Youth Equipped to Serve (YES), a ministry of FOCUS North America, hosted a YES Weekend in Oklahoma City on March 9-11, and now is kicking off another weekend of service in the city of St. Louis starting March 30. As the website explains, the YES program "provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service, with the ultimate purpose being to raise up a generation of Orthodox Christians who lead others in living out the true mission of the church- to love and serve our most needy neighbors."
The St. Louis weekend is a good example of a typical YES trip. Teens will meet at the local FOCUS Center--Gateway City/St. Michael’s--on Friday, stay overnight at Huckleberry Finn Youth Hostel, participate in service events throughout the weekend, and finish the trip by serving a meal for the homeless back at the FOCUS location.
Upcoming events include YES Atlanta on April 20-22, YES Grand Rapids on May 11-13, and YES Leadership Training on June 13-18 in Los Angeles' Skid Row.
Ten years ago, five determined and dedicated IOCC supporters cycled their way across the U.S. to celebrate IOCC's tenth anniversary of service providing humanitarian assistance worldwide. The Race to Respond riders raised funds for those in need and put IOCC on the map with the new Orthodox Christian supporters they encountered through cities and towns across California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Lead rider, Jim Angelus, is ready to repeat this feat and is seeking a crew chief to drive the pursuit vehicle and two cross-country cyclists to join him again in honor of IOCC's 20th anniversary of humanitarian service. This time, the cross-country route will take the cyclists along the northern tier of the country from Seattle, Washington, through Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, covering approximately 3,000 miles in 33 days.
Antiochian Village's website reports, "Unbelievable! We are quickly closing in on 1,000 campers and CITs registered for this summer's camping season! That's unheard of, or at least surprising this early in the spring. You must have heard about the terrific staff we are hiring.
In a few weeks, we will be introducing our staff to the world. In the meantime, if you have not registered, you might be able to find a space or two in a few sessions--check availability here. Also in the works is a brand new cabin 11 & 12 located between cabins 5 & 6 and the Health Center. If all goes well it should be ready by the first session and possibly even in time for Family Camp. This summer is going to be unbelievable."
Don't miss out, register today!
St. Augustine, FL (OCMC) On March 19, 2012, the Orthodox Resurrection Health Centre became a registered health center in Bukoba, Tanzania. Originally opened as a hospital, the government shut it down in November of 2010, a month after the OCMC team arrived there to work, because they didn’t staff enough doctors. Unable to meet the requirements of a hospital, the Metropolis decided to register the facility as a Health Centre.
In November of 2011, KEDAS, the Greek Non-Governmental Organization that built the Health Centre, sent Giannis Dais to help the OCMC team get the clinic registered. With OCMC members Felice Stewart and Maria Roeber working to facilitate communication between the Metropolis and KEDAS and begin the administrative tasks necessary to prepare the center for operation, the clinic has finally gained registration.
Stewart says, “The building and grounds are beautiful. I have not seen anything this nice in this area. KEDAS has been very generous in providing equipment and supplies, and it is well outfitted.”
Now that the clinic is open, the next steps are to hire more staff to join the team.
March 22, 2012
A Message from Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate
Metropolitan of New York and All North America
With much sadness and sorrow, we have received the news of the falling asleep of His Holiness Patriarch and Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria, and Patriarch of the Seat of St. Mark.
His passing on to eternal life is an enormous loss not only for the Coptic Church, but also for the Church as a whole, especially since he believed in dialogue and held relentless and unwavering positions with regard to sensitive issues.
The Egyptian news agency called him “Pope of the Arabs”. When the former Egyptian president, Mr. Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, visited Jerusalem to sign a non-Arab Egyptian peace treaty with the Hebrew nation, he asked Pope Shenouda to accompany him. However, Pope Shenouda turned down the visit to Jerusalem and issued a statement to all Copts not to go to Palestine, and especially Jerusalem, while it is under the Israeli occupation.
The Copts could never forget his sermons, which entered the hearts and kindled the spirits. He spent part of his life in the monastery of St. Pishoy, at El Natroun valley, and he requested that the monastery’s cemetery be his final resting place.
On behalf of myself, the Bishops, priests and parishioners of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, I offer my deep condolences to the Coptic Orthodox Church and her people worldwide, asking God to rest his soul, and may his memory be eternal.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, writes:
On behalf of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, I am offering our profound condolences on the falling asleep in the Lord of the most blessed Father of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the deeply beloved and respected late Pope Shenouda Ill. The passing of Pope Shenouda is a deeply felt wound not only for the pious Coptic People all over the world, but for all the people of Egypt, who have admired his saintly and wise pastoral stewardship of the Coptic Church.
