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Annual Orthodox Homeschooling Conference at the Village is April 23-26

Homeschool conference attendees from a previous yearHomeschool conference attendees from a previous yearAnother year has rolled on by and it's time, once again, for the St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference, hosted by Antiochian Village. The 2015 conference dates are set for April 23–26, and registration materials are available on the Village's website.

The evening Keynote Speaker is Fr. Andrew Steven Damick, pastor of St. Paul Orthodox Church of Emmaus, PA, author of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy and An Introduction to God, and host of the "Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy" and "Roads from Emmaus" podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio. Other distinguished speakers and workshop leaders are: Lori Peterson Branch, professor of English at the University of Iowa; Theodore (Ted) Federoff, homeschooling dad and a board certified emergency medicine physician currently working in Jersey Shore, PA; Shell Keim, experienced homeschool mom and the Director of Education at All Saints Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC; Andrew Kern, founder and president of the CiRCE Institute; Charlotte Riggle, of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, Tacoma, WA and seasoned home educator; Dr. Christopher and Anna Veniamin from St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary and Mount Thabor Publishing; and Barbara Shukin, art professor and gallery director.

View the list of topics and download the reservation form.

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest Thomas Williams

Archpriest Thomas Williams, 73, of St John the Theologian/Rapid City, SD reposed early on the morning of March 12, 2015 following a long and valiant battle with cancer. Father Thomas is survived by his wife Khouriya Josephine ("Jody"), their son Christopher and daughter-in-law Hillary, and grandson Shephard.

Ten priests from throughout the Diocese of Wichita joined  His Grace Bisho Basil and Hierodeacon Benedict for the Funeral Service for Departed Priest on Friday evening, March 13th, and for the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the General Funeral Service on Saturday morning. Fr. Michael Fulton of Holy Resurrection Church in Gillette, WY oversaw the vesting of Fr. Thomas and all aspects of the gospel vigil, divine services, interment and meal of mercy.

Read Fr. Thomas' obituary from the Rapid City Journal (PDF)

May his memory be eternal!

On the New Martyrs of the Middle East: An Orthodox Christian View

“The Decent into Hades” or, “The Harrowing of Hades”. The artist is unknown. Tempera on wood, from the Novgorod School of Russia and thought to be painted in the 13th century. The Icon is provided by Uncut Mountain Supply www.uncutmountainsupply.com“The Decent into Hades” or, “The Harrowing of Hades”. The artist is unknown. Tempera on wood, from the Novgorod School of Russia and thought to be painted in the 13th century. The Icon is provided by Uncut Mountain Supply www.uncutmountainsupply.comby His Grace Bishop Thomas (Joseph), Ed.D., The Word, May 2015

In recent months, images and stories of Christians being killed for their faith in the Middle East have flooded our news sources and dominated our social media. We see beheadings and shootings, sometimes available as gruesome videos on the Internet that are intended by their makers to inspire some to join their cause and others to cower in fear. We have seen bishops kidnapped, priests shot in the street as they ministered to the suffering, and innocents lined up and had their heads sawn off with knives.

Christians are not the only ones suffering in the Middle East—Muslims, Druze, Yazidis and others are also being targeted by the armies of takfirism. They are also dying for their faith, and even though we Christians do not share their religion with them, we still suffer with them in solidarity, because Christ still died and rose from the dead for them, even if they do not believe it.

We ask God, "Why?" We ask each other, "What can be done?" We wonder what kind of response there can be to this horrifying new reality, the spirit of takfirism, the mindset that makes religious accusation of others into a way of life, enforced by death and suffering for those who do not measure up to the ideology of these armies that sweep across that ancient, sanctified land.

How are we to understand what is happening? There is no shortage of analysis in the news and debate among our political leaders. But their answers do not satisfy, do they?

Christians who belong to the Orthodox Church are well acquainted with martyrdom, even if we ourselves do not live in places where our family and friends are being killed for Christ. Martyrdom forms the whole narrative shape of our history. Our calendar of saints is filled with thousands of martyrs' names, and there are millions more whose names we do not know. It was martyrdom itself which gave rise to our whole concept of having publicly venerated saints.

New Podcast with Antiochian Priest Discusses the Church's Life Today

Ancient Faith Radio's newest podcast, The Life of the Church Today, debuted on February 16, 2015. Host Fr. Steven Ritter, priest of St. James Orthodox Church in Buford, GA, is planning to use the podcast to consider a wide range of issues that arise in the Orthodox Church: current events, theological opinions, and esoteric topics that many people ask about and which are infrequently or inadequately addressed. It is meant to further discussion and bring to light the multifaceted human face of life in the Orthodox Church today.

Father Steven is the author of the book That Your Joy May Be Full - Learning from the Authentic Orthodox Theology of the Spiritpublished by Regina Press. A veteran writer for Fanfare Magazine, American Record Guide, and Audiophile Audition.com, he is also a church music composer. His Buford parish, a mission of the Archdiocese, is possibly the last mission established by Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory, in the fall of 2013. 

2015 SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarship is Available

Presenting the check for the Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker ScholarshipPresenting the check for the Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker ScholarshipWith the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, NAC SOYO announces that the application for the 2015 SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarship is now available.

Download 2015 Application Form (PDF)
Due Date: July 31st, 2015

Requirements for Eligibility

The following are the requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for the Youth Worker Scholarship.

  • The applicant must have been an active member of an Antiochian parish for at least the last five years.
  • The applicant must be active in youth work.
  • The applicant agrees to enroll in a recognized Orthodox Christian program with a youth ministry focus or component; programs such as the St. Stephen's Youth Ministry Concentration of the Antiochian House of Studies.
  • The recipient will seek direction from the Chairman of the Archdiocese Department of Youth as to which institution is available for training.
  • The applicant is willing to make a minimum three year commitment to parish youth work in the Antiochian Archdiocese either as a volunteer or on a paid basis, but only following completion of the program [EC1] .

Solicitations on Social Media and Through Email

From time to time, the Antiochian Archdiocese receives reports of solicitations and offers on Social Media and through email, that claim to be officially sanctioned by the Archdiocese. Please be aware that any officially sanctioned solicitation or offer from the Archdiocese will either be posted on the Archdiocese website, or will be sent by a sanctioned email message from an Archdiocesan email address.

If you are in doubt, you may send an email to archdiocese@antiochian.org to ask about the message in question. 

View the Antiochian Archdiocese's official Facebook page.

March 29: Syrian Relief Fund Raising Dinner in Pittsburgh, PA

On Sunday, March 29, 2015 the IOCC Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee plans to hold a prayer service and fund raising dinner that will benefit our Syrian brothers and sisters in Christ. This Syrian Relief gathering will be held at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh, PA. We would like to cordially invite your parish to attend, and support IOCC's aid efforts in Syria.

The recent conflict has been devastating. It has resulted in the displacement of numerous Orthodox Christians that are now hungry, homeless, and lacking essential items.

Last year Archbishop Melchisedek, Metropolitan Silouan, Metropolitan Savas, Bishop Thomas, and (former) Archbishop Theodosius led our Syrian Relief gathering. This year we are hoping to more fully engage all of the Orthodox jurisdictions and faithful in this Orthodox offering of love, prayer, and mercy. Please join us!

Midwest Fellowship Spring Gathering + March 27-29, 2015

From Julia Shaheen, president of the Midwest Fellowship:

It is time once again for the Fellowship's Spring Gathering, scheduled for March 27-29 in Cicero. Bishop Anthony is scheduled to attend as well. We would like to see a delegates from every parish for the teens, fellowship/young adults, and ladies. The flyer and schedule are attached to this email. I've posted the registration information for the hotel and the meetings on this website: https://dotamregistration.wordpress.com/

Also, we are going to do a sock drive (something easy and fun!). Everyone who attends is asked to bring one pair of socks (or more) with his/her registration. We are hoping that organizations within each parish might do a sock drive...they are going to the nuns at the Fraternite Notre Dame. So please help get the word out on this.

Thank you!

IOCC Assists Syrian Christians Traumatized in Deadly Attack

Exhausted and traumatized Christians from villages in northeastern Syria gather at an Orthodox Christian Church in Hasakah, seeking refuge after their small communities were terrorized this week. photo: IOCC/GOPAExhausted and traumatized Christians from villages in northeastern Syria gather at an Orthodox Christian Church in Hasakah, seeking refuge after their small communities were terrorized this week. photo: IOCC/GOPAFebruary 25, 2015

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Fleeing for their lives, more than 2,400 exhausted and traumatized Christians from northeastern Syria sought refuge in the towns of Hasakah and Qamishli after their small communities were terrorized this week. The attackers targeted a stretch of villages along the southern bank of the Khabour River, where they burned homes and churches, murdered a fleeing 16-year-old boy, and abducted 150 Assyrian Christian men, women and children from their homes.

For those who managed to escape the attack and seek shelter in Hasakah, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), with its church partner, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA), is providing food, medical attention, and emergency aid. IOCC/GOPA, which has offices in both Hasakah and Qamishli, is responding to the immediate needs of more than 1,000 displaced Syrian families seeking shelter at the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church in the Al Nasreh neighborhood of Hasakah with the distribution of food parcels, bedding, infant clothing and shoes. More than 600 of the survivors who fled the onslaught are children.

IOCC, an ACT Alliance member, is one of the few humanitarian organizations inside Syria providing immediate assistance to displaced families and elderly who have endured four years of a brutal war. Working in 28 offices across Syria, IOCC has provided relief to 2.5 million vulnerable people inside Syria since 2012.

Orthodox Institute 2015

Educate the adults and you won't need church schools!"

In Christian education circles, we have spoken of the need to educate adults for years with phrases like, "Christian education doesn't end with church school," "Total Parish Education," and most notably the name of our yearly event, "The Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith." Converts from fundamental churches are pleased to find that Orthodoxy offers a treasure chest of resources for growth in the faith, from the church mothers and fathers, to icons, to hymnography. Yet, in many churches the focus is on educating the children with perhaps only one class, taught by the priest, for adults.

Bishop Anthony's Lenten Message, 2015

Reverend Clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest,

Christ is in our midst!

Lent is the road; the Resurrection is the destination. Lent is revival; Pascha is our arrival.

Lent is demanding and rewarding. It is hard to change, to leave the comfort zones of daily routines. And yet, there is also a freshness and happiness when we leave old habits and strike out into the mystery of what waits for us, and of whom we might become through our journey to the empty tomb. There may be strength in us that we discover has always been a part of us. For if we can reverse course, and use our spiritual energy to gain virtue instead of satisfying desire, a youthfulness comes to us. Those many desires that we have waste our energy and exhaust God’s grace in us, and as the eighth prayer in our morning prayers addressed to the Mother of God says, “I am aged by senseless sins.”

Antiochians Encouraged to Participate in Assembly of Bishops Study on Orthodox Giving

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has launched a national study, "Exploring Orthodox Generosity: Giving in US Orthodox Parishes." All Orthodox clergy and laity are invited to take part in this unique project, and we particularly encourage members of the Antiochian Archdiocese to participate by taking the survey online at this link.

The following are examples of questions that the study will explore:

• Why do people give (or not give) to their parishes?

• Are Church members satisfied with how financial matters are handled in their parishes?

• How do parishioners make decisions on how much, when and why to give?

• What causes boost people's generosity and encourage greater giving?

The study is being conducted as an online survey. For more details, visit the Assembly of Bishops website.

