Articles on Orthodox Christian Charity


Special Olympics Awareness Day is October 16, 2011

Dear Brother in Christ:

Christ is in our midst!

The third Sunday of October, October 16, 2011 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese.

On Sunday, October 16th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the 2012 Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village August 10-18, 2012. Next summer we will be celebrating our 31st Annual Special Olympics Sports Camp. This ministry is 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.

We Need YOUR HELP!

1. Please publicize this day. We have enclosed two bulletin inserts, one for October 9th and the other for October 16th. Please include these inserts in your bulletin and share this cause from the pulpit. Your enthusiastic promotion of such a worthwhile ministry will go a long way in producing fruitful results from our faithful.

Famine Intensifies Humanitarian Need In Horn Of Africa

Ethiopian refugees line up for foodEthiopian refugees line up for foodAs record drought and famine continue to threaten the lives of more than 13 million people in the Horn of Africa, it is the children who suffer the most. More than 600,000 suffer from life-threatening malnutrition. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) takes you inside the refugee camps of Dolo Ado in Ethiopia for a firsthand look at how IOCC is putting your support into action, trying to save the lives of famine's most vulnerable victims.

Read the full report and see the IOCC's photos here.

Free SVS October 21 Seminar: "Spiritual Issues in Suffering and Palliative Care"

St. Vladimir's SeminarySt. Vladimir's Seminary[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] Struggling with disease and terminal illness is part of the human condition, but dealing with suffering in a redemptive, Christian way presents a special challenge. To help our seminarians, neighboring clergy, health professionals, and friends better understand how to approach and manage human suffering, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary will offer a free seminar Friday, October 21, from 9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., titled "Spiritual Issues in Suffering and Palliative Care."

Drs. Daniel and Jane Hinshaw, both medical doctors and Orthodox Christians, will lead the seminar. Daniel B. Hinshaw, M.D., is Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan Health System, in the Section of General Surgery based full time at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center. Dr. Hinshaw completed a fellowship in Palliative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in June of 2001, during a sabbatical. His clinical research interests are focused on care at the end-of-life and the use of complementary medicine in the relief of pain.

Dr. Jane (Carnahan) Hinshaw is Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Health System, and Staff Psychiatrist at the Mental Health Clinic at Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center. Her area of special interest involves psychiatric issues in palliative care.

The seminar will be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building on the seminary campus. No registration is necessary.


 

CONTACT: Deborah Belonick, Advancement Information Officer

St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary • www.svots.edu

914-961-8313 ext 363 • 914-961-4507 FAX • deborah@svots.edu

Letter of Thanks from Hunger Relief International

His Grace Bishop Basil recently recieved this letter of thanks from Hunger Relief International, the recipient of DOWAMA's 2011 charitable contribution as recommended by Fr. Seraphim Gisetti of St. John Chrysostom Church in Golden, Colorado and decided upon during the General Assembly at this summer's Parish Life Conference in Shreveport, Louisiana:

Dear Bishop Basil:

Our thanks to Bishop Basil and all the faithful of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (DOWAMA) for the generous gift of $500.00 donated to Hunger Relief International. These funds will be utilized to provide food staples to the school-based feeding program run by the Orthodox Church in Port au Prince, Haiti. We will be providing rice, beans, pasta and oil to the school in early September, right before classes begin.

We appreciate your compassion and generosity in helping us to assist children living in extreme poverty in Haiti.

Sincerely,

Rachel Zelon
Executive Director
Hunger Relief International, Inc.

Reports from Charitable Ministries at the 2011 Convention

Download reports pertaining to the Antiochian Archdiocese's charitable ministries, given at the General Assembly of the 2011 Archdiocese Convention in Chicago:

FOCUS Partners with Men's Wearhouse in National Suit Drive

The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) has partnered with The Men's Wearhouse during the clothing chain's fourth annual National Suit Drive. The Drive collects gently used business attire to help disadvantaged job seekers in need of a wardrobe upgrade, and the theme this year is, "help others find their strong suit."

Items collected in the drive include both men and women’s suits, shirts, jackets, ties, belts, and shoes.

FOCUS ReEngage Director Rodney Knott, who leads a twelve week course for men, said. “Working with the men who participate in our Man Class has helped me understand the struggles they encounter as they try to reestablish their lives in this slow economy. The great thing about this opportunity is that it shows these men that there are people who still believe in them and are willing to give them a hand up when they are down.”

Knott says the suits will help the men in his classes "...with a fresh start and the ability to go into an interview feeling confident and well equipped to put into practice their new skills."

Read the full story here.

IOCC Works To Curb Spread Of Disease Among Famine Refugees In Ethiopia

Eighty year old Ethiopian woman cradles her grandson (photo: IRIN/George Mulala)Eighty year old Ethiopian woman cradles her grandson (photo: IRIN/George Mulala)Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — As more than 120,000 people fleeing famine in Somalia crowd into the Dollo Ado refugee camps in Ethiopia, the lack of adequate sanitation is creating a breeding ground for measles, cholera, and other diseases. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC) is taking action to improve sanitation conditions and help avert the spread of disease among the refugees.

Working with local healthcare agencies, IOCC is providing the materials needed to build some 50 latrines in the refugee camps and is on site overseeing this vital preventive health activity. IOCC Ethiopia Country Representative, Sigurd Hanson, says that the current camp conditions are ripe for an epidemic. "The high number of malnourished children due to the ongoing famine makes them more vulnerable to contagious diseases like measles and cholera," says Hanson. "Add to that overcrowded settlements with poor sanitation and limited access to safe water. Basic sanitation facilities can make a world of difference in protecting these already fragile lives."

New IOCC Program To Improve Food Access For Isolated Families In The Gaza Strip

Bilal, 7-year old Gaza boy (photo: Paul Jeffrey / ACT Alliance)Bilal, 7-year old Gaza boy (photo: Paul Jeffrey / ACT Alliance)August 8, 2011

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — More than 10,000 children and their parents in the Gaza Strip will soon have better access to reliable food sources through a new program launched by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). IOCC was awarded $3.75 million to assist 1,400 selected households start and maintain family gardens, or to raise fish or small livestock such as chickens and rabbits. The award was made by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Mercy Corps as part of a larger initiative in the Gaza Strip.

Sam Dunlap, country representative for IOCC Jerusalem, says these activities build on IOCC's current activities in the Gaza Strip, in which IOCC is rehabilitating greenhouses, digging water catchments and providing water irrigation systems. "Ideally, this chain of activities will produce a surplus of food for the families' needs, and ultimately develop into extra sources of income that will allow them to flourish."

IOCC Helping Hungry Families in the Horn of Africa

(photo: ACT/DCA/Binyan)(photo: ACT/DCA/Binyan)from International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC):

August 5, 2011

In the Horn of Africa, the situation is getting worse each day for families who are suffering through the region's worst drought in 60 years. In Somalia, the United Nations has declared a famine – the first time it has made such a declaration in nearly 30 years. Tens of thousands have already died and many more are at risk.

IOCC staff are on the ground in Ethiopia to assist families in immediate need of food assistance and are working to expand critical relief efforts to address the food crisis. Working with Orthodox Christian and ecumenical partners, IOCC is addressing the needs of people in remote areas of Southern Ethiopia, including Somali refugees who are arriving daily.

We need your help to provide life-saving support for these families.

Please keep the people in the Horn of Africa in your prayers and respond by clicking here to make a donation to help the victims of disasters around the world, like those in Horn of Africa, by making a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund. Or, call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225 and designate International Emergency Response Fund.

FOCUS Summer Outreach Includes Teen Volunteers

Niko Touloumes was planning on using some of his summer break to do a service project, but he never thought the project would change his perspective on those in need.

Touloumes was one of 18 youth from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Christian Church in Pittsburgh who participated in the June Appalachia service trip, a ministry of FOCUS North America. The group of middle school and high school students were joined by six adult leaders.

The goal of these short term ministry trips is to build a sense of service and community by providing an opportunity for church groups to travel together, work together, serve together and grow together. Projects include home repair, landscaping, and various domestic projects for the poor living in the heart of the Appalachian region. In some parts of the Appalachian region of NC where the FOCUS NA teams serve there is an almost 20% unemployment rate.

“I was expecting to come down and help people, not necessarily interact with them,” Touloumes said. “But I came here and found out why they’re in these situations.”

The teens and their adult leaders worked hard and always had a great attitude as they worked on graveling a driveway, painting a garage, removing a rotting deck, painting the interior of a house, moving heavy furniture and various landscaping projects.

The working poor families served by these groups are always very grateful for the help, Niko Petrogeorge, FOCUS North America ministry team intern, said.

“We painted the inside of an elderly couple’s home,” Petrogeorge said. “Mr. Upright was very appreciative of our work and wanted to help us." We got him started on something he wouldn’t have been able to do on his own and provided the resources and materials for the project.”