Dept. of Ancient Faith Ministries News
"Ancient Faith Today With Kevin Allen," AFR's new flagship national program, is slated to launch at the end of Bright Week on April 22, 2012.
Allen, the host of the award-winning interview podcast, "The Illumined Heart," will draw on his background in Orthodox media to discuss a wide variety of issues with knowledgeable guests, all through the lens of the Orthodox faith and tradition. "Ancient Faith Today" will stream live and allow for call-ins from around the globe, twice a month on Sunday evenings at 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
Antiochian.org asked host Kevin Allen to share his hopes and plans for this new venture.
1. Kevin, tell us about your history with Orthodox internet radio.
I hosted an interview program called “The Illumined Heart” on Ancient Faith Radio from 2007 through April 2011 with a few hiatuses in between. We logged 5, 251 minutes and 49 seconds in 176 programs with Orthodox and non-Orthodox laity, clergy, monastics, theologians, writers and Episcopal leaders on a wide range of subjects with the common theme of “spirituality” and “church life." The program began as a parish media project and Ancient Faith Radio produced it on its Talk Radio line-up as a regular program as a downloadable podcast. In addition, I have been a listener of many of the other fine podcasts on AFR myself through the years.
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Recently, Bobby Maddex interviewed Antiochian Archdiocese member Matthew Namee, Associate Director of the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas and host of the AFR podcast American Orthodox History. They discussed the organization's new academic journal and upcoming symposium. Listen to the podcast here.
The Society's website explains, "The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA) exists to promote the study of the history of the Orthodox Christian Church in the New World; to collect source materials and make them available to researchers and scholars; to disseminate historical information to the public; and to encourage networking among those engaged in the study of American Orthodox history. SOCHA is particularly dedicated to this study based on the examination of primary sources with integrity and clarity."
Recently, the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black concluded their 18th Annual Conference. The mission of the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black is to minister to Americans the gift of Orthodoxy. In an effort to be good stewards of the manifold grace of God (I Peter 4:10), the organization presents an annual conference that explores the African roots of Orthodoxy. Its vision is to bring Americans closer to Jesus Christ. The title of this particular conference is “The Ancient Faith for Modern Problems.” Ancient Faith Radio and the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black are happy to provide these lectures for free download and distribution. Please share the talks with friends and family.
Conciliar Press has released a book on evangelism by Antiochian mission priest Fr. Michael Keiser, called Spread the Word. Subtitled Reclaiming the Apostolic Tradition of Evangelism, the book explains how Orthodox evangelism differs from the Protestant approach, and traces the Church's unbroken evangelistic tradition back to the time of the Apostles. Fr. Michael has also authored two other popular Conciliar titles, A Beginner's Guide to Spirituality, and A Beginner's Guide to Prayer.
"With his characteristic straight forward and humorous style, Fr. Michael Keiser covers the history of Orthodox evangelism, the rationale and the methods for continuing this tradition in our contemporary Western post-Christian society," says Conciliar's website. Listen to an interview with the author here, and go here to order a copy.
Conciliar Media Ministries is offering, for the first time in the American Orthodox context, the highly regarded evangelism and catechism tool called The Way. An offspring of the British Alpha courses first pioneered in England, The Way is "the catechism and adult education program of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies based in the United Kingdom in Cambridge," says Conciliar's website. Billed as an "Introduction to the Orthodox Christian Faith," the course is a boxed set of 1 CD and 4 DVDs, consisting of 12 sessions which run for approximately the same number of weeks. Speakers in the series include Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Professor David Frost, Fr. Michael Harper, Miss Gladys Bland, Dr. Christine Mangala Frost, Fr. Raphael Armour, Fr. Demetrios Bathrellos, and Mr. John Bazlinton.
Important elements of the program include the provision of a community meal by the host parish, followed by the presentation of a DVD talk on a core aspect of Orthodox Christian belief. Open small group discussion follows, with a question and answer session hosted by a panel.
Explains Conciliar, "The course aims to present the basics of Orthodox Christian faith in an atmosphere of friendship, free exchange and trust, where no question or opinion is treated as unworthy of attention."
Listen as Bobby Maddex interviews David and Mangala Frost of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS) about the new program.
Conciliar Press has released Antiochian priest Fr. Andrew Damick's book, Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy. Birthed by the popular Ancient Faith Radio podcast with the same name, the book provides an overview of "the gamut of ancient heresies, modern Christian denominations, fringe groups, and major world religions, highlighting the main points of each faith." Fr. Andrew pastors the community of St. Paul Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.
Recently we asked Fr. Andrew to reflect on his chosen topic, and to explain why he believed it was necessary to write about the differences between Orthodoxy and other faiths.
