Dept. of College Ministry News
Orthodox Christian Fellowship has released the annual edition of WITNESS, the lively online student review that profiles Orthodox leaders, encourages campus activism for the faith, and highlights ministry opportunities for college students. (To subscribe to OCF's Headliner and Witness Listserv, contact Student Editor Arianna at: Arianna.Ranahosseini@du.edu.)
In this issue's opening reflection, Stevie Hull writes, "I entered my professor's office and, not without a bit of hesitation, announced that I would be missing 'Introduction to Ancient Greek' to attend Holy Week services. This was two years ago, when I was a sophomore and Pascha did not fall on the same day as western Easter. He turned towards me in surprise. 'Are you Greek? Your last name's not Greek. Is it your mother's side?'
'No,' I said.
'No. I'm American. I converted to Orthodoxy.'
He stared at me, stunned, for a few moments before blurting out, 'Why?'
This caught me off guard, so I offered the first explanation that surfaced in my head: 'To escape nihilism.'
That put an abrupt end to our conversation. Two years later, I learned that the professor in question is a self-professed nihilist. But even without this hilarious conclusion, my professor's initial shock at my profession of faith left its mark on me. I realized that, in my department, I was like an exhibit at a circus sideshow. And I was going to be watched."
In conjunction with Conciliar Press, the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family MInistries has released two much-requested brochures for Orthodox Christians. "Crowned with Glory and Honor," a free, downloadable brochure, presents readers with a set of helpful guidelines for Orthodox marriage preparation, including such concepts as the meaning of crowning, and the purpose of the Betrothal Service. Readers will even learn about the wedding almonds: "The white coating symbolizes purity; the egg shape represents fertility and new life that begins in marriage. The hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage, and the sweetness of the sugar encourages the hope of the sweetness of future life together. Giving of three almonds signifies the union is indivisible, just as the bride and groom will remain undivided in their union with each other and with Christ."
The second brochure, "A Guide to Parish Etiquette," lists everything parishioners need to know about respectful and reverent behavior while in liturgy. Department Director Khouria Maggie Hock encourages all parishes, couples and families to make use of these valuable, free resources.
Are you a Student Leader?
OCF offers students the opportunity to lend their voice to this ministry by serving on the Student Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB was instituted in 2002 with an enthusiastic and God centered group of young people. This inaugural SAB initiated integral OCF programming such as Day of Prayer and organization of regional OCF structure. These student leaders have now moved on to leadership within the Orthodox Church serving in positions such as the OCF Board of Directors and Greek Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministries. Subsequent SAB's have continued the inspiring vision set forth by the first SAB.
Do you have the interest, the passion, and the dedication to be a part of the newest chapter in the Student Advisory Board? Applications are now available.
Click here for further information concerning SAB available positions and job expectations.
Fr. Philip LeMasters, pastor of St. Luke Orthodox Church, has taught Religion at McMurry University in Abilene, TX, for fifteen years and will soon become the Interim Dean of Social Sciences and Religion. He has been very pleased with the openness of the United Methodist-related school to Orthodox believers. Fr. Philip says, “McMurry allowed our parish to worship for our first five years free of charge in the college chapel.” A small group of faculty and students join him for an on-campus Akathist on Thursday afternoons, and his Orthodox Theology class has a healthy enrollment. An Orthodox student is currently doing an “Internship in Christian Ministry” at St. Luke for McMurry course credit.
CHICAGO, IL, 5/04 -- The spring meeting of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship Board of Directors was held at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral April 22-23, 2010.
Board members discussed a wide range of topics and evaluated the delegation of day-to-day responsibilities, due to the recent vacancy of the executive director position, in order to ensure the normal operations of the OCF offices in Fishers, IN. Ongoing preparations for programs -- College Conference, Real Break, College Student Sunday, and Day of Prayer -- will be overseen by various board members. A search committee was formed to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the executive director position and to develop a formal search process, which will begin at a later date. Father Mark Leondis, OCF Board Chair, serves as the Interim executive director.
A report prepared by Brigham and Nahas Research Associates, summarizing student focus group surveys carried out in December at the East Coast College Conference at Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania, was reviewed. Seventy of the 238 student participants volunteered to take part in the surveys, which provided valuable insight into the effectiveness of the OCF ministry. Board members initiated a process to strategize methods of utilizing the results of the report, which was performed in cooperation with the Office of Vocational Ministry at Holy Cross School of Theology.
The 2nd Annual Encountering Eastern Orthodoxy Conference presents…
Let God Arise (and let His enemies be scattered):
The RESURRECTION of CHRIST in Eastern Orthodox Theology & Worship
with Deacon Nicholas V. Belcher, M.Div., Dean of Students, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology - Boston, MA, and guests, including His Grace Bishop MARK of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest
+For complete description & campus map, please visit www.hope.edu.
TEMPE, AZ --- On February 4-5th, 2010, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), in partnership with a very generous grant from The Order of St. Ignatius, gathered a group of Board members and priests, from across five different SCOBA jurisdictions, to form the first-ever OCF Regional Chaplaincy Network. In order to meet the pastoral needs of the 270 local OCF chapters throughout the United States and Canada, OCF has broken the country into nine different regions. A Regional Chaplain and a Student Regional Representative will represent each of these regions. Together these roles will assist with the development of new and existing OCF chapters.
“Identifying a group of talented and committed spiritual leaders to help build this network is a critical step in helping OCF create a spiritual safety net for our students as they leave home for college,” remarked Fr. James Coles, the OCF North American Chaplain.
Besides the organizational administration of this new network, the group discussed ideas and plans for Chaplain training and resources. Fr. Kevin Scherer, the OCF Executive Director said, “It’s our hope that this new network will not only help grow new OCF chapters, but resource those that are struggling to develop and stay connected to other Orthodox students across the country.”
Fishers, IN – January 15, 2010
In response to the growing concerns that Orthodox students are leaving their family roots in the Church, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has produced a gripping, high definition documentary film and launched a complimentary webpage.
“We decided that we had to do the film after reading that only 7% of incoming freshmen could identify a Christian organization on campus before arriving,” said Executive Director, Fr. Kevin Scherer. “They’ve prepared themselves academically for that transition, but there’s been little or no preparation spiritually.”
This just released DVD captures the honest and unedited interviews of eight different students and their transition from high school to college. Their stories cover everything from leaving home and friends to the temptations and pressures of modern college life. “We made this film to start a dialogue. We want parents, priests and students to use this DVD to talk about what’s likely to happen emotionally and spiritually during four of the most important years of a person’s life,” said Fr. Kevin.
“Let my prayers rise up as incense and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” Psalm 142
Fishers, IN – February 2, 2010
Each year, college students across North America join together in offering their prayers for Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s Day of Prayer held on Clean Monday.
On February 15, 2010, OCF chapters will take part in 24 hours of unceasing prayer. Each school will take a one-hour slot to pray for themselves, their chapters and their fellow students.
Contact your local OCF chapter if you would like them to include your name on their prayer list. If you would like to sign-up your chapter, please contact Kelli Phillips, OCF Program Director at email@example.com or visit www.ocf.net.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
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 2010 Francis Maria Scholarship Application and all supporting documentation must be postmarked by May 15, 2010.
Real Break is an alternative spring break service-learning program designed to provide college students with life-transforming experiences that strengthen their faith and broaden their Christian world-view. OCF offers several trips to locations all around the globe where students have the opportunity to serve and minister to the poor with compassion and humility.
Students can sign up for Real Break at: www.ocf.net/realbreak.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is extending registration for College Conference 2009 until December 10. College Conference 2009 is December 27-31, 2009. The Antiochian Village in Bolivar, Pennsylvania is the home to OCF's largest conference. Reconnect with old friends and make new ones at this dynamic 5-day event. This year's theme is "Building Community," (II Corinthians 13:14). OCF is very honored to have His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah as this year's Keynote Speaker, as well as several dynamic workshop speakers. Cost is $325 for students and $375 for alumni.
Fishers, IN – November 11, 2009
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) continues to receive funding from the Lilly Endowment in support of its Just Love service learning programs, having recently been awarded a matching grant of $35,000. The grant comes as part of the Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PETV).
In the past year, OCF has been able to add several new service learning programs due to the support of the Lilly Endowment. One of these programs, Just Love, is an inner-city immersion program designed to allow students to spend a day serving the poor of their city, learn about the complexity of poverty and the challenges facing the poor, and how we are called as Christians to respond.
Another new program these funds will go to support is the Pilgrimage for Justice. This yearly event brings students together from throughout North America to experience and reflect upon some of the harsh realities of injustice in our world today such as human trafficking and homelessness. The very first Pilgrimage was held in June of this year and incorporated simulated activities, reflective exercises, and prayer to challenge students to live out the Gospel each day of their lives.
September 29th, 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This past weekend, a team of 20 youth participated in FOCUS North America’s YES Program (formerly known as OYO), serving our most needy neighbors in Kansas City.
They arrived from parishes in Wichita, KS, Oklahoma City, OK, and Kansas City, eager to be used by God to meet the fundamental needs of His people. They did not expect, however, that they would receive much more from the experience than they would give. After three intense days, the youth gained a new perspective on the poor and homeless: they came expecting to serve them, but, instead, found their own lives forever changed by the encounter.
“They are just like us,” one participant said. Another said, “I don’t know how anyone can come on a FOCUS North America YES trip and not be changed.”
