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Sign up Today: OCMC Mission Teams Still Have Openings

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The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) announces that there are still openings available for its 2014 Mission Teams. Two teams will be traveling to Lokichar, Kenya this summer to assist with the construction of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. When completed, this will be the third permanent church in the Turkana region of Kenya that the faithful of North America have sponsored through the OCMC. The first 2014 team will serve from June 17th to July 1st and the second from June 24th to July 11th.

In another opportunity, the OCMC Orthodox Mission Team to Mexico will be laboring at the Mission of San Esteban the first Martyr, outside of Mexico City. This team has been invited to offer youth and adult catechism, and to be part of the life of the Church in Mexico. This is a unique opportunity to engage the faithful of Mexico, share your Faith and be a part of a Christian witness. The dates are July 5 to July 12, 2014. Participants with experience in youth ministry and catechism are urged to apply. Conversational Spanish-speaking ability is recommended.

Fr. Philip LeMasters Releases Book for Seekers

The Forgotten Faith is a treatise on the Eastern Orthodox Christian Faith written primarily for seekers of Truth by a former Baptist, Antiochian priest The Rev. Dr. Philip LeMasters. Pastor of St. Luke Orthodox Church in Abilene, TX, Fr. Philip is also the dean of the School of Social Sciences and Religion at McMurry University and the corporate secretary of the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Explains Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, priest at St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, TX, in his blog review: "The author...lays out the essence and practice of Orthodox Christianity with the straightforward precision of an experienced teacher. His agenda seems to be: The better I teach, the more you learn, the fewer questions go unanswered. The teaching is methodical, practical, and convincing. Father Philip loves Eastern Christianity, believes his beloved to be unique and true, and presents his love to you with love."

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New AFR Podcasts: Hasta la Gloria, and Sowing Seeds

December 19, 2013

Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) recently introduced several new podcasts. A Spanish-language podcast features homilies by Fr. Nicholas Andruchow, the priest of the only Orthodox orphanage in North America. Every Sunday Fr. Nicholas offers the homily at the St. Innocent Orphanage for boys. This is the opportunity to reflect on the Gospel from the point of view of Orthodox Christianity in Latin America," notes the AFR Website about Hasta la Gloria. "Through God’s grace this will help you ascend to the heavens."

Another new podcast was launched in cooperation with Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). Titled Sowing Seeds: Building Orthodox Campus Ministry, the episodes promise to help listeners "learn about the leadership, vision, and direction of the OCF with Executive Director Jennifer Nahas and AFR host John Maddex."

Loving As God Loves Means Evangelism

By Bishop John Abdalah, Diocese of Worcester and New England, and Editor of The Word

The theme for the Conferences this new Church Year is from the Gospel of Luke: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). God calls us to give all, but only after He has given all! He gives all for us. After God created all, He sent His only begotten Son to redeem the world and share His own love with us. He has joined us to Himself. He calls us to do likewise, sharing His word and Spirit and His love. In so doing, we are joined to be one with Him and one with each other. What our neighbors need most is what we need most: Jesus Christ. What a pity that most of the world still doesn't understand what God has done for the world and what He calls us to be! Calling us to love, with all of our heart, soul and strength, ultimately requires us to be love, as He is love. Loving in God's way allows us to be joined to God in the love of the Holy Trinity. Loving our neighbor means sharing ourselves, sharing God's love, sharing His Oneness. This love leads us to share God with our neighbors. Rather, this love allows us to share God who is in us with each other. Ministering to one another allows us to share in God's own ministry. This ministry is loving with all our heart, soul and strength.

A Parish’s Responsibility to New Members

By Fr. John Oliver

“The saints are like a group of trees,” according to Desert Father Abba John the Dwarf, “each bearing different fruit, but watered from the same source; the practices of one saint differ from those of another, but it is the same Spirit that works in all of them.”

What is the parish’s responsibility to the new member? Few would believe that the parish’s responsibility to the new member is to welcome the new seed into the soil, tend to it until moistened with the water of baptism and oil of chrismation, then abandon its growth as the storm that is “the world, the flesh, and the devil” pounds it into oblivion. Few would want to be that seed.

Works of the Order in Action: Department of Missions and Evangelism

This photo was taken in Orem, Utah, at our Holy Apostles Mission in Utah County, near Brigham Young University and the Mormon International Missionary Training Center, and where Mormons are 90% of the population.This photo was taken in Orem, Utah, at our Holy Apostles Mission in Utah County, near Brigham Young University and the Mormon International Missionary Training Center, and where Mormons are 90% of the population.In 1987 our beloved Metropolitan Philip established the Department of Missions and Evangelism, with the commission to bring America home to the Faith of Peter and Paul. This commission and calling, given not only to the leaders of the Evangelical Orthodox Church but to every Orthodox Christian living in North America, rings even truer today, and more urgently.