1. Fr. Andrew, what was your motivation for tackling this topic?
The impetus for putting together the original lectures which eventually led to this book was a direct question from a parishioner: How are the Orthodox different from other Christians? In doing the writing and in thinking about the topic, it became apparent to me that many of us, both inside and outside the Orthodox Church, often do not understand why doctrine matters. We often do not see why what we believe and what we do have a real, discernible effect not only on our lives here on earth, but also in the age to come.
Ancient Faith Radio's newly released podcast in their series "Ancient Faith Presents" features Bobby Maddex interviewing Fr. Charles Joanides and Pres. Kerry Pappas about the upcoming Orthodox Clergy Couples Retreat. Hosted by Antiochian Village, the retreat will take place May 22-24 in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
In the interview, Fr. Charles and Pres. Kerry provide a brief overview of the retreat, titled "Protecting and Growing Our Marriages," with a description of the sessions and how clergy couples can benefit from the workshops. Couples may still register here.
An important new resource has just been produced for Orthodox couples. In Mastering the Art of Marriage: Staying Together When the World Pulls You Apart, Antiochian priest Fr. Constantine Nasr (St. Elijah, Oklahoma City) writes about the love, commitment and hard work involved in making marriages last. "As a pastor for the last 38 years," he notes, "I have had many young couples discuss their plans for marriage with me. I have seen their joy, their excitement and their eagerness to enter into marriage. During the same 38 years I have had many married couples come to me with their marriages in trouble. These same young couples that had been filled with happiness were now filled with anger, distrust and pain. It is staggering to hear that two out of three marriages will end in divorce. It is not the statistic that staggers me. It is the massive pain of divorce that staggers me."
Fr. Constantine continues, "The old signs that guided couples are gone. Today young couples head off in any number of directions hoping it will lead to happiness. Sadly, those roads most often lead to divorce."
Bishop Michael Dahulich of the Orthodox Church in America calls the book "...a resource masterpiece (which) combines the wisdom of the Scripture and the Holy Fathers throughout the centuries and the guidance of modern scholarship and marriage counseling from our own time."
Ancient Faith Radio Operations Manager Bobby Maddex, reports on results from their recent listener survey:
Thanks so much for participating in the 2011 Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) listener survey. We had a record number of respondents and learned so much about who you are and how you use our radio station. For example, we discovered that a sizable portion of our listening audience (11.1%) is comprised of Orthodox inquirers. We learned that most of you (52.4%) listen to AFR for our podcasts, and that in addition to our beloved daily features—The Path, Saint of the Day, and Coffee Cup Commentaries—the most popular of these programs are Speaking the Truth in Love, The Illumined Heart, At the Intersection of East and West, Frederica Here and Now, and The Names of Jesus. And we discovered that most of you (56.1%) initially heard about the station from either a friend or a search engine. Here are a few of the other things we learned (top answers only):
What is your Orthodox jurisdiction?
Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) podcast The Illumined Heart has released an interview with lifelong Antiochian Christian Janice Bidwell titled "The Quiet Cradle." Asks host Kevin Allen in the podcast's description, "Are converts to Orthodox Christianity dominating the media with their 'journey stories' and 'fast-paced, high-energy' perspectives, while the more quiet, perhaps lumbering, but deeply-rooted faith of cradle-born Orthodox is obscured in the process? Are traditions and customs being introduced by some convert clergy and laity that feel new and even strange to those with deep Orthodox roots? Is there a growing 'cradle - convert gap' in the Orthodox Church in North America?"
Janice Bidwell attends St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church in La Jolla, California, an active and diverse parish in a suburb of San Diego. A blogger who writes under the name Prudence True, Janice is also a wife, homeschooling mother, and a professor of nursing at San Diego State University. As she explains in her interview with Kevin Allen, Bidwell began to write reflections about growing up Orthodox when she noticed that most of the writers on websites and blogs were converts to the faith. In pieces such as Beyond My Eyes, Janice began to explore the meaning of her heritage, passed from generation to generation in her family, and what it had been like to grow up Orthodox in the midst of an American culture dominated by other Christian traditions.
Ancient Faith Radio announces that the CD "Hymns of the Hogar" is now available here.
In May 2010, Ancient Faith Radio, at the request of the Friends of the Hogar Rafael Ayau, recorded the children of the Hogar Rafael Ayau in Guatemala City singing the Orthodox Christian Hymns for Matins and Vespers as they do in their daily lives at the Hogar.
The CD includes 25 tracks. All proceeds from the sale of the CD will support the Capital Campaign Building Fund to bring construction of a new home for the children, Hogar San Miguel, to fruition. The children are in desperate need of a safer place to live away from the dangers surrounding the current orphanage.