During his long tenure and in moments of tremendous challenge, his courage, wisdom and spiritual guidance have again and again brought comfort, stability and tranquility to the minds and hearts of his faithful flock. As all Christians reﬂect on this incalculable loss, we are reminded of the need for his message of mutual respect and interfaith cooperation to be continued by his successor in the future. As we remember him through this season of grief and mourning, we shall also offer our fervent supplications to God for the pious Coptic People everywhere, who are bereﬂ of their father in Christ, and for Egypt, that it may know a peaceful and stable transition to a new Pope of the Coptic faithful.
May the late and ever memorable Pope Shenouda find the reward of “the faithful and wise steward” that he most surely was, and that he may rest in the blessed hope of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. May his memory be eternal.
Read the full letter at AssemblyofBishops.org.
Donate your U.S. Airways Miles to the Department of Youth Ministry! Donated miles facilitate travel for our Archdiocese youth workers, Teen SOYO officers and others. The cost to donate miles is your miles plus $0.01 per mile donated and a processing fee. Or you can donate money towards travel using the donate button located at the top right of our Department of Youth and Teen SOYO pages. If you want the miles to go towards Teen SOYO officers, Advisors, or Youth Director Travel, simply state so in the personal massage field of your donation.
In celebration of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) two decades of faith-based humanitarian work, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Orthodox Christian, Chris Hillman, will perform at the organization's 20th Anniversary Gala on May 8, 2012, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.
Hillman, whose multi-faceted musical career spans five decades, gained popular recognition as a founding member of The Byrds, one of the most influential American rock bands of the 1960s. Their biggest hit song, "Turn, Turn, Turn," carries a message of peace and tolerance inspired by Biblical verses taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes. The song remains a rock classic and one of a few examples of scripture set to popular music.
Hillman's appearance at the Gala underscores his strong support of the philanthropic arm of the Orthodox Church. An evangelical Christian who came to know the Orthodox faith through his wife Connie, a Greek Orthodox Christian, he converted after a strong calling to explore Orthodoxy prompted him to speak to a priest and complete the holy sacrament of chrismation. Fifteen years later, he devotes much of his time and talent to supporting his church in Santa Barbara, California, and performing for Orthodox-based benefits like the IOCC 20th Anniversary Gala. "I feel as an Orthodox Christian that the talent God has given me now should be used to help the church and whatever I can do to generate interest to directly benefit those in need."
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! Libby (Mrs. Joseph) Kohl of St. George Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, longtime member and officer of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, fell asleep in Christ on the evening of March 17, 2012. The funeral will be served at St. George Church this Wednesday morning. Condolences may be sent to her husband Joe via email@example.com. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Libby's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant." May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life!
Fr. Fred Shaheen, pastor of St. George Orthodox Church, adds:
Libbie was 82 years old and was a member of the St. George Church choir for at least 70 years. From the age of twelve (for nearly 70 years), she was the church organist and played the organ during all the services, including weddings and funerals. In 1998 the organ was phased out of the services and Libbie continued her participation in the choir, eventually becoming choir director and serving in that position for nearly a decade.
Libbie's service to the Church extended beyond her participation in the choir. She attended many choir workshops and symposia at the Antiochian Village and was a fixture at all Midwest and Archdiocesan conferences and meetings. With her husband Joe by her side, Libbie drove across the country to participate in these events. She often took teens from St. George Church with her so they would also have a chance to attend and participate in these events.
Libbie was an active member and an officer in the local and Midwest Region AOCWNA chapters.
The new podcast Cambridge Orthodox Forum: Lectures delivered in Cambridge, UK at the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, recently launched on Ancient Faith Radio (AFR).
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS), the pan-Orthodox house for theological studies in the ancient university city of Cambridge, England, is presenting this selection of lectures delivered by a number of distinguished scholars for the Institute’s degree course. The series of lectures will address a variety of themes while trying to address questions of great relevance for the world of today. The first lectures will be:
1. What is Theology?
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, renowned Orthodox author, former Spalding Lecturer in Eastern Orthodox Studies at the University of Oxford and one of the Directors of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, explores the Orthodox vision of theology.
Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy,
My name is David, a graduate of the Academy and former prisoner. In the 60s, as a committed Evangelical Protestant Christian, I took a Gospel of John Bible class as a college freshman in San Francisco. Who would know 50 years later I would be helping an Orthodox Academy build a brand new study course for prisoners on the Gospel of John. Glory be to God.
This course is written from an Orthodox perspective, with research by St. Athanasius Academy, the home of the Orthodox Study Bible: Septuagint Old and New Testament. It is an in-depth, verse by verse, study of the Gospel of John, based upon the Apostles, Holy Scripture, and renown Fathers of the early Church – a true work of joy. Please help us make this available to prisoners.
