Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chair of the Department of Youth Ministry, reports that through the diligent efforts of SOYO members, nearly $33,000.00 has been collected since October for the Special Olympics Sports Camp at Antiochian Village. Every summer, hundreds of Special Olympic campers and SOYO counselors convene for a unique week of activity and growth.
Fr. Joseph notes, "We are very grateful to the many parishes that have contributed to the NAC SOYO / PASO Special Olympics. Browse the list of contributions here.
We are preparing topics for the 2012 Antiochian Archdiocese Clergy Symposium and we want your input. We want to know what you see as the three Greatest Problems Facing Teens Today.
Help us pick the topics for the 2012 Clergy Symposium! Go here and answer three questions: What is the first, second, and third most important issue facing teens today?
Your Responses are private and will be very valuable in helping us choose topics for the Clergy Symposium.
Thank you for your help.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph Purpura
Chairman Department of Youth Ministry
Programming on OCN's flagship program, "Come Receive the Light," features:
Twilight Saga - Launching this month's theme on morality and popular culture, we'll be looking at the popular Twilight Saga with Fr. Frank Marangos and asking about the relationship between the Church and secular media trends. Click here to listen to this program.
Video Games - This past June, on the very last day of its 2011 term, the US Supreme Court ruled that minors have a right to purchase video games that include graphic violence. Fr. Demetrios Tonias shares his thoughts on what this means for youth and parents. Click here to listen to this program.
Almost Christian - One study after another tells us that our youth are drifting away from religious traditions, but what can we do to reverse the trend? First, we’ll hear from Kenda Creasy Dean, Associate Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. What does it mean to be Almost Christian, the title of her new book? Make sure you listen to this important interview. Click here to listen to this program.
Asks Fr. Chris, "Is there a difference between being 'good' and being 'moral?' Popular culture seems to cast a wide net on what it means to be a 'good person.' It goes a step further by suggesting that some things we as Orthodox consider to be unhealthy are actually what make a person 'normal.'"
A historic January 2012 Orthodox Christian Youth Worker Conference, endorsed by the Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, is planned for all Youth Workers, Camp Directors and Staff, and OCF Chaplains. The conference runs from Wednesday January 25 to Saturday January 28, 2012 at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and will be hosted by the Departments of Youth Ministry and of Camping of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
From Sunday, December 18 through Wednesday, December 21, St. Vladimir's Seminary (SVS) will be offering high school and college students an opportunity to spend four days on its Crestwood, NY campus, learning and directing liturgical music and meeting and worshipping with young men and women from across North America. Attendees will also enjoy a trip to New York City to ice skate on the famous rinks of the Big Apple, and will form a chorus to sing Christmas Carols in the neighborhood surrounding SVS.
Instructors for the workshop are Professor David Drillock, SVS' Professor Emeritus of Liturgical Music, and Dr. Nicholas Reeves, the Seminary's current Assistant Professor of Liturgical Music. Workshop organizer, Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, Director of Alumni Relations and Recruitment, notes, "We hope to provide a workshop with diverse influence and instruction, including Byzantine chant."
For more information, contact Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 914-318-7505.
The cost of the workshop will be $180, all inclusive. Register here.
Since October is Youth Month in the Antiochian Archdiocese, the editors at antiochian.org caught up with Fr. Anthony Yazge, who heads up the College Department for the Archdiocese, as well as the camping program at Antiochian Village. (Read this 2006 Word interview with Fr. Anthony and browse his Ask Abouna column.)
Fr. Anthony has been serving teens, college students and campers since 1981, and after thirty years he still approaches his ministry with dedication and enthusiasm.
1. How many years have you been working in youth ministries, and what kind of roles have you filled?
I basically went from my teenage years to being involved in youth ministry. As a seminarian I was involved in planning and leading teen retreats. A few years after ordination, I was appointed as the Midwest Teen SOYO Spiritual Advisor and served in that position for fourteen years before being appointed as the NAC Teen SOYO Spiritual Advisor for the last six years. As the Spiritual Advisor of Teen SOYO, I participated with our teens in many outreach projects over twenty years. In 2001 I was assigned to be priest in charge of Teen SOYO’s Special Olympics Camp and am currently still part of this ministry.
