Archive | The Church Beyond Our Parish RSS feed for this section

Annual Orthodox Education Day to Honor Service Men and Women

YONKERS [via] – On Saturday, October 1, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary here will honor military chaplains and service personnel at its annual open house, Orthodox Education Day.  Activities will center on this year’s theme, “For God and Country” and will feature several liturgical services (including a memorial for departed veterans), ethnic food, discussion panels, and military-related exhibits courtesy of St. Tikhon’s Monastery Museum. Admission to the grounds and all activities is free.

The Rev. Dr. Philip LeMasters will deliver the key-note address, “Orthodox Perspectives on Peace, War, and Violence” and US Army chaplain trainer Dr. Stephen Muse will lead a workshop exploring the emotional, physical, and psychological support we can offer veterans and their families.

For more information, visit the St. Vladimir’s website.

Meteorologists Fail to Explain Descending Cloud on Place of the Lord’s Transfiguration

ISRAEL [via Interfax] – Science cannot explain a mystery of a cloud that every year descends on the Mount Tabor where, according to the Bible, the Transfiguration of the Lord took place.

According to Sergey Mirov, a participant in the research organized by the working group on miraculous signs at the Synodal Theological Commission, Russian and Israeli meteorologists concluded that fog cannot be generated in such dry air and temperature.

Mirov stressed that the “descending of the blessed cloud” takes place only in the territory of the Orthodox monastery. He said that during the Feast of the Transfiguration, the cloud appears above the cross of the church. It then grows and descends on believers, covering them and pouring life-giving moisture over them.

Mirov’s group also examined the Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem with the help of modern, highly accurate equipment. The lead scientist, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences academician Pavel Florensky, found that the appearance of fire there is accompanied with a “powerful piezoelectrical phenomenon” similar to those that take place during thunderstorms. But since no storm was present at the time, “this event can be considered miraculous,” he believes.

Russia Gets Ready to Slap Warning Labels on Abortion Ads

MOSCOW [via] – The Russian Federation is poised to enact a new law requiring abortion advertisements to include warnings explaining the associated health risks. Once passed, President Dmitry Medvedev will likely sign the bill.

Pro-life legislation rolling back Russia’s abortion culture (as many as 6 million abortions occur annually here) has been strongly championed by the Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged the government to make “preservation of pregnancy a priority task for the doctor” and discourage incentives for abortion. He also advocated state support for pro-motherhood media campaigns and crisis pregnancy centers.

Agape Grants to Assist Ministries In Eight Countries This Year

Money collected from OCMC Agape Canisters are being used to support a number of Philanthropic initiatives of the Church abroad like medicines for the medical Mission Team to Uganda. (Photo credit:

UGANDA – Missionaries now have effective malaria medicine to prescribe to more than 4,000 people here because of a 2011 grant provided by the Agape Canister Program, an outreach of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).

So far in 2011, this philanthropic and development outreach program has assisted nine projects in eight countries. Nearly 200 active partners, including Holy Trinity, oversee approximately 1,000 plastic canisters placed in offices, restaurants, parishes, and businesses throughout the United States and Canada. You can contribute by placing your spare change in the canister located in the Parish Hall.


OCA Bishop of N.Y. and N.J. Affirms Sanctity of Marriage

His Grace Bishop Michael of New York and New JerseyNEW YORK, NY – On June 24, the same day public officials redefined the meaning of marriage to include unions between same-gendered persons, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey issued a statement on the sanctity of marriage.

Repeating the affirmations of marriage, family, sexuality, and the sanctity of life adopted by the Orthodox Church in America’s (OCA) Holy Synod of Bishops in 1992 and echoed by all the canonical bishops of North America (SCOBA) in 2003, his archpastoral letter states, “As children of God, we are called to conform our sexual behavior to the commandments of Christ. As Christians, whether single or married, we are called to a life of chastity, pleasing to the Lord. This means struggling against those passions that incline us to “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)—fornication, homosexual activity, or adultery…

“No matter what the prevailing pressure of the culture or the legislation of the state may proclaim, the timeless teaching of the Church echoes the rule of marriage revealed to us by the Lord, written in the Scripture, and re-affirmed by the wisdom and examples of the Saints. Gay marriage or any other unblessed sexual activity is not the love that the Lord extols…

“Let us bear witness to the truth taught by Our Lord and lived by His Saints, in our daily conversations with our families, our fellow Christians, our neighbors and co-workers. Let us teach the Orthodox Christian vision of marriage, as a path to salvation shared by husband and wife… Let us join in prayer that the people of faith across the states of New York and New Jersey will continue to stand fast in the divinely revealed truth of what marriage means. And let us by our example witness to the life of chastity to which every human person, made in the image and likeness of God, is called.”

