“For all of us who doubt the strength of our faith; for all of us who are not called to be eaten by lions, or thrown into a fiery furnace; for all of us who are not called to die for our faith; those holy apostles, those twelve men, they knew the one thing we would need most, our life-preserver in a sea of trouble, our sanctuary from those who tempt us, our teacher to help guide our course: those amazing, gifted men of the priestly ranks.”
I am so grateful that I was born into the Orthodox faith. There are so many people who wander about in this world with no sense of purpose or belonging, but never an Orthodox Christian. Every Orthodox Christian knows exactly why they are here. In God’s plan, He made all of us, male and female, in His image. And the purpose of our life is to see the image of God in ourselves and in everyone around us. In my most recent understanding, I am not merely an Orthodox Christian because my parents thought I should be baptized. I am not merely an Orthodox Christian because my family goes to church on Sunday mornings and other holidays. I am an Orthodox Christian because of the choices I make every single day. I didn’t get here by accident and I didn’t get here simply because I was born into a certain ethnicity. But I got here, at this point in my life, because of the people in my life. And while I will forever be grateful for my grandparents, and parents, and aunts, and uncles, and even my cousins, I am personally humbled by the relationships I have had with the men who have dared to wear that distinctive collar, who drop to their knees, and fight for me, like a man after God’s own heart.
The Christian Education team of the Antiochian Archdiocese, headed by Director Carole Buleza, is passionate about transmitting the faith to the next generation, and the resource-rich Christian Education section on antiochian.org reflects this. An extensive upgrade to the Christian Education pages launched to coincide with the start of the Sunday School year, includes an entirely new Creative Arts Festivals section developed by Editor Andrew Frishman.
Youth workers who want to integrate the creative festivals into their Christian Education program will find the revamped section useful both for Sunday School as well as SOYO events.
Highlights of the new material available are:
- Guidance for newcomers in "New to the Festivals?"
- "Summary of Modifications for the 2012 Festivals"
- Updated judging rubrics and lesson plans
- Suggestions for educators in "Using the Theme" and "Job Descriptions"
- Advice for students on "Inspiring Writing"
- Plus an improved sidebar for helpful navigation!
In the main Christian Education section, a book review highlights Christian Education in the Small Membership Church and registration is available for Orthodox Institute 2011, a pan-Orthodox event featuring an interactive Holy Land tour.
WESTWOOD, Massachusetts - The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY), Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura and Kathleen A. Purpura announce the award of a five-year grant for its Greater Chicago Coalition. OCCHY – Cicero/Greater Chicago was awarded a $125,000 Drug Free Communities Support Program FY 2011 grant by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Coalition serves the Villages of Lincolnwood, Niles, and Skokie, IL, as well as the eighty-plus Orthodox parishes of the Greater Chicago area. ONDCP and SAMHSA offer the potential of an additional five-year extension of the grant. Under the excellent guidance of the Very Rev. Nicholas Dahdal, Pastor, the Grantee is St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Cicero, IL.
Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth is a national alliance founded by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth, and Kathleen Purpura, Youth Consultant and Executive Director of OCCHY, trained with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), worked with the White House Director of Drug Free Communities and also the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The 2011 SOYO Leadership Manual is now available from the Department of Youth Ministry. These valuable manuals are packed with resources to help leaders of youth groups with all the details of managing the SOYO year and SOYO programs. They also provide space for each local SOYO to add in its materials.
Brookline, MA ––August 9, 2011— While many college campuses experience a calm and quiet summer, Hellenic College once again bustled with activity as the Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) welcomed high school juniors and seniors to its CrossRoad summer institute, now in its eighth year. The OVM greeted 60 high school juniors and seniors from 29 states as well as Canada and the Bahamas. Due to overwhelming interest from Orthodox youth and the generosity of several benefactors, this summer the program continued to offer two sessions. Beginning in 2004, CrossRoad has inspired hundreds of Orthodox youth to grow in their faith, explore their strengths, engage in serving others, and discover how their gifts and talents can serve the needs of Church and society.
