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On August 14–17, 2014, the NAC Fellowship of St. John the Divine hosted the Orthodox Young Professionals Conference in San Diego, CA. This conference, the culmination of a year-long effort, was the first of its kind for any Orthodox jurisdiction.
Co-Chaired by Kyra Pelachik and Fadi George Madanat, the Orthodox Young Professionals Conference brought together 125 Orthodox young adults representing every major metropolitan area in the United States, as well as Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ontario, Canada. The conference gave attendees an opportunity to network, listen to prominent speakers, engage in very meaningful and practical discussions about their faith, and learn about the interdependence between their personal lives and the life of the Church.
His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, in special attendance at the conference, shared his vision for Orthodoxy in North America.
Sarah Metry Najjar, 43, passed away Wednesday morning, August 20, 2014. A lifelong member of St. Michael's Orthodox Church in Louisville, KY, Sarah was very involved in the Fellowship of St. John the Divine on the local, diocesan and national levels.
Sarah attended Sacred Heart Model School and Collegiate High School. Her love of the theatre was nursed at Walden Theatre from the age of 6, and blossomed at New York University at the Tisch School of Arts. After graduating from NYU, Sarah returned to Louisville to work for Walden and eventually as a corporate fund raiser for Fund for the Arts. After a presentation for Fund for the Arts, she was offered a position at U.S. Bank. She completed her MBA at Bellarmine University, and worked as a branch manager until marriage.
Sarah married in 2002, and in the same year, fulfilled an enduring desire to become a teacher.
Representing the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest this year at the annual NAC Bible Bowl was St. Mary Church of Palos Heights, Illinois, located in Chicago's South Side. Team St. Mary, composed of members Salena Ibrahim, Marlena Sweiss, Sandra Khouri, and Elizabeth Khouri, achieved a near perfect score of 104 points (out of 105). Under the leadership of their coach, Kh. Delia Haddad, and their clergy, Fr. Mousa Haddad and Fr. Malek Rihani, team St. Mary won first place. Afterwards, the team was congratulated by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest.
The Orthodox Young Professionals Conference slated for August 14-17, 2014 is a new initiative designed especially for career-bound and professional young adults. Hosted by the Antiochian Archdiocese organization Fellowship of St. John the Divine, the Conference will offer participants the opportunity to network with other Orthodox Christians from across the country. Antiochian.org asked dynamic Co-Chairs Kyra Pelachik and Fadi George Madanat to share their goals for the inaugural gathering.
Tell us a little about how the idea for this conference originated. Who are the sponsoring groups?
Kyra – This conference originated as a plea from Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory and other bishops to the NAC Fellowship of St. John the Divine, to help bring young adults back to the church.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina, the patriarchal vicar of New York and all North America, the 2014 Archdiocese Summer Meetings will be hosted at the Antiochian Village, July 18-20, 2014. The Archdiocese and diocese officers of the Antiochian Women, Fellowship of St. John Divine, and Teen SOYO, will gather for their annual summer meetings to conduct the business of the Archdiocese organizations.
In addition, the Archdiocese Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals will be held during the weekend with participants from each diocese. Please contact your NAC/NAB President if you have any questions.
Information for the Summer Meetings is as follows:
The Orthodox Young Professionals Conference is designed especially for career-bound young adults, and young professionals within the Archdiocese. The conference, hosted by the NAC Fellowship of St. John the Divine, will provide all young adults (ages 21+) with an opportunity to network with other Antiochian Orthodox Christians from across the country. For further details, registration, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit the Conference Website.
Registration is officially opened for the Fellowship of St. John the Divine's Spring Young Adult Retreat! Registration includes meals, lodging at the Cenacle Retreat Center, activities, and a service project. Please register before April 15!
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, the 2014 Mid-Winter Meetings will be hosted by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, and will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 7-9, 2014. The Archdiocese and Diocese officers of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, the Fellowship of St. John Divine, and Teen SOYO will gather to conduct the business of our Archdiocese organizations. Please contact each individual organization's president for specific questions.
Travel, lodging, and registration information:
- Group rate of $129.00/night at the Holiday Inn Express Scottsdale North
- Conveniently located just 4 miles (10 minute drive) from the church
Fr. Justin Havens, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in Salt Lake City, Utah will be our speaker on the topic of:
"Wash Me and I Shall Be Made Whiter Than Snow" Ps. 50
January 10 - 12, 2014 | Sacred Heart Retreat Camp
$30 - Fun, Food, Accommodations
$50 - Fun, Food, Accommodations, & Lift Ticket!
Space is limited - Download the PDF and register today!
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip addresses the faithful at the start of Great Lent:
Beloved in the Lord,
Greetings and blessings to you as we enter this most holy season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
During this time of the Great Fast, we once again turn our attention to the Food for Hungry People Program of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. For almost 40 years this campaign has had a tremendous impact throughout the world to help alleviate hunger and the numberless tragedies caused by poverty. With several tragic events that continue plaguing our world including, but not limited to, the recent war in Syria, the natural disasters that wreak havoc on our own continent like Hurricane Sandy and others, we depend on your support to help the victims of these man-made and natural tragedies.
