Orthodox Christian Fellowship Expands Campus Missionary Initiative to Arizona and Atlanta Following Success at Texas A&M

Orthodox Christian Fellowship Expands Campus Missionary Initiative to Arizona and Atlanta Following Success at Texas A&M

New Campus Staff Announced for Arizona State University and the Greater Atlanta Area

Brookline, Mass. – July 8, 2024 – Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is thrilled to announce the expansion of its Campus Missionary Initiative, with new full-time staff at Arizona State University and in the Greater Atlanta area starting fall 2024. New staff members, Jacob Sparks and Aleksandar “Speedy” Lucic, will spearhead efforts to build a rich community in Christ among college students at their respective locations.

This expansion follows the remarkable success of the inaugural CMI location at Texas A&M University. The A&M OCF chapter, led by Campus Missionary Alexandros Pandazis, grew from 15 participants to over 100 in one academic year. Students engaged in daily prayer, scriptural studies and discussions, volunteer outreach, and fellowship events. Many students described the experience as life-changing, sharing their testimonies in a heartfelt video available on YouTube.

“This is the future of campus ministry in the Orthodox Church,” said OCF Executive Director Deacon Marek Simon. “This initiative engages students more regularly and more deeply in their faith as they form lifelong relationships with their peers through OCF. Students are seeking community, a greater understanding of their faith, and someone to help guide and mentor them as they navigate their college experience. OCF will build this initiative over the years to come and have a network of campus missionaries throughout the country.”

The expansion to Arizona State University will be led by Campus Missionary Speedy Lucic, while the Atlanta location will be overseen by Campus Missionary Jacob Sparks. The Atlanta missionary will serve students at both Georgia Tech and Emory University and will be open to all college students across Atlanta. Both locations will foster discipleship, bridge campus life with local Orthodox parish life, and build lasting relationships among students.

The expansion to the Greater Atlanta area was made possible by the generous support of several local benefactors, while the program at Arizona State University was funded by a grant from Leadership 100.

His Eminence Metropolitan Gregory of Nyssa, representing the Assembly of Bishops, expressed his enthusiasm and support for the program’s expansion. “The growth of the Campus Missionary Initiative is a profound joy for the Orthodox faithful. It reflects our commitment to nurturing the spiritual lives of young adults and ensuring they have the support and guidance needed to thrive during their college years.”

Those interested in supporting the Campus Missionary Initiative can donate here: https://www.ocf.net/donate/.

About Orthodox Christian Fellowship

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official collegiate campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. Through a broad array of programming, OCF engages young adults during their formative college years to foster a deep connection with Christ and the Orthodox faith. OCF programs include spiritual workshops, immersive service opportunities, regional retreats, and national conferences. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, OCF programs reach more than 270 college campuses nationwide. Learn more at www.ocf.net.

OCF Announces Annual Student Information Collection Drive

OCF Announces Annual Student Information Collection Drive

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, is proud to announce the commencement of its annual Student Information Collection Drive and “First Forty Days” Campaign. This initiative, a collaborative effort between OCF and Assembly jurisdictions’ youth departments and parishes, aims to foster a deep connection between students and Christ as well as His Church throughout their college years.

Under the guidance and endorsement of His Eminence, Metropolitan Gregory of Nyssa, OCF’s Episcopal Liaison to the Assembly of Bishops, all parishes, parents, grandparents and students are warmly invited to partake in this initiative. Through the simple act of submitting student contact details directly to OCF, parents and parishes can rest assured that their students will receive outreach from local OCF leaders within the initial forty days and on-going regional and national program information for the 2024-2025 academic year. This outreach will provide invaluable opportunities for students to integrate Christ and His Church into their college lives.

OCF Executive Director, Deacon Marek Simon shares, “The first few weeks of college mark a crucial period during which students form lasting relationships and habits. By ensuring that the Church becomes an integral part of their college experience, First Forty Days and our communications seek to connect every student with an OCF chapter, a local parish and our programs within this pivotal timeframe.”

Parents, parishes, and youth program coordinators are encouraged to submit student contact information for their graduating high school seniors online at https://www.ocf.net/submit/. All information submitted by July 15, 2024 will be appropriately distributed in advance of the fall semester. Rest assured, each student’s contact details will remain confidential and will only be shared with officially recognized OCF leaders.

