of the richness of the Orthodox Faith on college campuses across North America through fellowship, education, worship, and service. Many students throughout the continent have little knowledge of the Orthodox faith, or that there is an active Orthodox group on campus. By devoting a month devoted to different activities and events, OCF serves the purpose of educating collegians about the beauty of the Orthodox faith and its presence on college campuses across the U.S.
Fr. Anthony Yagze, Chair of the Departments of College Ministry, and Camping, encourages all youth in the Antiochian Archdiocese to participate in the YouTube challenge. "It's an interesting opportunity for young people!" he notes.
Welcome to the 2013 Orthodox Church in America (OCA) YouTube Challenge!
Youth and Young Adult (Ages 14-28) should respond with an original video by midnight on November 15, 2013, to the following question: "What is the Gospel?" Participants may wish to reflect on:
- The essential message of Jesus Christ
- What his actions and words tell us about humanity and divinity
- How the Gospel message can be preached in your particular environment (school, work, family, etc..)
Participants may wish to use their video to deliver a traditional speech, or find ways of more creatively answering the challenge through visual imagery and poetic license.
September 16, 2013
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) reports:
OCF's "Real Break" aims to prepare college students to be socially informed Orthodox Christian citizens of this world, while directing their focus on the world to come, the kingdom of heaven. Built on a foundation of fellowship, education, worship, and service, Real Break provides students the opportunity to understand the true meaning of seeing Christ in the other—traveling to all parts of the world deepening their faith, serving those in need, and cultivating relationships with like-minded peers.
The Lord’s Day After the Exaltation of the Cross, September 15th/29th, 2013
“Behold now, what is so good or so pleasant as for brothers to dwell together in unity?” Psalm 132:1
Beloved Clergy, Godly Monastics, and Blessed Faithful,
On behalf of the members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, we greet you in the Joy of our Lord Jesus Christ as we commence the 2013-14 Academic School Year. The wonderful verse recounted above comes to us from the Psalmist David. Its brilliance and simplicity should inspire us all as Orthodox Christians to strive for active engagement, participation, connection and interaction with one another through all stages of life and development in the life of the Orthodox Christian.
Chapter Sponsorship Kits will include:
1 full-color 2'x4' icon banner with image above
10 "Timeline of Church History" brochures
10 "What on Earth is the Orthodox Church" brochures
10 "The 4 Elements of OCF Life" flyers
20 OCF prayer cards
10 OCF pens
Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, OCF has the means to send out 40 Chapter Sponsorship Kits, in order that the nearly 200 OCF chapters might bring a strong Orthodox presence to their welcome week activities and student activity fairs.
More information on sponsoring a chapter is available on the OCF Website.
Calling all parents, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, parish priests, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) alumni!
OCF is in the midst of collecting names for its First Forty Days program and it needs the help of each parish, to help high school graduates seamlessly join the OCF network. First Forty Days aims to integrate new collegians into the life of an OCF chapter during the first forty days of college. Please submit student information on OCF's website by June 30th to ensure that each students will be directly contacted by the OCF North American Office and greeted on his or her college campus by an OCF family and local parish at the beginning of the fall semester.
Questions? Please contact North American Chapter Relations Coordinator Christina Andresen at email@example.com.
FOCUS North America, a national, Orthodox non-profit organization that provides sustainable services to the homeless and working poor of America, is looking for a National Program Intern. The Program Internship will provide practical, hands-on project management training and skills development in the context of a multi-million dollar community engagement and distribution program implemented in more than 20 cities across the United States.
This is a high-level internship that requires a high-performance and driven individual who is seeking to gain a deep understanding of community and volunteer engagement, and the federally-mandated social services framework. Qualified candidates who are interested in domestic or international social services, social entrepreneurship, or community development programs is encouraged to apply.
The intern will be stationed in FOCUS’ office in Orange County, California, with some national travel required to speak on behalf of FOCUS/promote FOCUS activities. FOCUS will pay for all program-related travel expenses and will, in addition, provide a fixed monthly stipend to the successful candidate. To apply, please send cover letter and resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, view the job description.
Calling all parents, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, parish priests, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) alumni!
OCF is in the midst of collecting names for our "First Forty Days" program. We want to help your parish's high school graduates seamlessly join the OCF network by integrating them into the life of a chapter during the first forty days of their college experience. Please submit your student information on our website here by June 15th to ensure that your students will be directly contacted by the OCF North American Office and that they will be greeted on their college campuses by an OCF family and local parish at the beginning of the fall semester.
As a way of providing additional support for college students, OCF is offering "Connect Kits" for college freshmen; the kits include prayer books, icons, and OCF media designed to encourage young adults to stay in the Church once they leave home for school. For questions regarding the First Forty Days, Connect Kits, or the network of OCF chapters across North America, please contact our North American Chapter Relations Coordinator Christina Andresen at email@example.com.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) Executive Director Jennifer Nahas announces that "we have posted applications for our 2013-2014 Student Leaders to serve on the Student Advisory Board. We are looking for talented, committed students who are passionate about OCF to help guide the direction of Orthodox campus ministry, implement programs and bring the student voice into decision making. We look forward to putting a board in place that is representative of the variety of Orthodox jurisdictions and traditions we have in North America.
