The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) are proud to announce a new discussion series beginning this Spring: “The Black American Orthodox Experience” hosted by Archimandrite Chrysostom Onyekakeyah and Fr. Samuel Davis.
This new series will focus on Orthodox missions in America—insights, challenges, and how we can reach (and are reaching) members of Black, Indigenous, and other communities with the Church of Jesus Christ.
This program will feature honest and informative conversations about what the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) looks like in modern America, the importance of music and other cultural traditions, spreading the gospel through service to our local communities, Orthodox traditions and faith in Africa, racial reconciliation from an Orthodox and Black American perspective, and much more.
Storytellers are traditionally the keepers of a society’s history. In Near Eastern and African culture, history and beliefs have been kept alive through the traditions of music and storytelling. Music has played a key role in the daily lives of many African cultures for dance, healing, storytelling, and religious expression. We see examples of this in the lives of Africans in the Diaspora here in the US, Caribbean, West Indies, Central and South America.
In the Orthodox Church, there is also a living tradition of keeping our Faith through the sharing of our Apostolic Tradition throughout the generations through song, epic histories, proverbs and sayings.
As our guides in this storytelling experience, Archimandrite Chrysostom and Fr. Samuel will meet with key individuals in mission and outreach spaces and voices from within the Urban Missions initiative, which traces its history in America back over 100 years. Together, we will learn how the Church, her Saints and mysteries have brought about incredible missionary experiences we can all glean from. Our hope is that listeners and viewers will leave these conversations with a renewed mind toward Orthodox missions in America, inspired to be agents of healing and reconciliation as we renounce the sins of prejudice and racism.
Archimandrite Chrysostom Onyekakeyah is Project Coordinator for Mission and Outreach Development at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. His mission effort is made possible with funding from The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund.
Fr. Samuel Davis is the rector of St. Simon the Cyrene Orthodox Mission in Somerset, NJ (Orthodox Church in America).