Dept. of College Ministry News


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."

College Student Sunday + September 18, 2011

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." 

More information and resources about College Student Sunday are available here.

OCF Relocates to Hellenic College

Hellenic CollegeHellenic CollegeBROOKLINE, 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

1-888-919-1OCF

St. Katherine College Holds Inaugural Open House May 21

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.

RSVP to event@stkath.org, and go to the website to read all the latest news and information about St. Katherine College.

Hellenic College Offers "Semester of Faith" This Fall

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:

Gregory Floor, Director of Admissions (866) 424-2338 or (617) 850-1285, or go to the Hellenic College website.

 


 

*Although Hellenic College is fully accredited, students must get all Hellenic College credits approved by their home institution to ensure all credits will transfer.

Spring College Retreat at Camp Nazareth, Mercer, PA + May 20-22, 2011

About Spring College Retreat 2011

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.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Launches Search for Executive Director

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.

2013 Eastern Dioceses Fellowship of St. John the Divine Scholarship

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 laxg25@aol.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. 

OCF's "Real St. Patrick's Day" Focuses on Faith

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 (irp6@pitt.edu) 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.

Reflections on Ministering to College-Age Orthodox Christians in a Postmodern World

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.

Antiochian Village Concludes Busy Winter Season

SOYO Mid-Winter MeetingSOYO Mid-Winter MeetingWrapping 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."

Orthodox Christian Fellowship Launches Strategic Development

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. 

2012 Francis Maria Scholarship Applications Now Available

2012 Francis Maria Scholarship Application (PDF)

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.

OCF Announces the 2011 Chaplain and Lay Leader Conference

Fishers, IN – December 27, 2010

The North American Office of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) announced today the details of its 2011 Chaplains Conference, to be held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA, on February 8-10, 2011. The annual gathering of clergy and lay leaders of local OCF chapters will focus on the theme of “Following Christ through Crisis,” with the goal of equipping chaplains and lay leaders to help students remain strong in their faith and in the pursuit of their calling even in the midst of crises, be they personal or interpersonal, emotional, physical or spiritual.

Designed to offer practical learning in the field of campus ministry, the keynote sessions will be offered by Fr. John Abdalah, a veteran OCF Chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh and licensed counselor. A variety of mini-clinics will be offered as options, with focused topics ranging from “The First Two Weeks of the Semester,” to “Developing Continuity in Student Leadership.”

Twenty scholarships covering all travel and registration costs will be awarded to applicants, with majority funding coming through a grant from The Lilly Endowment for the Theological Exploration of Vocations.  Current OCF Chaplains as well as those interested in this rewarding ministry are encouraged to apply. Scholars will in turn submit written reflections on their own vocations as campus ministers.

Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF’s North American Chaplain and one of the organizers of the Conference, said this about the focus of this year’s conference: “It’s simply the way things are: the great majority of college students today will face multiple crises during their college years. Most students do well until a crisis hits, and that’s when many lose their way. We hope we can better equip our chaplains to help our students get through these challenging times, holding fast to Christ and His Church as their anchor.”

College Conferences Commence in Three Regions

OCF Retreat ParticipantsOCF Retreat ParticipantsEach year during Christmas break, college conferences are held in various regions in the U.S. This year three regional conferences are currently taking place. In the East at Antiochian Village, attendees are enjoying traditional soccer and football games, a supplication service to Saint Raphael at his grave, a keynote presentation by Dr. Gayle Woloschak about technology and the Church, and what has been called "an epic coffee house night and a bonfire in the snow."

In the West at California's St. Nicholas Ranch, participants are listening to the keynote speaker, Abbot Meletios Webber, a well known author, lecturer, and scholar; attending daily workshops led by Mother Melania of the Santa Barbara Monastery and Katrina Bitar, Program Director of Focus North America, and going to nightly events, including the West's "famous open Mic Night."

OCN Internships Announced for 2011

OCN is pleased to offer, to both under-graduate and post-graduate college students, a series of internships during 2011. All internships may be done locally or remotely, and all last for six months; internships may be renewed.

Some of the internships are in: Audience Insight and Research, Audio Engineering, Communications and Marketing, Design, Multimedia, Reference Library, Social Media Desk, and Religion Desk.

Each applicant is requested to send a letter of interest, a resume, a writing sample where specified, and a letter of recommendation from his or her parish priest, to OCN's Executive Director at FrChris@stdemetrios.org. To learn more visit OCN's website. Click here for a full list of internships.

St. Katherine College To Host Kaleidoscope Days, Jan. 20, 22

Saint Katherine College, a new independent Orthodox Christian institution slated to begin classes in the fall of 2011, will host "College Kaleidoscope Days" for high school juniors and seniors at its Encinitas, CA campus Thursday and Saturday, January 20th and 22nd, 2011. The event will feature presentations on goal setting, discerning a "good fit" when selecting a college, fun activities, lunch, and more. For more information log on to the college’s web site.

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.

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.

Registration Opens for OCF Real Break College Ministry Trips

Each year hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for oftentimes, empty experiences.  Since 2001, Orthodox Christian Fellowship has offered their annual Real Break trips as Spring Break alternatives that provide life-transforming and spiritually uplifting opportunities to do "something real" during this time.  Since its inception, over one thousand college students have had the opportunity to spend their time away from school helping others and growing in their Orthodox Christian faith.

Click here for registration and information.

Tribute Dinner and New Endowment Fund Honor OCF Founder, Bishop Dimitrios

OCF Honorary Dinner for His Grace, Bishop DimitriosOCF Honorary Dinner for His Grace, Bishop DimitriosJACKSONVILLE, FL [OCF/OCA] -- Orthodox Christian Fellowship honored its founder, His Grace, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, at a tribute dinner at the San Jose Country Club here on Friday, September 17, 2010.

