Dept. of College Ministry News


OCF 2012 College Conference Registration Continues

"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

December 28–31

West Coast College Conference

St. Nicholas Ranch | Dunlap, Calif.

December 27–30

Check out OCF's website to register and find more information!

Parishes and Families Encouraged to Keep Collegians Connected

Lamar University OCF, Beaumont, TXLamar University OCF, Beaumont, TXFr. 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!"

Antiochian Women Urge Parishes to Connect with Collegians

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."

OCF Announces Fr. Michael Ellis Selected As North American Chaplain

Fr. Michael Ellis and familyFr. Michael Ellis and familyBrookline, 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.

OCF Gearing Up for Fall Outreach

OCF Student Advisory Board, 2012-2013OCF Student Advisory Board, 2012-2013August, 2012

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.

Orthodox Youth Spend Summer Building Homes

June 22, 2012

Houston, TX (IOCC) — The sound of power saws and nail guns mingle with easy laughter and conversation as IOCC Orthodox Action Team volunteers work side by side, building homes and friendships at volunteer home-builds in Houston and Minneapolis. They have traveled from Maryland, Virginia, Georgia and New York to help construct homes for families left homeless by hurricanes in Houston and tornadoes in Minneapolis. Four home building teams have already completed their one-week commitment, with four more summer builds and critical home repairs slated for Minneapolis, Houston, and in Minot, North Dakota, which lost an estimated 1,600 homes to flooding last summer.

The 2012 team builds began in March with a pairing of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) college students and veterans of previous IOCC builds. The next three builds, including the first ever home built by IOCC volunteers in Minneapolis, also brought together a mix of Orthodox youth with older volunteers.

OCF Launches First Forty Days Program to Connect With Incoming College Freshmen

Brookline, MA - June 1, 2012. The North American OCF Office has launched an exciting new program to reach out to incoming first-year Orthodox college students at colleges and universities throughout North America, named The First Forty Days. As its name implies, during the first forty days of the 2012 fall semester, local OCF student leaders and chaplains will work to make personal contact with all new incoming students. They will be given information regarding the OCF chapter on campus and nearby Orthodox parishes. The intent of this program is to foster a personal connection with our students so that young college students will stay connected to Christ and His Church during their years in post-secondary education.

To accomplish this, OCF needs the help of all Orthodox Parishes in North America. In the coming weeks, OCF will be gathering the contact information of all incoming college freshman students in all of the Orthodox parishes across the continent. Each parish is asked to provide the North American OCF Office with some basic information concerning their high school graduates who will be attending college in the Fall on a downloadable spreadsheet, which is available here.

"Not the Typical Spring Break:" OCF's 2012 Real Break Report

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) Real Break program provides an alternative spring break for Orthodox college students across North America. This year, more than 50 students from 36 universities participated in the six service projects around the world in locations such as Constantinople, Mexico, Guatemala, Romania and Texas. This following OCF report summarizes the impact of Real Break, 2012.

As the week was coming to an end and all sat in the dining hall eating the typical meal of beans and tortillas, University of Illinois freshman, Anthony Jonas, notices Brayan with a sad face and not touching his food. Jesus Brayan is one of the 31 young boys living at the St. Innocent Orphanage in Rosarito, Mexico. Anthony says to him,

“¿Qué paso Brayan?” (What’s wrong Brayan?)

OCF Opens Search for North American Chaplain

Brookline, MA – May 2, 2012

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) announced today that applications are being received for the position of North American Chaplain. The position is being increased to half-time, and will be held by an Orthodox clergyman who will also have the ability to continue to serve a parish or other ministry.

Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF’s current North American Chaplain, shared his thoughts on this development: “With OCF’s new leadership and with a fast-growing awareness among parents and clergy of how vital this ministry to our students really is, I couldn’t be happier that the next North American Chaplain will have more time to be dedicated to this great work.”

OCF is currently restructuring to better guide and support the hundreds of OCF chapters spread out across North America. The new North American Chaplain will work across all Orthodox jurisdictions, providing resources and assistance to the chaplains who work directly with the students on campus.

Eastern Dioceses College Scholarship Application Due June 1st

The Eastern Dioceses 2012 College Scholarship Application is now available for download. This scholarship application is intended only for parishioners from churches that are within the Eastern Dioceses. If you wish to participate in the application process, please complete the application and be sure to include all required materials. All information must be accurately completed and returned by June 1, 2012.

Download scholarship application.

OCF Encourages Students to Celebrate a "Real St. Patrick's Day"

This year for St. Patrick's Day, instead of drowning your sorrows in green beer and gorging yourself with cookies shaped like four-leafed clovers, learn a lesson from a three-leafed clover and take a step on the right direction!

