A Call to Support Campus Ministries|
|In this tough economy, many non-profits and ministries are suffering. However, this cause is too important, the progress too great to let this blessed campus ministry fall by the wayside. |
Please help OCF keep our students connected to Christ and His Church in these trying times. Please give what you can.
|College Conference 2008: A Revolution of Love|
|On December 27-31, 2008, Orthodox College students will gather for a time of fellowship and spiritual renewal at OCF's annual College Conference. This year, College Conferences will be held in three locations: The Antiochian Village (Pennsylvania), St. Nicholas Ranch (California), and the College Conference's newest location, the Diakonia Center (South Carolina). |
Every year, the College Conference is based on a particular theme. For College Conference 2008, the theme is "A Revolution of Love," which will focus primarily on issues of social justice. The keynote speakers include OCF Executive Director, Fr. Kevin Scherer; IOCC Development Director, Mr. Dan Christopulos; and the President of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, Fr. Nick Triantofilou.
Jordan Henderson, OCF's Service Learning Director, said this topic of social justice was chosen because "it is integral to our Orthodox Christian faith and because we don't believe this topic is receiving enough attention throughout the Church today."
So why should social justice be important to us now? Jordan said he believes that social justice is an issue that stems directly from our love for God and for our neighbor. As such, it is one of the many focuses that should be a concern as we strive to follow Christ's example.
"When we learn of the hundreds of thousands of women and children trafficked as slaves around the world; when we hear about the many children in Uganda, Somalia, and other African countries who are routinely stolen from their families and forced to become soldiers; when we see the many thousands of homeless men, women, and children in this country who sleep on the street each night; or when we learn about so many throughout the world who have been displace due to war and genocide, our love for God and our neighbor compels us to address these situations," Jordan observed.
As Orthodox College students look forward to gathering with friends, attending church services, and hearing a variety of wonderful speakers, they can also anticipate a subject that is crucial and relevant in our world today. Please pray for the safe travel of those attending the College Conference and for a spiritually rewarding experience for everyone involved. Christ did not give us a spirit of indifference but a spirit of love and compassion. May the "Revolution of Love" truly be a fruitful one.
|New OCF House: A Home Away from Home|
|When Archbishop Demetrios inspired all Orthodox Christians to "Gather my people to my home" at last July's national Clergy-Laity Congress in Washington, D.C. OCF students at Northern Illinois University (NIU) took him literally. On August 1, they rented an inviting six-bedroom home a half block from their campus, and established their OCF House. They are a new chapter, founded last fall under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Christos Webb. But their journey has already been courageous.|
On February 14, 2008, they experienced an unprecedented event at NIU. A troubled former student opened fire in a lecture hall. One of the 22 wounded was Orthodox. OCF members and advisors rallied around him, and he inspired everyone with his quiet strength. Fr. Kevin Scherer, Executive Director of OCF, assisted by Deacon Raphael, came to campus in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and provided trauma-recovery services to OCF students. Along with Fr. Christos Webb, they held a memorial service on campus for the six slain students.
In April, the national OCF again offered a healing springtime connection to NIU's sister chapter at Virginia Tech. Two NIU students joined VT's OCF chapter for one-year memorial observances held on their campus. Fr. Kevin has promised to return to NIU in 2009, but this time, he and OCF students from all campuses will be coming "home."
More than ever, college students need a place of refuge and Christian fellowship, a peaceful home away from home. From the events that the NIU OCF has hosted this fall at their new house, it appears that faculty members, alumni, and Orthodox Christians in the Dekalb community need the same. Whether relaxing by the fireplace in the book-lined living room that now serves as an Orthodox bookstore and library with the generous support of Conciliar Press, or cooking chili together in the showplace kitchen for NIU Homecoming, Orthodox Christians and many guests from around the world have gathered at the NIU OCF House in Christ's name. At present, five students live there.
By January 1, 2008, supporters hope to raise $10,000 to make a down payment toward purchase of the NIU OCF House. The first $1,000 is in hand. If you would like to donate in any amount, please mail your check made out to OCF to 550 Northern Lane, Dekalb, IL 60115. Or better yet, come and visit!
|Christmas with the SAB|
|With Thanksgiving now behind us, the Christmas season begins and we anticipate the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord. In light of all the wonderful experiences that come during this time of the year, the members of the SAB (Student Advisory Board) were asked the question: "What is your favorite thing about the Christmas season?" Several of them shared their thoughts and traditions:
Erin Bernard (Regional Rep. - The West): "I love making a particular family recipe called holiday bread - it's a big tradition, and I make tons of it and we eat it for dessert, and sometimes breakfast! I also love Sufjan Stevens' "Songs for Christmas," and the stop-motion Christmas movies that are always on TV."
Kat Atty (Regional Rep - PA): "My favorite thing about the Christmas season is celebrating the Nativity of our Lord at church by attending daily services, buying gifts for children in need, helping at our church's food pantry, decorating our church in preparation of the joyous holiday, and reveling in the love that people have for one another while wishing they could have that same love year round. And I love Christmas movies, especially untraditional Christmas movies!"
Nicole Jokola (Day of Prayer Program Coordinator): "My favorite thing about the Christmas season is spending time with my friends and family. Since colleges have such a long break during this time it is so nice too just relax and spend time with those who you don't always get to see. It makes you remember the important things and all of the blessings that God has given to us especially the birth of his Son! Oh, and I love to sing Christmas songs (both church and secular) and eat lots of candy canes!"
Anna Meyendorff (Real Break Assist. Coordinator): "My favorite thing about the Christmas season is undoubtedly Christmas carols. The existence of a Christmas carol radio station is utterly ingenious. Even more exciting than constantly listening to Christmas carols is singing Christmas carols with the nuns at the monastery after College Conference."
Christopher Hansard (CC South): "My favorite part of the Christmas season is gathering around the table with my family, thanking God for the food, and then digging in. I also really like hearing the Christmas story from Luke."
Nick Lionas (CC Antiochian Village): "My favorite thing about Christmas is my family coming together to celebrate the birth of Christ. I am so blessed to have a family who holds the faith dear and worships the Lord our God."
Lindsey Rapp ("Witness" Coordinator): "I'd say one of the most blessed experiences I've had and, God willing, will have the upcoming year is spending New Years Eve after East Coast College Conference at Holy Transfiguration monastery in Ellwood City, PA. We spend hours praying a singing an Akathist, having Vigil for Saint Basil, ringing the monastery bells at Midnight, and then staying in the chapel singing practically every Orthodox hymn we know. Not to mention we go to the refectory, sing Christmas Carols, and eat delicious food prepared by the nuns. The joy is just palpable."
Nadi Atalla (Regional Rep - NY/NJ): "My favorite thing about Christmas is the family gatherings, the Christmas Spirit that everyone shares, and the smile that everyone has on their face during that time of the year! Also, knowing that 2 days after Christmas is the College Conference!!!"
Stephanie Kon (Regional Rep - Northeast): "Our church's annual living crèche on Christmas Eve illustrates what I love most about Christmas. Although it always manages to be the coldest night of the year, the whole experience ends up being wonderfully joyous and exciting. People who you would never expect to stop end up standing out in the cold and singing Christmas carols with us. There is this overwhelming feeling of unified rejoicing as shop owners, people from the local bars, and all of us with wings, shepherds staffs, and sheep ears come together to celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Gabriel Otte (Website): "My favorite thing about Christmas is the joy that is so obviously evident in the children's faces when they get their presents. It is the same joy you see in anyone doing the work of God or marveling at God's creation, but during Christmas it is so much easier for us to see and remember that that joy and love should be with us always."
Nicole Saad (Regional Rep - Mountain): "My favorite parts about Christmas are the midnight Christmas Liturgy and listening to the choir, watching my siblings open up awkward presents from our relatives and pretending they love it, and knowing that finals are over and the college conference, with all my favorite friends, is coming!!!"
