UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Family Fest 2015
Submitted by Chris Mills
Photos by Ethan Nixon and Becky Mills
Family Fest at All Saints Camp this past Labor Day weekend was AMAZING! There were families and friends from near and far for a weekend full of fellowship, fun and relaxation! We had close to 100 people join us throughout the weekend for the various activities or just to say “Hello!” It was great to see old faces and new faces during the weekend!
We were honored to have His Eminence Metropolitan Antony celebrate Divine Liturgy with us on Sunday and bless the new bell tower adjacent to St. Thomas Chapel. Metropolitan Antony was joined in the Divine Liturgy Celebration by Fr. John Haluszczak and Deacon James Cairns and several Seminarians. The bell tower was constructed by several volunteers over the past year and will be able to bring us all together when services are about to begin. We thank the many individuals involved, in one way or another, to make sure the bell tower became a reality.
You might say the weekend started off with a roar, when an unexpected rain storm arrived Friday evening. However, now we know how nice it is to eat a perogie dinner by candle light in the Dining Hall! Even though the storm provided everyone with some challenges, the attendees took it all in stride and carried on with lively conversation throughout the evening.
Saturday morning after Prayers and breakfast, we all headed down to the field for the Annual “Family Fest Kickball Game”. While the teams tried to outdo each other, the game ended in a tie. The amount of fun had by young and old or players and cheerleaders, was great! The afternoon allowed for free time, swimming or sports. Before Vespers on Saturday, a workshop “Sing to the Lord a New Song” was conducted by Carol Haluszczak. After vespers and dinner, everyone gathered in the dining hall for our second of four weekend workshops. Josh Oryhon presented his workshop entitled “Sharing the Light Online”. He informed those in attendance of the various social media outlets currently being used by the Church, UOCofUSA, for publicizing and getting the “Word” out to everyone. Josh helped explain the use of “#”, hashtag usage and how it can help in providing information on various church events and happenings.
After brunch on Sunday, a presentation was held at the Pavilion by Cathy Bucharew “ “. She spoke about her mission trips to Albania and Ukraine and provided a picture presentation as well. After an afternoon of swimming, relaxation and socializing, the last workshop was presented at the porch of St. Thomas Chapel, prior to the Memorial Service. Stephen Haluszczak provided a discussion on “Ukrainians in Western PA” along with some fascinating pictures for everyone to view. After the Memorial Service, the “Famous” Family Fest guests were able to walk the red carpet to their “famous family” table for a wonderful meal at the pavilion. Fr. Deacon Jim provided the main meal with his “famous” grilled chicken. With the theme of the evening being “Famous Families”, everyone was treated to several family trivia games during the evening conducted by Natalie Kapeluck Nixon. It was fun to see “who knew” the answers! Cake, chocolate chip cookie cakes, one of the favorite ASC desserts from the summer, Fruity Brownie Pizza topped off the meal as desserts.
After breakfast on Monday and announcing the winner of the “how much candy in the jar” and the drawing of the ASC Summer Raffle, families cleaned up, packed and said so long until next year!
Family Fest this year provided some unusual challenges in getting the weekend planned and executed. What made Family Fest so amazing this year, was how everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, pitched in and helped in some fashion before, during and after the weekend. It truly was a “FAMILY FEST AFFAIR”. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart, and I am eagerly planning and awaiting Family Fest 2016!