Dept. of Internet Ministry News
The following report was delivered by Douglas Cramer, director of the Department of Internet Ministry, at the July 2013 Antiochian Archdiocese General Assembly, convened in Houston, Texas.
The Department of Internet Ministry serves the online communications needs of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The department's team works to share the wisdom and expertise that exists across the workers and ministries of our Archdiocese, by sharing their stories and vital resources with the more than 60,000 monthly visitors to our website at www.Antiochian.org.
The Department of Internet Ministry was created in 2008 to serve the communications needs of our Archdiocese by providing a professional-quality Internet publishing platform at our official website, www.Antiochian.org, focused on the presentation on the World Wide Web of the vibrant life and work of our Church. The department has been blessed with remarkable stability in the makeup of the team over the years, and good professional relationships despite working at a distance from each other.
As the faithful celebrate the high point of the Church year—Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha—the Department of Internet Ministry has launched a rebuilt section of resources and reading for the season. Great Lent Resources & Readings is a topical library of links and reflections that presents the meaning and practice of the forty days of prayer and worship in an engaging and accessible format. The goal is that this will be a useful tool for teaching about Lent, for both newcomers to the Orthodox Christian Faith as well as for those who are rediscovering the spiritual benefits of the Lenten journey.
Visitors to Great Lent Resources & Readings will find three distinct subsections, each with its own theme:
- All Revered Days: the Lenten Calendar is a library of information broken into the weeks of Lent from the Pre-Lenten Sundays through Holy Week,
- Bright Sadness: Entering into the Lenten Spring contains wise counsel about making the most of the forty days, and
- Holy Week: Journey to the Empty Tomb offers an overview of Holy Week as well as reflections on some of its specific days, such as Holy Friday.
Though they are too many to name, we'd like to extend thanks to all the various sources who have allowed us to repurpose their material, and we encourage those maintaining Orthodox websites of their own to link to this section.
The Assembly of Bishops convened a meeting to share ideas and discuss collaboration between the Assembly’s communications team and the internet staff of member jurisdictions. The meeting was held on the campus of St Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood, NY on March 6 and brought together representatives from the Assembly’s Secretariat, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, the Orthodox Church in America, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. All of the Assembly’s member jurisdictions were invited to attend.
A main topic of discussion was how the Assembly’s website can be enhanced to include Orthodox news and resources on the Orthodox faith. The group agreed that the Assembly’s website and the jurisdictions’ websites can support each other in reaching the Orthodox faithful.
The group touched on other relevant topics including sharing parish information so that the Assembly's parish directory remains up-to-date; the creation of a clergy directory; the importance of providing the faithful with resources on internet safety for youth and adults; and mechanisms by which Orthodox news and information can be disseminated directly to parishes.
The group will meet periodically by phone to continue vital conversations related to information, technology, and faith.
Visit the Antiochian Archdiocese memorial section dedicated to Patriarch Ignatius IV. View video of His Beatitude's funeral service, photo galleries, an excerpt from his writings, and more. Resources will continue to be added to this section as they become available.
The Antiochian House of Studies School of Orthodox Theology, home of the St. Stephen's Program, has launched a new website section. The project centered on the work of two House of Studies graduate students, Keith Buhler and Emmanuel Gergis, who worked with the staff of the House of Studies and the Dept. of Internet Ministry to update the web presence of this special Archdiocese ministry.
The new House of Studies section offers an introduction to the distance-learning school, a list of its academic programs, information for prospective and current students, and links for faculty, news and contact information. With affordable tuition and flexible scheduling, the House of Studies offers students, parents, or full-time professionals the ability to pursue an Orthodox theological education.
Douglas Cramer, the Antiochian Archdiocese Chairman of the Department of Internet Ministry, has released his Convention report for 2011.
Douglas writes, "Increasing the reach of an organization’s online presence depends on the good will of those parties who are also online, and support the vision of the organization. As Archdiocese online resources continue to mature, it will be essential to cultivate awareness and support from Orthodox Christian ministries, parishes, pastors, and other online content creators across jurisdictions, in order to leverage the social capabilities of the Internet, and the social command of the Gospel."
