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In May of this year, Greek Orthodox priest Fr. John Peck, with the help of Antiochian priest and American Orthodox Institute Director Fr. Hans Jacobse, launched the outreach website Journey to Orthodoxy. Knowing how difficult the inquirer's search for historic Christianity can be, Fr. John and Fr. Hans also premiered the "Welcome Home" network, which connects web readers in real time to other Orthodox who at one time traveled the same journey of discovery and struggle. In its short existence, the website has already run the gamut of stories; a quick glance at the home page reveals stories from former Amish, Catholic, evangelical, and Episcopalian converts who hail from Tanzania, Illinois, Australia, and points in between. Antiochian.org interviewed Fr. John Peck about the website and its impact.
1. What was the inspiration for your new website, Journey to Orthodoxy?
There is a large gap (several actually) in the outreach and evangelism of the Orthodox Church in the United States, and indeed, around the world.
Each year during the Nativity season, all congregations in the Diocese of Wichita are requested to solicit contributions from all of their individual parishioners and parochial organizations for this worthy endeavor, which provides assistance to mission priests throughout the Diocese.
Every year we have the opportunity to celebrate the feast of St. Basil the Great and honor our own Bishop BASIL by donating to the Bishop BASIL Missions Endowment Fund.
It began in 1975 when the Southwest Region (name at that time) wanted to increase awareness of the need for mission work in the Region. At that time, the Southwest Region consisted of only 8 communities (our Diocese now numbers 51 congregations). Pledges were made to the "Missions Fund", and in 1977 Father Michael Wellborn was partially funded by the Region and assigned to the Region's first mission, Three Hierarchs in New Orleans, Louisiana (renamed St. Basil and relocated to Metairie, Louisiana). In 1978 a "Region Missions Blitz Weekend" was held in Dallas, Texas, resulting in the founding that very weekend of the Region's second mission, Ss. Constantine and Helen in Dallas. The Region also helped fund their first priest, Father Anthony Nelson. Over the years, the Region has funded many missions and helped fund their priests.
“I am surrounded by love. It's not the kind of love you see on TV or in the movies, but love in its most true and simple form. It is the love that can only come from God ... I have already found that love in abundance everywhere I look.” - A 2009 Team member
Now is the time for you to have a Mission Teams experience! In 2010, Teams will be offered during more times of the year and for varying amounts of time (as few as 9 days and as long as 3 weeks) and there will be opportunities for families as well! Be a living witness of your Faith on a Teaching team; provide labor on a Construction team; engage the future of our Church on a Youth team; or take part in the holistic mission of the Church on a Health Care team. Develop deep relationships with others, have a cultural learning experience, and live in response to the Lord’s command to “make disciples of all nations”.
For over 20 years, Team members have proudly served through OCMC to participate in the Holy Orthodox Church’s unending mission effort to bring the saving message of salvation to the ends of the earth. Join the thousands of Orthodox Christians from North America who have been witnessing to the hope and good news of the risen Christ with the world. There will be at least 14 opportunities to participate on a Team in 2010: Alaska – Teaching and Outreach; Albania – Youth camp; Guatemala – Youth camp; India – Teaching; Kenya – Teaching; Korea – Youth camp (ESL); Madagascar – Teaching; Romania – Youth camp; South Africa – Teaching; Tanzania – Construction and Teaching; Uganda – Health Care and Zimbabwe – Teaching.
Team applications and more detailed information are available online at http://teams.ocmc.org or you can call the OCMC at 1.877.463.6787 (ext 142) for more information.
Ancient Faith Radio has provided a page containing audio from the 2009 conference on Missions and Evangelism, sponsored by the Missions and Evangelism Department of the Antiochian Archdiocese. It took place on Labor Day weekend 2009 at Antiochian Village. The theme was Sharing Our Faith Building Our Church.
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Mission of Midland and Odessa was featured in a recent edition of the Odessa American newspaper:
The new church gives Odessa a taste of the Middle East.
Since October 2008, the group of church members has met for a full communion service once or twice a month with traveling priest the Very Rev. Michael Keiser, who lives in Florida. The other weeks, a Bible study and smaller prayer and singing services are scheduled, including the practice of traditional Byzantine chants...
The Department of Missions and Evangelism
V. Rev. Peter E. Gillquist, chairman
2007-2009 Bi-Annual Report to the 49th Convention of the
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Prepared June 8, 2009
1. New Missions. Since His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP established a full-time Department of Missions and Evangelism in 1988, the Archdiocese has founded 117 new Eastern Rite missions throughout the United States and Canada, of which 62 have grown to full parishes. At present we are developing 5 mission projects, and exploring the possibilities for mission starts in over a dozen additional cities and towns.
Conciliar Media Ministries under the direction of CEO John Maddex coordinated an evangelism project in Oklahoma City June 19 and 20 with funding provided by the Antiochian Archdiocese as well as Charles Ajalat of the Orthodox Vision Foundation. Central Oklahoma was saturated with a four-week media blitz that included newpaper, radio, television, billboards, yard signs, and internet advertising. The advertising campaign was led by St. Elijah members Richard Yeager, John and Kathi Larson, and Mark Loftis.
Antiochian Village, Ligonier, Pennsylvania
His Beatitude the Most Blessed
Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada
“One Faith, One Church, One Message: the Necessity of Orthodox Unity in America to Bring America to Orthodoxy”
Dearly beloved by the Lord,
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever! The community of St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Mission in Iowa City, IA has a very urgent opportunity that we would like to share with you. As you will see in the accompanying pamphlet, we have a wonderful chance to purchase a building that would allow us to continue to grow and serve God in our Midwestern college town. I cannot speak highly enough regarding the generosity and sacrificial giving that has characterized our own members, but I rejoice that we are not in this alone. We are, perhaps, a little toe on the Body of Christ. You are part of that Body as well. We are all connected to the Head through our common baptism and the reception of the same Eucharist.
Simply put, we have 75 days to raise $275,000. This will allow us to complete the purchase and renovate the interior so that it is a fitting place for Orthodox worship.