In addition to serving as a Spiritual Advisor for Teen SOYO the past twenty years, I have served the Antiochian Village for many years. I was a camp counselor in 1981 and was a session priest for thirteen years prior to my current assignment as Camp Director in 2006. I have also led a team of teens on a short term mission trip to Project Mexico.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship has announced the topic, locations, and speakers for its popular winter college conferences. Themed "Raise Me Above This World's Confusion," this year's conferences will be hosted in three locations, after Christmas and before New Year's Day: Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania, Diokonia Retreat Center in South Carolina, and St. Nicholas Ranch in northern California.
Registration is open at the OCF's website page here.
College Conference East
Dates: December 28-31
Place: Antiochian Village -Bolivar, PA
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $240 - Regular: $265
Speaker: His Grace Bishop Michael Dahulich, Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York & New Jersey in the Orthodox Church in America
College Conference South
Dates: December 28-31
Place: Diakonia Center -Salem, NC
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $210 - Regular: $235
Speaker: Fr. Michael Nasser, Pastor of Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission in Bowling Green, Ky.
College Conference West
Dates: December 27-30
Place: St. Nicholas Ranch -Fresno, CA
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $215 - Regular: $240
Speaker: Fr. Josiah Trenham, Pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Church, Riverside, Calif.
Dear Brother in Christ:
Christ is in our midst!
The third Sunday of October, October 16, 2011 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese.
On Sunday, October 16th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the 2012 Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village August 10-18, 2012. Next summer we will be celebrating our 31st Annual Special Olympics Sports Camp. This ministry is 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.
We Need YOUR HELP!
1. Please publicize this day. We have enclosed two bulletin inserts, one for October 9th and the other for October 16th. Please include these inserts in your bulletin and share this cause from the pulpit. Your enthusiastic promotion of such a worthwhile ministry will go a long way in producing fruitful results from our faithful.
“For all of us who doubt the strength of our faith; for all of us who are not called to be eaten by lions, or thrown into a fiery furnace; for all of us who are not called to die for our faith; those holy apostles, those twelve men, they knew the one thing we would need most, our life-preserver in a sea of trouble, our sanctuary from those who tempt us, our teacher to help guide our course: those amazing, gifted men of the priestly ranks.”
I am so grateful that I was born into the Orthodox faith. There are so many people who wander about in this world with no sense of purpose or belonging, but never an Orthodox Christian. Every Orthodox Christian knows exactly why they are here. In God’s plan, He made all of us, male and female, in His image. And the purpose of our life is to see the image of God in ourselves and in everyone around us. In my most recent understanding, I am not merely an Orthodox Christian because my parents thought I should be baptized. I am not merely an Orthodox Christian because my family goes to church on Sunday mornings and other holidays. I am an Orthodox Christian because of the choices I make every single day. I didn’t get here by accident and I didn’t get here simply because I was born into a certain ethnicity. But I got here, at this point in my life, because of the people in my life. And while I will forever be grateful for my grandparents, and parents, and aunts, and uncles, and even my cousins, I am personally humbled by the relationships I have had with the men who have dared to wear that distinctive collar, who drop to their knees, and fight for me, like a man after God’s own heart.
The Christian Education team of the Antiochian Archdiocese, headed by Director Carole Buleza, is passionate about transmitting the faith to the next generation, and the resource-rich Christian Education section on antiochian.org reflects this. An extensive upgrade to the Christian Education pages launched to coincide with the start of the Sunday School year, includes an entirely new Creative Arts Festivals section developed by Editor Andrew Frishman.
Youth workers who want to integrate the creative festivals into their Christian Education program will find the revamped section useful both for Sunday School as well as SOYO events.
Highlights of the new material available are:
- Guidance for newcomers in "New to the Festivals?"
- "Summary of Modifications for the 2012 Festivals"
- Updated judging rubrics and lesson plans
- Suggestions for educators in "Using the Theme" and "Job Descriptions"
- Advice for students on "Inspiring Writing"
- Plus an improved sidebar for helpful navigation!
In the main Christian Education section, a book review highlights Christian Education in the Small Membership Church and registration is available for Orthodox Institute 2011, a pan-Orthodox event featuring an interactive Holy Land tour.
WESTWOOD, Massachusetts - The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY), Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura and Kathleen A. Purpura announce the award of a five-year grant for its Greater Chicago Coalition. OCCHY – Cicero/Greater Chicago was awarded a $125,000 Drug Free Communities Support Program FY 2011 grant by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Coalition serves the Villages of Lincolnwood, Niles, and Skokie, IL, as well as the eighty-plus Orthodox parishes of the Greater Chicago area. ONDCP and SAMHSA offer the potential of an additional five-year extension of the grant. Under the excellent guidance of the Very Rev. Nicholas Dahdal, Pastor, the Grantee is St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Cicero, IL.
Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth is a national alliance founded by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth, and Kathleen Purpura, Youth Consultant and Executive Director of OCCHY, trained with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), worked with the White House Director of Drug Free Communities and also the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The 2011 SOYO Leadership Manual is now available from the Department of Youth Ministry. These valuable manuals are packed with resources to help leaders of youth groups with all the details of managing the SOYO year and SOYO programs. They also provide space for each local SOYO to add in its materials.
Brookline, MA ––August 9, 2011— While many college campuses experience a calm and quiet summer, Hellenic College once again bustled with activity as the Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) welcomed high school juniors and seniors to its CrossRoad summer institute, now in its eighth year. The OVM greeted 60 high school juniors and seniors from 29 states as well as Canada and the Bahamas. Due to overwhelming interest from Orthodox youth and the generosity of several benefactors, this summer the program continued to offer two sessions. Beginning in 2004, CrossRoad has inspired hundreds of Orthodox youth to grow in their faith, explore their strengths, engage in serving others, and discover how their gifts and talents can serve the needs of Church and society.
The 2011 CrossRoad Summer Institute, directed by Mary Long, combined the greatest offerings of Hellenic College and Holy Cross: faculty instruction, an enthusiastic staff of graduate students, a beautiful campus overlooking Boston, and the exciting city of Boston itself. Students visited historic Faneuil Hall, the New England shore at Manchester-by-the-Sea, and cruised Boston harbor on a Duck Tour. The high school students enjoyed these fun and cultural activities, but found the unique elements of the program the most valuable: the daily classes with theological faculty, evening visits to attend vespers at neighboring Orthodox parishes in the Boston area, and putting their learning into practice by participating in two service activities during the last stage of the program.
Fr. Joseph Purpura, the Antiochian Archdiocese Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, has released his Convention report for 2011 here.
He reminds Convention-goers that the “Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth” (OCCHY) booth in the vendor area of the Convention will be offering materials free of charge for parents, clergy, teachers, teens and young adults. Read about OCCHY here or visit the Coalition for Healthy Youth website here.
Fr. Joseph Purpura's report to the Antiochian Archdiocesan Board, presented to the Board on June 4, 2011, highlighted several areas of progress for the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries.
Regarding the fledgling Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth, Fr. Joseph explained that "Our work and travels this year led us to our May meeting at the White House, with the White House Director of Drug Free Communities, Jack Claypoole. We continue to receive good support in our efforts to reduce substance use and abuse among our Orthodox Population from both the White House Office of Drug Free Communities and from General Arthur Dean of CADCA and his staff." Fr. Joseph and Kh. Kathleen will have completed 120 hours of Drug Free Communities training by July. Coalition members from the Cicero and Cleveland Coalitions have also begun training, and Father and Khouria have been working to establish additional Parish Coalitions. Fr. Joseph noted, "We will continue our efforts to reach out to other dioceses to establish additional coalitions to address the issues of substance use and abuse by our youth and encourage respect for the sanctity of the human body.
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine in the Eastern Dioceses of Charleston and New York is offering college tuition scholarships for Antiochian students. Watch for the updated 2013 application form, coming soon! If you have any questions, call scholarship administrator Maria Abdalah at: 412-916-4772, or email her at email@example.com.
The completed form will be due June 1, 2013.
One (1) scholarship (each) of $1,500.00 and $1,000.00 will be awarded, along with four (4) scholarships of $500.00 each. The awards will be presented at the Annual Eastern Dioceses Parish Life Conference.
All scholarships are made possible by endowments created by concerned individuals from the parishes of our Eastern Dioceses and fund-raising programs held by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.
We wish you all God’s blessings and look forward to submitting your application to the evaluation committee.
Teen SOYO of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest proudly announces the launch of its newly designed Website: www.midwestSOYO.org.
Wrapping up a busy schedule of winter events, Antiochian Village served as the host for the "Men in Black" Clergy Appreciation Luncheon on February 22. The Village's first event was the January winter camp session. These two events bookmarked several key conferences and meetings which took place in the very busy month of February.
During the first weekend in February, the traditional mid-winter meetings were held for SOYO's leadership. Reports Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department for Youth Ministry, "The February 4-6, 2011 Midwinter Meetings of SOYO brought over thirty teens and advisors from across the archdiocese. SOYO continued its work begun at the 2010 SOYO Leadership Conference. The SOYO Diocesan officers reported on their progress and shared ideas with one another. SOYO Officers continued the development of their leadership skills, as Fr. Fouad Saba explored the scripture and its relationship to leadership. Elizabeth Mamey, a past NAC SOYO Officer, came back to SOYO to share with our current group of officers the skills she learned through her SOYO and Leadership training experiences. It was a weekend rich in fellowship, spirituality and accomplishments for SOYO."
Then on February 8-12, about two dozen OCF chaplains gathered for their three day conference to discuss the theme "Following Christ through Crisis."
Application forms for volunteer coaches at the 2011 NAC SOYO Special Olympics are now available. Members of Teen SOYO between 16 and 19 years of age may apply to serve as coaches at this year’s camp. The Special Olympics will be held from August 12-20, 2011 at Antiochian Village. The deadline for completed application forms is April 1, 2011.
Click here to download the Special Olympics Volunteer Coach Application Form (PDF).
For more information, applicants may contact Fr. Anthony Yazge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brookline, MA - High school juniors and seniors, before you decide what to do with the rest of your life, decide what to do with your summer! The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College is now accepting applications from high school juniors and seniors for its CrossRoad summer institute. Orthodox Christian students from the United States and Canada are invited to take part in an exciting summer vocations exploration program designed to help them discern their life callings and match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world. Each accepted applicant receives a full scholarship and is only responsible for travel costs to/from Boston.
Now in its eighth year, CrossRoad combines the greatest gifts of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HC/HC) through faculty instruction and participation, an enthusiastic staff of graduate students, the beautiful campus overlooking Boston and of course the exciting city of Boston itself. Students participate in daily classes with Orthodox faculty from HC/HC and other institutions, and attend Vespers each evening at neighboring parishes in the Boston area. To accommodate the overwhelming interest, CrossRoad runs two sessions of 30 students each. This year’s sessions are June 18-28 and July 5-15, 2011.
By Carolyn Kouracos
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
Hunger Strike is a new youth ministry of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). Launched this year on a national level, Hunger Strike is already becoming a growing youth movement. Started at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, CA three years ago, this vibrant ministry has already raised more than $10,000 and has Orthodox Christian teens striving to make a difference in the world by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and giving to those in need.
Hunger Strike is coordinated by local parishes, where teens fast for 30 hours while they participate in activities which raise both awareness and money for the needs of those throughout the world who suffer the effects of poverty and who hunger for the hope found in Christ.
Through a generous gift of the Francis Maria Foundation for Justice and Peace, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America will once again grant several scholarships in the amount of $2,500 to students attending an accredited College.
Scholarships will be granted each July. Completed 2012 Francis Maria Scholarship Application and all supporting documentation must be postmarked by May 15, 2012 and received by May 22.
Please note that you will need the free Adobe acrobat reader to open this file, if you do not already have it installed on your computer.
For more information on the Francis Maria Scholarship program, please visit www.antiochian.org/scholarships.
Equipping the Saints
Saint Seraphim Cathedral
Thursday January 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM CST
Saturday January 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM CST
Before December 31 Early-Bird Registration:$95.00
After December 31 Normal Registration $115.00
Registration includes all lunch and dinner meals, conference materials and transport to and from the hotel.
For more information and online registration click here.