Education and evangelistic outreach is of the utmost importance to the bishops, clergy and laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese. In support of their efforts, Discover Orthodox Christianity now provides a topical library of links and reflections presenting the faith to site visitors in an engaging and accessible format. We hope this will be a useful tool for teaching of the faith, for both newcomers and for people who are rediscovering Orthodoxy.
The Department of Internet Ministry is responsible for maintaining and improving the official Antiochian Archdiocese website at www.antiochian.org. In order to help us better understand the community of visitors to this site, we'd like you to take a couple of minutes to complete our survey. Thank you for your assistance!
Thanks to the Internet, we have a twofold blessing: abundant resources, and a community of Orthodox Christians with whom we share our task.
Computer on? Internet connected? You’re ready to roll. Navigate to www.antiochian.org/christianeducation.... Welcome to the home page of our new, improved Christian Education website! Find our logo and you will be reading a letter of introduction that includes information about our office and also about the volunteer Diocesan Christian Education Coordinators. Look below and you’ll see several “featured” items—an event, an article, a program, a resource—that are refreshed monthly.
The editors of Antiochian.org recently launched a newly improved Liturgical Resources section, accessed on the menu bar of the website's home page. One of the site's most popular destinations, the Resources page now features categories such as "Articles," "Music Resources," and "Podcasts and Audio." An aggregation of the most critical liturgical tools required by chanters, choir directors, deacons and priests, the page is also helpful to laypeople involved in Bible study groups or choir. Browsers can download music, an Akathist, even the Antiochian Archdiocese's well-loved "Little Red Prayer Book."
Recently, Antiochian.org spoke with the Very Rev. Fr. David Barr, respected Antiochian liturgist and Director of the St. Romanos Chanter's Training Program, about the importance of liturgy and music in the life of the Church.
1. Generally speaking, do parish musicians usually need formal training to chant in church? Why/why not? What would you recommend for that musically inclined parishioner who might be interested in chant, but shy?
To chant properly using Byzantine chant, one needs some formal training. Even though a great deal of Byzantine music exists today in western notation, it is important to understand the ethos.
FeastOfFeasts.org is an Orthodox Christian celebration of Holy Pascha and the Resurrection of Christ. The site was created in 2009 through a joint effort of the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministry and the Orthodox Church in America Department of Communications. We encourage readers to visit the site's collection of articles, reflections and more on Holy Week and the central Feast of our faith.
The editors at Antiochian.org have launched a dedicated section of pages for parishes under the "Parishes" drop down button in the top menu. In addition to the already existing list of parishes, the three new pages feature news from parishes around the U.S. and Canada, resources for building missions and strengthening established parishes, and help for parish web editors. A centerpiece of the new section is a fascinating roundtable discussion between six mission parish priests, who share what they've learned about effective mission building.
Has your parish hosted a conference or sponsored an outreach event? Did your community just break ground for a new building? Share it with us! Readers of Antiochian.org are encouraged to submit their parish news and photos for posting, as well as suggested resources, via the editor's box: email@example.com.
Antiochian.org has upgraded our parish directory with a Google-powered map that includes each community in our Archdiocese. Click here to see it in action. As always, you can still also find a parish listings by state and by diocese. Our team also recommends the pan-Orthodox directory that SCOBA maintains here.
Your feedback is welcome. Please also remember to let us know if there are any corrections needed to the information we have for your church. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dept. of Internet Ministry has added a calendar to Antiochian.org. Click here to visit. The calendar currently includes daily Scripture readings for all of 2010; major Feasts and Fasts; the feast days of selected saints; and events across the Archdiocese. We will continue to expand this resource over time. So if you would like to see an event added to the calendar, or have any other recommendations, please email us at email@example.com.
