With Church Schools beginning during the month of September, the study guide makes an ideal “beginning of the school year” resource that not only addresses stewardship of creation, but highlights the annual September 1 “Day of Prayer for Creation” observed among Orthodox Christians world-wide since the late 1980s. A poster highlighting the day is also available for downloading.
“On September 1, 1989, the late Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I issued the first message from the Ecumenical Throne on the environment,” writes His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon in a letter being sent to all OCA parishes at the end of August 2015, in which he urges use of the study guide. “With his proclamation and the establishment of September 1, the first day of the Ecclesiastical New Year, as the Day of Prayer for the Creation, the Church again seeks to remind us, as Mary reminded Martha, of the one needful thing—life and unity with Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. In that statement, Patriarch Demetrios I reminds us that the holy fathers of the Church teach that ‘man is the prince of creation, endowed with the privilege of freedom. Being partaker simultaneously of the material and the spiritual world, he was created in order to refer creation back to the Creator, in order that the world may be saved from decay and death.’”
Metropolitan Tikhon continues by stating that “in Saint Ephrem the Syrian’s work, ‘Hymns on Paradise,’ we are given yet another guide to how we might come into that unity and life in Christ. Saint Ephrem tells us that God’s two witnesses, or pointers, are, ‘nature, through man’s use of it, [and] Scripture, through his reading it.’ “As the summer draws to a close and children go back to or away to school for the first time and begin again a new academic year and ecclesiastical year, let us, being reminded by the pointers to Christ as mentioned by Saint Ephrem, take a moment to turn to the one needful thing in praise, worship and thanksgiving for the creation and all the blessings bestowed upon us by our merciful Creator,” Metropolitan Tikhon concludes. “It is my prayer that the parishes, Sunday Schools, Youth Groups and other organizations of the Orthodox Church in America will take up this time around September 1 to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Creation.”
Video Highlights from the Diocesan Youth Rally
Video for the All-American Council
"Parish Grant Program" - 01/24/15
At the 2011 Diocesan Assembly, a "Parish Grant Initiative" was approved. Parishes in the New England Diocese can apply for financial grants to support outreach and charity programs in their communities. The diocese has budgeted up to $10,000 in grant monies to help support parishes in these efforts.
The Diocesan Grant program awarded three grants to the Southbury, Clinton, and Ansonia parishes in 2014.
Christ the Savior (Southbury) received a grantfor the third year to support and expand the Connecticut Bible Lecture Series (CBLS) which they have sponsored for several years. The mission of CBLS is to educate, inspire, and challenge participants of all backgrounds'to hear and understand the Word of God. Twice ayear, Fr. Paul Tarazi (lecturer at St. Vladimir's Seminary, Holy Cross Seminary, and Balamand, Lebanon) presents a day long course on one book of the Bible, equivalent to one of Fr. Paul's seminary classes.
St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre (Clinton) received a grant for the second year to expand the "Clinton Garden for All". The Clinton parish partners with a neighboring parish, Holy Advent, on this project. This year's Grant helped to expdnd the two acre community garden near the Holy Advent parish and increase and improve the irrigation system for the garden. All the produce is donated to the local Food Pantry. Members of St. Alexis are actively involved in the gardening and in managing the plot of land. This has included donations to build needed structures and a water source.
Three Saints (Ansonia) received a grant for second year to support their week-long summer Vacation Church School (VCS). The grant money allowed them to keep the registration fee at a minimum and to provide needed materials for the theme-based activities during the week. The summer program continues to expand in size with participants ranging in age from 5 - 13, mostly Orthodox and some non-Orthodox. The coordinators of the VCS continue to reach out in the local community and invite more non-Orthodox as a way to introduce them to the Orthodox Faith.
51st Diocesan Assembly
The Diocese of New England of the OCA concluded it's 51st Annual Assembly on October 25th. The reports from the Assembly are now available.
The 2015 ONE Stewards donations as of mid-May are lagging behind our record of donations in 2014. Our ONE Stewards donations support our diocesan Youth, our diocesan Seminarians, our diocesan Missions, and our diocesan Charity donations. The annual Diocesan Youth Rally is scheduled again for August. The total cost just for the rally is over $20,000. Therefore ONE Stewards donations are critical in supporting all the diocesan activities mentioned. Show your support by "Giving Above and Beyond" with a 2015 summer donation to ONE Stewards so that we can set a new donation record again this year. A ONE Stewards envelope will be included in the July issue of the ONE Newsletter or send your donation to:
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America approved and issued a revised Policy, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct at their Fall 2013 Holy Synod meeting. This policy is now in force in the Church. It is the goal of the entire Church to provide a safe and healthy environment for all of the faithful of the Orthodox Church in America. The Church laments the sin of sexual misconduct, and will not tolerate sexual misconduct by its clergy or any layperson.
At the March 2014 meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, revisions to the Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct [PSP] were approved.
To confidentially report a case of misconduct please use the toll-free number 855-398-2600. All calls will be confidential.
Guidelines on background checks now available
At the spring session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, held at the Chancery March 18-21, 2014, “Guidelines on Background Checks” were issued. [See related article.] The Guidelines, which offer detailed information on how and for whom “basic background checks” are required, are available in PDF format. Included in the Guidelines are recommended sources for conducting checks and information on on-line sexual abuse prevention training.