All Saints Camp here will be the site of the second annual camping experience—the Saint Nicholas Program—for Orthodox Christian youth, ages nine through 19, with disabilities and their families June 19-22, 2017.
Sponsored by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA [UOCUSA], the camp program is designed for parents and their children with disabilities to spend time together in an Orthodox family environment.
“Campers are introduced to camp life at while parents are given the opportunity to meet fellow Orthodox parents who are tackling the same challenges in today’s world,” explained Natalie Kapeluck Nixon, UOCUSA Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. “All aspects of the program are designed to give youth with disabilities an optimal experience through sensory friendly daily prayer services, modified learning Church school lessons, parent workshops and discussions, parent/child sports, crafts, singing, dancing, bonfires, quiet activity time, scavenger hunts, and swimming, just to mention a few of the activities.
“We are thrilled to be once again offering this mini-camp to serve our youth with disabilities and their families,” Natalie continued. “Our hope is to provide the campers with a positive camping experience, deepening their faith and a place for the parents and family to find rest and community.”
Among the parent speakers will be Presvytera Melanie DiStefano. A graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA and a member of the faculty of Holy Trinity Orthodox Christian Academy, Warren, OH, she is a frequent speaker and author on the topic of family, disability and the Church. Her workshop topic will be “The Image of Christ in Your Child.”
A new feature for this year’s program enables families to have the option to participate in the full four-day program or to attend for a single day.
“We are also looking for individuals interested being on staff for this program,” Natalie added. “Paid and volunteer positions are available and pre-camp training will be required. Please encourage your faithful to participate in this program as campers and staff.”
Titled “Go and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishes,” the study explores the practices and strategies developed by some Orthodox parishes that can be viewed as “exemplary” in their missionary and outreach efforts. Examples of what the readers will find in the report include
the “secrets” of being a parish that attracts and welcomes new members;
eight good practices of welcoming first-time visitors and inquirers about the Faith;
how do “exemplary” parishes achieve a high degree of involvement of their members in parish life;
four distinct features of religious education in the “exemplary” parishes; and
six “lessons” that Church leadership (bishops) can learn from the “exemplary” parishes.
The community of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary extends a cordial invitation to all faithful to attend the 113th Annual Pilgrimage Memorial Day weekend, May 26-29, 2017.
“We are very glad to be able to offer the blessing of the monastery and her founder, Saint Tikhon of Moscow, to all visiting hierarchs, clergy and faithful from the Orthodox Church in America and other Orthodox jurisdictions and guests from near and far,” said Archimandrite Sergius, Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery.
The pilgrimage will officially open on Friday, May 26, at 3:30 p.m. with the greeting of the Hawaiian Myrrh Streaming Icon of the Iveron Mother of God and the celebration of a Molieben. Vespers and Matins will follow at 4:00 p.m. in the Monastery Church of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk. The icon will be available for veneration throughout the pilgrimage. All pilgrims are invited to dinner in the monastery dining hall following Friday’s services.
The 75th annual Commencement of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary will be held on Saturday, May 27. The day will open with the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the monastery church at 9:00 a.m., followed by a meal in the dining hall. Commencement Exercises will begin at 1:00 p.m. The Resurrection Vigil will be celebrated at 4:00 p.m., followed by dinner for all pilgrims in the dining hall.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 28, followed by a meal for all in the dining hall. Vespers and Matins will be celebrated at 4:00 p.m.
On Memorial Day—Monday, May 29—the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in the Monastery Church at 7:30 a.m. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., followed by a Panikhida for Veterans at All Saints Bell Tower at 12:15 p.m. The Akathistos Hymn to Saint Alexis will be celebrated in the monastery church at 1:30 p.m., while the Molieben to the Most Holy Theotokos with the Anointing of the Sick, Infirm and All Pilgrims will be celebrated at the monastery bell tower at 2:30 p.m. The pilgrimage will close with the celebration of Vespers and Matins at 4:00 p.m.
Concurrent with the Pilgrimage, the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute [PaTRAM] will hold its Second Annual Memorial Day Young Singers’ Conference at the Monastery. [See related story.] PaTRAM recently released the first recording by its Patriarch Tikhon Choir, titled “Praise the Lord, All Ye Nations.” Under the direction of Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, the 30-voice mixed choir includes vocalists and choral musicians from the US, Canada and Russia. Conference participants will sing the liturgical responses during the Pilgrimage. Detailed Conference information may be accessed on PaTRAM’s web site.
Saint Vladimir’s Seminary is pleased to announce that it recently received an unprecedented major monetary gift to support Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press [SVS Press], its renowned publishing house. The gift, made by Bronson and Kathleen Eden, will be used to establish “The Mr. and Mrs. Bronson B. T. Eden Endowment for Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press,” which will promote the educational work of the Press by providing funds for acquisitions and translations, editorial and managerial support, and marketing and other activities that further the growth and financial success of the Press.
Since its founding, the Press has been instrumental in supporting the seminary’s mission in spreading the Gospel of Christ and the teachings of the Orthodox Christian faith. Benefactor Kathleen Eden shared that she had been actively acquiring and reading SVS Press books since 1988, even before she entered the Orthodox Church, and that the seminary’s publications had had a significant influence on her. Her husband, Bronson, who fell asleep in the Lord one month following the couple’s generous gift, also was an enthusiast of the Press.