On the latest episode of Mission Possible: Orthodox Parenting Today, Antiochian.org staff member and writer Ginny Nieuwsma speaks with Kh. Maggie Hock, head of the Archdiocese Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministry. The discussion centers around meeting the challenges of raising children in the Orthodox Faith.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl – The Orthodox Christian Network is excited to announce its newest addition to its already dynamic and ever evolving list of Podcast Channels – a series dedicated to Orthodox Parenting. Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos, the Executive Director of the SCOBA Agency said, “We are truly excited to offer this new channel dedicated to assist parents raising children in the Orthodox Christian way. OCN welcomes with pride Ginny Nieuwsma, a dedicated mother of six along with the professionals who will be asked to appear on the program”.
The Antiochian Archdiocese is home to a range of ministries laboring for the sake of our youth and our families. Although all of these programs together encompass a broad range of activity and age groups, all share the same goal: to encourage full participation in the life of the Church through worship, witness, service, and fellowship. All of these ministries are looking for ways to build up our youth and help Orthodox parents navigate the challenging parenting climate of today.
The Dept. of Sacred Music has long maintained one of the most popular sections of this website, a library of hundreds of pieces of official liturgical sheet music for use by our parishes. Now this library has been improved with a new interface for users, and many other changes to the software supporting the catalog. The new design will make it possible in the future for the department to work in collaboration with Antiochian.org to add audio tracks to accompany the sheet music, and more.
Currently, the library is highlighting the music for the upcoming Archdiocese Convention.
Click here to visit the Department of Sacred Music, chaired by Christopher Holwey.
Our 49th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention will take place July 19 to 26, 2009, in Palm Desert, CA. Hosted by St. Michael Church of Van Nuys, the theme of the convention is: "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy Holy Churches, and who remember the poor."
This important gathering of our faithful from across North America will be reported on via a variety of new media sources. The editors at Antiochian.org will be posting daily from the convention, and we have prepared a special section ready for this reporting, where you can also learn about the official website for the convention, other media ministries who will be in Desert Springs, and more.
In particular, we want to note that for the first time the convention planners have made available in advance online the official reports prepared by each department and ministry for delivery at the Convention. To take advantage of this valuable resource, you can download the reports as a single PDF file from the Convention website here.
[OCA Communications/Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministry] -- "FeastofFeasts.org," a web site celebrating Holy Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is now live.
Co-sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, the site includes current materials from the two Churches' respective web sites and print media, and new material and resources from both jurisdictions.
Visitors to the site will find articles, photo galleries, and audio files that teach about the significance of the feast of Christ's Resurrection and about how this holy day is celebrated by Orthodox Christians.
The Orthodox Church in America and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America are teaming up to launch a web site offering articles, photo galleries, and audio files celebrating Holy Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the "Feast of Feasts."
A Primer on Antiochian.org from the Department of Internet Ministry
By Douglas George Cramer, Chair
This article about Antiochian.org is intended for our many department chairs, ministry leaders, and active members across the country who want to use the Internet to communicate about their work. It is being published in the June issue of The Word.
Our team working on the Archdiocese website, www.Antiochian.org, launched a new design early this year, and introduced our vision for the ministry of the Church on the Internet in the March 2008 issue of The Word. We’re continuing to work on many projects and changes that we pray will be of great benefit to our collective witness for our Lord in this land. My goal here is to give all of you in the Archdiocese with an active role in our communications with each other, with the Church as a whole, and with the world beyond, the information you need about our department and our approach in order to work with us to strengthen our online voice.
by Douglas Cramer
“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols . Therefore he reasoned . . . in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there . ”
Acts 17: 16-17
Throughout the New Testament, we find stories of St. Paul making use of the tools of his day to communicate the Gospel and engage in the marketplace of ideas. From ships to the postal service, St. Paul used the communications systems of the Roman Empire in service of our Lord Jesus Christ. This model continues to guide the Church today, as we seek to use well the tools of our society to communicate with each other, and with the world beyond. The most significant communications technology of today is also the one that is so new that we are still coming to grips with its place in our lives: the Internet.
Well over a billion people across the world are estimated to have used the Internet in December of 2007 alone, including 250 million North Americans, over 70% of our continent’s population. An Internet business expert recently noted that, “the Internet is one big gigantic never-ending computer conference call, with people joining in and dropping out all the time.” This raises an important question for us at the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America: “What do we have to say?” The answer is, “A lot!”
One Church, Many Voices