 

About OCF

OCF is dedicated to transforming the lives of college students by guiding them on the path to Jesus Christ through His Church. Through the cultivation of a vibrant campus community centered on worship, witness, service, fellowship, and education, OCF endeavors to make a lasting impact. To learn more about these essential ministries, visit us online or send an inquiry to info@ocf.net.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship Announces Plans for College Conference 2023

Orthodox Christian Fellowship Announces Plans for College Conference 2023


September 9, 2023 – For Immediate Release:

BROOKLINE, MA — Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus
ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States will
hold its annual College Conference on December 27 – 30, 2023.


College Conference is an annual four-day gathering of college students from all
over the country to grow in fellowship, dive deeper into their faith through
speakers and workshops around the conference theme, worship together, and
serve. College Conference takes place in two locations: East at Antiochian Village in
Bolivar, PA, and Midwest at St. Iakovos Retreat Center in Kansasville, WI.


The 2023 Conference Theme, around which the keynote and workshop sessions
will be based, is “Walk in the Light”. Workshop speakers at College Conference East
include Fr. Gabriel Bilas, Fr. Nathaniel Choma, Georgia Mamalakis, and an
additional speaker to be determined. College Conference Midwest will feature Fr.
Seraphim Ramos, Abbess Ameliane of St. Nina’s Monastery, Fr. Justin Patterson,
and Steven Christoforou.


Registration is open now through December 1st. Cost for College Conference (East
or Midwest) is $385 per person until November 1st and $400 thereafter until
December 1st. Registration includes food, lodging, and engaging workshops with
great speakers. Scholarships are available for both conferences on a limited and
first-come/first-served basis until November 1st. For details and conference
registration visit https://www.ocf.net/college-conference/.

Spring Semester Sign-Off

“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

Real Break

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.

Regional Retreats

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

Small Groups

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

Spiritual Wake-Up

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.

Discord

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:

Loyola University

Loyola OCF cracked eggs on Pascha.

Grove City College

Grove City College OCF attended service together.

Baylor University

Baylor OCF gathered for their year-end meeting.

Liberty University

Liberty University OCF hosted Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick for an event with more than 100 guests in attendance!

University of Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma OCF had a fellowship bonfire for their last meeting of the school year.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech OCF had fun hiking the Cascades before finals.

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?

We’ve got good news! OCF Receives Matching Gift for Back to School Appeal

We’ve got good news! OCF Receives Matching Gift for Back to School Appeal


8/10 UPDATE:

A generous supporter has added $10,000 to our Back to School campaign match! With this gift, OCF will have up to $30,000 in donations matched

Will you offer a donation now and have it doubled?


Orthodox Christian Fellowship
50 Goddard Avenue – Brookline, MA 02445
617-850-1227
www.ocf.net

Contact:
Joseph Bray, Communications Manager
joseph@ocf.net

August 2, 2022 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

We’ve got good news! OCF receives $20,000 matching gift for 2022 Back to School Appeal

BROOKLINE, MA – College students across the country are returning to campus. Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) will be there to offer them rich community in Christ, inspiring a life-long love of God and neighbor.

In recognition of students coming back to school and with thanks to two generous donors, any donations offered until August 15 will be doubled until the $20,000 goal is met. All gifts made will support transformational student events, effective outreach, engaging digital presence, faithful staff, and life-changing student leadership development.

Incoming Student Leadership Board (SLB) Chairman, Elias Anderson has begun working with his fellow SLB members and OCF staff to ensure a robust campus ministry this academic year. He had this to say to his fellow college students: 

“This year we’re going to do everything we can to help chapters flourish on campus and have amazing national programs for everyone! So what are you waiting for? Get involved!”

Students like Elias are counting on OCF. Together, we can keep students close to Christ this school year.

Support OCF with a matched donation today.

For more information, contact OCF Advancement Manager, Donna Levas at donna@ocf.net

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and serves as the official campus ministry of Orthodox Christians in the US and Canada.

Supporting OCF Chapter Spiritual Advisors

Orthodox Christian Fellowship is dedicated to being the loving presence of Christ and the Orthodox Christian Church on college campuses. While we offer many national programs, virtual programs, and a wide array of chapter resources, one of the most important figures who plays a key role in bringing about this vision is the local chapter spiritual advisor.

Seeking to support our chapter spiritual advisors in the invaluable work they do, we created a survey to give us a clearer sense of the current health of chapters, as well as places for growth and improvement. Over thirty of our chapter spiritual advisors completed the survey, representing a total of 8 of our 9 OCF regions across North America. The results of the survey gave OCF staff a look at what was growing and thriving while also pointing out where improvement can be brought to elevate the level of ministry being done at all OCF chapters.

