"The theme will be the Hymns of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, with a special track for our first ever Youth Music Ministry Program," notes Christopher. "Additionally, our guest speaker will be His Grace Bishop Anthony, so this is a not-to-be-missed event!"
St. Anthony Orthodox Church of Bergenfield New Jersey is hosting the faithful and clergy of the Dioceses of Charleston and New York at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, over the long weekend beginning on July 4th. His Grace Bishop Thomas will preside over the Parish Life Conference (PLC), which promises "Fun, Fellowship and Worship!" and is featuring such events as a talent show, a teen sporting competition, and a workshop titled "Enliven to Christ." (Download the full schedule.)
On the opposite site of the country, the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, with the oversight of Archbishop Joseph and sponsorship of the Church of the Redeemer, is hosting their PLC at the Santa Clara Marriott Hotel. Kids up to age 12 will enjoy the PandaMania! Vacation Bible School Program, the Keynote Speaker will be Bishop Anthony, and the SOYO attendees will participate in a youth community service event. More details are available here.
Archpriest Peter E. Gillquist, retired chairman of the archdiocese's department of missions and evangelism, chairman of Conciliar Press, speaker, and the author of numerous books including Becoming Orthodox, reposed on Sunday evening July 1, surrounded by his family.
Fr. Peter and his wife of 52 years, Kh. Marilyn, had lived for many years in Santa Barbara, California, but as of June 2009 they relocated to Bloomington, Indiana, where their son Fr. Peter Jon Gillquist serves as pastor of All Saints Orthodox Church.
Condolences may be posted on the All Saints website, where tributes have been pouring from all over the United States and abroad. A recent Ancient Faith Radio retirement interview with Fr. Peter, Kh. Marilyn and Fr. Peter Jon, is available here. The schedule of services is as follows:
Over the long weekend of June 28-July 1, the Dioceses of Toledo and Ottawa will enjoy worship and fellowship as they gather for their Parish Life Conferences. His Grace Bishop Anthony and His Grace Bishop Alexander will preside over the full slate of activities which include meetings for organizations such as SOYO, and events unique to the local settings.
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Chicago is hosting the Midwestern attendees at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Oakbrook, Illinois. Bishop Anthony is the keynote speaker and event highlights include a Friday comedy show, tours of Chicago and Oakbrook, and an offsite teen service project.
Further north, the parish of Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, has planned a SOYO Nature Walk and an Antiochian Women's tour and luncheon which includes stops at the Anne of Green Gables House and a gallery/cafe. Featured Speaker Carole Buleza, Director of the Department of Christian Education for the Archdiocese, will discuss "Ideas for Lively Bible Studies."
O Prophet and Forerunner of the coming of Christ, we honour thee lovingly but cannot extol thee worthily; for by thy birth thy mother's barrenness and thy father 's dumbness were unloosed; and the Incarnation of the Son of God is proclaimed to the world.
--Troparion, Tone 4
View a festal page dedicated to the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
Read Fr. Joseph Huneycutt's thoughts on the importance of the feast.
The Department of Christian Education for the Antiochian Archdiocese has announced the details of the 2012 Orthodox Institute, to be held on November 1-4 at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA.
Open to Orthodox of all jurisdictions, the Institute is a continuing education event for teachers, parents, clergy, and youth workers who want to fellowship with others in ministry while also enriching their knowledge base.
The theme, "Culture. Morality. Spirituality. A conference to survey current cultural views, beliefs of the Church, and the challenges facing young people," will be reinforced throughout the weekend in panel discussions, teacher training seminars, and keynote presentations. Featured Presenters Dr. Vigen Guroian and Dr. Philip Mamalakis will join Keynote Speaker Dr. Peter Bouteneff in topics such as "Contemporary Culture and Religion" and "Orthodox Parenting Today."
Samer Laham, Director of the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development for the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, has released an extensive report on aid and relief provided by the Church during the crisis in Syria. The report states:
Fifteen months have passed under the Syrian crisis, while the international community still attempts to finalize a peaceful solution to safeguard the stability and sovereignty of the country and of the people of Syria. In the meantime, directly affected people and internally displaced Syrians are still living in uncertain conditions, and are still depending on aid provided by the government through the Syrian Red Crescent, and aid from many local charities and local NGOs. ...
In witnessing the above challenges, The Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD) at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East has responded immediately to the emerging needs of the Syrian unrests. DERD has mobilized its human and financial resources to assess the needs and classify the urgent needs in order to proceed with its humanitarian aid programs. An appeal was launched to all Orthodox Antiochian Archdioceses and to all partners under the blessing of the Primate of the Antiochian See, HB Patriarch Ignatius IV, to request immediate support in order to enact national and church responsibilities towards the affected people.
Antiochian Village entered the busy summer season by hosting several concurrent leadership meetings over the weekend of June 8-10. The Holy Synod of Bishops, the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, the Antiochian Village Council, and the Order of St. Ignatius' Governing Council all held their annual meetings, combining critical planning and discussion meetings with worship and fellowship. (View a gallery of Archdiocese photographer Judy Braun's photos.)
In the meantime, Village staff prepared for the arrival of the Session One campers on June 17, while simultaneously cleaning up in the wake of the tornado which struck the property on June 1st at 5:20 p.m. Noted the Village Facebook page, "The clean up process is progressing well. With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, and the full support of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, we have called in additional tree service companies to make certain that we can open camp on time.
Parish Life Conference (PLC) season continues as the parishioners of St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church prepare for the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast's PLC, presided over by His Grace Bishop Antoun. The beautiful Ocean Sky Hotel and Resort in Ft. Lauderdale is the site of the event, which will kick off on June 13 and run through the weekend. A packed, family-friendly schedule includes childcare and teen meetings, a Marriage and Family Workshop with Khouria Maggie Hock, the daily cycle of services, the Creative Festival and Bible Bowl events, and much more.
In the meantime, the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America concluded their successful PLC, themed "Cowboys and Cassocks." The busy four day weekend was hosted by the St. Joseph Orthodox Church of Houston; a highlight for attendees was the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of His Grace Bishop Basil's consecration to the episcopacy.
In the presence of more than 350 prominent Orthodox Christian faithful and friends, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) celebrated two decades of delivering humanitarian assistance, during their spring Anniversary Gala in Washington D.C.
The May Gala brought together IOCC supporters and volunteers who have helped shaped the organization into a global humanitarian arm of the Orthodox Christian Church. To kick off the day's events, an afternoon Congressional reception at the US Capitol included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Rep. Andrew Harris of Maryland, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland, and Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts.
The Department of Youth and Parish Ministry and the Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) has announced the launch of their new website, www.HealthyYouth.com.
Additionally, Chairman Fr. Joseph Purpura of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry announced the start of the 2012-2013 Core Measures Survey, which has received the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip.
Noted Fr. Joseph, "The survey of our Orthodox Youth seeks to better understand the issues of alcohol and other drugs affecting our Orthodox Youth Population, so we may better serve and equip our young people and the adults who work alongside them. The survey was developed in light of guidelines from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Similar surveys are administered to our children through the public school systems."
The June 2012 issue contains the following articles:
Back to Basics: Bishop John Addresses St. Tikhon's Class of 2012, pg. 4
Theophany: Personal Nurture, The Foundation for Learning, pg. 7
by Jen Nahas
An Orthodox Perspective on Tolerance, pg. 8
by Daniel Manzuk
Evangelism 2.0, pg. 12
Works of the Order in Action: Message from the North American Chairman, pg. 16
by Mary Winstanley O'Conor
Rassem El Massih: A Voice of the Faithful, pg. 25
by Linda M. Thomas
The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) has launched a series of initiatives aimed at bringing the mind of the Church to bear on today's issues, while reaching out to both faithful Orthodox Christians as well as religious seekers.
Notes Fr. Chris Metropulos, OCN's Executive Director, "We are focusing on five 'E' words over the summer: we want to 'envision' the Church to use media to reach and evangelize; we want to 'enlighten' people as we center our 'Come Receive the Light' flagship program on monthly themes such as family and marriage; we want to 'engage' people with our increasingly popular Sounding blog; we want to 'enliven' the parishes by helping them create their own radio station online; and finally, we want to 'entrust' OCN to take action for the good of the Church."
A video staff of five has been producing film clips that compliment OCN's radio themes. Each time the monthly subject is rolled out for "Come Receive the Light," a video short accompanies the theme (view the Parenting video here).
On June 6-9, the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America will kick off the Antiochian Archdiocese's Parish Life Conference season, which is themed "The Bible fills us with eternal joy." The Houston gathering is sponsored by St. Joseph Orthodox Church. Alexei D. Krindatch, Research Coordinator for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, will be the keynote speaker, and attendees will enjoy southern hospitality at events such as the Saturday evening dinner, "Cowboys and Cassocks."