Real Saint Patrick’s Day is a program of Orthodox Christian Fellowship aimed at bringing the focus of St. Patrick’s day back to St. Patrick and away from the traditional excessive partying that typically takes place. St. Patrick was a slave in Ireland who escaped and later returned as a bishop to teach the people of Ireland about the true faith. Chapters should do all that they can to use St. Patrick as an example to learn, teach, and serve others. Below are some approaches your chapter can take, based on the life of the Saint, to dedicate the day to prayer, serving and learning. These suggested activities would encourage your OCF and possibly those on your campus to spend the day in more appropriate pursuits given the celebration of a Saint’s feast and being in the midst of Great Lent.

Works of the Order in Action: OCF Conferences

College students at 2011 OCF conference, CaliforniaCollege students at 2011 OCF conference, CaliforniaBy Jennifer Nahas, OCF Executive Director

The 9th Annual Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conferences concluded as they always do – with college students longing for more spiritual nourishment and opportunities to be part of an Orthodox community. Thanks to the generous scholarships provided by The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, over one hundred Antiochian Orthodox college students attended College Conference, along with their peers from other jurisdictions. One student explained, “I go to school in Arkansas and cannot tell you how grateful I am, both for College Conference, and for the scholarship The Order provided. There are not many Orthodox students at my school, and being here helps me to remember who I am and why my faith is so important to me.”

OCF is host to three separate conferences. One is held in the south at the Diakonia Center, one in the west at St. Nicholas Ranch, and the largest and most established is held in the east at the Antiochian Village.

IOCC and OCF Partner for Unique Real Break Project

Real Break Houston offers college students and young adults a chance to provide relief to those who have lost their homes in recent natural disasters.

Orthodox College Fellowship (OCF) is teaming up with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to build homes in Houston, Texas for families who have lost everything to the devastating hurricanes and flooding along the Gulf Coast.

This is also billed as a great opportunity to connect with other college students and young adults from across North America.

The trip cost of $550 covers lodging, food, transportation and materials while in Houston.

OCF Executive Director Jennifer Nahas urges, "please come to Houston and build a house!!! From March 24 through March 31st, OCF students and alum, along with Habitat for Humanity and IOCC, will be working on helping a family affected by the Hurricanes in Texas. Thanks to a donor, we can now offer this trip for $550. Please, chapter leaders, tell your chapter and your friends. WE NEED YOU!"

For more information, contact John Mahfouz at programs@ocf.net.

Real Break Inserts Available

Camera-ready bulletin inserts regarding the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Real Break Program are available for download here.

The Real Break program provides alternatives to the “traditional ” Spring Break for college students. It exists to provide students with the most authentic experience possible, and is modeled as a full Christian lifestyle, which includes fellowship, prayer within community, witness and service. Now is the time for college students across the US and Canada to sign up for Real Break, as the first program begins February 25 and subsequent service weeks are available through March 24.

 

 

 

Real Break Registration Opens

Brookline, Mass. - Dec. 21, 2011

Registration for Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) 2012 Real Break trips opens today HERE!

Entering its 11th year, OCF's Real Break continues to offer transformative, priest-led trips, both domestically and internationally. This year, trips have been organized throughout the months of February and March 2012 to the following locations: Constantinople, Romania, Guatemala, Toronto, Project Mexico, and Houston.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for, oftentimes, empty experiences. OCF offers annual Real Break trips as spring break alternatives that provide life-changing and spiritually edifying opportunities to do "something real."

"Caring for orphaned infants in Guatemala, building homes for the homeless in Mexico and the hurricane devastated Gulf Coast, and restoring Churches in the Holy City of Constantinople -- it doesn't get more real than this. Students are provided an opportunity to encounter Christ and His love through serving those in need," said John Mahfouz, OCF Director of North American Programs.

Since its inception in 2001, more than 1,000 college students have taken advantage of the opportunity to spend their week long break serving others and growing in their Orthodox Christian faith.

For more details regarding OCF Real Break 2012, a fundraising guide, and to register, please visit Real Break's web page.

OCF Board of Directors Holds Fall Meetings

Brookline, MA - December 11, 2011

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Board of Directors held its fall meeting Dec. 1-2 at the new North American Office, headquartered at Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts.

A major focus of the meeting was a proposed restructuring of the chaplain and student leadership structure of OCF. OCF's North American Chaplain, Fr. Michael Nasser explained,

"Recognizing a need for enhanced communication and support between the local chapters of OCF and the North American Office, we are developing a new tiered structure that will facilitate a more effective ministry to college students. The new vision utilizes students, clergy chaplains, lay coordinators, and college faculty on district and regional levels to implement OCF resources and programs, which in turn will strengthen the efforts of the local chapters."

