High School Mision Team Returns Home!

Consistory Offices of Youth & Young Adult Ministry


Three teenage high school students took part in a missionary trip to St. John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto, Canada.  There were originally four students, however one was taken ill and unable to participate.  St. John's Mission provides meals, counseling, and job apprentice training to the homeless and those in hardship in inner city Toronto. The Team Members came from our UOC parishes in Parma, Ohio, Wilmington, DE, and Maplewood, NJ.  The Team was led by Consistory Office of Youth  & Young Adult Ministry Director, Natalie Kapeluck Nixon and her husband Ethan Nixon.

St. John Mission is an Apostolate of the Carpatho-Russian Archdiocese under Metropoitan Nicholas.  The Mission is run by Fr. Roberto Ubertino with the aid of a wonderful staff of individuals.  The Mission Team was coordinated on-site by Edmund Mucha.  The purpose of St. John's is to be and to build an inclusive community through the gifts and the needs that each of us brings. This Community of Love is a place of healing and nourishment occurring through awakening the God-given dignity and value of each person, while responding to each person's needs.

During their time of volunteerism, the Team Members performed many needed physical improvements to the mission building such as painting.  The Mission is open five days a week during the summer and six during the winter months. The Team Members helped to serve and prepare meals for those who frequent the mission.  St. John's Mission also has attached to it a bakery and thrift store.  The bakery provides apprenticeship opportunities for those who come to the mission seeking more than just a meal.  They are given the opportunity to learn a skill.

The Parish of St.Shilouan is also attached to the mission.  Services are provided daily at the mission parish.  St. Shilouan's and St. John's follow the Orthodox "new" calendar or Gregorian Calendar.  The Team was able to celebrate the Feast of the Dormition with the parish and was asked to sing during the services.

Six days of the trip are dedicated to volunteerism at the site and the final day at the location is a day off for the team.  Local Ukrainian Orthodox youth from SYMK(an organization similar to our Jr Ukrainian Orthodox League) along with some friends who attend our programs at All Saints Camp gave our Team Members a "taste of Toronto" and a relaxing home cooked dinner.  Our Canadian brothers and sisters in Christ were like guardian angels to the Team in many ways during the week and the Team was very grateful.

When asked if the trip had met their expectations, a Team Member replied, "This trip far exceeded anything I expected.  It has changed me forever."

You can learn more about St. John the Compassionate Mission by going to their website at www.stjohnsmission.org.

Articles about this trip written by the team members as well as photos of the trip maybe seen at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church website www.uocofusa.org beginning August 29, 2008.

This trip is sponsored by the Consistory Offices of Youth & Young Adult Ministry and Christian Charity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.  For more information about future trips contact 412-488-9664 or uocyouth@aol.com.

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