Fr. Veronis Offers Insight to Orthodox Missions Institute Conference

Fr. Veronis Offers Insight to Orthodox Missions Institute Conference

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The Orthodox Christian Network has established the Digital Disciple Scholars Program on the campus of Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology.  The purpose is to begin training our ministry leaders to use multi-media resources to spread the Gospel.  Students will be trained to promote current issues related to the Orthodox Faith, Christian Persecution, cover Orthodox News, and events on campus.  Our long-term plan is to bring Orthodox media ministry classes and field placement internships to campus.

 

Speaking to Secular America: Some Information from the Conference Organizer

 

The Orthodox Missions Institute hosted its annual conference, Wednesday, October 28, on the Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology campus. Fr. Luke Veronis, conference organizer and director of the Orthodox Missions Institute, offers further information in response to our questions about the conference.

OCN: Can you tell us about the Orthodox Missions Institute and its role in bringing the conference together?

Fr. Luke: The Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity, which was established at HCHC in 2010, and of which I am the director, has as its mission statement “to promote a vibrant mission consciousness, especially within our Orthodox Christian Theological Schools. The primary focus is to instill an understanding of international cross-cultural missionary work. The Institute will also engender a missions consciousness for the local setting through understanding evangelism and promoting participation and support for international and domestic cross-cultural missions.”

We are the fruit of the Endowment Fund for Orthodox Missions, a non-profit charity established by the Annunciation Church in Lancaster in honor of Fr. Alexander and Pearl Veronis, which has been offering an annual Missions Lecture every year at HCHC since 1986. When EFOM established the Missions Institute in 2010, we took the idea of an annual missions lecture and expanded. We work with the HCHC Missions Committee during the annual HCHC Missions Week and we typically bring a cross-cultural missionary to spend the entire week on campus speaking in the chapel and in classes to inspire and educate our students. Every several years, we try to establish a conference where we bring multiple speakers. In the past, almost all our speakers have been involved in cross-cultural missions in other countries.

OCN: Given the Institute’s usual focus on cross-cultural missions, “Speaking to Secular America” seems to be a different kind of topic than we might expect see at this conference. Why the shift in focus?

Fr. Luke: This year we decided to take on a different topic. With the latest Pew Research polls showing the significant rise of the “nones,” those who don’t identify with any organized religion, we decided to address this significant and very relevant topic in our annual Missions Week. We then decided to bring in a variety of speakers who have been intimately involved in reaching out specifically to the non-religious. We have both speakers coming from the academy as well as pastoral leaders involved in the daily witnessing. We want this conference to motivate our church leaders – both clergy and laity – to begin thinking about what our churches are doing to address this great challenge. In many ways, this may be the greatest challenge our church faces in the next decade. Will we simply watch our churches shrink and see how more and more people become disconnected from the Church, or will we cultivate a spirit in our churches that welcome all people, and offer them something relevant, meaningful and life-giving? Our churches need to become homes of loving fellowship, vibrant worship. Places which inspire, educate and challenge our people to grow in God’s grace and be transformed! We need to be communities that are constantly reaching out to the world in service and witness. I’m excited that this is going to be a great conference!

For more information about this exciting conference, including schedule and registration, click here.

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Bryce Buffenbarger

Bryce is the Assistant to the Metropolitan at the Greek Orthodox of American, Metropolis of Detroit. A graduate of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts.