Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Antiochian Village hosts Assembly Youth committee

I can attest to the woeful lack of coordination between jurisdictions on youth activities. Parish events, SOYO/GOYA/ACRY/etc. activities, summer camps, winter retreats, can occur just miles away from your parish under the aegis of a different jurisdiction and you will have no idea it is going on. It's a waste of resources; needless repetition, missed opportunities for getting the saving message of Christ to often poorly catechized children, overlapping summer camp dates. A strong central resource that informs priests, parents, and youth is essential.

( - The Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its semi-annual meeting on January 24th and 25th, 2012. The meeting convened at the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center, Bolivar, PA, in conjunction with the Committee for Youth’s Consultants Meeting and was followed by the annual Camp and Youth Worker Conference (January 25-28, 2012).

The Committee for Youth consists of Bishop Thomas (Chairman of the Committee for Youth), Metropolitan Alexios, Bishop Irineu, Father Joseph Purpura (facilitator), Deacon Mark O’Dell, (secretary), and Constantin Ursache (liaison to the secretariat). Twenty-two other diocesan and national youth leaders work as consultants to the Committee for Youth. The Consultants to the Committee for Youth built upon their work started at the Antiochian Village in the Spring of 2011 and expanded on at the Diakonia Center in Salem, South Carolina October 19-24, 2011. The Consultants, along with numerous youth workers from across North America, made a number of recommendations to the Bishops of the Committee and the Committee acted upon those recommendations during their Committee Meeting.

The Committee is charged with the formidable task of identifying and cataloguing all national and diocesan youth programs and services to better meet the needs of our youth. By developing models for cooperative youth activities and programs, the Committee hopes to maximize participation by our youth in the full life of the Church. One of the primary goals is to establish a comparative matrix so our youth workers can better facilitate cooperative efforts and better reach out to all the youth in our Orthodox Christian communities.

The Committee sees these efforts of creating one Orthodox Christian presence in the lives of our youth as a pathway to transforming our youth to lead their lives in service and witness to Christ. An overview of the work accomplished at the Antiochian Village meeting will be included in a soon-to-be-issued media release which will report to the Church-at-large on the work of the Assembly during the past year.

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