Recovering from Civil War, Uganda’s Orphans Receive Help from IOCC
September 8, 2009
By Zachary O’Dell/IOCC Ethiopia
Lapainat, Uganda – In the small village in northern Uganda, children play among hundreds of scattered huts with thatched roofs, many of which are now abandoned and deteriorating. Lapainat is the site of a large camp for displaced persons who fled fighting in the region of Gulu between the Ugandan military and a guerilla group. Until recently the area surrounding Gulu was inaccessible and extremely dangerous due to the violence, with most roads, hospitals and schools either damaged or completely destroyed and millions of people displaced from their villages.
“Both my parents were killed during the violence,” explains 16-year-old Patricia, who is the fourth of nine children. “My brothers and sisters and I were taken in by our uncle, but without much salary he cannot afford school fees.” Without the money to purchase basic supplies such as books, uniforms, and food, Patricia’s dream of studying to become an accountant seemed like it would never come true. Of the estimated 1.6 million left displaced or homeless by the fighting, nearly 80% are women and children, and 80% of the population aged 7-18 has never attended school – a majority of them girls like Patricia.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is creating opportunities for children throughout Uganda just like Patricia. In partnership with the Ugandan Orthodox Church and with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan JONAH and financial support from the St. Nektarios Fund, IOCC is building a secondary school in Lapainat for about 300 students. The Orthodox Church, which will run the school, has been active in northern Uganda since the late 1990s, and has established a Deanery overseeing multiple parishes in areas that were hit hard by the conflict.
In the opening program of a new series of interviews, Dr. Bradley Nassif, theologian, author and life-long member of the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America, speaks with The Illumined Heart host Kevin Allen about the “The Nature and Mission of the Bishop in the Orthodox Church.” You can also read Dr. Nassif’s one-page piece on the topic referred to in the interview.
The September 2009 issue contains the following articles:
The Founding of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village, pg. 12
The St. Thekla Pilgrimage, pg. 15
by H. Paul Finley
Homeschooling: The Encouragement and Challenge of St. Emmelia, pg. 20
by Fr. Noah Bushelli
Wrecking a Marriage, Pg. 21
by Fr. George Morelli
From the Diocese of Los Angeles web site:
Update Sep. 7: Containment efforts are moving slowly at the Station fire in the Angeles National Forest, due to unfavorable weather conditions over Labor Day weekend. A scheduled controlled burn to build more fire lines on Monday was scrapped. The blaze is almost two weeks old and has scorched 157,200 acres (246 square miles) and approximately 75 homes, but it is 56% contained. Full containment is still expected on September 15. No further deaths or injuries have been reported. Not all evacuations have been lifted, though some members of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles who live near the fire have been able to return home. Fire officials are continuing their arson investigation.
Please continue to pray to the Lord God for the souls of the firefighters who lost their lives last week, for all those who have been harmed or impacted by the Station fire and for the inferno’s speedy extinguishment. For the latest fire information, log onto the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website.
Archdiocese member and Order of St. Ignatius Historian Judy Braun has put together a collection of photo albums open to all Antiochians. On her Public Gallery, browsers can currently find eight albums from the Archdiocese convention. Headings include the Oratorical Festival, the Board of Trustees Luncheon, and the Grand Banquet. All can be viewed at: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/AOCAphotos
“I love taking pictures and I love editing them!” notes Judy, for whom photography is a serious hobby. “Originally, I had 1,500 photos of the Convention that needed editing.” Mother of three and grandmother of two, Judy attends St. Athanasius Church in Goleta, California, where she often photographs weddings and parish events. Her work can also be viewed on the St. Athanasius website.
Judy plans on adding to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (“AOCA”) Picasa page, as she attends and photographs different events in the life of the Archdiocese.
Come Receive the Light - The Nationally Syndicated Land Based Radio Program - On this week's CRTL podcast: Fr. Chris speaks with Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of St. George Church in Houston, Texas on his book Defeating Sin: Overcoming Our Passions and Changing Forever. The Fathers describe this essential effort as the path to godliness--"theosis" in the Orthodox faith. You won't want to miss this powerful message! In a short segment, Gigi Shadid talks about her music, faith and teaching. Gigi Shadid is an educator, a Khouria, and a musician with two CDs of Orthodox children's music.
On July 28, 2009, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, the official prison ministry of SCOBA, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, convened its first convocation for Orthodox prison workers in Denver, Colorado.
In attendance were 52 Orthodox prison chaplains and volunteers representing 22 states and many Orthodox jurisdictions.
At the 2009 Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, attendees were treated to the excellent speeches prepared by the diocesan oratorical festival winners. An expert panel of judges deliberated before choosing the grand prize winner for the Senior Division, Joel Schaefer.
The Oratorical Festival is a program sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. It was designed to serve as an avenue for our youth to learn, enhance and share the knowledge of their faith based on a given topic by giving an oration. For some youth, it is a door into the life of the Church, and for others, it is an expression of their continuing experience of Christ and His Church.
FOCUS North America is excited to announce the extension of its domestic outreach to the poor by receiving the highly acclaimed “Orthodox Youth Outreach” (OYO) program from the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Youth Ministry and Teen SOYO. Added to FOCUS North America’s diverse ongoing operations and partner ministries, the addition of the OYO program strengthens its domestic ministry to the homeless and hopeless by involving youth in urban service learning opportunities and social action leadership training.
