Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy,” the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church. Today, we’ll be bringing you three stories of Orthodox people and organizations who are making a difference in the world today, even amongst deadly disease, poverty, and war.
Segment 1. Orthodox Christians Making a Difference
Rock star turned Orthodox priest fighting against Ebola crisis
The deadly Ebola virus has made its presence felt near the Holy Orthodox Mission in Freetown, Sierra Leone, which is run by former rock star, who is now Greek Orthodox priest, Fr. Themi Adams.
Fr. Themi was once a member of Australian rock group, The Flies, performing alongside such famous bands as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. During that period of his life, he was an atheist. But after a dramatic conversion, he became an Orthodox priest and a missionary to West Africa, founding an orphanage, school, and medical facility in the Greater Freetown area serving over 2000 children, youth and adults.
Now he is now facing the greatest challenge of his life – Ebola — which is sweeping his adopted country and causing panic, death and destruction.
Sierra Leone has declared a public health emergency, with Ebola being blamed for 729 deaths in four West African countries this year alone. And it has shown no signs of slowing down, spreading to the very doorsteps of Fr. Themi’s compound.
In an interview earlier this week, Fr. Themi said: “This country has very much been reduced to trauma. Sierra Leone is a resilient nation that has suffered consistently from about 1991. I cannot imagine another country that has suffered so much over such a long time, either through wars, poverty, and now through this Ebola crisis.”
Fr. Themi has instituted an aggressive public health education campaign, especially amongst the city’s poor, who rely on his clinic for health services.
To find out how you can help, visit Fr. Themi’s website: paradise4kids.org.
10 Volunteers Needed for OCMC Short-term Missions
Short-term missions teams from our sister organization, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, are hoping to depart to Albania, Tanzania, and Uganda in September and October.
The Mission Center is seeking the 10 volunteers needed to make these teams possible.
The team to Albania, serving from September 17th to the 29th, will lead spiritual retreats for clergy wives, women lay leaders and women’s groups. Orthodox women are strongly urged to apply for this team aimed at empowering and facilitating the spiritual growth of women in the Church.
In Tanzania, a team of Orthodox Christians is needed to provide theological training to clergy in the Metropolis of Mwanza from October 27th to November 8th. Priests, seminarians, theologians, and those knowledgeable of the Faith are asked to apply. What this team offers will be taken by the Tanzanian priests to thousands of newly illumined Orthodox Christians in Tanzania.
Also departing on October 27th will be a team bound for Uganda. This team will continue the work begun last year with the blessings of His Eminence Jonah aimed at helping the Church in Uganda to be more self-reliant. This year’s team will teach Christian stewardship workshops in various communities across the country.
If you are interested in joining one of these teams, or want more information, contact the Mission Center’s Teams Department by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-877-463-6784.
IOCC Making a Difference in Gaza
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is appealing for support to provide aid to families in urgent need of basic food and humanitarian supplies in the Gaza Strip. Already more than 240,000 people have been displaced inside Gaza, seeking shelter at schools, churches, mosques and other facilities.
The search for a safe haven has brought more than 700 displaced Palestinian people, mostly women and children, to St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Christian Church in the Al Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. The families, many of whom only had minutes to flee, now occupy every available space in the church courtyard and community center building.
IOCC staff are on the ground in Gaza, responding to the urgent needs of these displaced families and thousands of other victims of the conflict with the distribution of emergency relief items. Basic necessities such as food, water, bedding, blankets, hygiene items and infant supplies are being provided to 12,000 displaced people seeking refuge at the church and a nearby mosque, as well as those in other northern Gaza communities.
IOCC has had a humanitarian presence in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza since 1997, assisting more than 30,000 families with emergency food and household items as well as working with communities to improve their access to food, employment opportunities, and agricultural production. By creating reliable water sources and support for gardens, IOCC has helped ensure that families have enough to eat and helped the local economy by supporting locally-produced fresh food.
You can help provide relief in Gaza by making a financial gift to the IOCC Gaza Relief Fund, which will provide immediate relief through the provision of emergency assistance as well as longer-term support. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org or call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622),
Segment 2. News from OCN
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That’s it for “This Week in Orthodoxy,” a program made possible by a generous gift from the National Philoptochos Society in memory of the Dr. George Mekras.
Until next time, let’s go forth in peace.
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+.