"Your recommendations would be incredibly helpful. Please, if you know of a college student who could lead, inspire and serve Orthodox Campus Ministry, encourage them to apply online. Another option is to pass along their name to our North American Chapter Relations Coordinator, Christina Andresen, at firstname.lastname@example.org."
by Alexa Janda, St George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX
My decision to serve with the OCF Real Break mission trip to Constantinople was one of the best decisions of my life. Initially, my spring break plan was to spend a week in Alaska with my parents. However, my plan changed last Christmas break when I found out my two good friends Mary Catherine Huneycutt and Mary Dahdouh were going on the OCF trip. I shared the Real Break information with my parents who instantly recognized what an amazing opportunity this trip would be for me. I registered for OCF Real Break not realizing that this mission trip would be a life changing experience.
The National Youth Directors of several different Orthodox Jurisdictions, together with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), have collaborated to offer several resources for clergy and lay people to help minister to our youth and young adults in light of the recent public violence in and around Boston.
The resource packet contains a cover letter from several youth directors, three reflections on the attacks by adults, ten tips for speaking to your youth groups and church school classes about public violence, and ten suggested steps for equipping your youth group or OCF chapter to respond to these tragedies. Additionally, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) has made available its online study guide “A Christian Response to Terrorism.” This study guide, originally compiled after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, provides prayers, scriptural references, and discussion questions to use with youth and young adults.
In addition to the OCA, these materials have been provided by collaboration between the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, the Ukrainian Church of the USA, and the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia.
Several new Orthodox summer programs have been opened up for collegians. The first two were announced by The Very Rev. Anthony G. Yazge, director of the Department of College Ministry for the Antiochian Archdiocese, and will be coordinated by Fr. John Diamantis, college chaplain for the Districts of New York and New Jersey, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). A workshop, "The Fields Are White For Harvest: Welcome to College Ministry," will focus on the practical efforts necessary to start an OCF, and will emphasize the positive impact campus ministry has on students and parishes. College students, clergy and laity are encouraged to attend.
Two workshops will be available: June 1, at the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection in New York City, and June 8 at Murray Dodge Hall on the campus of Princeton University in New Jersey. Both workshops will run from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and will include a light brunch and lunch will be provided. The workshops are free of charge.
A second event, a college student retreat, is scheduled for the heart of the summer on July 12-14 and is called "Love 2 Serve."
MERCER, PA -- Camp Nazareth and Orthodox Christian Fellowship are proud to announce the "Second Annual Overcome the World College Retreat," will take place at Camp Nazareth in Mercer, PA on May 19-21, 2013.
College Students are invited to come and recharge their spiritual batteries, make new friends and experience Orthodox Christianity in a deep manner. There will be guest speakers, group workshops, evening social events, food, fun and plenty of opportunity for faith enrichment.
This year's theme is "If anyone desires to be first, He shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
Tanya Schillawski, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Student Advisory Board Praxis Coordinator, has announced that the OCF Day of Prayer will begin on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, April 8. For twenty-four hours, college students at OCF chapters around the country will be praying continuously. The OCF website will post the prayer service, with versions that can be used with and without the presence of a priest. Insructions on setting up a live feed will also be posted, so that students from around the country can pray with the designated chapter.
For those OCF chapters unable to participate in the program, leaders are requested that their lists of names of the living and departed be sent to email@example.com. The cut off day to submit names is Friday, March 29th, with no exceptions allowed. These lists will then be posted on the OCF's website.
Monday, March 18, 2013: The Assembly of Bishops website has announced that scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year are now available for graduating high school students and for college students pursuing a non-theological graduate degree. These scholarships are administered by the Chancellor’s Office of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and are open to students from any Orthodox church affiliated with the Assembly of Bishops. They are specifically the Malta Scholarship, awarded for undergraduate studies, and the Paleologos Graduate Scholarship, which is for graduate work of a non-theological nature.
Further details, including complete instructions and applications, can be accessed on-line on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Applications may also be requested by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applying for both of these scholarships is April 26, 2013.
As part of a growing partnership between Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), audio field reports are being posted from select Real Break Trips on Ancient Faith Radio, including ministry to: Guatemala, Honduras, Constantinople, Mexico, Toronto, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Tune in to AFR to listen on demand as they become available.
Other joint projects include the OCF Podcast, Special College Student Editions of Orthodoxy Live ( a live call in program) and coverage of other special OCF events.
Ancient Faith Radio seeks to deepen and enrich the faith of Orthodox Christians around the world with streaming audio programming and on-demand podcasts. It features liturgical music from a variety of Orthodox traditions, as well as prayers, readings, lectures, and interviews.
In time for the 2013-2014 academic year, the Scholarships page on Antiochian.org has been updated to include all archdiocesan forms and deadlines, as well as information from other institutions offering scholarships to Antiochian students at both the college or graduate school level.
