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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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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."
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:
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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or 914-318-7505.
The cost of the workshop will be $180, all inclusive. Register here.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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."
It's September again and as Orthodox students arrive on college campuses, Orthodox Christian Fellowship is already in high gear, organizing resources and programs to help our students stay connected to Christ and His Church. On Sunday, September 18th, parishes across North America will be celebrating College Student Sunday and recognizing our college students.
As the last formal point of contact in a chain of sequenced activities designed to launch our children into adulthood, Orthodox Christian Fellowship is a critical ministry. Many of our young people have participated in Orthodox pre-schools, Sunday school, and robust teen activities (youth groups and camps). Upon high school graduation, however, they are put to the test, and forced to face real world challenges without the benefit of family and spiritual support. OCF is on college campuses to make sure our children have a safe and reliable "home away from home."
BROOKLINE, MA -- OCF is delighted to announce it has relocated to Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts. This partnership will result in exciting opportunities for Orthodox students across North America.
First on the agenda is creating semester exchange programs for Orthodox students interested in studying in an Orthodox environment. The rich tradition of Hellenic College and the excitement of its student body will provide OCF with greater capacity to reach OCF students.
More information about our relocation and future partnership possibilities with Hellenic College will be made available in the upcoming months.
Our new address is:
50 Goddard Avenue
Brookline, MA 02445
Saint Katherine College issues an invitation to their Inaugural Open House on Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm.
The afternoon will include a full schedule of mini- lectures from members of the faculty, performances from choirs and folk-dance troupes of local Orthodox Churchs, informational booths from Project Mexico/Saint Innocent Orphanage, FOCUS San Diego, tours of our campus and student housing, plus a catered reception.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced that Hellenic College of Brookline, Massachusetts, is offering a "Semester of Faith" to college students or those interested in an educational semester.
Hellenic College's website explains that this is "an opportunity for short term, collegiate level study at Hellenic College, the only fully accredited four-year Orthodox Christian college in the Western Hemisphere. Students take college level courses that enrich their spiritual lives and help them complete their Bachelor’s degree, while living in an Orthodox Christian community, at whose center is Christ."
Some of the courses available this fall are: Introduction to Orthodoxy, Byzantine Music I, Introduction to Great Religious Ideas. Scholarships available.
The fall application deadline for exchange students is June 1st. Limited openings are available for fall 2011.
For more information, contact:
*Although Hellenic College is fully accredited, students must get all Hellenic College credits approved by their home institution to ensure all credits will transfer.
Camp Nazareth in Mercer, Pennsylvania is hosting an Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) endorsed Spring College Student Retreat from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22, 2011. There will be guest speakers, group workshops, evening social events, food, fun and plenty of opportunity for faith enrichment. The keynote addresses are being given by Rev. Jonathan Cholcher, Acting Rector of St. John the Baptist OCA Church in Warren, Ohio. In addition to the keynotes, a variety of priests and college students will be presenting and leading discussions on how we “overcome the world” in the areas of relationships, school, politics, the workplace, and in marriage and family. You do not want to miss out on this retreat. It promises to be a very rewarding event. Come to the retreat, meet other Orthodox college students, form lasting friendships, have some fun, and deepen your faith.
Join us on at our Spring College Retreat Facebook Event Page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192735107423500
To download the Registration forms visit: www.campnazareth.org or www.acrod.org/news/releases/spring-college-conference.
April 11, 2011
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official collegiate campus ministry program under The North American Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. Our mission is to support fellowships on college campuses, whose members experience and witness to the Orthodox Christian Church through community life, prayer, service to others and study of the Faith. OCF provides a connection for Orthodox students on college campus to stay connected to Christ and His Church.
OCF is now launching a search to hire a full-time Executive Director responsible for all aspects of the OCF ministry. This person should have proven experience managing a decentralized, national, not-for-profit organization. The position requires ability to raise funds through annual campaigns, grants and donor solicitations; implement program initiatives; report to and staff a diverse Board of Directors; create and use financial tools; manage staff and communicate effectively across a variety of stakeholder groups. Moreover, the Executive Director must be passionate about the mission of OCF, have a solid theological understanding of the Orthodox Church and be comfortable working with and representing Orthodox College students from around the country.
Qualified applicants should have a master’s degree and at least seven years of relevant experience.
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine in the Eastern Dioceses of Charleston and New York is offering college tuition scholarships for Antiochian students. Watch for the updated 2013 application form, coming soon! If you have any questions, call scholarship administrator Maria Abdalah at: 412-916-4772, or email her at email@example.com.
The completed form will be due June 1, 2013.