The CD's are priced at $22 - $18.00 plus $4 for Shipping and Handling.
Archpriest Gregory Hallam, Dean of the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and blogger at Antioch Abouna, recently launched a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. Titled A Voice From the Isles, the podcast features Fr. Gregory's sermons and lectures, delivered to Orthodox Christians and inquirers in the United Kingdom. Recently, antiochian.org caught up with him in cyberspace, where he graciously answered our questions.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Father. How does a Christian clergyman in the United Kingdom end up as a priest and Dean in the Antiochian Archdiocese?
I wasn't raised in the Anglican Church but I served it for 12 years as a priest after coming to faith in my early 20s. My journey to Orthodoxy is a long story so I will just give you a reasonably detailed but short summary.
My first encounter with the Orthodox Church was at Anglican seminary 30 years ago when I attended a liturgy in English at a parish in the Greek Archdiocese in Southampton. This was in the context of an ecumenical visit from our college to the church there. I was blown away by the worship much in the same way that the emissaries of Kiev reacted after experiencing the Liturgy at the Great Church in Constantinople. I then began a theological exploration of Orthodoxy while still at Anglican seminary and found that it rang true in every aspect of Christian life.
The Psalms have been called the “Hymn Book of the Church” and contain rich and prophetic references to Christ. In this new Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Let My Prayer Arise," Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth, priest at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois, will be taking listeners through the Psalter to help them make the Psalms the prayer of their hearts. "The Lord's Prayer is the flower and the fruit, of the roots, stalk and stem of the Psalms," says Fr. Ellsworth. "When we pray, we are not alone," he adds. The Psalms, he explains, have three important aspects. First, they are a historical connection to the prayers of God's people. Secondly, the Psalms are Christological--Jesus Himself pointed out that the Psalms spoke of Himself. "They are nothing less than the prayers of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He would have been immersed in these prayers from infancy." Third, the Psalms are liturgical. "In this podcast, we will often reflect on where and how these Psalms are used in the Orthodox liturgy," promises Fr. Wilbur.
"I encourage you to listen with the Psalm text before you. Begin to read, and then, to memorize."
This month, in keeping with the theme of our new release, Letters to Saint Lydia, our Conciliar Media newsletter Messenger is focusing on saints and icons. We have an interview with Melinda Johnson, the author of Letters to Saint Lydia; a feature about Paul Hibberd, who mounts icons for Conciliar Press; an icon-related announcement from AFR; a look at some children’s books that focus on saints and icons; and an excerpt from Fr. Patrick Reardon’s book on the saints of the Bible, Christ in His Saints.
From the Conciliar Media Messenger: We are delighted to introduce to you the newest member of our Conciliar Press community: our customer service manager, Nancy Colakovic. Nancy comes to us from Narrow Path Bookstore in Lansing, Illinois, where she served for 15 years. She has a deep love for God and the Orthodox faith, a broad familiarity with Orthodox literature, a passion for customer service, and a long-standing affection for Conciliar Press.
Nancy says, “It was a mere 15 years ago that Conciliar Press helped to spark the beginnings of a small church bookstore of which God allowed me to be a part; I will never forget the help and support which I received at that time and throughout the ensuing years from the gracious staff of Conciliar Press. By His providence, the Lord has opened a new door for me and the opportunity to grow, I pray, from those learning experiences—to be there for you when you call Conciliar Press with your inquiries. I thank God and all those who have made it possible for me to join the Conciliar Press team; and I pray for His guidance and strength as we, our entire team, strive to serve all of you and meet or exceed your expectations for the glory of God.”
Conciliar Press recently released a new title, A Book of Hours: Meditations on the Traditional Christian Hours of Prayer. The website description reads: "Eastern and Western Christians share a rich spiritual heritage in the Hours of Prayer—the brief services of praise and psalmody that mark the progress of each day, sanctifying the hours of our lives. In this gem of a book, Patricia Egan digs deeply into the meaning of each of the Hours, drawing on poetry, nature, experience, and theology to show how the services reflect the different aspects of our salvation and our lives. A Book of Hours is an excellent companion for anyone who wants to experience the blessing of praying through the Hours of each day." To order, go to Conciliar Press' website here. The book's retail price is $21.95.
Ancient Faith Radio has released the completed "Foundations" series recorded by Antiochian priest Fr. Andrew Damick for his podcast, "Roads From Emmaus." "This series represents an attempt at a sort of catechism—approaching the faith from four foundational angles: the revelation of God to man, authority in the spiritual life, worship, and morality," explains Fr. Andrew. "As with most of my work, I attempted to keep these talks fairly free of religious jargon, approaching the subjects with only a minimum of assumptions shared with the listeners. My hope is that these will be digestible not only to Orthodox Christians, but to other Christians, members of other religions, those who are 'spiritual but not religious,' and even unbelievers."