Students can browse through various options, including a scholarship for a student in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, a scholarship from Antiochian Women, several scholarships from the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, scholarships available from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and scholarships for former Scouts. By way of reminder, camp scholarships are also available through the Order of St. Ignatius.
In partnership with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), Ancient Faith Radio has posted the talks from the 2012 OCF College Conferences as an AFR "Special." Held annually after Christmas at Antiochian Village (East) and St. Nicholas Ranch (West), the conferences draw college students from all part of the U.S. together for several days of workshops, fellowship, and lectures from top-notch Orthodox speakers.
In addition to the podcasts featuring talks on the theme "Trust in the Power and Love of God," the AFR line-up of conference audio includes the program "Orthodoxy Live with Fr. Evan Armatas," who conducted a live call-in show with the students at the College Conference East at Antiochian Village.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced that registration is now open for their Real Break program. Explains the OCF website, "The Real Break program provides an alternative to the 'traditional' Spring Break. It exists to provide the most authentic experience possible, modeled as a full Christian lifestyle, which includes fellowship, prayer within community, witness and service. OCF organizes both domestic and international trips to give college students the opportunity to serve those less fortunate and to do something 'real' for themselves and for God. OCF’s Real Break has been running since 2000 with over a thousand students participating in these life-changing trips. Past trips have included: Mexico, Guatemala, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Raphael House, St. Basil Academy, Greece, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Romania, Buenos Aires, Alaska, and more."
Seven Real Break trips are planned for March, 2013, serving communities in Guatemala, New Orleans, Toronto, LA Skid Row, Honduras, Constantinople (Istanbul), and Mexico. Students can register online, and view both an introductory video and a short fundraising tutorial.
"Trust in the Power and Love of God" is the theme of OCF's 2012 College Conferences
Register NOW for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conference!
Each year during Christmas Break OCF College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for four days of fellowship, prayer, and some of the best Orthodox speakers around! Be sure to register early to get the early bird discount!
Here are the 2 locations for College Conference 2012:
East Coast College Conference
Antiochian Village | Bolivar, PA
West Coast College Conference
St. Nicholas Ranch | Dunlap, Calif.
Check out OCF's website to register and find more information!
Fr. Anthony Yazge, Director of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Department of College Ministry, has asked all Orthodox Christians in parishes, and parents of college students, to submit names of current college students to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) database. "OCF, the college ministry of the Orthodox Churches in the United States, is developing and maintaining a database of all Orthodox college students," he noted. "The purpose of this database is to assist the church in keeping our students connected to Christ and His Church.
"Students that are listed in the database will receive regular communication from OCF regarding programs and ministries such as annual College Conferences and Real Break. Their contact information will be shared with the OCF chapters of the schools they are attending and/or the closest Orthodox Church as a means of offering support and encouragement to students while they are attending school. We ask that you visit the OCF webpage to submit your college student's information. Let's keep our young people connected to Christ and His Church!"
Melinda Bentz, President of the Antiochian Women Diocese of Los Angeles, and the Diocese of Eagle River, reminds the faithful that this is the time of year to remember the Orthodox students who have settled into their studies at colleges all around the country. The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) observes College Student Sunday on September 16, and this year the faithful in parishes are encouraged to make an extra effort to reach out to their collegians in their first forty days of school.
Melinda writes, "As mothers, sisters, wives, and God-mothers, we have been asked to help the OCF personally reach our incoming college freshmen. While at the summer meeting, we as Antiochian Women were presented with a request to help the OCF reach out to each Orthodox college freshman and invite them to their local parish, connect with the local OCF priest and solidify their commitment to their Orthodox faith during their college years."
Brookline, MA (August 21, 2012)
The North American OCF Office announces the recent appointment of Fr. Michael J. Ellis to the position of North American Chaplain.
The North American Chaplain works across all Orthodox jurisdictions, providing resources and assistance to the chaplains who work directly with the students on campus. Fr Michael will be coordinating the OCF Chaplaincy Network of regional,district and local OCF chaplains and handling ecclesiastical/spiritual issues brought to his attention from both the staff of the OCF North American Office and the local OCF chapters.
Fr. Michael and his wife Presvytera Jesica, both originally from upstate New York, currently reside in Mansfield, OH with their two children Alexander and Sophia.
Fr. Michael is a graduate of the State University of New York, College at Brockport where he completed his undergrad work, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications Studies, emphasis Interpersonal and Organizational Communications.
Brookline, MA (OCF)
Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Executive Director Jennifer Nahas writes:
I hope all of you are having a restful, but fun summer. We here at the North American office look forward to working with all of you to engage in fellowship, fun, service, and spiritual growth during the 2012-2013 school year.
To kick things off, your student leaders participated in a five day Summer Leadership Institute here at Hellenic College, the home of the North American Office. This year's Student Advisory Board is full of diversity, energy, and passion; they are from all over the country, from different schools and different Orthodox jurisdictions. Their jobs are to serve you by supporting local chapters and leading OCF's North American programs. Since chapter outreach is a high priority, I wouldn't be surprised if some of you have already heard from the regional representatives in your regions to find out what your chapter's plans are for the upcoming school year.