One (1) scholarship (each) of $1,500.00 and $1,000.00 will be awarded, along with four (4) scholarships of $500.00 each. The awards will be presented at the Annual Eastern Dioceses Parish Life Conference.
All scholarships are made possible by endowments created by concerned individuals from the parishes of our Eastern Dioceses and fund-raising programs held by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.
We wish you all God’s blessings and look forward to submitting your application to the evaluation committee.
Fishers, IN: www.ocf.net
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. OCF is providing 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.
Real St. Patrick's Day activites and supplemental materials may be found here at the OCF website link.
We are not attempting to "be better" than our fellow students or show them "how to really live". We are hoping to provide an alternative to our Orthodox students for their own journey--and if by their simple choices to not participate in certain activities affects someone else--then glory be to God!
Please email Irene Papas (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Pete Simko (GreatLakesRep@gmail.com) with any questions or concerns about your Real St. Patrick's Day, and God bless you and your chapter on your Lenten journey.
by Fr. John Abdalah
The importance of giving pastoral care to college-age people is certainly no secret to those who are doing it – and even more so in our time, when we have moved into what is called the “postmodern era.” Developmentally, the college years are a crucial and eventful time of moral, spiritual, physical and intellectual growth. I would suggest that the changes that occur in the four college years are so dramatic that, frequently, the college freshman is hardly recognizable as the same person when he or she graduates. College is also, in my opinion, the first time that individuals have the developmental skills and life experience really to understand the Christian message and dedicate themselves to Christ. Regardless of the effectiveness of our catechetical programs during childhood, those who are even younger are simply not prepared to understand abstract concepts like Trinity or Incarnation, and the implied relationships. Providing college-age Orthodox Christians an opportunity to discover, strengthen and (or) commit to Orthodox Christianity should certainly be a priority of the Church. Many Orthodox don’t return to the church after these years away at school. While the various statistics may be conflicting and controversial, all will agree that the loss to the Church of many young people, and the loss to the students of the Church, are of significant concern for the Church.
Wrapping up a busy schedule of winter events, Antiochian Village served as the host for the "Men in Black" Clergy Appreciation Luncheon on February 22. The Village's first event was the January winter camp session. These two events bookmarked several key conferences and meetings which took place in the very busy month of February.
During the first weekend in February, the traditional mid-winter meetings were held for SOYO's leadership. Reports Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department for Youth Ministry, "The February 4-6, 2011 Midwinter Meetings of SOYO brought over thirty teens and advisors from across the archdiocese. SOYO continued its work begun at the 2010 SOYO Leadership Conference. The SOYO Diocesan officers reported on their progress and shared ideas with one another. SOYO Officers continued the development of their leadership skills, as Fr. Fouad Saba explored the scripture and its relationship to leadership. Elizabeth Mamey, a past NAC SOYO Officer, came back to SOYO to share with our current group of officers the skills she learned through her SOYO and Leadership training experiences. It was a weekend rich in fellowship, spirituality and accomplishments for SOYO."
Then on February 8-12, about two dozen OCF chaplains gathered for their three day conference to discuss the theme "Following Christ through Crisis."
Fishers, IN – January 26, 2011
Founded in 1960, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) supports fellowships on college campuses, whose members experience the Church and witness to Christ through community life, prayer, service to others and study of the Faith. At a time when so many young people are separated from their Church, OCF transforms lives through its local chapters, programs and national conferences.
OCF has grown tremendously over the past decade and now has over 300 college chapters in the United States and Canada. A cadre of trained regional chaplains helps to further OCF’s ministry, which sees students from throughout North America participating in service programs around the globe and graduates reinvigorating parish life here at home.
As is appropriate for an organization at a pivotal time such as this, the OCF Board of Directors is taking a thoughtful look at its achievements, goals, and challenges in order to prepare a course for the future. To do this, the Board and Staff of OCF feel it necessary to know what OCF means to some of those who have worked so hard to make OCF a reality, those who have been impacted by its efforts, and those students who are active in the ministry today.
Over the next six months, OCF will study its reach, impact and effectiveness to determine future goals and objectives. Brigham Nahas Research Associates (BNRA), an independent research firm based in Massachusetts, has been engaged to gather data and perspective, using both stakeholder interviews and a survey of students and alumni involved in OCF.
Through a generous gift of the Francis Maria Foundation for Justice and Peace, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America will once again grant several scholarships in the amount of $2,500 to students attending an accredited College.
Scholarships will be granted each July. Completed 2012 Francis Maria Scholarship Application and all supporting documentation must be postmarked by May 15, 2012 and received by May 22.
Please note that you will need the free Adobe acrobat reader to open this file, if you do not already have it installed on your computer.
For more information on the Francis Maria Scholarship program, please visit www.antiochian.org/scholarships.