Without the necessary funds, however, such commissions often go unfulfilled. The Order of St. Ignatius has helped to fund this mission for over 25 years. Under the chairmanship of Fr. Peter E. Gillquist of blessed memory, and the spiritual advice of Bishop Antoun, the Department of Missions and Evangelism has been instrumental in raising up and receiving over a hundred church communities into our beloved Archdiocese. We cannot say that these churches were started only by the clergy, for the laity, moved to serve through the Order of St. Ignatius, provided the necessary funds for these efforts to bear fruit.

Order of St. Ignatius Offers Travel Reimbursements for Mission Priests

The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch is accepting applications for reimbursement from mission priests for expenses incurred in travel to Parish Life Conferences, the Archdiocese Convention or the Bi-Annual Clergy Symposium. Please note that reimbursement of these expenses is for first pastors of small parishes and missions only, and that relevant receipts must be saved for six months. All requests must be submitted to Sameh Khouzam and received at the Archdiocese Headquarters no later than August 31.

Click here to download an application form (PDF).

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Peter Gillquist

Archpriest Peter E. Gillquist, retired chairman of the archdiocese's department of missions and evangelism, chairman of Conciliar Press, speaker, and the author of numerous books including Becoming Orthodox, reposed on Sunday evening July 1, surrounded by his family. 

Fr. Peter and his wife of 52 years, Kh. Marilyn, had lived for many years in Santa Barbara, California, but as of June 2009 they relocated to Bloomington, Indiana, where their son Fr. Peter Jon Gillquist serves as pastor of All Saints Orthodox Church.

Condolences may be posted on the All Saints website, where tributes have been pouring from all over the United States and abroad. A recent Ancient Faith Radio retirement interview with Fr. Peter, Kh. Marilyn and Fr. Peter Jon, is available here. The schedule of services is as follows:

Fr. Kenneth DeVoie appointed to the Department of Missions and Evangelism

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip has appointed Fr. Kenneth DeVoie to the Department of Missions and Evangelism as a full time mission priest. Fr. Kenneth was formerly the pastor of Emmanuel Antiochian Orthodox Church in Warren, Massachusetts. Fr. Kenneth has significant experience in “church planting” and the establishment of new church communities, and his expertise will certainly benefit the missionary efforts of our Archdiocese. We welcome Fr. Kenneth to the missions team of the Archdiocese.

Mission and Evangelism Conference Audio Available

Fr. Joseph Huneycutt and Dn. Gregory Norris at conferenceFr. Joseph Huneycutt and Dn. Gregory Norris at conferenceHow do we communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ to those around us? On January 20-22, 2012, the Dallas/Fort Worth area hosted a Missions and Evangelism Conference that examined how the historical Church approached evangelism, and discussed how to put ancient proven methods into modern practice locally.

Audio for the conference is now available on Ancient Faith Radio.

The lineup of speakers included author and missions expert Fr. Peter Gillquist, Antiochian author and speaker Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, and Fr. Evan Armatas, a Greek Orthodox mission priest from northern Colorado.

Fr. Peter Gillquist Reflects on Years of Ministry in AFR Interview

John Maddex, CEO of Conciliar Media Ministries, recently visited the home of Fr. Peter and Kh. Marilyn Gillquist to talk about the announcement by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Fr. Peter's retirement as Chairman of the Department of Missions and Evangelism for the Antiochian Archdiocese. In a roundtable discussion, John Maddex reminisced with Fr. Peter, Kh. Marilyn, and their son and Antiochian priest, Fr. Peter Jon Gillquist, about past years of ministry. Fr. Peter also shared his vision and hopes for the next generation of evangelists.

Listen to the interview.

View a retrospective photo gallery.

Fr. Peter Gillquist to Retire as Head of Department of Missions and Evangelism, Fr. Michael Keiser Appointed as New Head

Fr. Michael KeiserFr. Michael KeiserEffective December 31, 2011, Fr. Peter Gillquist will retire as the Head of the Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism, and Fr. Michael Keiser is appointed as the new Head of this Department.

We extend our most heartfelt thanks to Fr. Peter Gillquist for the exemplary service which he has given to this effort for more than 23 years. It is safe to say that the entire missions program of this Archdiocese has been founded by his efforts, and his work leaves a strong base upon which we can build. We also acknowledge Khourieh Marilyn Gillquist for the support which she has given over these many years.

St. James of Westminster--The Making of a Mission

Young St. James' chanterYoung St. James' chanterAlmost a year ago now, an opportunity like no other was presented to a small group of people.  An e‐mail message sent by the then Parish Council President of St. James the Apostle (in Westminster, MD) was received by its parishioners stating that a change in leadership at St. James was imminent. 

New arrived priest Fr. Raphael with Bishop ThomasNew arrived priest Fr. Raphael with Bishop Thomas

What was not exactly clear at that time was how imminent. Within the next 24 hours, that message had become a reality. St. James was without a priest.

Living in our high-tech world, what followed immediately, and what seemed like for days, was a flurry of email activity amongst the parishioners. Some expressing anger, some expressing sadness, others asking, "What do we do next?"

That following Sunday, the church was full of emotion. Our little sanctuary was full with parishioners seeking answers.

Read the rest of the story and view parish photos HERE.

Orthodox Christian Elevator Speech Contest Winner Announced

Santa Barbara, CA — The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism is pleased to announce that Valerie Ann Zrake of New York City has won the first-ever Orthodox Elevator Speech Contest. In an on-line poll, Zrake's elevator speech was the favorite of voters out of 10 finalists. As a prize she wins $100 worth of Conciliar Press publications of her choice, compliments of the publishing house. Zrake is a parishioner at St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Brooklyn. Valerie won with this speech:

Orthodox Christianity is the authentic and original Christian Faith founded by Jesus Christ. As an Orthodox Christian you can experience heaven on earth through the Divine Liturgy which is mystical, spiritual, and beautiful, with it's incense, icons, and sacred music. You can transcend time and space while you meditate upon the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. It's the most pure form of Christianity – nothing artificial added. It's the real deal.

Zrake realized every Orthodox Christian should be prepared with a brief response when asked what the Orthodox Church is, and saw the contest as a good motivation to work out hers.  

Antiochian Mission Priest Releases Conciliar book, Spread the Word

Conciliar Press has released a book on evangelism by Antiochian mission priest Fr. Michael Keiser, called Spread the Word.  Subtitled Reclaiming the Apostolic Tradition of Evangelism, the book explains how Orthodox evangelism differs from the Protestant approach, and traces the Church's unbroken evangelistic tradition back to the time of the Apostles. Fr. Michael has also authored two other popular Conciliar titles, A Beginner's Guide to Spirituality, and A Beginner's Guide to Prayer.

"With his characteristic straight forward and humorous style, Fr. Michael Keiser covers the history of Orthodox evangelism, the rationale and the methods for continuing this tradition in our contemporary Western post-Christian society," says Conciliar's website. Listen to an interview with the author here, and go here to order a copy.

Vote for the “Best Orthodox Christian Elevator Speech!"

Santa Barbara, CA — Last month the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism announced a contest to write the best 30-second or less explanation of what the Orthodox Church is, essentially an Orthodox “elevator speech.  Response to the contest was superb, a panel of judges have selected the top ten finalists, and the Orthodox Christian public is asked to choose the winner by Internet poll.

To view the ten finalists and caste your vote for the “Best Orthodox Christian Elevator Speech” visit this Survey Monkey link before 7:00pm EDT on next Tuesday, July 26. The winner will be announced at the 50th Biennial Antiochian Archdiocese Convention in Chicago next week, and he or she will receive $100 worth of Conciliar Press publications as a prize.

Read the full press release here.

Bringing America to Orthodoxy: Personal Evangelism

"As many as have been baptized into Christ..."  Photo by Niko Tzetzis"As many as have been baptized into Christ..." Photo by Niko Tzetzis(The following article was first published in the Department of Missions and Evangelism's Manual, Bringing America to Orthodoxy.) 

The individual Christian proclaiming and defending his or her faith in God and Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Orthodox Christian evangelism. It is the duty of every clergyman and layman to bear witness to the light of Christ, and be prepared to give a defense for the hope that is in us. Every Orthodox Christian should be familiar with and prepared to use the information presented here. These are some basic techniques for sharing one’s faith with a family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor or new acquaintance.

The personal witness

Jesus said to His disciples, “You shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8). The simplest way to share one’s faith is through one’s personal testimony, or personal spiritual journey.....“my story”. Tell someone else about how you became a Christian, or Orthodox, or what God means to you. Prepare your story in advance, and have the key parts memorized (though not word for word, so that it sounds canned).

Read the full article here.

Orthodox Christian Elevator Speech Contest Winner Announced!

Download contest flyer (PDF)

Listen to an interview from Ancient Faith Radio about the contest.

Santa Barbara, CA, August 9, 2011 — On May 31, the Antiochian Archdiocese's Department of Missions and Evangelism announced a contest to write the best 30-second or less explanation of what the Orthodox Church is, essentially an Orthodox “elevator speech”. Entries were submitted according to specific criteria, and the due date was June 20, 2011.

The Department is delighted to announce the winner of the contest, Valerie Ann Zrake of New York City! Valerie won with the following entry:

Orthodox Christianity is the authentic and original Christian Faith founded by Jesus Christ. As an Orthodox Christian you can experience heaven on earth through the Divine Liturgy which is mystical, spiritual, and beautiful, with it's incense, icons, and sacred music. You can transcend time and space while you meditate upon the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. It's the most pure form of Christianity – nothing artificial added. It's the real deal.

