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Sign up Today: Camp Season is Just Around the Corner!

One of the best opportunities for children to grow spiritually and in friendship, is through summer camp. In addition to Antiochian Village, there are seven outstanding regional camps in the Antiochian Archdiocese across the United States and Canada, serving hundreds of children throughout the summer. The Department of Camping explains that each program is overseen, "to insure that the highest safety guidelines are followed, a consistent program is presented at all of our camps, accreditation is maintained, and oversees the distribution of the Order of St. Ignatius Scholarships to each camp." (Find the list and more information here.)

Contact the The Order of Ignatius, your parish priest, or your diocese camp, to learn about scholarships.

New Scholarship Available for Youth Workers in House of Studies Youth Ministry Program

In an effort to educate Antiochian parish youth workers, the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) is pleased to announce that with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, SOYO will award the first scholarships to Antiochian Archdiocese parish youth workers this fall, specifically for those registered in the St. Stephen Youth Ministry Concentration. The Scholarship Application and Policy statement are available online; the deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 31, 2015.

Currently the Scholarship Fund has $217,095.87 invested (as of April 30, 2015). Teen SOYO raised and gifted $200,000 to establish this Youth Worker Scholarship during the 2013 Archdiocese Convention.

Download the application here.
For a complete listing of scholarships, view our Scholarship page.

Reaching Our Young Adults: Fr. Joseph Purpura Interviewed on Ancient Faith Radio

May 1, 2015

On his Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Becoming a Healing Presence," host Dr. Albert Rossi recently interviewed Fr. Joseph Purpura, the Archdiocese's chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries. The podcast, titled "Reaching Our Young Adults," discusses how to best communicate with and serve the Church's teens and young people.  

"In the Antiochian Archdiocese, we are serious about raising up a generation of disciples and leaders. Our goal in everything we do, is to move our young people closer and closer to Christ. It's always a joy to work with young people; the questions that they have are very deep and serious questions." 

He added, "My experience over the past 34 years of doing youth work, is that young people want to do what's right. We see our young people doing really beautiful things, in the name of Jesus Christ....I can't tell you the power, when an adult ask one of our kids to help. They need to know there is a purpose for them there (in the Church)."

Listen to the full podcast.

Department of Youth and SOYO Launch Improved Donation Portal

Fr Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, writes:

Christ is Risen!

The Department of Youth and NAC SOYO have implemented a new donation page that now gives donors the opportunity to select the area of youth ministry they want their donation to be applied.

Donate securely online today to the following ministries:
General Fund (for youth projects)
Department of Youth Ministry
Healthy Youth Program
SOYO Leadership Conference
SOYO Metropolitan PHILIP Youth Worker Scholarship
SOYO Special Olympics
Teen SOYO General Account

Utilize our secure online donation page through the Antiochian Events hosting service.

May our Risen Lord continue to bless all of your good works!

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph
frjoseph@orthodoxyouth.com
Twitter: @FrPurpura

Youth Ministry Leaders Meet with Metropolitan Joseph

L to R: Fr. Joseph Purpura, Sandy Mitchell, Fr. Noah Bushelli, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain, Khalil Samara, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Anthony Yazge, Carole BulezaL to R: Fr. Joseph Purpura, Sandy Mitchell, Fr. Noah Bushelli, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain, Khalil Samara, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Anthony Yazge, Carole BulezaOn Tuesday, April 21, 2015, Metropolitan Joseph convened a meeting at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ, with all of the Antiochian Archdiocese Youth Ministry leaders.

In attendance were:
V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura – Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry
V. Rev. Fr. Anthony Yazge – Chair of the Department of Camping and Director of College Ministry
V. Rev. Fr. Noah Bushelli – representing home school parents
Carole Buleza – Director of the Department of Christian Education
Khalil Samara – Fellowship of St. John the Divine (Young Adult Ministry)
V. Rev. Thomas Zain – Spiritual Advisor of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine
Sandy Mitchell – representing Antiochian Orthodox parochial schools

His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn, NY, also joined the group for lunch.

His Eminence set forth his vision for youth ministry in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and called all of those in attendance at the meeting to start working together in their efforts to form the youth of the Archdiocese. He also stressed the importance of increasing our efforts to form our youth in Christ.

"It's time to renew our efforts, not to abolish what has been done," he said. "We must build upon what we have received, what has been delivered to us....We have a great task before us to improve these ministries to our young people across the Archdiocese. It is the right time for change and improvement.

"We cannot bury our talents," he concluded.

Applications Being Accepted for Summer Music Institute for Youth: July 9-12

Chris Farha, the Diocesan Sacred Music Coordinator for the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America writes:

This will be our fourth year for Youth Music Ministry at the Department of Sacred Music's summer Sacred Music Institute. Each year, the numbers grow but every year the students walk away changed, inspired and better equipped to serve their churches with a heightened awareness, more knowledge about the hymnography of the Church and a better skill set with which to vocally execute the music of the Church. They establish deep friendships with their peers who are of like mind and cultivate those friendships throughout the year. It is a wonderful program that I also feel blessed to participate in and hope that you might help promote it in your parishes.

