On September 14, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty of St. Vladimir’s Seminary will bestow a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, on His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, at an Academic Convocation beginning at 7 p.m. St. Vladimir’s will also award an honorary degree to His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Metropolitan Tikhon serves as President of the Seminary and Chair of its Board of Trustees, and Metropolitan Joseph serves as Vice Chair of the Board. The event is open to the public and will be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building.
Immediately following the Convocation, the third annual Father John Meyendorff Memorial Lecture will be presented by Dr. Predrag Matejic, associate professor at Ohio State University’s Center for Slavic and East European Studies.
Brett McKey with Frs. Timothy and Peter and fellow CPE residents.
At the close of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 9, 2015, the clergy and faithful of Saint Basil the Great Mission celebrated a special service commissioning Brett McKey, as an Institutional Chaplain. Priests Peter Robichau and Timothy Yates led the service, which was attended by Brett’s family and friends and fellow chaplain residents from the local hospital where he has been serving this past year.
“At the beginning of August, Brett completed a rigorous, 12-month training in hospital chaplaincy at Wilmington’s New Hanover Regional Medical Center,” said Father Timothy. “He now begins an upper-level chaplaincy program at Pacific Health Ministry, Honolulu, HI, where he will specialize in the pastoral care of patients with chronic, non-curable diseases in the branch of medicine known as Palliative Care.
Brett explained to the parish that CPE is a process of living out one’s theology by which Orthodox Christian chaplains bring the strength of the Church’s tradition to assist very diverse populations, seeing the image of God in each person they encounter.
“Orthodox Christian chaplains can share the light of Christ with others currently experiencing a period of darkness, or even hell,” he said. “As Christ descended into hell to break the bonds of hell and death and grant life, so too can Orthodox Christians enter into these spaces of darkness, death, and hell that others are experiencing, and bring light, life, and healing.”
Chaplaincy and CPE are not limited to ordained ministers. Brett shared that chaplaincy training “challenges spiritual caregivers to expand their own sense of compassion for others and can be very beneficial to both ordained clergy and laypersons alike.”
A North Carolina native, Brett received a Master of Divinity degree in 2009 from Duke Divinity School, where he worked for several years thereafter as a theological writing tutor, research assistant, and preceptor. While at Duke, he became acquainted with the Orthodox Church through the study of Church history and courses he had taken with Priest Edward Rommen, Adjunct Professor at Duke and Rector of the OCA’s Holy Transfiguration Church, Raleigh, NC. Brett was received into the Orthodox Church in 2009 and has led Bible studies and, during the past year has served choir director at Saint Basil’s.
“Brett has been a model of service in the name of Christ, in both the parish and hospital,” said Father Peter. “He ministers through music by directing our choir and he ministers to the sick and their families by listening and being a healing presence. Both ministries have the same goal of making Christ known and visible in a world that needs this desperately.”
“Just a few weeks ago, the 18th All-American Council focused our attention on expanding the mission our Lord has given to His Church,” added Father Timothy, “and one of the growing areas of ministry is chaplaincy, whether in the military or in hospitals and prisons. It provides a unique setting for meeting and supporting the spiritual needs of a very diverse group of people, most of whom are not Orthodox Christians, but all of whom may benefit from the pastoral care of well-trained chaplains. That’s a mission we definitely need to expand!”
The Carolinas’ “home missionaries” complete their work!
“When we think of mission and ministry we often think of traveling to Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, or some far flung destination,” said Archpriest William Mills of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Church, Charlotte, NC. “The Church needs international missions, even as the Apostle Paul cared for the new Christian communities in far away Rome while tending the flock in Jerusalem. For us today things are not much different. There is plenty of ministry and missionary work right here, “at home!”
Father William’s words were “put into action” as seven members of his parish traveled to Columbia, SC to help the faithful of Holy Apostles Church renovate their parish hall.
“The hall—once a warehouse for the Swisher Company—is used all the time by such diverse groups as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and even a group of Irish dancers,” said Archpriest Thomas Moore, Holy Apostles’ Rector. “We plan to use the space for our coffee fellowship, but it needed a face lift—and with the help of the Nativity team, it got a complete overall!”
According to Father William, the Nativity team coordinated and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with several Holy Apostles parishioners. They began each work day at 7:00 a.m., working in 95 degree-plus heat until around 7:30 p.m. In addition to new duct work, a drop ceiling, two sets of double doors and a new walkway were installed, while a kitchen area also was framed. The work was done under the supervision of Sam Salloum, a contractor and a long-time member of Nativity.
“The project born two years ago when Nativity’s Saint Raphael Prayer Group made an intentional decision to take on this type of construction ministry,” Father William explained. “Our first trip was to Saint Nicholas Church, Kenosha, WI, where we designed and built a 100-foot ramp for the parish. The basic concept of our construction ministry is that our parish provides all of the labor, travel costs, and food to and from the work site, while the host parish donates all of the supplies. A generous grant from a Nativity parishioner has allowed us to engage in this type of ministry.”
In addition to delighting in the visible fruits of their labors, the Nativity team has discovered invisible yet equally blessed results of their ministry, including fellowship among team members, working with the parishioners from Holy Apostles, and the benefit of knowing that we helped make something which seemed impossible, possible.