Dear Young Adults,
With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Anthony, we are very excited to announce the 2nd Annual Midwest Young Adult Retreat to be held April 5-7, 2013 at the Maranatha Retreat Center in Muskegon, MI, on beautiful Lake Michigan. This year, we welcome Fr. Michael Nasser, the Pastor of Holy Apostles Mission in Bowling Green, KY, as our guest speaker for the weekend. Many of our young people remember him for his many years of service as the former Camp Director at the Antiochian Village and his mission work at Project Mexico. Fr. Michael is a dynamic speaker, whose talks will surely challenge and inspire us in the faith.
What is "Village at Home"? Antiochian Village's website explains, "In an effort to stay connected to our campers and introduce young people to the camp experience, we have established our Village at Home program. In short, we visit a parish, at the invitation of their pastor, and run a modified day of camp at the parish. We ask the host parish to extend invitations to neighboring churches with hope of exposing as many young people to the Antiochian Village camping program. We recruit former staff members to join us for the day to assist with the program. The day somewhat mimics a day of camp."
"The Bible 'enchants our ears with birdsong.' It enchants us and delights us. It brings us peace, but it also instills awe. The Bible is filled with great deeds and acts of love. What is most delightful, however, is the fact that all these great deeds involve human beings, not superheroes. Whether through Noah building an ark or Moses leading a whole nation out of slavery, God is acting through people like us, people who have as great a potential to love as to sin."
These and other well-chosen words prompted this year's Oratorical Festival judges to award Peter Somi the 2012 Festival Judges' Choice Award. Peter hails from St. George Cathedral in Worcester (Diocese of Worcester and New England) and his full speech can be read here.
Esther Simbol, Bible Bowl Coordinator, writes that this year's Fellowship of St. John the Divine North American Council (NAC) Bible Bowl at Antiochian Village received rousing support from 300 campers, who cheered for their favorite teams. The Topic this year was St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, and all seven Dioceses were represented. This year’s winner was the team from St. Elias Cathedral, Ottawa, Ontario, representing the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upper State New York. The team consisted of Amanda Salibi, Maria Fakhouri and Milad Hamwi. Read about the theme and the participants in September's The Word.
Eastern Dioceses 2012 Fall Delegates Meeting
October 12-14, 2012
Diocese of New York and Washington D.C.
Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic
Hosted by St. George Church, Danbury, CT
Event page on Facebook
Download Registration Form (PDF)
Deadline for registration is Friday, October 5, 2012. Please mail a registration form (PDF) with your check to: St. George Orthodox Church Delegates Meeting, 125 Kohanza Street, Danbury, CT 06811.
Saturday night will be an international dinner featuring homemade foods from several different countries, as well as a hafli and dance featuring Arabic and American music.
St. George Church has set aside a block of rooms at the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Danbury, CT. For more information and directions, please download this hotel registration information PDF.
After the Fall Fellowship of St. John Gathering in 2011, His Grace Bishop Anthony (then Bishop-elect) encouraged the young adults that were at the Fall Gathering to continue to meet on a regular basis. With no spring meeting scheduled, we decided to plan a Spring Retreat to focus on spiritual renewal and fellowship with other young adults from our Diocese. The weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012 was chosen, and the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, graciously offered their facility as the host location. Over 60 young adults from 13 parishes in our Diocese came together for our Young Adult Spring Retreat, sponsored by the Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine.
The weekend began as we prayed the Akathist service with the parishioners of St. Mary’s. Following the service, His Grace Bishop Anthony began the retreat by introducing the topic “Following in the Footsteps of Christ.” The evening concluded with a Coffee House social in the church's Activity Center so we could relax from the long drive and to get to know each other. We thank Tom and Lillian Saba for planning and organizing the evening social.
The Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine invites all young adults (ages 18-40) to our spring Young Adult Retreat hosted at St. Mary Basilica in Livonia, MI, the weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012. His Grace Bishop Anthony will be our guest speaker for the weekend leading us in workshops about our faith, along with church services, good food, activities and fellowship time together to enjoy each others company. We invite all young adults (married or single) from our diocese and beyond to join us for this retreat. It is going to be a fun and spiritually fulfilling retreat in which we hope all young adults from our diocese will participate.
The retreat will take place at St. Mary Basilica in (18100 Merriman Road, Livonia, MI). Out of town guests may book lodging at the Detroit Marriott Livonia (17100 Laurel Park Drive North, Livonia, MI) where a block of rooms is reserved under the group code: FSJFSJD at a special rate of $96 per night.
The weekend will begin at 7pm on Friday March 30 with the Akatahist/Madeyeh service at St. Mary's, and conclude with a light luncheon after Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday April 1. The final schedule is attached.
Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD, is hosting the spring gathering for both the Diocese of Charleston and the Diocese of New York youth.
Highlights will include:
• Unlimited Bowling Friday Night for $10
• Registration Cost: $35
• Registration Includes Breakfast and Lunch Saturday at the Church Hall
• Registration also includes Dinner and Hafli Saturday Night with live entertainment
• In lieu of the humanitarian activity, each teen from each church is asked to bring a canned food to be donated to a shelter at a later date.