Anna Furry (Regional Rep - Mid-Atlantic): "Singing 'Silent Night' and countless carols with my family around the Christmas tree, pints of peppermint ice cream bursting with bright minty chips, the soothing smell of our tree wafting through the house. These are a few of my favorite things, but in the end, I most love the Liturgy of Nativity when we gather in the quiet, candle-lit church to celebrate Christ's birth, the ultimate gift of them all."
Mariam Harb (Regional Rep - the Carolinas): "My favorite thing about Christmas is the lights seen in the city, on the Christmas tree, and all along the outsides of homes. These lights seen during the Christmas season remind me of the light our Lord Jesus Christ gives to each and every one of us and how it is our job to take His light given to us and shine brightness to everyone we may meet during the holidays and everyday of the year."
Jess Precop (Regional Rep - Great Lakes): "My favorite thing about the Christmas season is being able to go around to the homes of the people in our church community and 'colinda.' Colinda translates to 'caroling' in English. It is so wonderful to be able to share the Christmas hymns and rejoice about the birth of our Lord with others!"
Amanda Rafidi (Regional Rep - South): "My favorite things about Christmas are decorating, all the pretty lights, being with my family, watching Christmas movies, and realizing it's almost time for College Conference."
Elizabeth Brown (Regional Rep - Midwest): "During Christmas time, I get to see my friends at College Conference! I spend most of my time getting excited about it."
Justin Du Bruille (Vice-Chair): "My favorite thing about the Christmas season is Christmas music. I love it."
Rebecca Phillips (Headliner Coordinator): "On Christmas day, I love lighting the white candle on the Advent wreath and knowing that Christ has come for our salvation. I also love giving presents to my friends and family."
|Regional Events, Happenings, & Important Dates|
Quotes from the Fathers
"Set your salvation on nothing else but on Christ Jesus alone, the Savior of the world. If you truly believe that He suffered and died for you and is your Savior, then love Him with all your heart, obey Him, and please Him, as your Savior, and lay and confirm all your hope of salvation on Him alone. We must unfailingly do good works as Christians, but we must ask and await salvation from Christ alone. (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk)
December 25 (January 6) - Feast of the Nativity of our Lord
Dec. 10: OCF Q&A Session with Fr. Alex Chetsas at Brandeis University (8pm)
Contact: Stephanie Kon (Stephanie.Kon@gordon.edu)
Dec. 14: OCF Christmas Coffehouse/Holiday Party 4-7pm at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston. Bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots
Contact: Stephanie Kon (Stephanie.Kon@gordon.edu)
Dec. 19: OCF Dinner in Boston and ice skating on Frog Pond (6pm)
Contact: Stephanie Kon
PROGRAM DATES & REGISTRATION
COLLEGE CONFERENCE 2008: A Revolution of Love
December 27 - December 31
The College Conference at the Antiochian Village is sold out, but spaces are still available at St. Nicholas Ranch (California) and at the Diakonia Center (South Carolina). Go to www.ocf.net
|Save the Date! - Pilgrimage for Justice
OCF will be launching a radically unconventional conference in 2009 called Pilgrimage for Justice. This conference will take place over Pentecost weekend, and will be like no other event OCF has ever hosted. We will officially begin advertising for this event at this year's College Conferences, but mark your calendars now - June 5 - 7, 2009 at the Antiochian Village will be a weekend you won't want to miss!
Stay Tuned...Other OCF Service Learning Opportunities on the Horizon!
With our hiring of Jordan Henderson as Service Learning Director, we will continue to greatly expand the service learning opportunities offered by OCF. Continue to check our website for information on Internships, Leadership Training, and a Just Love program of study to be used in local OCF chapters.
|REAL BREAK UPDATE |
Thank you for the overwhelming response! Four trips have already sold out: Greece, Jerusalem, Romania, and Constantinople.
There are spaces still available for the Real Break trips to Guatemala (1&2), El Salvador, Project Mexico (1&2), and the Dominican Republic. To register for these trips, go to www.ocf.net. Space is limited, so register soon.