“The other day someone asked me how our parish did all of this work,” said Father William. “I said, ‘Well, it’s actually easy. We have eight other ministries and this is our ninth—ministry gives birth to new ministry.”
Releasing balloons during last year’s National Red Ribbon Week.
Chicago’s Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth [OCCHY] recently announced that it will spearhead the National Red Ribbon Week youth campaign, aimed at raising awareness against the use of drugs and related substances, October 23-31, 2015.
“This year’s theme is ‘Respect Yourself,” said Gordana Trbuhovich, OCCHY’s Project Coordinator. “As in the past, OCCHY will supply Chicago-area parishes and schools with free resources to help them in recognizing this year’s campaign.”
In 2014, OCCHY distributed resources to 80 Orthodox Christian parishes throughout the greater Chicago region at a cost of over $3,500.00.
“This year, our grant allows us to spend $4,500.00,” Ms. Trubuhovich explained. “Unless otherwise requested, OCCHY will provide each parish with 50 balloons, 50 pencil sharpeners and 50 ribbons to mark the week-long campaign.”
OCCHY is a pan-Orthodox ministry that operates under a five-year Drug Free Community grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the federal government. OCCHY is the first Orthodox Christian faith-based organization to receive this federal grant.
In 2014, Priest David C. Rucker, with the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and initial financial support from the Orthodox Christian Mission Center [OCMC], began teaching at Saint Herman’s Seminary, Kodiak, AK.
“During this past year, Father David and Matushka Rozanne have been teaching classes, mentoring students, hosting informal gatherings, and offering pastoral care and counseling,” said His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska recently. “Through all of this, and through their personal example as joyful servants of Christ, they are helping to rekindle the Church’s missionary vision.
“Many helped bring the Ruckers as OCMC missionaries to the seminary,” Bishop David continued. “Their work is critical and vital to the future of the Diocese of Alaska, especially in light of the daunting challenges faced by our native Alaskan Church leaders as they minister to people dealing with family chaos, addictions, suicide, abuse, cultural disintegration and economic hardships. I would be most grateful for any financial support through monthly pledges to support their ministry of ‘making disciples of all nations.’”
The Ruckers have had years of experience in the mission field—from South America to China to Kentucky to Guatemala and, today, Alaska. While Father David completed doctoral studies in Missiology and served as OCMC’s Associate Director from 2006 until 2013, Matushka Rozanne holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Father David also was an instructor at the OCA’s first Mission School in Detroit, MI in the spring of 2015. The couple has spoken at many parishes and conferences across the USA.
Donations to support the Ruckers’ ongoing ministry at Saint Herman’s Seminary and beyond may be made on-line through OCMC or by mail to OCMC, 220 Mason Manatee Way, Saint Augustine, FL 32086.
Archpriest Jacob and Matushka Sharon Kulp were honored on Sunday, August 16, 2015, as they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a Service of Thanksgiving at Saint Timothy Church, Toccoa, GA, where Father Jacob serves as Rector. Joining the parish’s faithful for the celebration were Archpriest Marcus C. Burch, Chancellor of the Diocese of the South, and Archpriest Thomas Moore, Dean of the Carolinas Deanery. All of the Kulps’ children and grandchildren were also present to wish them “many years!”
SANTA FE, NM [OCA-Youth]
Archimandrite Gerasim, Dean of Saint Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX and Administrator of the Diocese of the South of the Orthodox Church in America, will be the keynote speaker at a pan-Orthodox retreat for young professionals here October 16-18, 2015.
Sponsored by Holy Trinity Antiochian Orthodox Church, Santa Fe, NM, the retreat will have as its theme “Sanctifying Time and Space: Privilege and Responsibility as an Orthodox Young Professional.”
“As Americans, as young professionals, and as Orthodox Christians, we are called to hold fast to our Faith against the oppositions of our culture and to do whatever good is within our calling and capacity,” reads a release posted on the web site of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. “To fulfill these roles, we need the support of genuine relationship and connection with fellow Christians. The influence of Orthodox Christianity on local, national, and global culture begins—as it always has—with mutual prayer and encouragement. Our hope is that we will return to our home parishes better prepared to redeem the time given to us.”
Matushka Constantina Palmer, author of The Scent of Holiness: Lessons from a Women’s Monastery and wife of Priest John Palmer of the OCA’s Holy Lady of Vladimir Mission Station, Saint John’s, Newfoundland, will deliver the welcome address.
“We’re delighted to see a grassroots effort emerge to bring our Orthodox young professionals together for education and fellowship,” said Andrew Boyd, who chairs the OCA’s Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry. “Hopefully they will in turn be strengthened in their witness to Christ’s Gospel in their communities and workplaces.
Participants from parishes of the Orthodox Church in America may apply for grant assistance through the Peter the Aleut Grant Program.
In addition to the presentations and breakout sessions, the retreat also will offer activities including a fall color hike in Santa Fe National Forest, a visit to historic downtown Santa Fe, evening activities and worship at Holy Trinity Church.
Source: OCA Bulletin