The 2011 CrossRoad Summer Institute, directed by Mary Long, combined the greatest offerings of Hellenic College and Holy Cross: faculty instruction, an enthusiastic staff of graduate students, a beautiful campus overlooking Boston, and the exciting city of Boston itself. Students visited historic Faneuil Hall, the New England shore at Manchester-by-the-Sea, and cruised Boston harbor on a Duck Tour. The high school students enjoyed these fun and cultural activities, but found the unique elements of the program the most valuable: the daily classes with theological faculty, evening visits to attend vespers at neighboring Orthodox parishes in the Boston area, and putting their learning into practice by participating in two service activities during the last stage of the program.
Fr. Joseph Purpura, the Antiochian Archdiocese Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, has released his Convention report for 2011 here.
He reminds Convention-goers that the “Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth” (OCCHY) booth in the vendor area of the Convention will be offering materials free of charge for parents, clergy, teachers, teens and young adults. Read about OCCHY here or visit the Coalition for Healthy Youth website here.
Fr. Joseph Purpura's report to the Antiochian Archdiocesan Board, presented to the Board on June 4, 2011, highlighted several areas of progress for the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries.
Regarding the fledgling Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth, Fr. Joseph explained that "Our work and travels this year led us to our May meeting at the White House, with the White House Director of Drug Free Communities, Jack Claypoole. We continue to receive good support in our efforts to reduce substance use and abuse among our Orthodox Population from both the White House Office of Drug Free Communities and from General Arthur Dean of CADCA and his staff." Fr. Joseph and Kh. Kathleen will have completed 120 hours of Drug Free Communities training by July. Coalition members from the Cicero and Cleveland Coalitions have also begun training, and Father and Khouria have been working to establish additional Parish Coalitions. Fr. Joseph noted, "We will continue our efforts to reach out to other dioceses to establish additional coalitions to address the issues of substance use and abuse by our youth and encourage respect for the sanctity of the human body.
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine in the Eastern Dioceses of Charleston and New York is offering college tuition scholarships for Antiochian students. Watch for the updated 2013 application form, coming soon! If you have any questions, call scholarship administrator Maria Abdalah at: 412-916-4772, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The completed form will be due June 1, 2013.
One (1) scholarship (each) of $1,500.00 and $1,000.00 will be awarded, along with four (4) scholarships of $500.00 each. The awards will be presented at the Annual Eastern Dioceses Parish Life Conference.
All scholarships are made possible by endowments created by concerned individuals from the parishes of our Eastern Dioceses and fund-raising programs held by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.
We wish you all God’s blessings and look forward to submitting your application to the evaluation committee.
Teen SOYO of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest proudly announces the launch of its newly designed Website: www.midwestSOYO.org.
Wrapping up a busy schedule of winter events, Antiochian Village served as the host for the "Men in Black" Clergy Appreciation Luncheon on February 22. The Village's first event was the January winter camp session. These two events bookmarked several key conferences and meetings which took place in the very busy month of February.
During the first weekend in February, the traditional mid-winter meetings were held for SOYO's leadership. Reports Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department for Youth Ministry, "The February 4-6, 2011 Midwinter Meetings of SOYO brought over thirty teens and advisors from across the archdiocese. SOYO continued its work begun at the 2010 SOYO Leadership Conference. The SOYO Diocesan officers reported on their progress and shared ideas with one another. SOYO Officers continued the development of their leadership skills, as Fr. Fouad Saba explored the scripture and its relationship to leadership. Elizabeth Mamey, a past NAC SOYO Officer, came back to SOYO to share with our current group of officers the skills she learned through her SOYO and Leadership training experiences. It was a weekend rich in fellowship, spirituality and accomplishments for SOYO."
Then on February 8-12, about two dozen OCF chaplains gathered for their three day conference to discuss the theme "Following Christ through Crisis."
Application forms for volunteer coaches at the 2011 NAC SOYO Special Olympics are now available. Members of Teen SOYO between 16 and 19 years of age may apply to serve as coaches at this year’s camp. The Special Olympics will be held from August 12-20, 2011 at Antiochian Village. The deadline for completed application forms is April 1, 2011.
Click here to download the Special Olympics Volunteer Coach Application Form (PDF).
For more information, applicants may contact Fr. Anthony Yazge at email@example.com.
Brookline, MA - High school juniors and seniors, before you decide what to do with the rest of your life, decide what to do with your summer! The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College is now accepting applications from high school juniors and seniors for its CrossRoad summer institute. Orthodox Christian students from the United States and Canada are invited to take part in an exciting summer vocations exploration program designed to help them discern their life callings and match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world. Each accepted applicant receives a full scholarship and is only responsible for travel costs to/from Boston.