 

OCMC Mission Sunday is February 22, 2015

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) has announced that this coming Sunday, February 22, 2015, is Orthodox Mission Sunday. "Please pray for Orthodox missionaries, mission volunteers, and missions ministries this Sunday," noted the release. "There are many opportunities for you to answer the call to make disciples of all nations, and the Orthodox Christian Mission Center is here to help. Please visit us online at www.ocmc.org, e-mail us at missions@ocmc.org, or call us at 1-877-463-6784 to learn more!"

OCMC is the official missions agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. The organization supports numerous short and long term missionary efforts in the United States and overseas.

Download the Sunday bulletin insert for Mission Sunday

Spring 2015 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2015 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America! The issue contains:

  • Living the Christian Life in a Secular Age, by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
  • The Springtime of the Soul, The Season of Repentance, by His Grace Bishop Basil
  • Introducing The 2013 - 2015 Board of Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America
  • I Am an Antiochian Woman, by Deana Bottei, Diocesan President
    Happenings Around the Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

AFR Interview: "Holy Egyptian Martyrs, Pray For Us"

Fr. Nabil HannaFr. Nabil HannaFebruary 18, 2015

Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) has released an interview with Fr. Nabil Hanna, rector of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Indianapolis, IN and a native of Alexandria, Egypt, regarding the recent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians on a beach in Libya. AFR President John Maddex discusses the martyrdom of these faithful Christians with Fr. Nabil, noting the impact of the video titled "A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross," released by the media arm of the Islamic State.

Father Nabil, recently returned from Egypt, describes in the podcast how the 21 men clearly had an opportunity to renounce their faith, yet chose death rather than do so. The interview closes with a prayer for the martyrs, their families, the perpetrators of these murders, and all of the faithful who live in the shadow of violence.

Listen to "Holy Egyptian Martyrs, Pray For Us"

New Lenten Evangelism Series, with Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick

Starting with the first Sunday of the Triodion, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick has been releasing weekly installments of a 10-part sermon series on evangelism and the Lenten Triodion. The meditations are available in audio form through his Roads from Emmaus podcast, or as posts on the blog of the same name.

Father Andrew, who serves in the Antiochian Archdiocese, says in his introduction, "For the next ten weeks, from today through Palm Sunday, we will be discussing evangelism. Each Sunday of the Triodion has a different theme to it, usually based in the Gospel reading, and all of them have something to say about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. The Gospel is like a great jewel with many facets, each sparkling with its own light, and each drawing us into the depths of the beauty of this most precious gift. So from now until Palm Sunday, we will be looking at different facets of this gem of evangelism."

The pastor of St. Paul Orthodox Church of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Fr. Andrew is the author of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy and An Introduction to God (available at Ancient Faith Publishing). He is also the host of the Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy and Roads from Emmaus podcasts, both hosted on Ancient Faith Radio.

Read the text of the Lenten evangelism sermons, or listen to the podcast.

Metropolitan Joseph's Formative Years: A Reflection

November 2, 2008: Metropolitan Joseph stands with his lifelong mentor and spiritual father Patriarch Ignatius IV in Boston before the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy.November 2, 2008: Metropolitan Joseph stands with his lifelong mentor and spiritual father Patriarch Ignatius IV in Boston before the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy.His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph Reflects on Early Lessons Learned from His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch and All the East

by Subdeacon Peter Samore

All he knew was that he was going to Balamand. Everything else was in God's hands.

In 1964, a 13-year-old Joseph Al-Zehlaoui had been recruited by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East to study at a newly established secondary school next to the seminary and monastery at Balamand near Tripoli, Lebanon. His parents, Georgi and Matilda, had consented to send their fifth of six children at a tender age to a sacred place to know our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ; and to learn how to serve His Holy Church.

