News from Pan-Orthodox Charities in the US

Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy,” the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church.

Segment 1: News from around the Globe

OCMC Mission Trip to Kenya
This week we’ll be featuring news from some of the Pan-Orthodox charities or organizations based in the United States.

First up, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center is looking for volunteers to join its short-term mission team this June and July on a trip to Lokichar, Kenya, a remote village in the desert region of Turkana.

Members of the team will work alongside the Turkana tribe to build the Church of St. Nicholas in the community of Lokichar; share the Orthodox Christian faith; or offer basic health care and health education to families in the region.

About 9% of Kenya’s population, including most Turkana tribespeople, are only marginally aware of the Gospel. Lokichar itself is situated in the heart of the dusty and arid Turkana basin in the Rift Valley, 550 km from Nairobi.

Educators or those with construction or health care experience are especially encouraged to join the OCMC team. Participants must be in good physical condition, willing to sleep in tents and hike through the desert.

To find out more information about this unique opportunity to share your faith and serve those in need, visit ocmc.org.

IOCC Responds to Victims of Tornadoes in Southern US

The powerful spring storms that spawned a cluster of damaging tornadoes in the end of April have affected the lives of millions of people across the south of the United States. At least 34 people across six states – Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa – were killed and more than 200 injured in tornadoes that leveled entire neighborhoods.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has a long history of helping victims of natural disasters in the United States through its United States Emergency Response Fund. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org.

IOCC also anticipates the need for Emergency Clean-Up Buckets which are in low supply. For directions on how to assemble Emergency Clean-Up Buckets in your church or home, please visit www.iocc.org/kits.

Orthodox Bishops Designate May 25 as Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has dedicated the 6th Sunday of Pascha, which is May 25th this year, as the official day to support the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM).

OCPM is the official prison ministry of the Assembly of Bishops, providing Bibles, prayer books, religious publications, Icons, and other resources to men and women in prison or recently released from prison.

Through OCPM’s ministry, several hundred prisoners have embraced the Orthodox faith, while others who were already Orthodox found their way back to the Church. In fact, there are currently over 300 Orthodox catechumens in jails and prisons across America.

Among its various activities, OCPM ministers monthly to more than 300 homeless and needy people, including families of those in prison, and sends more than 5,000 personal letters to those in prison each year, offering them spiritual guidance and hope.

In his letter to all Orthodox churches in the United States, His Grace Bishop Mark of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, who serves as the “Episcopal Liaison” of the Assembly to OCPM wrote:

“In keeping with our Lord’s example, we are calling on all the faithful to learn about prison ministry, to pray for people in prison, to become involved in prison ministry, and to encourage their brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the Orthodox clergy who bring the Gospel of hope and salvation to the incarcerated.”

Bishop Mark also asked Orthodox parishes to take a special offering on May 25th to support OCPM financially. To find out more, visit www.theorthodoxprisonministry.org/.

OCN’s Special Coverage of Historic Meeting of Pope and Patriarch in Jerusalem

On May 25, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will be meeting with Pope Francis in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Watch for special coverage of this historic event from the Orthodox Christian Network, the official media agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops.

In advance of the event, we’ll be featuring extended interviews with church leaders and scholars on the significance of this meeting: what it means and what it doesn’t mean for Orthodox-Catholic relations and Christianity’s common witness to the world.

Our own Executive Director, Fr. Christopher Metropulos, will be participating in the official coverage of the event itself, serving as a member of the team that will offer live commentary for the English-language worldwide telecast.

Watch our website for resources and reports on the meeting in Jerusalem before and after May 25.

That’s it for this week. Until next time, let’s go forth in peace.

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network.  You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+.

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Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Development at OCN. He holds…
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