Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — More than 80 representatives of the nation's Orthodox Christian service organizations joined together at the White House on December 14, 2012, to discuss strategic service alliances with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The White House Conference on Orthodox Christian Engagement was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement in conjunction with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and facilitated by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC).
Present to discuss the role of Orthodox Christians in social outreach, disaster response, and community development in the United States were Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas and liaison to IOCC from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Also present were Bishop Gregorios of Nyssa of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese and Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, Chief Secretary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Eparchial Synod, representing Archbishop Demetrios of America, a member of the Presidential Commission for Faith-Based Organizations. The Orthodox Christian hierarchs were joined by IOCC Board Chairman, Michael S. "Mickey" Homsey, along with IOCC board members and staff, Orthodox Christian clergy and leaders of Orthodox Christian service organizations.
"The opportunity for this level of discourse with the White House is an important way to build understanding between our communities and contribute toward serving needs here in the United States," said Homsey. "The conference is an important step toward uniting the efforts of Orthodox Christians to effectively serve their communities and builds on similar service IOCC has provided in more than 50 countries around the world over the past twenty years."
The half-day conference brought together the community's leadership to learn more about its multifaceted ministries, and to explore potential collaborations offered by the federal government to support the Church's service work.
"The Orthodox Christian community plays a critical role in social outreach, disaster response, and community development," said D. Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. The conference provided a forum for dialogue on that outreach and areas for mutual cooperation.