Why is this important? I learned first hand how the Lord can use the cold, harsh reality of prison to guide a 25-year Protestant pastor to the spirit of Antioch, being Chrismated in 2000. Thank God for prison, where I found the Academy and began taking their Orthodox studies, earning my own Academy diploma. Though having previously earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in religion, my diploma, from the Academy, is my most precious document. It represents my being submerged and challenged by this two-thousand year-old faith, passed down, unchanged, through the Lord's One Church and His Apostles. This truth, with His grace, transformed my life.
The Bible Commentary Series is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom, as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God’s congregation. In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, explains that "The most striking aspect of [Ezekiel's] message is that the exile has been willed by God...as a teaching lesson." Instead of heeding God's instruction, "under Solomon and his successors, [the people of Israel] treated Canaan as another Egypt where, this time round, they would be 'masters' of their own destiny. Little did they realize that neither they nor the Pharaohs are 'masters' of their fate. God alone is the Lord and master of all. Thus, it is God himself who calls upon the new 'Egyptians,' the Assyrians and the Babylonians, to punish Samaria and Jerusalem."
The V. Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi is Professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He is the author of a three volume Introduction to the Old Testament, a four volume Introduction to the New Testament, Galatians: A Commentary, 1 Thessalonians: A Commentary, Land and Covenant, and the Chrysostom Bible, Genesis: A Commentary, Philippians: A Commentary, Romans: A Commentary, Colossians & Philemon: A Commentary, and 1 Corinthians: A Commentary. His Audio Bible Commentaries on the books of the New Testament are available online through the OCABS website.
Chris Holwey, Chairman of the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Sacred Music reports, "It is with great pleasure that I announce to you that, after receiving the blessing from His Grace, Bishop John of New England, and the full support of Paul Jabara, interim Diocesan Coordinator for New England, I have appointed Charlie Marge as the new Diocesan Coordinator for the Diocese of New England.
Charlie Marge is a very talented, energetic, committed and dedicated Orthodox Christian who loves God and the Church, and has a wonderful ability to bring the services to life through the music and hymns of the Church that he directs. I have known Charlie for many years, and I ask that you please join me in congratulating him, wishing him well in his new role, and welcoming him as an official member of our department. May God continue to bless him in his new ministry, and the choirs in that diocese that he now serves.
I would also like to thank Paul Jabara for the help he gave to the Diocese these past two and a half years. He will continue to serve this department as our Coordinator for the Sacred Music Institute at the Antiochian Village each July, and as the great musician, director and friend that he is. May God grant you many years!"
This year for St. Patrick's Day, instead of drowning your sorrows in green beer and gorging yourself with cookies shaped like four-leafed clovers, learn a lesson from a three-leafed clover and take a step on the right direction!
Real Saint Patrick’s Day is a program of Orthodox Christian Fellowship aimed at bringing the focus of St. Patrick’s day back to St. Patrick and away from the traditional excessive partying that typically takes place. St. Patrick was a slave in Ireland who escaped and later returned as a bishop to teach the people of Ireland about the true faith. Chapters should do all that they can to use St. Patrick as an example to learn, teach, and serve others. Below are some approaches your chapter can take, based on the life of the Saint, to dedicate the day to prayer, serving and learning. These suggested activities would encourage your OCF and possibly those on your campus to spend the day in more appropriate pursuits given the celebration of a Saint’s feast and being in the midst of Great Lent.
The Spring 2012 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West and the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest, and contains:
- A message from His Eminence Archbishop Joseph
- An Orthodox University: Higher Education for Orthodox Christians by His Grace Bishop Thomas
- A message from Diocese of L.A. Antiochian Women President Melinda Bentz
...and more! Click here to download (PDF)
Lenten Retreat 2
"That They All May Be One"
Speaker: His Grace Bishop Basil
The retreat is gifted by our Bortherhood and meals will be provided through your love offering.
Lenten Retreat 3
“Voices from the Crowd on the Via Dolorosa, The Way of the Cross”
Speaker: Fr. Lester Michael Bundy of St. Columba Antiochian Orthodox Church
Retreat cost is $49 per person though Sunday, $39 through Saturday. St. Laurence campus is a mountain valley ten miles west of Canon City on Hiway 50, then north eleven miles on Hiway 9 and then west on County Road 21. Call 303-722-0707 or go to saintlaurenceosb.org for directions.
March 7, 2012
[SVOTS Communications, Yonkers, NY] Dr. Vigen Guroian, professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, will lead the annual public lenten retreat this year at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, on Saturday, March 31, 2012. The retreat will begin with Divine Liturgy in Three Hierarchs Chapel at 9 a.m., followed by a lenten brunch, and two presentations by Dr. Guroian, to be held in the John G. Rangos Family Building.
