Alex Goodwin serves as the Communications Director at the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) in St. Augustine, Florida, where he lives with his wife and two children. Alex has participated on multiple mission teams to Africa. His duties at the Mission Center include broadening awareness of, and participation in, Orthodox missions among the faithful of North America.
Did you know that each year only about 6,000 of the nearly two million Orthodox Christians in the United States support or participate in Orthodox missions? That’s only 3 percent! Imagine how many lives could be touched if that number doubled or even tripled.
Volunteers from around the country hold events aimed at broadening an awareness of, and participation in Orthodox missions. In April, two events were held in support of Orthodox missions. One in Washington DC and another in Arizona.
Bright Saturday, April 29, 2017, marked the 6th Annual Walk for Missions held in Tempe, Arizona. This event raises money and awareness for two important Orthodox Christian Ministries: The Orthodox Christian Mission Center [OCMC], and Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage. His Grace Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa serves as the Spiritual Advisor for the event, which also works closely each year with the Arizona Council of Eastern Orthodox Clergy.
Organized in its first year by past mission team participants from both organizations, the event fundraises, offers a large platform to feature Arizona mission work, and creates a community between local Orthodox parishes. Forty-four walkers from eight parishes met for Opening Prayer led by His Grace Bishop Daniel at picturesque Kiwanis Park. Also attending the walk were Fr. Michael Pallad of St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, Peoria, AZ, Fr. Andre Paez of St. John the Evangelist OCA Mission, Tempe, AZ, and OCMC Board Member Mr. John Hrapchak who thanked all walkers on behalf of OCMC. This years’ walk path was led by Pan-Orthodox Teen/YAL who will travel May 25, 2017 to Tijuana, Mexico to build homes for impoverished families through Project Mexico’s ministry.
“We look forward to coming together each year,” Event Organizer, Antonia Adams-Clement shared. “This year’s event brought in $3,341.00 in donations, but the highlight of the morning for me was in greeting the community we have created through this event and singing Christ is Risen! The fellowship and family, celebrated in events like this, draws us closer to Christ and each other. Over six years our small Walk has brought in over $21,300.00 in proceeds for OCMC and Project Mexico. Our event team encourages other parishes, across the country, to use this model of working and praying together as a Pan-Orthodox community to build our Orthodox Ministries.”
On Sunday, April 30, 2017, OCMC Board Members Dr. John Demakis and Ms. Betty Slanta along with members of their community and with the blessing of Fr. Costa Pavlakos held a banquet for missions at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Falls Church, Virginia. The evening, which was sponsored by the Metropolitan DC Orthodox Christian Mission and Outreach Committee, began with vespers followed by a silent auction and dinner. After the dinner, OCMC Executive Director, Fr. Martin Ritsi spoke to 140+ people who attended the banquet about the wonderful work of Orthodox missions being done around the world. The event raised thousands of dollars for OCMC’s worldwide ministries.
Events like these, and the efforts of those who organize them, are incredibly needful. Not only do they raise the support and prayers needed to continue the work of sharing Christ’s Gospel, but they also expose many people to this vital ministry of the Church for the first time. We cannot thank the event organizers enough and all those who attend events in support of Orthodox missions. Your prayers and support are felt and carry us forward.
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