“The Edens have decided to make this major gift to increase the work of the Press and to help ensure its growth and its ability to reach new markets in fulfilling its mission,” remarked the Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Seminary President. “In so doing, they have also helped us complete one of the short-term goals of our new business model, put into place by our Board in May 2016, which is ‘to manage and grow SVS Press and its program quality.’ We express an enormous debt of gratitude to the Edens for their confidence and belief in Saint Vladimir’s Seminary to enlarge the ongoing missionary work of the Press.”
Over the years the Press has grown from a small enterprise that published and distributed its faculty’s class lectures (using a mimeograph machine) to an internationally recognized first-class academic publication house. Its volumes — including works on spirituality, Christian biography, contemporary issues in religion, Church history, doctrine, patristic studies, biblical studies, sacred arts, and even children’s books — have been translated into 16 languages, while its music and spoken word collection includes more than 15 compact disk recordings.
“I have been informed by our accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools, that our Press is the only seminary publishing house — among all the other seminaries they accredit — to earn an annual net profit without requiring a subsidy from the operations budget of its school,” Father Chad added. “Rather than requiring funds from our Seminary’s operations budget, SVS Press annually contributes to our operations budget. So, besides being a blessing to so many around the globe, SVS Press is essential to our ability to run the seminary. In fiscal year 2016, SVS Press contributed its net profit of $415,740 to the Seminary’s operations budget, and this is nothing short of amazing.
“Truly,” Father Chad ended, “God has blessed this ministry, and we are profoundly grateful to Bronson and Kathleen Eden for granting us the means not only to continue it, but also to expand it for the benefit of the seminary and to the glory of God.”
Blessing the stream on the mission’s property on the Great Feast of Theophany.
Saint Juvenaly and His Companion Mission, Wasilla, AK, recently was awarded a second-year Church Planting Grant from the Orthodox Church in America.
“It has been a great help for our mission to receive this grant,” said Archpriest Mikel Bock, Priest-in-Charge, who has been a part of other missions that started with little and has witnessed how through consistent prayer and work they were able to grow. “This grant helps relieve some of the financial worries of the priest, so that more focus can be put into the mission, and all missions have their ups and downs.”
Fr. David Rucker conducts a mission seminar at St. Juvenaly Mission.
And Saint Juvenaly’s, like all missions, has had its ups and downs, Father Mikel added.
“When Saint Juvenaly’s was planted, it was said that anyone can build a building, but building a church begins inside each and every one of us,” Father Mikel continued. “The commitment that we make to Christ is to carry the message of the Gospel to as many as we can throughout our community—this is how a church grows. This same commitment to Christ and His church is what gets us through the ups and downs that take place.”
Father Mikel is quick to add that “this commitment we make also has to be long term, because it is very easy on the downside to get discouraged. We have to remember that if we are fulfilling Christ’s will, He will provide.
Faithful receive Communion during Vesperal Liturgy on Great and Holy Saturday 2017.
“Because of seasonal work, some months’ finances are good, while others not so good, but the Planting Grant offers the ability to focus on the work of the church, which helps the church become more stable and grow,” Father Mikel continued. “Many outreach programs have been established already, but the goal is to be more prominent in aiding those who are in need, whether the sick, less fortunate, or people in prison.”
Father Mikel noted that “one of the good things about having our own building is that we are able to hold services often. Throughout the year, we celebrate services for all the major and minor feasts, as well as for many of the saints’ commemorations, which helps bring the people together more often. We are fortunate to have a stream on the back of the property, with a warm spring, which is ideal for Theophany, no matter how cold it gets.”
As with all growing mission communities, the faithful of Saint Juvenaly’s anticipate ongoing work and ministry, from the spiritual to the physical.
Faithful celebrate Holy Pascha.
“The Planting Grant enables me to be available for the building up of the community, whether it be through the celebration of services and sacraments or for counseling, visits and talks,” Father Mikel said. “We visit the men’s prison—an hour and a half drive—three to five times every month, in addition to the women’s prison. And then there are always those things that need to be done around the church. The planting Grant has been a great help, and will continue to be a help in bringing the faith to the Wasilla area.”
Do a charity bike ride this year! Mark your calendar for Saturday, 26 August 2017 and bike for Saint Andrew’s Camp. This ride is ideal for the person who has never attempted a charity bike ride. You CAN do this ride! The Ride offers 3 distances from which to choose, each on flat to rolling terrain. Overnight accommodations are available at the camp. Make the Ride part of a Weekend getaway. Reunite with an alumnus. Nearby attractions are available for family members not riding. Reach out and ask a friend to bike with you and support the Camp at the same time. Information for the Bike Ride is here >>>. Information on summer camping programs this year along with easy on-line registraion is here >>>
The New York State Deanery held its annual Appreciation Dinner for Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors on Sunday evening, 23 April 2017. Archbishop Michael expressed his gratitude to the DDBs and presented them with certificates of appreciation (Gramota) during the fellowship of an enjoyable meal in Syracuse NY.
The first-ever national study on evangelization and outreach in Orthodox parishes in the United States has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. The report "Go and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishes" explores the practices and strategies developed by some Orthodox parishes that can be viewed as "exemplary" in their missionary and outreach efforts.
On Saturday, 1 April 2017, Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY sponsored a Lenten Retreat: “The Home as a ‘Little Church.'” The day featured presentations by Dr. Mary Ford and Dr. David Ford of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. “We were inspired and enlightened by the insights and perspectives presented,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector). “It was an incredible joy to have these two gifted professors, who exhibit genuine humility and living faith, in our midst.” Parishioners were delighted to have David and Mary also join them for the Divine Liturgy the following day.