Dr. Guroian has authored of a number of books, many on morality and ethics, and many that are meditative in content, such as Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on Gardening. Dr. Guroian will base the content of this year's retreat on his latest book, Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key (Eerdmans, 2010).
from the December 2011 issue of The Word:
HOGG, John, to the diaconate by Bishop Anthony on January 15, 2012, at St. John Chrysostom Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and to the priesthood by Bishop JOHN on February 5, 2012, at St. George Church, West Roxbury, Massachusetts. He is attached to the Church of St. Stephen the Protomartyr, South Plainfield, New Jersey while he completes his seminary studies.
SPENCER, Simeon (Jeffrey), to the diaconate by Bishop Antoun on January 15, 2012, at St. Elias Church, Atlanta, Georgia. He is attached to that parish.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops has appointed the Sixth Sunday of Pascha May 20, 2012, as Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday in all Orthodox parishes of North America. As the official prison ministry of the Assembly of Bishops, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministries is grateful for the designation of this important day, when all Orthodox Christians are called to unite in prayer for those in prison and their families. Please mark your calendar, pray, and consider supporting OCPM on Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday.
Kory Warr, Chairman of OCPM, writes:
"The ministry of OCPM continues to grow at an incredible pace. When I took over the correspondence ministry a couple of years ago, we received somewhere around 25 letters per month; now, we receive close to 200. Every two weeks, I send out a general letter to over 300 men who are in prison. I also correspond personally with around 70 men. Our correspondence is on substantive matters of faith; it is decidedly not small talk.
Sameeh Ramez El-Khoury, brother of Fawaz El-Khoury, passes away in Lebanon.
We are saddened to announce the passing into eternal life of Sameeh El-Khoury, the brother of the Vice-Chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, Mr. Fawaz El-Khoury. Sameeh passed away on February 29th in Lebanon. He is survived by his wife Afaaf and four children, Edgar, Hamid, Michel and David and their families, along with his mother Rose and brother Hamid and Fawaz and their families. The funeral will take place in the village church of St. George in Qalhat El-Koura on March 3. You may send condolences to Fawaz and Jo-Ellen at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May his soul rest with the saints and may his memory be eternal!
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.
Fr. Joseph Purpura, Antiochian Archdiocese Youth Director reports, "We have reached our fund raising goal--thank you!" The Special Olympics Awareness Day goal of $50,000 has been superceded, with the amount currently standing at $50,165.03.
"We thank all of you for the contributions that will make the August 2012 SOYO/SOPA Special Olympics Camp possible," notes Fr. Joseph.
Kh. Suzanne Murphy writes:
Your Eminences, Your Graces, Reverend Fathers, and Dear Sisters in Christ:
I am sending out this e-mail to you with the sad news of the repose of Violet Robbat’s sister, Diana Beattie.
Diana had been bravely battling ovarian cancer, but yesterday (Wednesday, February 22nd) she was called by our Lord to end her temporal battle and to find eternal rest in Him.
Calling hours are scheduled for Sunday afternoon, 4:00pm until 8:00pm, February 26th, at St. John of Damascus Church in Dedham, MA; her funeral will be at the Church on Monday at 10:00am.
In lieu of flowers, Violet has said that donations may be made to St. John of Damascus Antiochian Orthodox Church (300 West Street, Dedham, MA 02026); or to the Foxboro Massachusetts Public School System, in care of “The Diana Beattie Memorial Fund” (60 South Street, Foxboro, MA 02035).
May her Memory Be Eternal!
Kh. Suzanne Murphy
Memphis, TN (CCT)--Christian Churches Together in the USA has completed its sixth annual meeting (February 14-17, 2012) in Memphis, Tennessee. Some 85 church and organizational leaders (representing 36 African American, Catholic, Historic Protestant, Evangelical/Pentecostal and Orthodox churches and 6 Christian organizations: American Bible Society, Bread for the World, Evangelicals for Social Action, Habitat For Humanity, Sojourners and World Vision) met to discern together how CCT should respond to racism and poverty now.
V. Rev. Olof Scott, the Chair of the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Faith Relations and Dean of the St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia, attended the 2012 Annual Meeting.
A joint statement released at the gathering's conclusion, "One in Christ for the Sake of All," responds to the question: How might the Holy Spirit use the witness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, to help the church live the Gospel more fully and proclaim it more faithfully?
Theme: Reflections on the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine invites you to a Lenten Retreat at St. Mary’s Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Featuring keynote speakers Dr. Anthony Bashir, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Boston MA, Co-Chair, Department of Lay Ministry; and Dr. John Dalack, clinical psychologist and Co-Chair, Department of Lay Ministry.
Retreat begins at 10am with Morning Prayers followed by a Continental Breakfast. Session I with Drs. Bashir & Dalack followed by Lunch Session II followed by Dessert Q&A and ending with Closing Prayers around 4pm.
To register or for more information call the church at 718-238-8008 or email Jenna Zraick at: firstname.lastname@example.org For directions to St. Mary's, visit www.smaoc.org. There is no registration fee but donations are greatly appreciated.