Living out Matthew 25, the youth engaged in several social action projects throughout the weekend. They served and ate dinner with many homeless and working poor in the city, listening to their stories and enjoying fellowship with them. They distributed clothing to mothers who had no means to clothe their children. They walked around the famous outdoor Country Club Plaza in Kansas City with newly opened eyes, looking beyond the glamour to perceive and meet the needs of the homeless on the streets. But, as the youth realized, they themselves were fed and clothed by the face-to-face encounter with real living icons of Christ, with the poor of the city. As one participant said, “They really open themselves to you; they’ll sit and talk to you forever, when most people in school will never give their time to you like that.”
Fishers, IN – September 16, 2009
Registration for 2009 College Conference opens Sunday, September 20th and runs through December 1st. “Building Community” (II Corinthians 13:14) is the chosen theme for this year’s conference. Identical conferences will run simultaneously from December 27-31 in two locations: the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, Pennsylvania and the Diakonia Center in Salem, South Carolina.
OCF is honored this year to announce that His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah will be the keynote speaker at the Antiochian Village. Additionally, The Very Reverend Father Jon Braun will be delivering the keynote addresses at the Diakonia Center.
Registration is $325 for students and $375 for alumni. Included in the registration fee are transformative keynote addresses and inspiring workshops, social events, a dinner/dance, memories and friendships that will last a lifetime as well as lodging and meals.
Space is limited so register early. Some scholarships are available. Please visit www.ocf.net or call 1-800-919-1623 for more information.
For additional information contact:
Orthodox Christian Fellowship
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
“Keeping our College Students Connected to the Church”
OCF COLLEGE STUDENT SUNDAY 2009
Fishers, IN – September 16, 2009
Since 2003, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) have designated the Sunday following the Elevation of the Holy Cross as OCF College Student Sunday. They ask all faithful Orthodox Christians in North America to call to mind and prayer our college students. We invite you to read the 2009 SCOBA College Student Sunday Encyclical at www.ocf.net/css.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship is Our Campus Ministry. It exists to come alongside families and parishes to provide solutions. OCF provides curricula, educational DVDs, service learning encounters and an interactive website that help our students apply their faith in their daily lives. On a program level, OCF offers large-scale, transformative opportunities annually, such as College Conference and Real Break.
Currently, we have 270 local college/university chapters in the United States and Canada. Together these individual chapters represent the backbone of the OCF ministry and Our Future of the Orthodox Church in North America.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) is pleased to announce another Real Break trip to Constantinople. Real Break Constantinople serves God and other people while participating in the life of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. His Grace Bishop SAVAS, the newly appointed Director of Church and Society of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, will lead the group assisted by the Rev. Mark Leondis the National Youth Director for the GOA and Chairman of the Board of Orthodox Christian Fellowship and the Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos the Executive Director of OCN (The Orthodox Christian Network) and the Pastor of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The Real Break Trip to Istanbul, Turkey begins on March 14, 2009.
The group consists of 22 participants from five different Orthodox Christian jurisdictions. The college students from around the country are traveling to Constantinople to receive the blessings of His All Holiness and refurbish a church and a cemetery that has fallen into disrepair. Fr. Kevin Scherer, Executive Director of OCF commented, "OCF is honored to have the opportunity to assist the Ecumenical Patriarch in his efforts to restore and maintain the parishes of his ancient see. This Real Break trip in particular provides our students with a transformative perspective into both the past and the present struggles of our Church. The participants will work hard in a very short span of time."
Fishers, IN – March 6, 2009
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has designed and created a brand new website, www.ocf.net, using the very latest technology to connect with the world's most powerful social networking engine known as Facebook. OCF is one of the first websites to utilize the new technology called Facebook Connect. Facebook Connect allows external networks such as OCF.net to gain access and share information. This new website connects every local OCF chapter in North America, and establishes an online community for each of our students without competing with Facebook. The website allows the individual user to interact with one another and each of our programs in a very dynamic way. Students can upload and download media, blog, view podcasts and provide regular feedback and commentary. Clergy, youth workers and parents can find articles and curriculum. It provides our ministry an excellent platform for community and communication. Visit us today at www.ocf.net!
Imagine a college dormitory with icons on the walls, incense lingering in the air, and the sounds of studying, prayer, and fellowship alike. Such a place exists!
At the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, the Orthodox Christian Student Living Center provides such an on-campus home away from home. Open since 2004, the first such Center in North America has hosted dozens of students as residents and as a meeting place for members of the local OCF. For more details and contact info please visit http://orthodoxalumni.com/ .
This particular form of campus ministry is one that we envision spreading to *all* college campuses. The Center does face challenges, but with God's grace and the prayerful support and donations of the faithful, this ministry endures and grows. Would you please consider lending your support so that we may help plant seeds of future Orthodox residences? Especially, please inform all high school seniors and UIUC students you know that this opportunity is available to them. The board of directors of the Orthodox Christian Alumni Association thanks you.