Nowadays, the automobile drive between Damascus, young Joseph's hometown, and Tripoli takes just a few hours. In 1964, the drive took several days. And it took several automobiles – taxicabs – to transport the future Metropolitan of North America to his educational and spiritual center. He had some company: boys who would grow up to become Metropolitan Damaskinos Mansour of Brazil; Metropolitan George Abu-Zakhem of Homs, Syria; and Archimandrite Elias Bitar, a legendary priest of the North American archdiocese.

OCF's Day of Prayer Begins on the Eve of Great Lent

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, has announced that its annual observance of a Day of Prayer will be held from February 22-23, 2015, from 6 p.m. on the Sunday of Forgiveness, to 6 p.m. on Clean Monday.

The Day of Prayer program unites the various chapters across North America in unceasing prayer at the start of Great Lent. Chapters on college and university campuses sign up for a time, with each school taking a one-hour slot to pray for themselves, their chapters, their fellow students, and loved ones. 

"We invite anyone to submit prayer requests for family members and friends," notes the OCF's website. "Your submissions will be forwarded to each chapter participating in the Day of Prayer to be included in their prayers."

View the resources for the Day of Prayer

 

Report on U.S. Monasteries Released by Assembly of Bishops

The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PAThe Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PAIn late January, 2015, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America published a new report, written by the Assembly's Research Coordinator Alexei Krindatch, on monastic communities within the United States. There are more than 70 such communities, with significant differences in size, liturgical practices, openness to outside visitors, and educational programs.

The report was issued by the Assembly's Committee for Monastic Communities, which is tasked with studying and comparing Orthodox monastic communities in the United States.. Accordingly, this study was designed as a first step toward that goal. The report's findings are based on a survey that was conducted of all Orthodox monastic communities in the United States in late 2013 and early 2014.

Read the full report.

Archdiocese Launches New Website Design

The Archdiocese unveiled a new website design for www.antiochian.org on February 1, 2015, as part of a series of planned major improvements to her online ministry. The improvements introduced with the launch of the new design represent the cumulative work of a multi-year project of the Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministry.

Work on a new visual presentation for the website began in earnest in late 2012, under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory. After a pause with his repose and the past eventful year in the life of the Archdiocese, the design has been concluded under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, and the hierarchical overseer of the department, His Grace Bishop Nicholas.

The Archdiocese website has been in continual operation for twenty years, and since 2008 has been the primary responsibility of the Department of Internet Ministry. The website is one of the most popular English-language Orthodox Christian resources available, with an audience that has grown to 100,000 unique visitors each month, resulting in over a quarter million monthly pageviews. Included on the site are over 20,000 distinct pages, and extensive collections of graphics and documents.

The core team at the Department of Internet Ministry has been in place since 2008, and consists of director Douglas Cramer, and editors Virginia Nieuwsma and Andrew Frishman. Technical support has been provided since 2013 by SNP Technologies of Hamden, Connecticut, and their project lead Michael Brooks. Graphic design concepts and consulting for the new design were provided by Fr. Joel Wilson (OCA) of Rolla Creative of Rolla, Missouri.

Bishop Nicholas Delivers Schmemann Lecture on the Ministry of St. Raphael

On January 30, 2015, His Grace Bishop Nicholas engaged his audience in a fascinating historical look at "The Life and Ministry of St. Raphael of Brooklyn" during the 32nd Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture, held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), attended the evening lecture.

Bishop Nicholas holds several engineering degrees as well as a Master of Divinity degree awarded with Highest Distinction from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He speaks Arabic and English fluently and has a working knowledge of French, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, New Testament Greek, and Modern Greek. His Grace administers the Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. and also serves as the assistant to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

Memory Eternal! + Rev. Dn. David Daumit

Deacon David Daumit of St. George Church in Phoenix, Arizona, fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, January 28, 2015. His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days, to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life, and to remember his loved ones in your prayers for the living.

Ordained to the Holy Diaconate on March 21, 2010, Dn. David had been serving at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ, with The Very Rev. Christopher Salamy.

