“Father Thomas especially wanted the History volume to include questions because it is the longest one and is the most thoroughly revised and expanded, through his efforts and those of Dr. David C. Ford of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary,” said Matushka Valerie Zahirsky, DCE Chairperson. “The volume offers a great deal of material, and questions can help readers review and mentally organize the information it presents.”
DCE members have developed 109 questions for the 20-chapter volume, which spans the Church’s history from the first to the 20th and into the 21st centuries. Each question is keyed to the text’s page numbers, while answers are provided in a separate document.
“Several answers also offer points for reflection, to take the reader a little deeper into the facts presented in the book,” Matushka Valerie added. “For example, an answer to a question in the first chapter dispels the false notion that the early Christians were attracted to the new faith because they were all poor, desperate people who therefore welcomed Christianity’s ‘pie in the sky’ promises.
“The questions and answers can be used as a review of each chapter, but they might also give members of a reading group things to look for before they begin a chapter,” said Matushka Valerie. “For example, a group leader might ask members reading about the third and fourth centuries to find three ways in which baptism today is like baptism in that early period, or to describe how what we know as the ‘weekend’ came about. In reading about the 20th century, they might be asked to identify the most thoroughly Orthodox nation in the world, to find out what was notable about Archbishop John, a former head of the Orthodox Church in Finland, or to name the language in which Archbishop Theophan Noli celebrated the Liturgy for the first time anywhere in the world.”
The resources also may be used in conjunction with other materials available from the DCE.
“For example, a question about the 18th century refers to the respect with which the missionaries to Alaska treated the indigenous people and their customs,” Matushka Valerie explained. “Readers can find out more about this in the DCE’s activity book, Saints of North America and also by using the captioned life icons and life stories of three of these missionary saints. Similarly, a question about the 20th century refers to Saint Nicholas, the Enlightener of Japan, about whom readers can find an informative account of his life, a photograph and a map of his travels in the DCE’s activity book, Saints Commemorated in the Litiya Prayers.”
Similar study guides are being prepared by DCE staff members for the series’ other three volumes.
The annual meeting of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center’s [OCMC] Board of Directors was held here May 9-10, 2016. Board members from across the country attended the meeting. Also present were participants on an OCMC short-term healthcare team who were preparing to serve in Indonesia. Board members participated in the commissioning prayer for the team, which will be using their professional skills to minister at the RSU Theotokos Hospital in Medan.
The Board welcomed two new members during the meeting, Armin Brown of Cypress, CA from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North Americae and Frank Catrickes of Boston, MA from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Also recognized were members of the Executive Committee whose terms are ending, especially the officers—Priest George Liacopulos, President; John Colis, Vice President; William Birchfield III, Treasurer; and Dr. Gayle Woloschak, Secretary. A new slate of officers will be voted upon and installed this summer.
“We appreciate the work that has been done and will continue to be done through the support of those participating in the work carried out through the OCMC Board,” stated Priest Martin Ritsi, OCMC Executive Director.
The Board received a positive report on the organization’s financial health. A report from OCMC’s independent outside auditor announced that the agency received a clean audit on its 2015 financials.
A large part of the meeting involved reviewing OCMC’s new three-year strategic plan. Father Martin led the Board in looking at the vision and mission of OCMC for the next three years and beyond. He mentioned the three core focus areas that drive mission efforts, which include bringing non-Christians to Christ, helping to establish the Church in places where it is newly emerging or re-emerging, and encouraging self-support for the programs and parishes that have been started in the mission field. These focus areas work toward OCMC’s overlying vision “to bring all people to know the saving love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The OCMC Staff and Board, along with His Grace, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, retired Executive Director, enjoyed a dinner together on the evening of May 10, during which Indonesia Healthcare Team Leader Dr. Cheryl Johnson gave a presentation about her journey to Orthodoxy and how missions had been an integral part of that journey. Presentations such as Cheryl’s bring to life the work of OCMC in a way that makes it tangible and relevant for those who hear it. OCMC thanks God for the continued opportunity to make disciples of all nations through His grace and provision.
Focusing on foreign missions, OCMC is a pan-Orthodox agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. Its Board includes members of several jurisdictions, including the Orthodox Church in America. Currently, several OCA clergy and laity serve as OCMC missionaries, following the lead of many who have served on mission teams during OCMC’s three decades of ministry. Visit OCMC’s web site for a wealth of information on the agency’s ministries around the world.
Seasoned and recently ordained Orthodox Christian priests may want to take advantage of grant awards being offered by the Louisville Institute.
The awards offer pastoral leaders the opportunity and resources to investigate issues related to Christian life, faith, and ministry. Through its Pastoral Study Project program [PSP], the Institute enables pastoral leaders to bracket daily work routines in order to pursue a pressing and significant question for the life of faith.
The Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Seminary supporting those who lead and study North American religious institutions. The fundamental mission of the Louisville Institute is to enrich the religious life of North American Christians.
Grants of up to $15,000.00 will be awarded to support independent or collaborative study projects that privilege pastoral perspectives and rhythms and honor grassroots research conducted by skilled clergy. PSP grantees may use a variety of platforms to share what they learn with a wider audience, extending their leadership in ways that can benefit the broader Church and culture in North America.
The program is open to clergy, Church staff members, chaplains, denominational staff, and others regularly employed in recognized positions of pastoral leadership, ordained and lay, as well as ordained ministers who are not currently employed by a religious organization. The PSP grant is restricted to pastoral leaders in the United States and Canada.