Also in June, the Diocese of Worcester and New England will hold their Parish Life Conference on June 21-24. Hosted by St. George Church in Norwood, MA, participants will stay at the Cliff House in Ogunquit, Maine, on the Atlantic Coast. This will be Bishop John Abdalah's first conference as presiding bishop, and the coastal atmosphere will be enhanced by events such as the Maine Clambake.
Three more dioceses will gather in June: Miami and the Southeast; Toledo and the Midwest; and Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York. Finally, the Los Angeles and Eagle River, and Charleston and New York, conferences will be held over the long holiday weekend of July 4-8. Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page, or the Antiochian Events website, for registration and information.
Dr. Bradley Nassif is a scholar and author known especially for his ecumenical involvement and active role in Orthodox evangelism. Raised within the Orthodox Church as a Lebanese-American, Dr. Nassif is currently Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University in Chicago. He has served as a teacher for the Antiochian House of Studies and is a member of Holy Transfiguration Antiochian Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois.
This spring, Dr. Nassif released two new books with broad appeal to both Orthodox and Christians from other traditions. Antiochian.org asked him about these titles and how they came about.
1. You have just released two new books with Zondervan. Tell us the back story for each one--what were your objectives in becoming involved in each project?
Bringing Jesus to the Desert is a book about the desert fathers and mothers of Egypt, Palestine and Syria from the 3rd to 6th centuries. Dr. Gary Burge from Wheaton College invited me to write this book as part of a series he's editing titled "Ancient Context, Ancient Faith." Each book, including mine, can stand on its own. But together, they focus on the theme of the desert as it appears in the Bible and early Christian literature.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) Real Break program provides an alternative spring break for Orthodox college students across North America. This year, more than 50 students from 36 universities participated in the six service projects around the world in locations such as Constantinople, Mexico, Guatemala, Romania and Texas. This following OCF report summarizes the impact of Real Break, 2012.
As the week was coming to an end and all sat in the dining hall eating the typical meal of beans and tortillas, University of Illinois freshman, Anthony Jonas, notices Brayan with a sad face and not touching his food. Jesus Brayan is one of the 31 young boys living at the St. Innocent Orphanage in Rosarito, Mexico. Anthony says to him,
“¿Qué paso Brayan?” (What’s wrong Brayan?)
The Antiochian House of Studies School of Orthodox Theology, home of the St. Stephen's Program, has launched a new website section. The project centered on the work of two House of Studies graduate students, Keith Buhler and Emmanuel Gergis, who worked with the staff of the House of Studies and the Dept. of Internet Ministry to update the web presence of this special Archdiocese ministry.
The new House of Studies section offers an introduction to the distance-learning school, a list of its academic programs, information for prospective and current students, and links for faculty, news and contact information. With affordable tuition and flexible scheduling, the House of Studies offers students, parents, or full-time professionals the ability to pursue an Orthodox theological education.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and South America has designated May 20 as Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday. Antiochian Archdiocese member Kory Warr is Chairman of the Board for the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM). He explains: "The sixth Sunday of Pascha was selected as Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday because the prescribed epistle reading (Acts 16:16-34) describes the experience of Sts. Paul and Silas in a Philippian jail. This story is a clear reminder of the truth that the light of Christ shines in even the darkest of places, pouring forth healing and salvation. All of us who participate in the work of OCPM have, like Paul and Silas, encountered the transforming grace and power of God in places where despair and hopelessness seemed to have erected impregnable strongholds.
The May 2012 issue contains the following articles:
Mary, Our Cause of Rejoicing, pg. 4
by His Grace Bishop Basil
Do We Really Believe in the Resurrection?, pg. 8
by Fr. Michael Shanbour
A Message from Metropolitan Philip on Events in Syria, pg. 11
Focus on Protecting the Christians in Syria and Lebanon, pg. 13
Heal Always, pg. 21
by Fr. Antony Hughes
Works of the Order in Action: "Give Me a Boost", pg. 20
by Fr. Michael Nasser
"Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!"
As Great Lent came to a close in 2012, somber Holy Week services commenced and then gave way to joyful Paschal celebrations, as Antiochian Orthodox Christians around the Archdiocese marked the holiest season of the Church year. In fledgling small town mission parishes and established communities in the heart of big cities, SOYO teens kept vigil on Holy Friday, chanters and clergy offered daily services even as their voices grew tired, the members of Antiochian Women chapters covered parish interiors with fragrant flowers, and the faithful contributed in ways large and small in order to join in the joy of the resurrection. If your parish isn't represented in our photo gallery yet, send us your photos and we can add your church to the gallery.