As we address those issues in our coming ministry year, we wanted to also share some initial findings and key takeaways as a support to the great work being done by our spiritual advisors.

Don’t do it alone

As campus spiritual advisors, we know you have a ton on your plate. Most of you being parish priests who also have families; it’s no wonder that the majority of you shared that you only wish you had more time. We hear you! Interestingly enough, only four of the over thirty chapters which participated in the survey reported that they also have lay advisor supporting their OCF chapter. For this reason, we recommend our dear spiritual advisors to not do it alone! We encourage you all to find a lay person at your parish or in your area who can serve as a lay advisor and parish liaison for your OCF chapter.

This person can help with communications, outreach, coordination, and many more things in order to free up your time to focus on the pastoral work of being the chapter’s spiritual advisor. Bringing on a teammate will make your time on campus more focused and also expand the potential for the ministry that can be done at your campus. Visit our OCF Advisors training hub to access several videos to help get your new lay advisor started!

Diversify your programming

At OCF, we aim to achieve our mission through our four pillars: Fellowship, Education, Worship, and Service. While many of you shared that the programming at your chapter was consistent, many of you also shared the desire to do more, adding new and diverse kinds of ministry to your regular programming. Because of this, we encourage chapters to implement a plan for the year that would include all four of OCF’s pillars.

Incorporating time for fellowship allows students to grow in their relationships with one another and promotes a stronger community. Incorporating education gives substance to the ministry of your OCF chapter. College is a time when students are learning a ton in the classroom and their experience at OCF should also enlighten them on their faith in God and the Church.

Incorporating worship allows for your chapter to be a holy presence on campus and gives students a harbor of calm in the craziness that is student life. Incorporating service allows for each chapter to be the Church in action on their campus, working to meet the needs of those around them. Service is a great way to work with other student groups on campus in order to not duplicate efforts.

Need ideas of how to better incorporate all four pillars into your programming? Refer to our Chapter Toolkit for help!

Stay Up-to-date

Lastly, you all shared your desire to know more about the programs offered by OCF National in order to best take advantage of any resources that are available. The best ways of staying up to date would be to follow our social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook, and to check in on our website regularly for upcoming events. You can also refer to our monthly email newsletter for updates. You can also always get in touch with any of the OCF staff to get an update on what’s happening at OCF.

We hope that spiritual advisors and chapter leaders who are more informed on the offerings and resources produced by OCF National will find the programming support needed to continue to offer the best ministry possible on college campuses.

OCF Announces Real Break 2022 Grants

OCF Announces Real Break 2022 Grants

January 24, 2022 – For Immediate Release:
Orthodox Christian Fellowship Announces Real Break 2022 Grants
Real Break provides college students ages 18-25 with the opportunity to engage the Orthodox faith through trips of pilgrimage and service. Students travel during Spring Break to participate in the work of the Church alongside the ministries, monasteries, parishes, and people of each host city. 

BROOKLINE, MA — Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, is now offering $500 off the cost of Real Break 2022 trips through Friday, January 28, 2022. Real Break 2022 grants are made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Omega Chapter 371 of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA).

The first 15 students to register for Real Break 2022 will each receive $500 toward the overall cost of their trip. Students must register by Noon (EST) on Friday, January 28,2022 to be eligible for the trip grants. OCF will provide a personal crowdfunding link and fundraising instructions to help registrants fundraise their remaining trip and travel expenses.

Evan Roussey, Real Break Student Leader, invites students to register for Real Break 2022 with these words: “I believe in the transformative power of Real Break, and thanks to AHEPA Omega Chapter 371 we are able to make it more accessible to students everywhere. Now is the time to sign up for the week that will define your OCF and college experience!.”

The grant deadline is Noon (EST) on January 28, 2022. Registration for Real Break 2022 continues through February 15, 2022. The cost to attend varies by trip. For complete trip locations and details, visit https://www.ocf.net/real-break/ .

Contact:
Joseph Bray, Communications Manager
Orthodox Christian Fellowship
joseph@ocf.net

College Student Sunday scheduled for October 3, 2021

College Student Sunday scheduled for October 3, 2021

BROOKLINE, MA – The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has designated October 3, 2021 as College Student Sunday. On this day, Orthodox parishes recognize and honor their Orthodox College Students and take a special collection to support the ministry to students of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). 