Department of College Ministry Alert: Sign up Collegians for OCF's First Forty Days Program

Father Anthony Yazge, Chair of the Department of College Ministry, reminds all parents, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, parish priests, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) alumni about OCF's First Forty Days program.

Christina Andresen, OCF's manager of Chapter Relations, writes: "It is imperative that we personally contact every first-year Orthodox college student so that they know that an Orthodox family awaits them on campus. This initiative, called the First Forty Days, has our local OCF student leaders, spiritual advisors, and lay coordinators introducing themselves to all incoming students, making sure that they know about Orthodoxy on campus and nearby Orthodox parishes.

We are asking that each parish provide us with basic information about their high school graduates who will be attending college in the fall.

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] .

First Annual NAC Teen SOYO Day of Service

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, chairman of the Archdiocese's Department of Youth and Parish Ministry, announces:

On Saturday, March 21, 2015, the first Annual NAC Teen SOYO Day of Service will be hosted by SOYO chapters across the United States and Canada.

In reverence to the fundamental virtue of love, NAC Teen SOYO has asked that its chapters across the country dedicate this common day to the service of their local communities. SOYO members are being encouraged to organize an event on this date that will enable you to show Christ-like charity to your neighbors. 

View the flyer for more details

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.

OCCHY Offers Videos on Substance Abuse Prevention

The Antiochian Archdiocese's Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) is a unique national alliance founded and supported by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Archdiocese. The ministry focuses on establishing, training and leading substance abuse prevention and intervention coalitions across America.

On May 22, 2014,  OCCHY's active Cicero, Illinois Coalition hosted a Town Hall Meeting for parents and teens, titled "Underage Alcohol & Substance Prevention." Sponsored by the federal government's Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration, the meeting featured law enforcement and mental health professionals, who presented talks about how to ensure safety and sobriety for teens. The presentations are available on YouTube and may be viewed on OCCHY's website.

Bishop Thomas Lists Youth and Education Resources

His Grace Bishop Thomas has reminded the faithful of several important resources for youth.

1. 2015 Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference 
The theme is "Walking Alongside Our Youth" and the keynote addresses will be delivered by Fr. Bogdan Bucur and Dr. Stefanie Yazge. More details will follow. We will also be posting this information to the Orthodox Christian Camping Association.

2. In addition, there will be a College Retreat the weekend of Orthodoxy Sunday, February 27—March 1, 2015. The topic is "Standing at the Foot of the Cross and the speakers are Fr. Anthony Yazge, Marek Simon, & Chris Shadid. Please register online at www.avcamp.org.

Registration Opens: February 2015 College Lenten Retreat

Come enjoy a weekend of spiritual retreat and fellowship with other Orthodox Christian college students. We will have discussions, daily services, and conclude the weekend by celebrating Sunday of Orthodoxy together! Registration is now open!

  • Please register online at www.avcamp.org
  • Cost is $95, including all meals, lodging, and activities, to be held at the Camp (bring own bed linens/sleeping bag, pillow, towels, and toiletries)
  • If you have questions, please e-mail Chris Shadid at chris@antiochianvillage.org or call the camp office at 724-238-9565, ext. 505 
  • Download the flyer

Middle School Winter Retreat at Antiochian Village

Registration is open for the annual St. Herman Middle School Retreat, convening at Antiochian Village on the feast day of St. Herman of Alaska.

  • Who: Students in grades 5-8
  • Where: Antiochian Village Conference Center, December 12-14, 2014
  • What: interactive presentations and discussions, weekend liturgical services (with an outdoor supplication service to St. Herman), games, crafts, meals and snacks, sledding, geocaching, stargazing, guided night hike, a campfire
  • Why: The distraction-free environment of the Village and the spiritual emphasis of the retreat offer a wonderful opportunity for middle schoolers to focus on their faith 
  • How much:  $100/person for lodging and meals; $120 if postmarked after November 15  
  • Download the registration form
  • Download the Consent Form
  • Visit the Antiochian Village's website

Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference: January 22-24, 2015

The 2015 Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference, with the theme "Walking Alongside our Youth," will be held at Antiochian Village on January 22-24. The Conference, now in its 13th year, exists to bring all Orthodox Christians doing youth ministry at any level and in any form together for several days to further their education, foster brotherhood, and provide fellowship.  Each year a different jurisdiction of the Orthodox Churches in the United States hosts the Conference, with the input and direction provided by the Orthodox Christian Camp Association and national Church Youth Department directors.

Keynote Addresses will be offered by The Rev. Dr. Bogdan Bucur, associate professor of Theology at Duquesne University, and Dr. Stefanie Yazge, professor of Theology at St. Vincent College. A series of workshops focusing on youth ministry as it relates to youth workers and camp staff, daily services, and fellowship, will be available to enable attendees to get to know each other better.

Registration is available online and an early-bird discount is offered through December 15, 2014.

