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News from Our Youth: SOYO Members Record CD, Scholarships Awarded to Students

The V. Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, Department of Youth and Parish Ministry, notes that the 32 Teen SOYO members attending the Youth Music Institute at Antiochian Village from July 13–17 recorded many beautiful Orthodox hymns for their upcoming SOYO/SMI Music CD. The CD is a joint project of Teen SOYO and the Department of Sacred Music: watch this fall for more details!

In other youth news, the following young people were awarded a Francis Maria Scholarship in the amount of $2,500, on July 23, 2016 at the Archdiocese Convention Oratorical Festival in Bolivar Pennsylvania.

OYPC 2016: Antiochian Young Adult Ministry Hosts Second National Conference on August 18-21

The Orthodox Young Professionals Conference is a four day conference hosted by the Young Adult Ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Young Orthodox Christians from across the country and all jurisdictions are invited to join together in fellowship and fun. The conference committee has been working since 2015 to plan an amazing opportunity for spiritual growth, future friendships, lasting memories and more. The gathering will be held in New Orleans at the Drury Inn and Suites, from August 18-21, 2016.

What is a Young Professional?
A young adult who is beyond the college years navigating through the daily struggles of life as an Orthodox Christian in their mid-twenties through thirties. You are a Young Professional if you want to:

-Grow Spiritually
-Meet other young Orthodox Christians
-Learn practical ways to connect your daily work with Christ and His Church
-Explore your vocation, or
-Find Inspiration from the witness of speakers and other young adults

Visit the Conference website

Vocations Day for East Coast Teens and Young Adults + May 14

from OCA.org:

“Exploring Ministry: A Day in NYC to Discover How You Can Serve the Church” will be the focus of a gathering for Orthodox Christian teens and young adults interested in exploring the many opportunities available to serve the Church at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, 59 East Second Street, New York, NY on Saturday, May 14, 2016.

Sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of New York and New Jersey and funded by a grant from the Forum for Theological Education, the day will begin at 10:00 a.m. with prayers and opening remarks by His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, followed by a panel discussion and question-and-answer session on vocations.  Panelists who will share their stories and field questions include men and women currently serving the Church in a variety of ways as hospital and military chaplains, parish priests, deacons, choir directors, and theology professors.

Orthodox Center at Eastern University Announces New Summer Program

Advanced High School students and recent graduates can earn college credit while studying Orthodox literature
July 7-14, 2016
Application deadline: May 2, 2016
Program website
Download Brochure (PDF)

March 14, 2016 (St. Davids, Pa.) — What do Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, and Alexandros Papadiamantis all have in common?

They are some of the celebrated Orthodox Christian authors whose works students will read and discuss during a new honors program offered this July at Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia.

The Summer Program for Young Orthodox Scholars, sponsored by the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture, will provide promising High School and transfer students the opportunity to earn college credit while challenging themselves intellectually and spiritually. Participants will live in residence on the university's campus from July 7th to the 14th with a select group of peers, engaged in rigorous coursework and discussion of Great Books by Orthodox Christian literary figures.

Teen SOYO Day of Service is Saturday, March 19

SOYO Day of Service is set for this Saturday March 19, 2016.  Teens are asked across the Archdiocese to plan and carry out service activities in their local communities on Saturday March 19th, and then to share photos and comments on their SOYO service activities on Social Media that day, utilizing the tag @NACSOYO and hashtag #SOYOservice on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Teen SOYO Members are also asked to share their Lenten Journey in words and in photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #JourneytoPascha, as a way our sharing their journey and encouraging other teens to do the same.

Teens are also offered the #JourneyToPascha Social Media Exercise explained in this YouTube video. Other YouTube videos for preparation for Pascha may be found here.

Click here for the flyer and please share this with the teens of your parish.

 

A Lenten Opportunity: Second Annual NAC Teen SOYO Day of Service is March 19, 2016

(View a video about the 2015 Day of Service)

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, the second Annual NAC Teen SOYO Day of Service will be hosted by SOYO chapters across the United States and Canada.

In reverence to the fundamental virtue of love, NAC Teen SOYO has asked that its chapters across the country dedicate this common day to the service of their local communities. SOYO members are being encouraged to organize an event on this date that will enable you to show Christ-like charity to your neighbors. 

We want to see what you are doing, so tag @NACSOYO and use the hashtag #SOYOservice in your posts on social media! Enter your local SOYO in a contest to win a beautiful icon by simply including your parish's name in one of your posts.

View the flyer for more details

From the Archdiocese Publications Center & AV Bookstore: Lenten Sale for our Youth

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Publications Center & AV Bookstore is holding a sale on Lenten materials for our youth. Among the items on sale are:

My Lenten Journey
An interactive poster for kids! "My Lenten Journey" is a large full-color poster designed to help children understand how they can participate in Great Lent, with the opportunities to "do," "give," "give-up," or "think" each day during Lent as a
way of making his/her own offering. It's filled with fun and interesting tasks and projects, marking the way with colorful stickers.

Lenten Lotto
A matching game set of icons and other drawings on easy to use boards, this is for Grades K-3 . Good for use in class or at home, this Lotto game teaches the liturgical services of Great Lent and Holy Week with basic Biblical and historical events.

14th Annual Orthodox Camp and Youth Workers' Conference Meets in Dallas

Over 80 clergy and lay youth and camp workers gathered in Dallas, TX for this year's Orthodox Camp and Youth Workers' Conference. This annual conference is sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Camp Association and the leaders of all the different jurisdiction's youth departments. The Orthodox Church in America hosted at their Saint Seraphim's Cathedral here in Dallas. There was a large delegation representing camping and youth ministry from the Antiochian Archdiocese led by His Grace Bishop Thomas.

2016 Special Olympics Volunteer and Coaching Applications Available

Special Olympics campers and staff at the VillageSpecial Olympics campers and staff at the VillageThe 2016 Special Olympics Sports Camp is scheduled to be held at the Antiochian Village August 12-21, 2016. This ministry is sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO, and is the second longest running program of Special Olympics Pennsylvania, serving approximately 175 campers each season. It is the premier SOYO outreach program, now in its 35th year of service. Each year SOYO teens raise the funds on Special Olympics Awareness Day.

In addition to the funds raised, SOYO teens provide at least half the coaching staff, and many adult volunteers participate as well. The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, chair of the Department of Youth Ministry, has announced that the 2016 Special Olympic Coaches Application is now available for those youth who are interested in working at the Sports Camp. Additionally, for adults over twenty years of age, the Special Olympics Volunteer application is posted as well.

Youth Update: CrossRoad 2016 Applications Available Now

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry for the Archdiocese, alerts all high school juniors & seniors who may be interested in applying to a 10-day summer program at Hellenic College Holy Cross, that CrossRoad 2016 Applications are available now! CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition. Hosted on the scenic Hellenic College Holy Cross campus, overlooking the beautiful Boston skyline, participants experience daily worship, visit local parishes, tour Boston, and spend a day at the beach.

Priority application deadline is February 1, 2016. Visit the website to learn more: http://www.crossroadinstitute.org/.

SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarships Awarded to Six People

Our youth are our future: the Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker ScholarshipsOur youth are our future: the Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker ScholarshipsWith the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, the first six SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarships have been awarded to the following six people, each in the amount of $800, for the 2015-2016 Academic year. Five of the six recipients are studying in the St. Stephens Youth Ministry Concentration working towards a Master Degree in Applied Orthodox Theology with a concentration in Youth Ministry (more information available here) and oneGregory Abdalahis working on his Doctor of Ministry Degree at St. Vladimir’s Seminary.

All six of these recipients are members of a parish in the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America and all of them are currently doing youth ministry work on the parish and or diocesan level.

Special Olympics Awareness Day 2015

The third Sunday of October, October 18, 2015 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 18th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village in the summer of 2015. This ministry is run by and sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.

This past August our Special Olympics ministry was our largest program ever, with 327 Special Olympic athletes and coaches participating. Our teen SOYO coaches and volunteers ministered exceptionally well this summer. We thank you for the extraordinary young women and men you sent to serve at our Special Olympics sports camp. You are welcome to view the hundreds of photos from this year's Special Olympics camp to get a glimpse into this beautiful Christ-centered ministry performed by our young people.

We Need YOUR HELP!

Save the Date: Annual Orthodox Christian Camping and Youth Worker Conference is January 21-23, 2016

The Very Reverend Dr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, has announced that the January 2016 Annual Orthodox Christian Camping and Youth Worker Conference for parish youth workers, SOYO Advisors, and Teen Advisors, is set for January 21-23, 2016.  The Conference will be held at St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas, TX, and the theme is "Feed My Sheep: Crisis, Trauma, and Everyday Life."

Parishes are encouraged to send their Parish Youth Workers, Youth Director and Teen SOYO Advisors. More information will appear on the Orthodox Christian Camp Association website's conference page, once additional details are confirmed.

Youth Department Chairman Fr. Joseph Purpura Requests Prayers for Oregon Victims and Families

October 1, 2015

A message from the Very Reverend Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry for the Antiochian Archdiocese:

On behalf of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Youth and Parish Ministry and SOYO, the youth movement of the Antiochian Archdiocese, we offer up our prayers to those victims who were injured or killed in the shooting today at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
 
We fervently ask all of the young people of the Antiochian Archdiocese to keep all of the college students at UCC Oregon, those killed, injured, and all the rest of the students and faculty, as well as all of their loved ones and families, in your daily prayers.
 
Our Prayers are with the victims of the shooting at UCC Oregon,  as well as with their families.  Please pray for them!

October 2015: Archdiocese Youth Month

Fr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Dept. of Youth and Parish Ministries, with Special Olympics coachesFr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Dept. of Youth and Parish Ministries, with Special Olympics coachesOctober is the month when the Antiochian Archdiocese introduces teens to the many opportunities to minister in the Church. The youth "are encouraged to read the Epistle, chant and sing in the choir, assist in church school, and give sermons approved by the priest," explains Department of Youth Chairman The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura. 

Another way teens can get involved in their parishes is to participate in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl, and Oratorical Festivals. This year’s theme, selected by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, is "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

Registration is Open for OCF Winter College Conferences

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conferences 2015 will be held from December 28-31st at both the Antiochian Village in PA, and St. Nicholas Ranch in CA. The Keynote Speakers are Rev. Fr. Apostolos Hill (West) and Sr. Vassa Larin (East). Registration is now open for the conferences. In 2015, $100.00 scholarships are being offered to those students in need.


LINKS
College Conference
College Conference East 2015
College Conference West 2015
Scholarship Application

Congratulations, Francis Maria Scholarship Winners!

Scholarship winner Justine Younes, SOYO President of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New YorkScholarship winner Justine Younes, SOYO President of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New YorkOn behalf of Metropolitan Joseph, SOYO, and the Department of Youth & Parish Ministries, The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura announces the winners of the 2015 Francis Maria Scholarship recipients.

Each of the following people were awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,500, on July 25, 2015 at the Archdiocese Convention in Boston. Congratulations!

2015 Francis Maria Scholarship Winners

Elizabeth Waters
Thomas Joseph Perry
Mary Catherine Huneycutt
Layla Najjar
Steven Andrew Pisarchuk
Nicole Nassif
Anastasia Trenham
Natalie Saliba
Justine Younes
Emily Webster
Gabriel Z Smith

Get Ready for the Church School Year! Christian Ed Materials and Order Form Now Available for Download

The updated Christian Education Materials and Order Form is available from the Antiochian Archdiocese Publications Center, now managed by the Antiochian Village Bookstore.

 
Resources are listed for students from preschool ages all the way through high school. There are also supplementary materials, resources for youth work, adult education study texts, catechism materials, and a selection of Bibles. Be sure to see the revised Billing and Shipping/Handling sections of the Order Form.

SOYO Vice President Munir Pavez Reports on Ministry Trip

Munir Pavez (back row, left) and other team members in the IOCC Serv-X-treme service groupMunir Pavez (back row, left) and other team members in the IOCC Serv-X-treme service groupMunir Pavez is the son of Fr. Michael and Khouriya Mireille of St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Beaumont, TX. As President of the Diocese of Wichita's SOYO, and Vice President of the NAC SOYO, he recently participated in a youth service conference sponsored by the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). After this week of ministry, Munir wrote this report for Bishop Basil.

 Your Grace Bishop Basil: Master, bless.

Blessed Feast of the Transfiguration! I also hope that the end of the Dormition fast continues to be fruitful and blessed. It was great seeing you at the Archdiocesan Convention a few weeks ago! I would just like to tell you a little bit about my trip to Minneapolis last week for the IOCC Serv-X-treme Conference. As you probably know, this was a pan-Orthodox leadership/service conference for high school seniors that, by your blessing and delegation, I was so fortunate to attend. Going in, I was very nervous and didn't know what to expect. I had no idea that the next seven days would be some of the most amazing and fruitful of my life.

Throughout the week, we had many speakers come talk to us about various topics such as suffering, compassion, charity, and Orthodox unity, just to name a few. However, the main focus of the week was service. Every day the group of 26 teens would complete at least one or two service projects.

Assembly of Bishops to Host September Youth Gathering in Conjunction with Chicago Meeting

His Grace Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland & the Mid-Atlantic, writes:

A Youth Gathering will take place on Tuesday September 15, 2015, during the Assembly of Bishops Meeting in Chicago. Please pass the word – All young people are invited.

When: Tuesday evening, September 15, 2015
Where: Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral - 5701 North Redwood Drive - Chicago, IL 60631
Who:  High school and college students from the Greater Chicago area with the bishops of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox bishops of the United States
What:  A dialogue between our Orthodox youth and the bishops of the Assembly

As of now I believe there will be:

1. A service – led by the Assembly of Bishops
2. Perhaps a discussion with the youth prior to the service to gather questions and prepare them for the event and help them to get to know each other
3. A Question and Answer period with a panel of bishops and the high school and college students
4. Food to follow

Please get this news out, and bring your young people to this event.

Next Pan-Orthodox "Be the Bee" Youth Retreat is August 29 in Austin, TX

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry, encourages youth workers, parents, and young people to attend their nearest Pan-Orthodox "Be the Bee" Retreat. The retreats are starting in August 2015 and repeating each month in different locations throughout the United States, until May 2016.

 

Congratulations to 2015 Francis Maria Scholarship Recipients

Each of the following people were awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,500, on July 25, 2015 at the Archdiocese Convention in Boston. For more information on the Francis Maria Scholarship program, please visit www.antiochian.org/scholarships.

Elizabeth Waters
Thomas Joseph Perry
Mary Catherine Huneycutt
Layla Najjar
Steven Andrew Pisarchuk
Nicole Nassif
Anastasia Trenham
Natalie Saliba
Justine Younes
Emily Webster
Gabriel Z Smith

Michigan SOYO Teens Participate in Pan-Orthodox Mission Outreach

The young members of our parish—the SOYO of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Livonia, MI—just returned from a trip that made history. We were all so blessed to participate, support, and watch this holy work take place!

On July 18, our twelve teens: Ibrahem Alrabady, Melissa Ansara, Celine Barghout, Pascal Barghout, Hani Kandalaft, Marisa Khamis, Joseph Nicolas, Michael Nicolas, Elena Saliba, Natalie Samaan, Katerena Sirhan, and Kaila Ziadeh, and two trip leaders, Christina Stavros and Michael Ansara, traveled four hours north on the first ever, 2015 SOYO Summer Mission Trip, to help "build up" the first Orthodox church in Traverse City, MI, the Archangel Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church. To our knowledge, this is the first mission trip, ever, in the history of our parish and, perhaps, the first time one mission parish has offered to help a mission parish in another Orthodox jurisdiction build their church.

New Report Looks at Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Collegiate Ministry

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America released a new study report today. The report focuses on Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official collegiate campus ministry program of the Assembly.

"The study was completed via surveying the students participating in 130 OCF chapters nationwide," notes the study's author, Assembly Research Coordinator Alexei D. Krindatch. "It offers solid insight into the lives of the Orthodox students on the campuses of US colleges and universities."

OCF plays a critical role in the lives of young Orthodox adults who study at US colleges and universities. Strong OCF chapters can provide a vital connection for youth to the Orthodox Church and stem the tide of students who leave the Orthodox Faith while in college. Key questions were asked: What types of challenges do OCF chapters face? What are their needs? What does it take to be a successful and vibrant OCF chapter? The report answers these and other questions from the viewpoints of active student OCF leaders.

Read the full report here.
Access summaries and links to all of the Assembly's research reports here.

Ready, Set, Go! Village Kicks off First Camp Session

Staff training week at the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA, is complete, and Session One has started! Meet the 2015 summer staff on the Village's website. 

The Village's Facebook page reported on Day One this way:

Three words to describe Monday's weather: hot, humid, and rainy. But such could not dull the spirit of our campers, as they were active as ever. We started off the morning with breakfast, giving everyone an extra hour to sleep in. This provided them with the energy they needed to remain attentive in their first sessions of morning program! Some attended "Ask Abouna," doing a Q & A with our lovely session priests, Abouna James King from St. Mary in Livonia, MI, and Fr. Noah Bushelli from St. Philip in Souderton, PA. Our chanting cabins went to the Conference Center for their morning practice, and the rest of the campers were scattered about the camp, and the challenge course.