Hotel Accommodations: Bethesda Marriott Suites
6711 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20817
• Hotel Rooms at $89 per night
• Rooms can accommodate more than 4 people – All are Suites
• Group Code for Hotel Reservation: SPPSPPA
• Registration Due by April 13th for guaranteed room rate
This 3rd Annual Fellowship Spiritual Retreat to the Antiochian Village was another memorable weekend for its 54 participants, a new Retreat record. The coach rides to and from, informative sessions led by Dn. Saed, and the Antiochian Village as the backdrop, provided the opportunity for renewed and heightened fellowship in Christ. This year marked the joining together of two Fellowships, from St. George, Cicero and St. Mary's, Alsip. It was uplifting and inspiring to see different parishes share in fellowship in one faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All in attendance were filled with such positivity, a feeling of togetherness and renewed awareness of their faith.
We thank the Retreat committee (Rammy Zanayed, Eddy Shaheen, Angela Sweis, Elaine Riadi, Nicole Dahdal, Khalil Haddad, Laura Mraibie, Dn. Saed Rihani and Fr. Fouad Saba) for their tireless efforts in planning and ensuring this retreat's success. We thank our generous sponsors, volunteers, any well-wishers, and especially all 54 registered participants. We were honored and blessed to have the amazing Dn. Saed Rihani serve as our main speaker. A debt of gratitude goes as always to Fr. Fouad Saba for his unrecognized efforts. From worship services, sessions, nature walks, travels, bonfires, singing, team building exercises and meals, the Fellowship worked, ate, bonded, grew, laughed, learned, celebrated, and worshipped together.
The Fall Session for the St. John Chrysostom Academy will start on Wednesday, October 19th and last until December 14th. This Fall's course is the "The Letter to the Romans," and will be offered on Wednesdays from 7:30-9:30pm at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 1220 S. 60th Court, Cicero, IL 60804. The St. John Chrysostom Academy is an Adult Lay Educational Ministry of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine at St. George.
Download the Registration Form, attached here, and please feel free to distribute to your parishioners. Thank you!
Also, for more information about ongoing Biblical studies and resources, visit the newly redesigned website of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS).
You wouldn’t think it would be possible to make the Antiochian Village even more beautiful than it already is, but the NAC Special Projects Committee is trying. Nestled just off of the main track visitors will now find a newly installed Prayer Garden, designed around a simple theme. A stone pathway encircling the central area leads to an icon shrine dedicated to St. John the Divine, patron saint of the NAC Fellowship. Inside the mulch-covered central area, a single dogwood tree stands. In the large mulch area outside the pathway are stone benches, a few plants, and room to expand!
This Prayer Garden sprang to life through a combination of Fellowship planning, a Boy Scout working hard to give something back to a place he loves through his Eagle Scout Project, a team of volunteers who offered up sweat and hard work, and the Grace of God.
A planting in this prayer garden is a lovely way to honor, remember, or pray for someone you care about. For a donation that will just cover the cost of materials, the NAC Fellowship will take care of all the details.
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.
As we near the mid-point of this year's Great Lent, the faithful may wish to remember that the giving of alms to those in need is an important part of our Lenten practice. To that end, please remember the Food for Hungry People program. Through your generosity and prayers, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been distributed to the hungry and poor in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. All of the funds collected have been used to meet the needs of hungry people.
Updated brochures, bulletin inserts, fundraising ideas and the 2011 Food for Hungry People Lenten Calendar are available at the Food for Hungry People web page. Please take a look and remember the poor!
“When you see a poor person, remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ by which He declared that it is He, Himself who is fed. For though that which appears be not Christ, yet in that person’s form, it is Christ Himself who receives and begs.”
-St. John Chrysostom, “Homilies on Mathew” #78.
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine
2010 FSJD Fall Retreat
Friday-Sunday, October 8-10, 2010
Full retreat Recap (PDF)
For the 2nd Annual Fellowship Spiritual Retreat to the Antiochian Village, a luxury motor coach transported over forty of our Christian parishioners to Pennsylvania for a spiritual journey. We thank all the committee (Eddy Shaheen, Nicole Dahdal, Laura Mraibie, Abdo Imseeh). We thank Fr. Fouad Saba for his guidance and applaud Dn. Jim King for his invigorating sessions. We thank all of the volunteers, donors and registrants. Each aspect of the trip was well-organized and prepared much in advance. The committee set up a weekend full of worship services, sessions with Dn. Jim King of St. Mary's Livonia, MI, meals, team building exercises, fun, education and fellowship. Every person who came on the trip, whether a returnee from last year or a first time participant gave something dear to the overall wonder that this Retreat provided us.
We received, as one body in Christ, far greater than we gave individually. This Fellowship tradition has quickly become something truly unforgettable. A time to reawaken what may lie hidden underneath, to search for a more Christ-like mission in life, and a renewal of "every good and precious gift that comes from above." Our theme was "Fork in the Road: Choosing God's Way." After this trip, we are all on the same page as to what road we shall take, that of Christ Jesus.
To read reflections from participants and see more photos from the retreat, please download the retreat recap (PDF).