 

"We Can Do Great Work!": Interview with SOYO President Jordan Kurzum

Jordan Kurzum is a sophomore Spanish major at the University of Pittsburgh. During the school year, he attends St. George Orthodox Cathedral with Fr. Demetrios Makoul, while staying in touch with his home parish, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, NJ, with Fr. Dimitri Darwich. Jordan oversees all the officers of the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) at the national and regional level, making sure that they have the resources and information they need. He graciously offered Antiochian.org some time during the Archdiocese's 2014 Youth Month to talk about what motivates him to be involved in the Church through his SOYO leadership position.

With all the demands on your time, why invest in SOYO?

We are constantly busy, but what's wonderful about SOYO is that it is enjoyable—it's not like school work! I really find it fulfilling, interacting with the other officers and serving the local parishes and dioceses. It's a great contrast to school work, and a break from studying, and it encourages me to stay involved in the Church.

Special Olympics Awareness Day: Sunday, October 18

The third Sunday of October, October 18, 2015 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 18th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village in the summer of 2015. This ministry is run by and sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.

Youth Month Spotlight: Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY)

The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (or OCCHY) is a unique national alliance founded and supported by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Antiochian Archdiocese, involved in establishing, training and leading substance abuse prevention and intervention coalitions across America. The Healthy Youth initiative, sponsored by OCCHY, offers communities an opportunity to heighten awareness of how to combat substance abuse, prevent bullying, encourage sexual abstinence outside of marriage, and encourage respect for the sanctity of the human body. Recent updates on the Hookah Prevention initiative, the Healthy Youth ministry of Tucson, AZ, and the Cicero/Chicago based group, are available on OCCHY's Website.

OCCHY is developing local community networks to address substance abuse prevention and healthy living in parishes of each diocese. Each local chapter is trained in coalition building in their community. Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries Fr. Joseph Purpura, and Kh. Kathleen Purpura, Youth Consultant and Executive Director of OCCHY, work with the White House Director of the Drug Free Communities Program, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the staff of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), and local coalition leaders to establish substance prevention coalitions across America.

 

October 2015: Archdiocese Youth Month

Bishop Antoun with Antiochian Village campersBishop Antoun with Antiochian Village campersOctober is the month when the Antiochian Archdiocese introduces teens to the many opportunities to minister in the Church. The youth "are encouraged to read the Epistle, chant and sing in the choir, assist in church school, and give sermons approved by the priest," explains Department of Youth Chairman The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura. 

Another way teens can get involved in their parishes is to participate in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl, and Oratorical Festivals. This year’s theme commemorates the 100th anniversary of the repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn and focuses on his contributions to Orthodoxy in America, and is titled "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America."

2015 Festivals to Commemorate Anniversary of St. Raphael's Repose

The 2015 Oratorical Conference theme for the Antiochian Archdiocese has been announced as the "100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of Saint Raphael." Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny), much beloved by the American Syrian community he served during the early years of Orthodoxy on the North American continent, reposed in 1915 and was canonized in 2000 as St. Raphael of Brooklyn. This year's Creative Arts, Bible Bowl, and Oratorical Festivals held across the U.S. and Canada will feature his life and legacy.

Metropolitan Joseph Presents 2014 Francis Maria Scholarships

Daniella BattarsehDaniella BattarsehThe following people were recipients of a 2014 Francis Maria Scholarship, a Fund that is managed by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Metropolitan Joseph presented these scholarships on July 19, 2014. Each scholarship recipient received a check in the amount of $2,500.

The Francis Maria Scholarships are available to all students attending an undergraduate accredited degree program in the fall after they submit their application. Applications are due in January of each year, and information may be obtained on the Antiochian.org Scholarship page. A Website dedicated to Frank Maria is also available.

Appeal to Connect Orthodox College Students to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF)

A letter from His Grace Bishop Gregory of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, liaison from the Assembly of Bishops of the U.S.A. to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), concerning the Church's joint ministry to our Orthodox college students:

Dear Reverend Fathers:

As many of you know, the loss of our Christian youth is a staggering problem today in our country. Statistics show us that more than 80% of our young people are graduating high school, going to college and never returnlng to their faith group. l do not mean their parish or community, but their faith. In other words, more than 6 out of 10 Orthodox young adults will abandon Orthodoxy. This is a huge challenge for all of us.

As the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) works on behalf of all Orthodox to connect students to Christ and His Church during college. Through its campus-based chapters, regional events and programs such as College Conference and Real Break, OCF engages Orthodox college students across the continent in fellowship, education, worship, and service.

July 18-20, 2014: Summer Meetings at Antiochian Village

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina, the patriarchal vicar of New York and all North America, the 2014 Archdiocese Summer Meetings will be hosted at the Antiochian Village, July 18-20, 2014. The Archdiocese and diocese officers of the Antiochian Women, Fellowship of St. John Divine, and Teen SOYO, will gather for their annual summer meetings to conduct the business of the Archdiocese organizations.

In addition, the Archdiocese Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals will be held during the weekend with participants from each diocese. Please contact your NAC/NAB President if you have any questions.

Information for the Summer Meetings is as follows: