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Upcoming College Retreat Discounted

It’s not too late to call Camp Nazareth and reserve a spot and it’s not too late to register to camp as a college student for this weekend-long retreat, held this weekend (May 20-22). The cost of the weekend retreat is now only $100!  Don’t miss out!

Camp Nazareth in Mercer, Pennsylvania is hosting an Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) endorsed Spring College Student Retreat from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22, 2011. There will be guest speakers, group workshops, evening social events, food, fun and plenty of opportunity for faith enrichment. The keynote addresses are being given by Rev. Jonathan Cholcher, Acting Rector of St. John the Baptist OCA Church in Warren, Ohio. In addition to the keynotes, a variety of priests and college students will be presenting and leading discussions on how we “overcome the world” in the areas of relationships, school, politics, the workplace, and in marriage and family. You do not want to miss out on this retreat. It promises to be a very rewarding event. Come to the retreat, meet other Orthodox college students, form lasting friendships, have some fun, and deepen your faith.

Join us on at our Spring College Retreat Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192735107423500

To download the Registration forms visit: www.campnazareth.org or www.acrod.org/news/releases/spring-college-conference.

A Look Back at OCF

Penn State Orthodox Christian Fellowship ministry news  Staff Advisor Becca Ziegler collected photographs of events from the past few semesters. Take a moment to view a beautiful montage reflecting back on the some of the group’s recent memorable events.

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The Journey

by Konstantin Kucheryavyy

Konstantin, pictured top-left, and fellow Penn State OCF member Jennifer McClure rebuild a collapsed rock wall for a North Carolina resident with their fellow team members.

Saint John Climacus wrote that, when a person decides to [do] a good deed, the devil puts three pits before him/her. The first pit is external circumstances that prevent the deed from being done. The second pit is concerns about personal gains when doing the deed. Finally, the third pit is a feeling of vanity when/if the deed is done… Very often I [couldn’t] even jump over the first pit.

[I] suddenly realized… I am doing so little to help people from the town I currently live in. Of course, I might always say that [it is because] I am a foreigner in this town and this country, and helping people is not my primary concern. I will not be honest, though. Even when I lived in Russia, I was not doing much to help the people around me. Of course, I had an excuse for that too… For any other argument I [had] tons of other excuses readily available.

Up until recently I felt reluctant to publicly express my Orthodox beliefs. At first I thought it was because I felt uncomfortable just in the US because people here are generally unaware of Orthodoxy. But last summer, when I travelled home, it was the same story. I felt as if I was leaving two different lives: in one life I was attending church, participating in sacraments, praying every morning and evening, keeping fasts, etc.; in the other life I was sort of concealing my religion.

Even when I was planning to go to this mission trip, I kept telling people that I am going to travel to the Appalachian Mountains just for the sake of sightseeing. Possibly, I was afraid that people would think that I am a fanatic. I was afraid to be misunderstood. Or, maybe, I was ashamed. This duality of my life was causing discomfort inside of me. The discomfort was near to unbearable when

I was recalling Mark 8:38: “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Still I could not do anything about it.

I believe that this trip helped me to overcome the fear of being misunderstood… Maybe one of the evening talks—which we were having every evening during the trip—contributed to that. I remember that at some point we were discussing problems we encountered during the day and how we were able to resolve them. The leitmotif of this discussion was the phrase “So what?”…

Konstantin attempts to teach some Russian phrases to newfound friends from the Detroit area.

So, [if] I am afraid that people will not understand or share my religious views—as a matter of fact, a lot of people do not understand [or] share my religious views—so what!? There is nothing extraordinary about this fact. Christianity has been dealing with misunderstanding from the very beginning.

If magical things can happen to me, the Appalachian Mountains mission trip was one of them. Could I ever imagine a better beginning of Great Lent: Wonderful people around me, thrilling views of Appalachian Mountains, devoted prayer, thought provoking discuss-ions, and a lot of fun and fooling around?

I was unplugged from my normal routine with all its economic models, news reports, deadlines, and rush. I was unplugged only to touch reality. The feeling of the reality was so acute, that for long periods during the trip I was able to release all those pains, silly fears, and guilt of the past and the future. Maybe that is why it was so incredibly hard to get back to “normal” life upon returning…

Truly, it takes a long trip to start noticing obvious things in one’s backyard. Thank God right now nobody is trying to torture me for my beliefs. It is my love for Christ in people which should motivate me in my public expression of my beliefs. It should be my tiny mission to show people the right way.

Sanctifying Technology in Parish Life

by Dn. Alexander Cadman

We cannot escape technology. Handheld devices give us access to more information than can be contained in any library, social networks reinvent the world and how we interact… even the simplest automobile has more computer power than the system that guided men to the moon.

Earlier this semester during our weekly OCF dinner and discussions, we explored the effects of technology on this generation and its relation-ships, noting true friendship is based on self-sacrifice and suffering with our neighbor, sharing trials until death. The all-too sanitized glimpse we get into the lives of others from Facebook, though neither “Pandora’s Box” nor “Prometheus’ Gift,” can’t provide the saving bonds we long for. We all committed to sanctify it by praying through our friend lists and status updates, and giving thanks to God for the many connections He provides.

In the parish as a whole, we are discovering new ways to bless electronic resources, like the weekly This Week email (contact the Parish Office to subscribe) and “digital” bulletin (i.e., “HTOC-TV”), video conferencing at ministry meetings, and mobile scheduling (on Fr. John’s iPhone, no less!). In April we look forward to further enhancements, including a totally redesigned holytrinity-oca.org and the transmission of audio from the amvon and Choir into the Narthex.

 

Young Adult Fellowship and OCF to Co-Host Dinner

Everyone in our community aged eighteen to thirty-something are especially invited to attend a “yummeaux” dinner of authentic Cajun cuisine this Sunday at 6 p.m. The event is a kick-off event for a new ministry initiative to bring together and address the unique needs of this demographic. The fast-friendly dinner is co-sponsored by the Penn State Orthodox Christian Fellowship and Holy Trinity’s Adult Ministries. Families with children are welcome. There’s no charge, but be sure to bring a friend!