UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY
Youth Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America Meets!
The Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its semi-annual meeting on January 24th and 25th, 2012. The meeting convened at the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center, Bolivar, PA, in conjunction with the Committee for Youth’s Consultants Meeting. The Committee for Youth, consists of Bishop Thomas (Chairman of the Committee for Youth), Metropolitan Alexios, Bishop Irineu, Father Joseph Purpura (facilitator), and, Constantin Ursache (liaison to the secretariat). Twenty-two additional diocesan and national youth leaders contribute as consultants to the Committee for Youth.
The Consultants to the Committee for Youth have met at two previous meetings, Antiochian Village in the Spring of 2011 and at the Diakonia Center in Salem, South Carolina October 19-24, 2011. These early meetings utilized the Terms of Reverence provided to the Committee as outlined by the Assembly of Bishops to create beginning initiatives from which the Committee may begin furthering its work.
The consultants present at the January meeting were asked to expand upon the initial initiatives. Through small group breakout sessions, each initiative was assessed as to how it could be realistically and effectively accomplished. Following these small group breakouts, the group convened as a whole to discuss and share ideas. As a result of these small group breakout sessions, several new sub-committees were formed with the intention of continuing their work over the next several months electronically and telephonically.
At the end of the Consultants meeting, the group as a whole made a number of recommendations to the Bishops of the Committee based upon the Terms of Reference. The Committee acted upon those recommendations during their Committee Meeting, and was grateful to all of the consultants for their unyielding support and dedication to this most important work.
Immediately following these two important gatherings was the 2012 Inter-Orthodox Christian Camp, Youth Worker & OCF Chaplain Conference exploring the theme of Presenting the Message of the Gospel to Today's Youth. The highlight of the conference was the keynote address entitled "Sharing a Living Faith" by Fr. Bogdan Bucur, Assistant Professor at Duquesne University and pastor of Anthony’s in Butler, PA.
The conference was divided into three tracts of study: Youth Work, Orthodox Camping, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship/Campus Ministry. Each tract provided several workshops focusing on such topics as bullying, best serving special needs campers and effective campus ministry.
In addition to the keynote address and workshops, participants had the opportunity during meals, and free time to congregate and socialize with fellow Orthodox youth workers. All joined together for daily Vespers and Orthros, and celebrated in the Divine Liturgy with His Grace Bishop Thomas.
Over 70 youth workers from across North America attended the conference. The participants were able to take home with them with a renewed spirit of agape, cooperation and joy of community. The conference is sponsored by the various jurisdictional youth departments and the Orthodox Christian Camp Association (OCCA). The 2012 conference was generously hosted by the Antiochian Archdiocese’s Department of Youth and Parish Ministries and the Department of Camping.
The 2013 Orthodox Christian Camp, Youth Worker and OCF Chaplain Conference will be hosted by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.