Fr. Damick begins the series with a conversation about the person of Christ, then builds on that with subsequent talks about Scripture and Tradition, and Worship. He concludes the four part discussion with a two part presentation, "Christian Life in the World."
Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of St. John the Forerunner Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cedar Park, TX, was interviewed recently by the Austin Statesman newspaper. The occasion was the publication of his reflection on Orthodox parish life, Aidan's Song: A Year in the Life of a Parish Priest, available from Conciliar Press.
What gave you the idea to write this book?
While there are a lot of spiritual memoirs being written these days, most of them are by people who are either dissatisfied with their particular spiritual tradition and on their way out the door, or they are sampling a number of different spiritual traditions to try and find out what’s right for them, or they are just maintaining an ironic distance from any and all spiritual traditions. I thought that a memoir written by someone who has fully embraced a particular tradition and is finding joy in it would be unique.
Chesterton, IN — “The Miracle in Zone One” is the name of a new Ancient Faith Radio audio documentary, in which Bobby Maddex reports on his recent trip to Hogar Raphael Ayau Orthodox Orphanage in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
From its founding more than 150 years ago, through its seizure by the government of Guatemala and its return to a descendant of the founder, Orthodox Christian nun Madre Inés Ayau García, in the 1990s, the story of “The Hogar” and its impact on the life of children and adults involves one miracle after another.
The miraculous happens frequently at Hogar Rafael Ayau (HRA). But, like so many miracles in Scripture, humans sometimes play a role. So when Catherine Fuller was looking for a way to record the wonderful singing of the children at Hogar Rafael Ayau and needed equipment, she contacted Ancient Faith Radio. She’d already tried recording the children herself, but the equipment available just wasn’t up to the job. She was hoping AFR would have better equipment.
Conciliar Press recently released Bearing the Saint, a story by author Matushka Donna Farley. The descriptive text reads: "Edmund is just an ordinary fisherman’s son from the island of Lindisfarne, whose one great talent and joy is running as a messenger for his bishop. But when Viking invaders threaten the holy island and its great treasure, the relics of St. Cuthbert, Edmund’s life changes forever. Along with his whole village, he must accompany their beloved saint on a perilous pilgrimage that will carry him across England, through adventure, heartbreak, miraculous deliverance, and budding love, all the way to manhood."
The paperback book is appropriate for older children, but adults will enjoy Farley's engrossing narrative as well. To order the book, go to the Conciliar Press website.
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.
Conciliar Press has released a new book written by Antiochian priest Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of Cedar Park, Texas. Titled Aidan's Song, the book recounts the many moments of a parish priest's life, large and small, all experienced within the rhythm of the Church year. The journal entries delight, encourage and inspire. As Bishop BASIL writes on the jacket, "After a few pages priests will find themselves singing along and lay readers will be humming this really great tune. Enjoy! I did!"
From Aidan's Song:
Sunday, November 19: Prophet Obadiah
This morning I’m out among the trees behind the building. The sun hasn’t come up yet, and it’s pretty cold—even with a T-shirt, my clergy shirt, my cassock, and a sweater. I’m going through my sermon, and the sky starts to glow orange like a fire on a crisp morning. Out in the tall grass, a deer breaks cover and bounds off into the trees. But after a few minutes, the deer walks back out towards me. It’s a doe, and she’s got her neck stretched out, and she’s looking straight at me. I can see her brown eyes. I go through the sermon again, and she stays right there, listening. After I’m done, she wheels, her white tail flashes, and she leaps—once, twice, three times—back into the trees.
In conjunction with Conciliar Press, the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family MInistries has released two much-requested brochures for Orthodox Christians. "Crowned with Glory and Honor," a free, downloadable brochure, presents readers with a set of helpful guidelines for Orthodox marriage preparation, including such concepts as the meaning of crowning, and the purpose of the Betrothal Service. Readers will even learn about the wedding almonds: "The white coating symbolizes purity; the egg shape represents fertility and new life that begins in marriage. The hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage, and the sweetness of the sugar encourages the hope of the sweetness of future life together. Giving of three almonds signifies the union is indivisible, just as the bride and groom will remain undivided in their union with each other and with Christ."
The second brochure, "A Guide to Parish Etiquette," lists everything parishioners need to know about respectful and reverent behavior while in liturgy. Department Director Khouria Maggie Hock encourages all parishes, couples and families to make use of these valuable, free resources.