 Valerie will receive $100 worth of Conciliar Press publications. Read all the winning entries of the top ten finalists here.

Conciliar Media Offers Unique Catechism Program

Conciliar Media Ministries is offering, for the first time in the American Orthodox context, the highly regarded evangelism and catechism tool called The Way. An offspring of the British Alpha courses first pioneered in England, The Way is "the catechism and adult education program of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies based in the United Kingdom in Cambridge," says Conciliar's website. Billed as an "Introduction to the Orthodox Christian Faith," the course is a boxed set of 1 CD and 4 DVDs, consisting of 12 sessions which run for approximately the same number of weeks. Speakers in the series include Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Professor David Frost, Fr. Michael Harper, Miss Gladys Bland, Dr. Christine Mangala Frost, Fr. Raphael Armour, Fr. Demetrios Bathrellos, and Mr. John Bazlinton.

Important elements of the program include the provision of a community meal by the host parish, followed by the presentation of a DVD talk on a core aspect of Orthodox Christian belief. Open small group discussion follows, with a question and answer session hosted by a panel.

Explains Conciliar, "The course aims to present the basics of Orthodox Christian faith in an atmosphere of friendship, free exchange and trust, where no question or opinion is treated as unworthy of attention."

Listen as Bobby Maddex interviews  David and Mangala Frost of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS) about the new program.

St. Ignatius Mission in Boca Raton Celebrates First Anniversary and Metropolitan Philip's 80th Birthday

Sun... beach... palm trees... mansions... yachts... Rolls Royces... Rolex… Gucci... Versacci…this is Boca Raton, Florida.

The Divine Liturgy celebrated every Sunday at 10am on a huge college campus… this is the Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch in Boca Raton, Florida.    

The Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch is based on Florida Atlantic University (FAU) on Glades Road in Boca Raton, Florida.  FAU is a University which boasts over 28,000 students.  St. Ignatius Boca at FAU may be the first Antiochian Orthodox Christian ministry ever established to serve upon a college campus in the history of this great Archdiocese.  This Orthodox mission maintains unlimited growth potential where the hope is “to bring America home to Orthodoxy!”

Blessing of the Waters Featured in Bowling Green Daily News

The Theophany celebrations of Holy Apostles Mission in Bowling Green, Kentucky were recently featured in the local newspaper, the Bowling Green Daily News:

A centuries-old ceremony was performed in Bowling Green on Thursday as members of the Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission gathered on the banks of the Barren River to participate in the Blessing of the Waters.

“We come here today to celebrate the Blessing of the Waters and in so doing, we join with our brothers and sisters around the world,” said the Rev. Michael Nasser, pastor of Holy Apostles....

“What we’re celebrating is the baptism of Jesus,” Nasser said. “For us, it’s not just an event that happened 2,000 years ago. It still affects us.”....

“This beautiful service reminds us that as Christ was a blessing to the waters of the Jordan and to the whole world, we should also be a blessing to our planet and not a curse, and especially to that part of the world right around us,” Nasser said.

Click here to read more on the Bowling Green Daily News web site.

Missions Conference Audio Now Available on AFR

The sessions of the Department of Missions and Evangelism's fall conference are now available from Ancient Faith Radio. Topics and speakers recorded at the conference include Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth ("Out of the Closet and Into the World"); Deacon Michael Hyatt ("The Pre-denominational Christ for a Post-Christian America"); Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou ("Evangelism in the Early Church"), and Fr. Peter Gillquist (The Gospel of the Kingdom"). The Conference is an annual event, where Orthodox Christians of all jurisdictions gather for teaching and fellowship.

Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism, Oct. 15-17, is Now Free!

Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, Conference SpeakerFr. Nicholas Triantafilou, Conference Speaker

Santa Barbara, CA — The Department of Missions and Evangelism announces that the Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism, scheduled for October 15-17 at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is being offered free to all!

Conference presentations and workshops are designed to help participants better understand and articulate the Christian Gospel as understood by the Orthodox Church, and learn how to share the gospel of the Kingdom of God with others.

“Due to the generosity and vision of a few sponsors, we now are able to open the Conference to everyone at no cost,” said Howard Lange, conference coordinator.

St. Barnabas Mission Offers Thanks for Mission Endowment Fund

Fr. Athanasius Dresdow writes from St. Barnabas Mission in Columbus, OH:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

We want to extend our most sincere thanks to all of you for your generous support of our mission through the Mission Endowment Fund. The $18,000 that we received over a period of several years has helped us to be able to get our own building which, God willing, we will eventually be able to purchase. We would also like to thank the many churches and individuals who have donated liturgical items for our use. We greatly appreciate your generosity and thank God for the blessing that you all are to us. May the Lord bless and keep you all in His loving care, and may He grant you all many years!