Now in its eighth year, CrossRoad combines the greatest gifts of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HC/HC) through faculty instruction and participation, an enthusiastic staff of graduate students, the beautiful campus overlooking Boston and of course the exciting city of Boston itself. Students participate in daily classes with Orthodox faculty from HC/HC and other institutions, and attend Vespers each evening at neighboring parishes in the Boston area. To accommodate the overwhelming interest, CrossRoad runs two sessions of 30 students each. This year’s sessions are June 18-28 and July 5-15, 2011.
By Carolyn Kouracos
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
Hunger Strike is a new youth ministry of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). Launched this year on a national level, Hunger Strike is already becoming a growing youth movement. Started at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, CA three years ago, this vibrant ministry has already raised more than $10,000 and has Orthodox Christian teens striving to make a difference in the world by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and giving to those in need.
Hunger Strike is coordinated by local parishes, where teens fast for 30 hours while they participate in activities which raise both awareness and money for the needs of those throughout the world who suffer the effects of poverty and who hunger for the hope found in Christ.
Through a generous gift of the Francis Maria Foundation for Justice and Peace, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America will once again grant several scholarships in the amount of $2,500 to students attending an accredited College.
Scholarships will be granted each July. Completed 2012 Francis Maria Scholarship Application and all supporting documentation must be postmarked by May 15, 2012 and received by May 22.
Please note that you will need the free Adobe acrobat reader to open this file, if you do not already have it installed on your computer.
For more information on the Francis Maria Scholarship program, please visit www.antiochian.org/scholarships.
Equipping the Saints
Saint Seraphim Cathedral
Thursday January 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM CST
Saturday January 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM CST
Before December 31 Early-Bird Registration:$95.00
After December 31 Normal Registration $115.00
Registration includes all lunch and dinner meals, conference materials and transport to and from the hotel.
For more information and online registration click here.
The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) has launched a website to make their resources more available to parents, youth workers and teens. As the website explains, "OCCHY is a national substance abuse prevention network established under the Department of Youth Ministry in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. We are an independent, non-profit, national organization of coalitions for healthy youth. We are a network of local Orthodox Communities across the United States dedicated to educating young people and their families to create living environments that are fun, safe and healthy for parents to raise their children.
OCCHY introduces strategies to reduce the devastating effects of drugs on our youth. The national OCCHY leaders developed a platform which offers the Orthodox Church communities an opportunity to heighten awareness of substance abuse issues, bullying, and premarital sex. OCCHY seeks to unite Orthodox Christian Church communities with public and private sector professionals and community advocates with the prospect of creating a healthier environment for our youth. Each coalition offers and promotes some aspect of substance abuse solutions, healthy sexuality and righteous living through awareness, education, and mentoring and prevention tactics."
Material for the 2011 Festivals is now available online. The 2011 Festivals theme is “Be mindful, O Lord of the priesthood, the diaconate and every priestly rank…” (The Anaphora of St. Basil). Please visit the festivals page to find the 2011 Bible Bowl & Oratorical Festival brochure, an array of Sunday School materials, "Using the Theme Throughout the Year" ideas, and several versions of this year's logo. All these materials may be downloaded for use in your own parish.
Ah, sweet summer! Another eventful, fun-filled camping season is winding down in some dioceses, while the August Session is still to come in several camps.
Due to the generosity of the Order of St. Ignatius, $175,000.00 filled camp scholarship coffers, enabling children of all backgrounds and ages to attend sessions at Antiochian Village, Camp St. Nicholas in California, Camp St. Thekla in South Carolina, St. John Summer Camp in Alaska, St. Mary of Egypt Camp in Washington, Camp Transfiguration in Quebec, Canada, Camp St. George in Iowa, and Camp St. Raphael in Oklahoma.
At Camp St. Nicholas, August campers will enjoy this dance: "Week 3: Out Of This World--Get ready to reach for the stars and LAUNCH into a dance that is out-of-this-world. Dress up as your favorite outer space characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. Or come dressed as an astronaut, star, or planet! The possibilities are endless - just like outer space!" Meantime, in Quebec, Canadian Antiochian children will enjoy "...the Afternoon program, which includes sports, waterfront activities, carpentry, rock climbing, archery, riflery, and more....After dinner, the camp community comes together again for daily Vespers. Each night there is a different program such as a hafli, scavenger hunt, serenade night, campfire, or some activity that the whole camp participates in together."