In addition to holding his M.Div. and M.A. in Religious Education from St. Vladimir's Seminary, Dn. David also earned an M.S. degree in Gerontology. He specialized on caring for the aged and infirm throughout his professional career, and was the Founder and CEO of New Dawn Memory Care in Scottsdale, AZ, a firm that provides residential care for seniors living with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The New Dawn website says that he "was elected to the National Board of the Alzheimer's Association. In 1990 in conjunction with the greater Washington chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, he developed the first specialized activities program for Alzheimer's residents."

The schedule of services is as follows:

Sunday, Feb 1, 2015--Trisagion Prayers following Divine Liturgy
Thursday, Feb 5, 2015--Viewing from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. and Trisagion at 6:30 p.m., St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
Friday, Feb 6, 2015--Funeral 10 a.m., followed by the Interment at Paradise Memorial Gardens
A Meal of Mercy will be offered in memory of Dn. David in The Legacy Ballroom following the interment.May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Celebrate St. Raphael! Posters Depict His Legacy

Saint Raphael left a legacy of 30 churches to the Antiochian Archdiocese. These beautiful small posters have been prepared so our children may learn about Saint Raphael. The posters show the parishes, and with vintage photos offer some clues as to how Bishop Raphael made his way around in the early 20th century. Some photographs of his parish visits still exist and were also included.

The posters are free—online only at www.antiochian.org/festivals/cf/posters-2015. Download the files (file name in quotes) onto a USB drive and take them to Staples or Office Max. (Some print centers will download from a website.) Each poster is available in two sizes, 8.5 x 14 (legal size) and 11 x 17 (ledger size). There are also posters with the troparion and logo.

Youth Workers Meet at Antiochian Village, Announce New Events

Youth workers representing Orthodox jurisdictions from across the country met at Antiochian Village on January 22, 2015, and are excited to announce a new series of unprecedented, inter-jurisdictional "Be the Bee" themed events. "Be the Bee" is a popular weekly video podcast hosted by Steven Christoforou, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's Youth Protection/Parish Ministries Coordinator.

Orthodox youth and young adults are invited to a series of monthly, day-long retreats. Each month, from August 2015 to May 2016, "Be the Bee" will be visiting a different city across the United States, offering Orthodox youth an opportunity to worship, learn, and have fun together. Retreats will also offer programs for young adults, parents, and youth workers. For more information, please contact the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese at y2am@goarch.org.

Additionally, Orthodox teens and parents are also invited to a "Be the Bee" retreat Veteran's Day weekend next year, November 11-13, 2016. It will be held at Camp Nazareth, in the Pittsburgh area, and will offer a unique, multi-day "Be the Bee" experience. For more information, please contact campnazareth@acrod.org.

Youth workers are also invited to next year's Orthodox Youth Workers and Camp Conference, to be held January 28-30, 2016. For more information, please contact the Orthodox Church in America's Chair for the Department of Youth, Youth Adult, and Campus Ministry, Andrew Boyd, at aboyd@oca.org.

February 8 is National Scout Sunday

The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting, an endorsed agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, released the following letter announcing this year's annual recognition of Scouting programs.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

On Sunday, February 8, 2015, Scouts all over the United States will celebrate National Scout Sunday. Scout Sunday is an annual event among all faiths which recognize the good work that is done by Scouts in our religious communities. The observance of Scout Sunday tradition was started years ago to make people in the church aware of Scouting, and to allow Scouts to live out of what is pledged each week, The Scout Law says that a "Scout is Reverent" and the Scouts of all ages promise to do their "Duty to God". These values strengthen youth character in their family, community and faith. That is why this Sunday is set aside to honor God and to remind us that we are all His Creatures and made in His Image or more precisely - to image (reflect) Him to the world.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishop of the Americas has designated this also as Orthodox Scout Sunday. Through the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS], the Assembly and its predecessor, SCOBA, have been actively supporting both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the USA since the 1960's.