 

Dn. Marek Simon, Executive Director, shared the following: “At a recent gathering with the 16 members of the OCF Student Leadership Board, excitement and encouragement filled me as I witnessed their love and enthusiasm for OCF. I am inspired by the work of these young adults to bring their peers together for fellowship, service, worship, and education. On College Student Sunday and throughout the year, your partnership facilitates our ministry to these students. We call on both parishes and individuals to offer opportunities and hospitality to students, and through financial support of our ministry.” 

 

OCF, the official campus ministry agency of the Assembly of Bishops, continues to support a network of over 300 on-campus chapters, while also providing dynamic programming through local and regional retreats, virtual opportunities for students, College Conference, Real Break, and the Summer Leadership Institute. 

For more information about College Student Sunday 2021, including printable bulletin inserts, or to access an outline to support your parish’s efforts on October 3 visit ocf.net/college-student-sunday/. Please contact Donna Levas, OCF Advancement Manager, for more information: donna@ocf.net or (617) 850-1227.

Click here to download a PDF of this press release.

Back to School 2021

Back to School 2021

We’ve got good news!
OCF receives $10,000 Matching Donation for Back to School Appeal

 

BROOKLINE, MA — After more than a year of uncertainty, many of our Orthodox Christian college students will be returning to campus this fall. Orthodox Christian Fellowship will be there to greet them, guiding them along the path to Jesus Christ through His Church.

During the month of August, OCF will be sharing stories of students and alumni who have been transformed by Christ through Orthodox Christian campus ministry. Jeanine Kaileh, the incoming 2021 – 2022 Student Leadership Board chairwoman, shared the following thoughts on her hopes for her fellow students as they begin this new academic year,

“As students are coming back on campus this fall, I really hope they can find their Orthodox community and continue building upon that, with those friendships. I also hope that they create their routine of going to church, having study dates with their church friends, having their church friends and their non-Orthodox friends come together, and really share the joy that we have much needed after a crazy year and a half.”

Students like Jeanine are counting on us this school year. Together, we can be there for them, continuing to make a difference, building community, strengthening faith, and bringing Christ’s love to college campuses.

Thanks to a $10,000 match from a generous donor, donations will be matched dollar for dollar until we reach the 10k goal. All funds raised facilitate opportunities for students to grow in their faith and in fellowship with another, including retreats, small groups, chapter resources, and national programs.

Donate once, make twice the impact — help us keep college students close to Christ and His Church.

OCF Director of Ministries, Christina Andresen, gives the Church an admonishment worth heeding:

OCF Alumnus, Jordan Gamble, shares his experience of singing karaoke and why Orthodox campus ministry matters:

Fr. Chrysostom Arthur shares his story of starting an OCF chapter of 99% Baptist students:

Watch the story of Jeanine Kaileh, 2021-22 Student Leadership Board Chairwoman:

For more information contact OCF Development Manager, Donna Levas at donna@ocf.net.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and serves as the official campus ministry for the twelve (12) Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that the Assembly represents. Its mission is to transform the lives of college students by guiding them along the path to Jesus Christ through His Church, cultivating a campus community of worship, witness, service, fellowship, and education.

Real Break Now: How it came to be. How it’s going. How to be the church in the world.

Real Break Now: How it came to be. How it’s going. How to be the church in the world.

After serving in Romania on Real Break 2020, I applied to be Real Break Student Leader for Orthodox Christian Fellowship. I wanted to help create other service opportunities for students. What a whirlwind of a year! Back in early Fall 2020, we did not know how long the pandemic would last, and we kept running into barriers in planning. We did our best trying to navigate traveling precautions and eventually saw most schools cancelling their spring breaks. As the year progressed, it became obvious that a traditional Real Break would not happen. To be completely honest, this was frustrating and disappointing. I found myself nervous I would not be able to do the work of my position on the Student Leadership Board. This time was trying, but it was still fruitful!

With a desire to empower students to serve their communities, especially with increased need due to COVID-19, a new program was created! A dedicated team of OCF staff and friends listened to me as I brainstormed ideas, and thus, a flexible 16-week course with nine incredible instructors called Real Break Now: How To Be The Church in The World was formed. Students living in 22 different states and 5 different countries have come together to prepare for the opportunity to apply for two $1000 grants towards a project serving their community this summer.

