“This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” John 15:8
Thanks be to God, the spring 2023 semester was a fruitful one for Orthodox Christian Fellowship! Take a moment to see the impact of OCF’s rich community in Christ has had in the lives of college students the past few months.
Real Break Puerto Rico, March 2023
Two teams of eight were sent to Puerto Rico this March, one for students from Hellenic College Holy Cross and one open OCF trip. The trip to Puerto Rico included volunteering at a ROCOR mission in San German and volunteering at Techos Pa Mi Gente, a non-profit that rebuilds roofs in San Juan.
At the end of May, a group of 26 college students and 5 trip leaders began their Real Break Egypt pilgrimage. The team visited the monasteries of St. Anthony, St. Paisios the Great, St. Moses the Ethiopian, St. Macarius the Great, and St. Menas as well as the place where the Holy Family took refuge after Jesus’ birth. They swam in the Red Sea, visited the pyramids of Giza and the old city of Cairo, and venerated the relics of St. Mark the Evangelist and St. Athanasius the Great.
In spring 2023, five Regional Retreats were held, hosting 191 college students.
- Mid-Atlantic Regional Retreat: Camp Nazareth, “What Makes a Person Saintly is Love: The Life and Teachings of St. Porphyrios” with Fr. Theodosios Palis
- Southeast Regional Retreat: Diakonia Retreat Center, “A Gentle Surrender: Finding Your Freedom in Christ” with Fr. Michael Tishel
- South Regional Retreat: Hidden Acres Retreat Center, “Compelling Conversations” with Fr. Adam Roberts
- Midwest Regional Retreat: St. Iakovos Retreat Center, “Love and Life, Not for the Weak Hearted” with Fr. Nick Lionas
- Great Lakes Regional Retreat: Columbiere Conference Center, “The Beginning and the End” with Fr. Gabriel Bilas
OCF’s virtual Small Groups continued through 2023. Twenty-seven students participated this Spring. These groups met weekly and were led by OCF-trained SAB/SLB alumni.
“I really enjoyed our talk about being in the world but not a part of it. It has been a huge help in navigating my college experiences.” – Spring 2023 small group participant
Day of Prayer
Twenty-four chapters and numerous other individual students participated in OCF’s annual Day of Prayer, starting out Lent on Clean Monday with 24 hours of prayer.
Make Straight Your Path
This spring, OCF’s inaugural session of Make Straight Your Path provided opportunities for college juniors, seniors, and graduate students to explore topics related to life after graduation. Forty-three students participated, and sessions included the following topics:
- Module 1: Career & Vocation
- Session 1: “Sanctifying the Job You Choose” with Dr. Kathryn Bocanegra
- Session 2: “Resume & Interview Prep for Orthodox Christians” with Shawn Cartwright
- Session 3: “Challenges in the Workplace, A Panel” with Elizabeth Reese, Thomas Retzios, and Vasiliki Fotinis
- Module 2: Family, Friends, & Romantic Relationships
- Session 1: “Adjusting to a New Location” with Katya Soot
- Session 2: “Romantic Relationships” with Fr. Vasili & Presbytera Maria Hillhouse
- Session 3: “Adult Relationships with Parents” with Fr. Andreas Houpos
- Module 3: Resource & Money Management
- Session 1: “The Theology of Money” with Fr. Barnabas Powell
- Session 2: “A Guide to Giving” with Dn. Gabe Otte
- Session 3: “Financial Planning, Debt, Credit, & Investing” with Fr. Nicholas Hubbard
“The speakers on marriage and adult relationships were fantastic, I really felt like God was speaking through them. Both talks changed the disposition of my heart for the better.”-Make Straight Your Path student participant
The Spiritual Wake-Up program had 243 participants sign up to receive the daily text messages during the forty days of Lent. Text messages included journaling prompts, quotes, activities, lives of Saints, prayers, mini service projects, and goal setting methods.
The OCF Discord server continues to provide students with a space for engagement, conversation, and inquiry. The Q&A Forum on the Discord server launched with a team of three volunteer clergy and two OCF staff members answering student questions throughout the week. There are currently over 600 members on OCF Discord.
Monthly Chapter Content
Each month, chapter leaders continue to receive via email an assortment of curated and guided discussions, book recommendations, service ideas, virtual programs, videos, podcasts, and other content that can be used to structure their meetings. The full library of resources is also available on our website at a Chapter Content hub and various portions are also posted on social media, YouTube, or Ancient Faith Radio.
Each month, content is dedicated to a particular theme complimentary to OCF’s 2022-2023 theme, “Not of this World”. Spring semester’s themes were:
- January: Back in the World
- February: Redeeming the Time
- March: Challenging Hurry
- April: Living Like We Actually Believe in the Resurrection
- May: Endure to the End
Spring 2023 Chapter Highlights:
Grove City College
University of Oklahoma
Orthodox Christian Fellowship needs your help!
We’re asking you and every parish across the country for help, in hopes of collecting info on each graduating high school senior and where they plan to attend college.
As a campus ministry, our goal is to obtain this information at the beginning of their fall semester in hopes to fulfill our First 40 Days initiative – an approach that ensures that each student connects to an OCF chapter during the first 40 days of the semester and become integrated into OCF’s rich community in Christ.
Would you please take a moment to submit your students’ information?