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New Music CD Released by SOYO and the Department of Sacred Music: Digital Download Available!

A beautiful new music CD, Grace Shining Forth, is currently in production. A collaborative effort of SOYO, the Department of Sacred Music, and the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, the CD is going to be released soon, and pre-orders are now being accepted. Pre-order now, for an expected delivery date of December 10, 2016! Discounts are available for quantities of five or more. Shop now, and receive your order in time for Christmas.

Digital download version!

Order your Grace Shining Forth Music CD

 

SOYO Launches New Website

SOYO, the youth movement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, has launched a new and redesigned website at https://TeenSOYO.org.

Check out the new offerings under:
Programs
Resources
Shop for SOYO apparel, key chains, and other items
"Ask Abouna"
Instagram and news feeds

Visit today!

Special Olympics Sunday 2016

On October 16th, 2016, the North American Council of Teen SOYO sponsors the 36th Annual Special Olympics Awareness Day. Every August, Teen SOYO hosts and funds an annual week‐long camp for Special Olympics Athletes at the Antiochian Village. Over the past 35 years, Teen SOYO has fostered a camping experience like no other. Our camp demonstrates a unified environment where teen SOYO members from across the Archdiocese come together with coaches from Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) and enthusiastic athletes for an intense week of sports training and witness to Christ.

Through your generous donations, SOYO Special Olympics Sports Camp has grown immensely through the years. This year, we experienced a record number of athletes in attendance, and have accomplished an astounding 35 years of SOYO Special Olympics Camp. Over these 35 years, we have hosted more than 7,700 athletes and coaches, and over 1,050 of our teens have been blessed by working as SOYO Coaches or Volunteers. It is our pleasure to have the opportunity to serve, pray, and play with these Special Olympics Athletes, and we look forward, with your help, to continuing this important ministry.

October 2016: Archdiocese Youth Month

October is the month when the 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 "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." (Mark 11:17)

Youth Ministry: Connecting Learning with Living in the Kingdom

by V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, from the October 2016 issue of The Word:

In this article, we will look at what we are trying to accomplish in youth ministry, especially as we make the connection between what youth learn in the classroom and how they live out their lives as members of the kingdom of God here and now. We will look at youth ministry in terms of spiritual formation and the development of their identity as children of God. In doing so, we will reflect upon the holy scriptures and the divine services of the Church, examine the wisdom of the fathers, and, just as importantly, reach into layers of experience and practical expression to generate dialogue on what spiritual formation looks like in the classroom and beyond.

Today, the Church needs well-trained and well-equipped youth workers for the long term. Too often, we see youth ministry as a stepping stone to "real ministry," as a time of waiting for ordination or a secular job. We must be serious about raising and forming young people by training youth workers who commit their lives to youth ministry. America needs educators and youth workers who know the faith, who know Orthodox theology, who have diverse talents, who are of varying ages, and who are models of committed servants of Christ. In addition, it is with years of experience working with young people that we as clergy and youth workers can begin to understand fully the immense task before us. With many years of ministering to young people in Christ, and with them, clergy and youth workers develop the eyes, the ears, and the heart that are so essential to participating with God in youth formation.

Who Is the Enemy?

by His Grace Bishop John, from The Word Magazine, October 2016

October is Youth Month in the Antiochian Archdiocese. We make special efforts to remind the youth that they are not the future of the church, but part of the present. Baptized into Christ, they already have gifts of God's grace and the responsibility to live and share the Faith of the Apostles that has been delivered to them. They were baptized to gather as the Church, allowing them to grow, respond to God, pray for the world and witness to the truths that God has revealed to them and us. The God who has revealed himself allows them and us to encounter him and engage ourselves with him. These are their Christian vocations, and ours from our youth up, along with God's call to resist those "many passions that war against us."

Bishop Thomas Shares Schedule of Upcoming "Be the Bee" Retreats

Bishop Thomas writes: "Be the Bee is a pan-Orthodox endeavor, reaching out to young people with videos on living the Christian Life. Here is the list of planned Be the Bee Retreats. Please promote the one in your area. Thank you."

BeeTreats are open to all area Orthodox parishes, regardless of jurisdiction. As a pan-Orthodox project, it's a chance for us all to come together in fellowship, service, and worship for a great day in Christ!

· August 27th, 2016
Saint Michael's Orthodox Church - Binghamton, NY
Click here to register!

· September 17th, 2016
Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral - Richmond, VA
Click here to register!

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!

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.