As a recent seminary graduate in the 1960s, Bishop Dimitrios (James Couchell) was the driving force in establishing what has become the joint campus ministry arm of all canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in North America.

The dinner gathered clergy and laity from throughout North America to honor Bishop Dimitrios’ dedication and devotion to college students and to celebrate the ever-growing network that OCF has been able to build upon the foundation he laid years ago.

At the dinner, the OCF Board of Directors announced the establishment of the Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos Orthodox Christian Fellowship Ministry Endowment, which has been created to sustain and further the ministries of OCF. The fund was initiated with a $100,000.00 anonymous donation.

"Bishop Dimitrios has offered so much to Orthodox Christianity in North America and throughout the world in various capacities," said OCF Board of Directors Chairman and Interim Executive Director, Rev. Mark Leondis. Specifically, his efforts on behalf of college students are significant and this recognition of his work is long overdue."

In conjunction with the dinner, members of the OCF Board of Directors, the Regional Chaplains Network, and the Student Advisory Board met.

Those who are interested in participating in the Bishop Dimitrios Ministry Endowment are encouraged to contact OCF Development Director Presvytera Shyla Hadzellis at 800-919-1623.

OCF to Present Interfaith Debate at University of Maryland

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship of UMBC, in collaboration with the Secular Student Association of UMBC, is excited to present to the campus community and the general public a debate entitled, “The Source of Human Morality: Interfaith Debate.” How do we define morality? Do people need God to be moral? If not, where do our morals come from? Are good works behavioral, biological, or biblical? What does it mean to be human? The Secular Student Alliance at UMBC and the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at UMBC have come together to present a debate on the topic of human morality-- what is it, how do we know we have it, and where does it come from? Two presenters, with wildly different backgrounds and philosophies will face off on this topic, in the common interest of pursuing truth.

Our Speakers:

Matt Dillahunty is the president of the Atheist Community of Austin, and host of the popular public access television and internet show "The Atheist Experience." He was raised as a fundamentalist Baptist, and was on track to become a minister until he started asking questions about the reasons for his belief. He rejected religion, and now serves as a public voice for rationality and secular morality.

Father Hans Jacobse is an Antiochian Orthodox Priest, who administers the website Orthodoxy Today and heads the American Orthodox Institute. Fr. Hans is convinced that Orthodox Christianity has an important part to play in American moral renewal. He views the current world as a battle between competing moral visions of the secular and the sacred, and hopes that Christianity can restore the moral tradition of the
gospels.

Event Information:

OCF's College Student Sunday is Sept. 19

OCF has announced their annual event, College Student Sunday, which will take place Sunday Sept. 19, 2010.

Writes the OCF, "Over the past 50 years, campus ministry has made a presence in the Orthodox Church. We would like to ask all of you to make a presence this year for Orthodox college students at your parish. Now more than ever is the time to raise awareness.

Over the past few years the national average of young adults leaving the Church has been 6 out of 10. Recently the Pew Research Institute declared the average is quickly growing to 7 out of 10. We would like to encourage each of you to visit our website to find the resources you will need to conduct a presentation. If you are unable to make the presentation, please ask some to fill in for you. Thank you for your support of campus ministry!!!"

Endorsed by the Episcopal Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in North America, this observance is designed to draw attention to the importance of ministering to our college age Orthodox Christian Students. Parishes are reminded that young Orthodox Christians are attending college in their cities and towns, and the faithful are encouraged to connect with these college students in order to provide a parish home away from home. For more information, contact the Orthodox Christian Fellowship.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) to honor His Grace Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos

Fishers, IN – August 19, 2010

The OCF Board of Directors will be honoring His Grace Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos for his tremendous contributions in establishing Orthodox Christian Fellowship with a celebratory dinner in Jacksonville, Florida, on September 17, 2010. 

Beginning in 1960 as a recent seminary graduate, Bishop Dimitrios (James Couchell) was the driving force in establishing what has become the all-important campus ministry arm of the Orthodox Church. Inspired by his dedication and devotion to college students, OCF has been able to build upon the foundation he laid 50 years ago.

In the year 2000 OCF experienced a renewal, which included the strong and continuing support of the various Orthodox jurisdictions in North America. Recognizing these two milestones, this fall marks the 50th anniversary of OCF’s creation and the 10th anniversary of its current efforts.

In addition to the dinner, OCF will be holding its annual Board of Directors, Chaplain’s Network and Student Advisory Board meetings throughout the weekend. These planning meetings will lead into OCF’s College Student Sunday on September 19th, which was designated by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) as the Sunday after the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross. On this day, Orthodox Christians are asked to call to mind, support and prayer all of our college students.

St. Katherine, Orthodox Liberal Arts College, Founded in San Diego

In the fall of 2011, a new institution will open its doors to the Orthodox community. St. Katherine College in San Diego, California, will commence the first year of classes, offering an emphasis in Composition, English Language and Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government and History, Economics, Mathematics, and the Sciences. As to affiliation, the website explains that "The College community is independent, but it is closely associated with the Orthodox Christian community." Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dr. Scott Cairns, and Dr. Vladimir Morosan are all listed as faculty, among several other Orthodox academic luminaries.

Recently, Antiochian.org interviewed Vicki Brannock, St. Katherine College's Executive Director for Communications and Recruitment.

1. Tell us about your academic approach.

Of course the academic emphasis is important to us. We are selecting staff that represents the best in Orthodox academia and are working to strike a balance between the well established (Fr. Thomas Hopko, Scott Cairns) visiting professors and mid-level and younger faculty that we believe will make significant impact on the future.