I am incredibly grateful for each person who helped to make this happen. The students have put so much thought into the material. Here is just a glimpse of the topics we have discussed during the first three modules:

 

Module 1: How Orthodoxy is a Way of Life, Not Just a Religion, led by Fr. Nicholas Belcher

We discussed questions on how to avoid “Phariseeism,” stories of people who have impacted us spiritually, the interaction between church rituals and service, and actions we can take to make our faith more of a way of life. Here is what a few of our wonderful students have to say:

 

”I really like how Fr. Nick addressed the alleged dichotomy between church rituals and good deeds/service. Growing up Orthodox, I have always believed the Sacraments are important. In society, I feel like some say that the church is useless without service and living out the Gospel and act as if the two are mutually exclusive. I like how Fr. Nick simply points out that if you think about it, there is no reason for them to be mutually exclusive and that, in fact, they support one another and are both essential to follow The Way.” -Chase

”I’ve always admired the way that Orthodoxy encompasses all five senses – from the iconography (seeing), to incense (smelling), to Holy Communion (tasting), to the choir and chanters (hearing), to crossing and performing prostrations (feeling). Growing up in a protestant church, I always felt God was at arm’s length, that reverence was an old-fashioned notion. Once I stumbled across the Orthodox faith, (admittedly at first I was skeptical of my first Liturgy due to it being such a different service than I was used to), I could sense that Liturgy was/is so much more than a penciled-in Sunday appointment. Orthodoxy is a faith that brings together – even, as Fr. Belcher described – the seemingly opposing “works” and “spirituality” – We need both! And his talk was a needful, convicting reminder of this.” -Anna-Sophia

”I definitely struggle with living in the Way without making a checklist (lol), but I find I get closer to my spiritual best when I decelerate. Most of the best moments in my spiritual life happen when I slow down, reflect, and truly focus on God and the moment. My faith becomes a checklist when life speeds up, I let myself get too busy, and I start to rush through prayer, my interactions with others, etc. I try to avoid falling into “Phariseeism” by countering moments of pride with thoughts of thankfulness and humility. Galatians 2:20 has really helped me center myself in my spiritual journey; it is the only Bible verse I’ve ever memorized: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Peggy

“When he was talking about orthodoxy being a way of life, I got reminded of struggles that I used to have and that I may slightly struggle with to this day – putting God into every aspect of your life. Throughout high school and especially my first two years of college, I was very focused on my academics and career but I never put God into it. I never asked God to lead me, instead, I took things into my own hands. I felt like I was a part-time Christian because I was only asking Him for guidance concerning certain matters. But the thing is God should be put everywhere. He should be the light to your career, your friendships and bonds. Instead of telling God, “Please help me to get into this company I really want to intern with them,” maybe we ought to say, “Lord if it is Your will for me to work with this company then so be it, and if not, then may I be deterred from it.” When I started saying this prayer, I saw that was paving the way for me and it was very much clear.” -Kermena

  

Module 2: How to Have A Hospitable Heart, led by Georgia Mamalakis

We discussed how we have been affected by being given hospitality, the importance of being present, how to cultivate a welcoming spirit, and shared practical suggestions with each other.

 

“I think too often I don’t approach people or am not hospitable because of my own pride- I think do I want to add one more person who could potentially judge me to this moment, or would I rather stay in a safe shell? As soon as we are hospitable to someone and invite them in, we have the potential to get hurt by them, too. And I think that’s where the second point is so important- being hospitable to Christ and having Him dwell in you and giving you that God-esteem, which helps us to be hospitable to ourselves by knowing Christ is in us. Allowing ourselves to give and serve out of pure philanthropia and philoxenia means overflowing with love that we just give in abundance to everyone we meet, not thinking about how they might perceive/judge us in return. Unconditional love is giving without expecting any love back, but it’s also giving without worrying about/expecting certain reactions or approval for self-assurance.” -Nicole 

“One of the things Mrs. Mamalakis mentioned that stuck with me was that we should “offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” I think that’s something I struggle with. I might do something nice for someone, but there are times when I’m thinking about how I don’t want to be doing it or what better things I have to do. This is something I need to work on, so that’s what I’m going to try in order to better cultivate hospitality.” -Jane

I had a realization the other day that absolutely blew my mind- maybe y’all have already mentioned or thought about this. The whole topic of hospitality has had such an impact on me in that I think it’s really the basis of the faith- you can’t trust, grow, or cultivate love without being hospitable to at least someone- Christ, your neighbor, or yourself. And I realized the absolute epitome of this is the Theotokos!!! She LITERALLY allowed the Holy Spirit inside of her and allowed Christ to dwell and be born in her, and then continued to give Him a place to lay his head, like Mrs. Mamalakis talked about. We are all called to be “God-bearers”, and since the Theotokos literally bore God, she is the perfect example of hospitality. -Nicole

 

Module 3: Cultivating A Spirit of Service, led by Katrina Bitar

We discussed barriers to serving, how service is about people instead of projects, and decompartmentalizing service. One of the questions covered was, “What are your thoughts on this quote from John Chrysostom: ‘Need alone is a poor man’s worthiness’?”