To view a photo gallery of camper fun and fellowship, click here.
Fr. Joseph Purpura and the Department of Youth MInistry have announced a major new initiative to help teens and their families. The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) plans to form groups in each diocese to deal with the risky behaviors that threaten the health and safety of youth. A 2007-2008 Archdiocesan study revealed, for instance, that in the previous year, nearly half of the high school teens and even a quarter of the 13-15 year olds surveyed, had used alcohol.
The seven page action plan explains the approach: "The purpose of the coalition is to help educate pre-teens, teens, young adults and parents towards living healthy Orthodox Christian Lives and enabling our youth to live drug free. We will also include education and other eﬀorts towards delaying the onset of sexual activity in youth with the intent of preparing young people for marriage or monasticism and work to assist parents in this endeavor. We seek to do this work in an Orthodox Christian manner and to develop an Orthodox model to be used by other Orthodox parishes and jurisdictions."
In some cases, federal funding may be available to help further the efforts of coalitions. To date, four parishes in three dioceses have come forward as coalition hosts. Fr. Joseph hopes to establish a group in each diocese. For more information, email: FrJoseph@orthodoxyouth.com, or read the action plan here.
Beginning July 5, Orthodox Christians can access "real life," a series of free multimedia studies from Jason Barker and Ancient Faith Radio. The audio and written series examines the way in which life can be transformed through one's relationship with God and others.
The first study is "Joy," focusing on what joy is and how it can be developed. There will be three new podcasts associated with "real life:" "real life" and "real life for teens," which provide podcast versions of the material covered in the units for each study; and "real life minute," a daily one-minute podcast with advice from a saint or Orthodox teacher on daily life. All of the studies will be available in two versions: one for adults, another for teens. The series is similar in concept to the studies, Worship & You.
Jason Barker creates resources for AFR, the Department of Youth Ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese, OCN and other Orthodox groups. His emphasis is on how we can live and grow as Orthodox Christians in the modern world. Jason has an M.A. in Applied Orthodox Theology from the University of Balamand / Antiochian House of Studies, and a B.A. in Communication from Washington State University.
In the fall of 2011, a new institution will open its doors to the Orthodox community. St. Katherine College in San Diego, California, will commence the first year of classes, offering an emphasis in Composition, English Language and Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government and History, Economics, Mathematics, and the Sciences. As to affiliation, the website explains that "The College community is independent, but it is closely associated with the Orthodox Christian community." Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dr. Scott Cairns, and Dr. Vladimir Morosan are all listed as faculty, among several other Orthodox academic luminaries.
Recently, Antiochian.org interviewed Vicki Brannock, St. Katherine College's Executive Director for Communications and Recruitment.
1. Tell us about your academic approach.
Of course the academic emphasis is important to us. We are selecting staff that represents the best in Orthodox academia and are working to strike a balance between the well established (Fr. Thomas Hopko, Scott Cairns) visiting professors and mid-level and younger faculty that we believe will make significant impact on the future.
Fr. Philip LeMasters, pastor of St. Luke Orthodox Church, has taught Religion at McMurry University in Abilene, TX, for fifteen years and will soon become the Interim Dean of Social Sciences and Religion. He has been very pleased with the openness of the United Methodist-related school to Orthodox believers. Fr. Philip says, “McMurry allowed our parish to worship for our first five years free of charge in the college chapel.” A small group of faculty and students join him for an on-campus Akathist on Thursday afternoons, and his Orthodox Theology class has a healthy enrollment. An Orthodox student is currently doing an “Internship in Christian Ministry” at St. Luke for McMurry course credit.
Following Bright Week, 30 Orthodox teens and chaperones gathered in Oklahoma City at St. Elijah to participate in the YES program. (YES stands for Youth Equipped to Serve and is a program sponsored by FOCUS North America that gives Orthodox youth the opportunity to participate in hands on ministry in cities across the United States.) Facilitated by Katrina Bitar, Director of the YES program, and Christina Saad, YES intern, this weekend gave teens from St. Eljah and St. George Cathedral a chance to see a different side of Oklahoma City.