“FOCUS North America, its Board of Directors and Staff are honored to receive OYO as part of its ongoing operations, extending and maximizing our programs to minister to the poor and raise up the next generation of Orthodox Christian servant-leaders in North America,” said Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director and CEO of FOCUS North America.
August 5, 2009
Mr. Charles Ajalat
Greetings and blessings to you, Marilee, the children and grandchildren in the spirit of this Holy Dormition Fast.
I am in receipt of your correspondence dated August 2 and August 3, 2009, and it pains me very much to accept your resignation as Chancellor of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. I want to thank you for your kind words and the love which you have expressed to me in your letters.
by Maral Joulouyan/IOCC Lebanon
Brummana, Lebanon — Located twelve miles east of Beirut, this sleepy mountain town swells in population from 15,000 to 60,000 when tourists from Gulf Arab nations visit during the summer months. Tourism has picked up again in Lebanon since the 2006 war, but families are still struggling to recover.
Wala, 13, used to attend a private school in Brummana, but her father’s restaurant wages were cut and she and her two sisters had to attend the town’s public school. “When we’re short for cash, I try not to be too demanding so that I can help my Dad get the basics for our family,” said Wala. Most poor and lower middle class families in Lebanon are forced to send their children to the nation’s public schools, which are woefully underfunded by the central government and lack basic supplies and proper facilities.
Metropolitan ILYAS (Kurban) Archbishop of Tripoli and al-Koura (i.e. "the countryside"), former proistamenos at St. George Church in Boston and the senior-most member of the Holy Synod of Antioch (having served as a Metropolitan from 1962 until the present), fell asleep in Christ on Thursday, July 30th, 2009. Sayyidna ILYAS was affectionately known as "The Nightingale of Antioch" because of the beauty and compunctionate character of his chanting (click here for video). May his memory be eternal!
Update: His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP has written and sends this loving obituary of the man about whom he writes "the echo of his voice will remain in the ears of the present Orthodox generation, and in many generations to come. His memory indeed is eternal!" More photos of Metropolitan ILYAS may be found here.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his righteous ones” Psalm 115:5
Metropolitan ILYAS (Kurban) was born in Ain-Sindyaneh in the late 1920’s. He lost his father when he was a child. He and his brothers and sisters were raised by his late mother of blessed memory. He began his life in the Church at a very early age at Saint Elias Monastery of Showaia and subsequently he enrolled at the Balamand Seminary near Tripoli, Lebanon. He was gifted with an angelic voice and excelled in Byzantine Music. After he left Balamand Seminary, he enrolled at the Asiya Orthodox School in Damascus where he received his Baccalaureate Degree. From Damascus he came to Beirut to live at the Orthodox Bishopric under the Omophorion of the late Metropolitan ELIA (Saleeby).
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl – The Orthodox Christian Network is excited to announce its newest addition to its already dynamic and ever evolving list of Podcast Channels – a series dedicated to Orthodox Parenting. Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos, the Executive Director of the SCOBA Agency said, “We are truly excited to offer this new channel dedicated to assist parents raising children in the Orthodox Christian way. OCN welcomes with pride Ginny Nieuwsma, a dedicated mother of six along with the professionals who will be asked to appear on the program”.
Archpriest James Kenna, 74, of St. Sophia in Dripping Springs, TX, was fatally injured in an automobile accident on Sunday, July 26th 2009. Services for Fr. James will be held at St. Sophia on Tuesday July 28 and Wednesday July 29th; see below for further details, or visit St. Sophia's web site.
From the Austin American Statesman:
The Rev. James Kenna was an energetic Dripping Springs pastor who founded several Orthodox Christian parishes in Central Texas and, even in retirement, was looking to establish more.
"He never wanted to quit," said the Rev. David Barr, the pastor of St. Elias Orthodox Church in Austin. Kenna, 74, died Sunday afternoon in a car wreck on his way home from lunch with a parishioner after attending church in Dripping Springs. Austin police officials said Kenna's PT Cruiser left Texas 45 for an unknown reason, crashed into a fence and flipped over into a retention pond.
The 2009 Antiochian Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, California concluded over the weekend of July 25-26. After Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning, the day was taken up with events such as the Oratorical Festival and other youth activities. Attendees enjoyed a banquet and dance on Saturday evening, followed by a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.
Click here to view more photos of the final days of the convention. The entire Oratorical Festival and the closing banquet program may be heard on Ancient Faith Radio.
Click here to listen to Ancient Faith Radio's broadcast His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP's address to the general assembly at the 2009 Archdiocese Convention on Friday, July 24.
The address ran for well over 45 minutes, and covered a wide range of topics, including Metropolitan PHILIP's response to what he termed criticisms of his leadership, particularly those involving finances.
The 2009 Antiochian Convention in Palm Desert coincided with the announcement by Conciliar Media Ministries that the ministry is discontinuing AGAIN and The Handmaiden magazines in their current printed forms, as well as moving the base of operations for Conciliar to the Chicago area.
Said CEO John Maddex, “We are embracing new technology that will reduce our costs by utilizing digital and audio formats where possible. While such decisions are difficult, these adjustments represent a necessary pruning and will result in a new lean model of operations with a continued strong evangelistic emphasis.”
Ancient Faith Radio is on the job at the 2009 Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, California. Visit AFR's site to listen to key speeches, events, divine services and other gatherings. Highlights so far include a pre-convention interview with Co-Chairman Don Meena about the work that went into planning and preparing this year's conference; an interview with Fr. Consantine Nasr of St. Elijah in Oklahoma City; plus recordings of Vespers and Divine Liturgy.