IOCC Internship Program Offers Opportunities to Students

Since 1998, IOCC has offered an internship program to undergraduates and recent college graduates interested in careers in international relief and development. In 2012 we are investigating the possibility of also placing a student or graduate from an advanced degree program. The IOCC Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to gain firsthand exposure to the operations of an Orthodox Christian international humanitarian aid and development organization.

IOCC internships typically require a 10 to 12 week full-time commitment during the months of May – September. There is also a possibility of a longer placement for a graduate from an advanced degree program. IOCC anticipates offering internship opportunities in, but not limited to, the following offices:

Jerusalem/West Bank

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

United States (Baltimore HQ and/or Minneapolis field office)

A detailed plan for each intern will be developed based on the educational objectives of the intern and the needs of each field office prior to placement. However, the typical responsibilities of an intern will include: participating in field visits to project beneficiaries; working with IOCC staff to continually enhance the effectiveness, impact and implementation progress of ongoing projects; assisting in the production of project reports, success stories and other written communications; and conducting research on various projects and new initiatives.

Read a complete program description on the IOCC website.

Scholarships Are Still Available for 2011 College Conference

Scholarships are still available for the 2011 College Conferences. Interested students are urged to apply during the on-line registration process at events.ocf.net.   Please note that the deadline for the early-bird discount rate is Dec 15, 2011. The conferences will be held during Christmas Break in the following three locations.  Each will center on Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) theme - "Raise Me Above This World's Confusion."

College Conference West

St. Nicholas Ranch - Dunlap, Calif.
December 27-30, 2011
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $215 - Regular: $240

Keynote speaker - Fr. Josiah Trenham, Pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Church, Riverside, Calif.

College Conference East

Antiochian Village - Bolivar, Pa.
December 28-31, 2011
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $240 - Regular: $265

Keynote speaker - His Grace Bishop Michael Dahulich, Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York & New Jersey in the Orthodox Church in America

College Conference South

Diakonia Center - Salem, S.C.
December 28-31, 2011
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $210 - Regular: $235

Keynote speaker - Fr. Michael Nasser, Pastor of Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission in Bowling Green, Ky.  

OCF's Real Break's 2012 Schedule Announced

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced that eight spring break philanthrophy trips are planned for college students this spring. Notes their website, "The Real Break program provides alternatives to the “traditional” Spring Break for college students. It exists to provide students with the most authentic experience possible, and is modeled as a full Christian lifestyle, which includes fellowship, prayer within community, witness and service. Each Spring, over 100 students attend various trips, both domestic and international, to give of themselves to those less fortunate and to do something 'real' for themselves and for God. OCF Real Break has been running since 2000 with over one thousand students participating in these life-changing opportunities. Past and current trips include: Mexico, Guatemala, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Raphael House, St. Basil Academy, Greece, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Romania, Buenos Aires, Alaska, and more."

This year's trips are as follows:

February 18 - 25, 2012, Real Break - Toronto

February 25 - March 3, 2012, Real Break - Houston

March 2/3 - 10, 2012, Real Break - Constantinople and Real Break - Guatemala

March 10 - 17, 2012, Real Break - Guatemala and Real Break - Romania

March 17 - 24, 2012, Real Break - Tijuana

March 24 - 31, 2012, Real Break - TBD

Registration information and details are available on the OCF website.

 

Liturgical Music Workshop for Youth, Dec. 18-21

From Sunday, December 18 through Wednesday, December 21, St. Vladimir's Seminary (SVS) will be offering high school and college students an opportunity to spend four days on its Crestwood, NY campus, learning and directing liturgical music and meeting and worshipping with young men and women from across North America. Attendees will also enjoy a trip to New York City to ice skate on the famous rinks of the Big Apple, and will form a chorus to sing Christmas Carols in the neighborhood surrounding SVS.

Instructors for the workshop are Professor David Drillock, SVS' Professor Emeritus of Liturgical Music, and Dr. Nicholas Reeves, the Seminary's current Assistant Professor of Liturgical Music. Workshop organizer, Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, Director of Alumni Relations and Recruitment, notes, "We hope to provide a workshop with diverse influence and instruction, including Byzantine chant."

For more information, contact Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, at jmatusiak@svots.edu, or 914-318-7505.

The cost of the workshop will be $180, all inclusive. Register here.