You can view the full text of His Grace’s letter here.

Water Brought to Remote Village through Mission Efforts

LOUPWALA, NORTHERN KENYA [] – Without a reliable source of water, the Turkana people here once fought to survive. Thanks to its generous donors, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center announced last month the completion of a borehole water well that will provide the people of Loupwala with water for years to come. In nearby Lodwar, ocmc funds also supported the completion of a church and will support the operations of a primary school located on that church property.

You can view video of the Mission Center’s work in Northern Kenya here.

[youtube VvtHcLydf-8]

Summit to Offer Practical Insight on Inner-City Ministry

COLUMBUS, OH – St. Gregory of Nyssa Orthodox Church will hold a two-day interactive conference here on July 26-27 for anyone interested in learning how to minister to those struggling in urban and suburban settings. Through speakers, workshops, and open discussions, the summit will explore the challenges faced by social outreaches today. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in the host parish’s community meal program and interact with individuals who have “hands-on experience” bringing the Light of Christ to those in need beyond the walls of their churches. The $75 cost covers all materials, lunches and an evening meal.

An Ascension Greeting from OCMC

The staff, board, missionaries, and volunteers of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) pray that you have a blessed Ascension Feast this Thursday, June 2. View Calendar of Services

On this day we have a great opportunity to consider our response to Christ’s last words prior to His Ascension, which were to “go and make disciples of all nations.” OCMC stands ready to help you answer your call to share the Orthodox Faith so that the whole world may know hope and salvation in Jesus Christ.

For more information on exploring a call to serve in the mission field, please contact Fr. John. You can also explore all that OCMC has to offer by visiting the Orthodox Christian Mission Center homepage.

Congratulations, Graduates

Join us in celebrating the achievements of our graduates this month. Nicholas Reeves will receive a Doctorate in Music Ed. from the Manhattan School of Music and Willis (Mark) Mwangola will receive a Masters degree from Penn State. Also graduating from Penn State with a Bachelor’s degree are Lara Haluszczak, Marina Johnson, Samuel Leathers, Stasia Roberts, and Shane Stevens. Many years!


My First Update

by OCMC Missionary Candidate Maria Roeber

Kristo amefufuka!  Christ is risen!

Photo credit: ocmc.orgI am writing to you from Denver, where I am currently doing a week of language training (learning Kiswahili!) before my departure to Tanzania at the end of this month!

It has been a long process; but thanks be to God, with your help, I have built a fantastic support team and am fully funded/pledged for two years of missionary service as a nurse in Bukoba, Tanzania!

My last day of work was April 1, and since then I have been to Florida for my pre-field training at OCMC headquarters, packed up and moved out of my apartment in DC, and enjoyed Holy Week and Pascha at home in State College, PA with my parents. For Bright Week I travelled out to Calistoga, CA to visit my sister at Holy Assumption Monastery, and then to the LA area to visit with my brother. I also had the opportunity to visit Saint Barbara’s monastery while staying in Santa Paula. Following this week in Denver, I will return to State College for a few days. Then, I will be in Kansas City to attend a medical missions conference for short and long term missionaries. This leads me to my next big announcement…

On Sunday, May 22 at 5 p.m., I will be officially commissioned as a long-term missionary with OCMC! If you are in the DC area (or are willing to travel) I invite you to attend Great Vespers at St. Sophia’s Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, DC. The commissioning will follow the Vespers service, and will be held in conjunction with the annual DC area OCMC benefit banquet.

If you would like to attend the banquet, information is available on the OCMC website. You don’t have to attend the benefit to come and pray with and for me, though! I would love to see all of you before I leave!

I’m so grateful to all of you who have been praying for me, and to those of you who are pledging to support me or have donated to help send me to Africa! I am so eager to finally be on my way and to begin sharing Christ’s love and salvation with people in Africa! It’s also very exciting to know that soon I will be using my skills as a nurse to minister to the physical needs of people in Bukoba and in the surrounding areas. I can’t wait to start sharing the details with all of you!

May you enjoy a blessed Paschal (Easter) season, and please be in touch! I hope to see as many of you as possible in DC on May 22!

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :