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Mid-Winter Meetings to be held in Garden Grove, CA: March 4-6, 2016

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, the 2016 Mid-Winter Meetings will be hosted by St. Luke Orthodox Church in Garden Grove, CA, on March 4-6, 2016. The Archdiocese and Diocese officers of the Antiochian Women, Fellowship of St. John Divine/Young Adult Ministry, and Teen SOYO will gather for their annual midwinter meetings to conduct the business of our Archdiocese organizations. Travel, lodging, and registration information is below. Please contact your NAC/NAB President with any questions.

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.

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!

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/.

Diocese of Toledo SOYO Newsletter, December 2015

Christ is in our Midst! He is and Ever Shall Be! The Midwest Teen SOYO Board would like to wish all a very happy holiday season! Due to some technical difficulties, we were not able to have a newsletter for the past month, but should be up and running for the rest of the year!

With this being said, we would like to formally thank all the parishes that participated in the Youth Month Challenge, as well as those who attended the Fall Gathering! The Fall Gathering was hosted by Saint George of Fishers, Indiana, and had a well-attended gathering! In terms of Youth Month, we would like to also recognize the winning parish of the Youth Month Challenge, The Basilica of Saint Mary, in Livonia, Michigan! We would like to stress how grateful we are that all of those who participated and had many a great deeds done! May God bless all those who participated in the unity of your SOYO within Youth Month 2015!

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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.

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.

Diocese of Toledo: St. George Church in Indy Hosts Successful Fall Gathering

This year's Clergy and Laity Fall Gathering, our diocese's annual Delegates' Meeting, was hosted by St. George Church of Indianapolis/Fishers, IN, under the leadership of Fr. Nabil Hanna and with the assistance of Dn. Joseph Hazar. The Fall Gathering (formerly Midwest Delegates Meeting) is an opportunity for our diocese's clergy, lay leaders, teens, and others to meet for spiritual fellowship and to work toward a common vision for the year. This was the best attended Delegates' Meeting in many years, with a total of 203 participants made up of 32 Clergy, 70 youth, 41 Ladies, 32 Young Adults, and 28 Men.

The aim of this gathering was to offer something to every group so that the members of this diocese could come together as a family. The meetings began on Thursday, October 15 and 16 for the Clergy. Sessions were offered on the subject of youth ministry by the Director of the Antiochian Village, Fr. Anthony Yazge, as well as a session by His Grace Bishop Anthony.

The theme for the weekend was "Village at Home," where the staff of the Antiochian Village brought aspects of summer camp to the parish.

Save the Date: 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

Diocese of Toledo SOYO Newsletter, October 2015

Christ is in Our Midst! He is and Ever Shall Be! The Midwest Board hopes that you are having a great start to the 2015 school year! If you couldn't already tell, the year is flying by! Not only is October the beginning of Fall, but October marks the beginning of Youth Month!

Throughout the month, SOYOs all across the Archdiocese take on a lot of responsibility, but most importantly, grow closer to their faith during this month. Like last year, we will have a Youth Month Challenge for your SOYO to send us pictures! Your pictures will put you in a drawing to win the package of a gift card to your favorite pizza place, prayer ropes, and an icon! Some examples your SOYO can do is Epistle readings, help out with candles, ushering, collecting trays, and raise money on SOYO Special Olympic Awareness Day October 18th!

Read the full newsletter