Bishop Thomas Visits Temple University OCF

Pictured are Bishop Thomas, Fr. Nektarios Cottros, Fr. Andrew Damick, students from Temple, Penn and Rowan universities.Pictured are Bishop Thomas, Fr. Nektarios Cottros, Fr. Andrew Damick, students from Temple, Penn and Rowan universities.On the evening of Thursday October 27, 2011, His Grace Bishop Thomas visited with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) chapter at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The students, from a variety of different backgrounds, welcomed him warmly. Students from the UPenn OCF and from Rowan University in New Jersey were also in attendance, as well as Fr. Andrew Damick and Fr. Joel Gillam. The meeting opened with prayer as everyone read the hymn "O Gladsome Light"/Phos Hilaron. After Bishop Thomas was introduced he spoke to them briefly and then listened as they discussed the the history of "O Gladsome Light" and listened to choirs from all over the Orthodox Church singing the hymn in various traditional melodies.

After the discussion the students spoke of ways in which they are asked about the Orthodox Church, and how they have shown the "Gladsome Light" to those around them at college. The proceedings then took an amusing turn as the students and priests participated in an "ice breaker" as Sayidna looked on from the sidelines smiling at the various scrambles during the game. Before the closing prayer Bishop Thomas spoke to the students of his belief in OCF as both a nuturing environment for Orthodox who go off to college, and a transfiguring presence for those in the postmodern university world who are seeking the peace and truth in Christ. This was Sayidna's second visit to one of the Philadelphia OCF chapters; he spent time with the UPenn OCF on September 19. Both groups look forward to seeing him again soon, God willing.

OCF Opens Registration for December College Conferences

Orthodox Christian Fellowship has announced the topic, locations, and speakers for its popular winter college conferences. Themed "Raise Me Above This World's Confusion,"  this year's conferences will be hosted in three locations, after Christmas and before New Year's Day: Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania, Diokonia Retreat Center in South Carolina, and St. Nicholas Ranch in northern California.

Registration is open at the OCF's website page here. 

Download full page color flyer.

Download half page black and white flyer.


College Conference East

Dates: December 28-31

Place: Antiochian Village -Bolivar, PA

Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $240 - Regular: $265

Speaker: His Grace Bishop Michael Dahulich, Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York & New Jersey in the Orthodox Church in America

 

College Conference South

Dates: December 28-31

Place: Diakonia Center -Salem, NC

Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $210 - Regular: $235

Speaker: Fr. Michael Nasser, Pastor of Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission in Bowling Green, Ky.

 

College Conference West

Dates: December 27-30

Place: St. Nicholas Ranch -Fresno, CA

Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $215 - Regular: $240

Speaker: Fr. Josiah Trenham, Pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Church, Riverside, Calif.

Bishop Thomas Meets With Students at Beginning of OCF's Orthodox Awareness Month

Bishop Thomas with Kansas college studentsBishop Thomas with Kansas college studentsBrookline, MA -- October 11, 2011

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) presents October as Orthodox Awareness Month, an OCF effort to foster awareness of Orthodoxy and educate students on college campuses across North America.

Throughout the month of October, OCF chapters are encouraged to set up informational tables on campus, offer Orthodoxy 101 sessions, host speakers and facilitate intriguing chapter events, which feature a church service or religious discussion as well as fellowship.

"Liturgy, translated as 'the work of the people,' is not limited to the church building," says John Mahfouz, National Programs Director. "For Orthodox Christians, our call is to leave the church and continue the 'Divine Work' of bringing Christ to others; of sharing the sweetness of His love which is found in the teachings of our Holy Fathers, with those around us. For a College Student, the Liturgy continues on campus!"

Bishop Thomas and Fr. Michael Nasser Assist with OCF Expansion into Kansas City

Brookline, MA -- September 19, 2011

In keeping with its renewed focus of developing and sustaining local campus-based fellowships, the leadership of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is excited to announce its latest ministry expansion, this time to the Kansas City metropolitan area.

From September 25-30, Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Archdiocese and Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF's North American Chaplain, will visit with the clergy, students and Orthodox faithful in the Kansas City area. The goal of their trip is to assist the local clergy and laity in organizing an effective ministry to students studying at local colleges and universities.

"Living an Orthodox Christian life is not easy for anyone, but it's uniquely challenging these days for our Orthodox college students," stated Bishop Thomas. "I hope we can find ways to bring the Church's support and strength to them where and when they need it most."

Fr. Michael added his own interest in this expanded effort in the Kansas City area:

"One of things I enjoy most about my work is coming into an area where we've had little or no Orthodox presence on the local campuses and seeing the Orthodox churches in the area unite and mobilize to minister to both their own young people as well as the entire campus population."