Santa Barbara, CA — The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism is pleased to announce that Valerie Ann Zrake of New York City has won the first-ever Orthodox Elevator Speech Contest. In an on-line poll, Zrake's elevator speech was the favorite of voters out of 10 finalists. As a prize she wins $100 worth of Conciliar Press publications  of her choice, compliments of the publishing house. Zrake is a parishioner at St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church  in Brooklyn. Valerie won with this speech:
Orthodox Christianity is the authentic and original Christian Faith founded by Jesus Christ. As an Orthodox Christian you can experience heaven on earth through the Divine Liturgy which is mystical, spiritual, and beautiful, with it's incense, icons, and sacred music. You can transcend time and space while you meditate upon the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. It's the most pure form of Christianity – nothing artificial added. It's the real deal.
Zrake realized every Orthodox Christian should be prepared with a brief response when asked what the Orthodox Church is, and saw the contest as a good motivation to work out hers.
Zrake's experience as a screenwriter may have contributed to her success in the contest, but it certainly provided the impetus for entering. “I'm very familiar with the need to pitch a screenplay,” said Zrake, “and as soon as I saw the word 'pitch' used in the contest promotions I told myself, I can do that!”
The Orthodox Elevator Speech Contest has made an impact far beyond the competition itself according to Howard Lange, administrator of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism, which sponsored the contest. “Priests and parishioners have been asking for more information – not about the contest per se, but the concept of an Orthodox elevator speech,” said Lange. “They recognize this as a valuable evangelism tool that every Orthodox Christian needs available at a moment's notice. The contest has drawn attention to this need in a fun way.” Contest entries answered either the question “What is the Orthodox Church?” or “What is Orthodox Christianity?”
Read the winning entry and finalists speeches here . Questions about the contest or Orthodox elevator speeches in general may be directed to Howard Lange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-685-8999.