“This quote boils down all of the societal dynamics around service and giving to its key component: meet a need. No other factor should matter. We should not appoint ourselves judge over a poor man to try and determine whether or not his needs meet our standards. There is only one judge, God, and He is the only one who should judge. If a beggar is lying or deceitful about his need, then God will judge him, but if we don’t show him love and service, God will judge us. We must multiply the mercy God gives us constantly.” -Chase

“This quote perfectly anticipates the response of a hardened heart. Living in a big city, it is easy to become numb or even blind to the poverty and suffering around you. I could easily pass the same homeless man under the same bridge every day and think nothing of it. I love how, in the video and this quote, there is a focus on the softening of the heart and coming to realize our mutual humanity and share in the responsibility of clothing and feeding the poor. I also struggle with making excuses like “there are shelters for that” or “maybe it’s not safe.” But this is indicative of a hardened heart-this shrugs responsibility and places blame on others, caring only for oneself. This quote is humbling in just the right way.” – Cassidy

“Need alone is a poor man’s worthiness” A-MEN. It has taken me a while to truly understand this concept. The houseless in Louisville are often viewed with scorn and are often passed by. It is if not living up to the American Dream of Prosperity, with a house and happy family and a steady job, is a secular sin.” -Elijah

 

Thank you to everyone who has helped to create this beautiful community! Our course still has a few more weeks, and I look forward to learning more in our discussions and zoom calls.

Also, apply for the Student Leadership Board!! Engaging in fulfilling work and gaining friends who have become family has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. You could be a part of this community, too! Learn more about how to apply HERE.

Anna Spencer

is a senior at Kansas State University studying Nutrition & Health. She loves getting to know people, reading, traveling, eating good food, and anything outdoors (if it is not cold). She is Real Break Student Leader this year and is so grateful for the course she has been able to create and the people she has met through OCF programming!

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Begins National Search for Communications Manager and Ministry Coordinator

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Begins National Search for Communications Manager and Ministry Coordinator

BROOKLINE, MA, April 8, 2021–Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is seeking qualified candidates to apply for two full-time positions as part of their national ministry team: a Communications Manager and a Ministry Coordinator. Candidates should be Orthodox Christians in good standing with their parish/jurisdiction who are interested in furthering the mission of OCF to provide opportunities for college students to encounter Christ. Full job descriptions and applications can be found at www.ocf.net/join-our-team. Inquiries about these positions or recommendations can be directed to Executive Director, Dn. Marek Simon at marek@ocf.net

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and serves as the official campus ministry for the twelve (12) Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that the Assembly represents. Its mission is to transform the lives of college students by guiding them along the path to Jesus Christ through His Church, cultivating a campus community of worship, witness, service, fellowship, and education.

Support OCF

OCF March 2021 Highlights

march 2021

OCF is here

providing college students with more opportunities to encounter Jesus Christ through programs, resources, and fellowship with one another.

Presenting

Spiritual Wake-Up

Launched on March 16th, the new Spiritual Wake-Up program creates a community of prayer within OCF where students can grow and learn together throughout the Lenten season. 

Throughout Lent, registered students will wake up to a text containing a prayer, quote, or journaling prompt which 100 other students, any number of miles away, also receive! Students are also paired up with prayer partners for the duration of the program. 

The goal of the program is to connect students to each other and Christ with resources for growth, reflection, and a purposeful wake-up each day throughout the Lenten season.

applications are open for the

OCF STUDENT LEADERSHIP BOARD

Every year, OCF is led by a team of talented students who take on leadership positions in Orthodox campus ministry. The SLB works with staff and clergy volunteers to implement the programs of OCF, advise and inspire their peers on campuses, and develop new resources and programs for college students.

Why Apply?

Peggy

Peggy

Rice University

“I had no idea what this year would look like due to the pandemic, but I am so glad I took the leap and applied for my position. Joining the SLB helped me experience love and support in more ways than I knew existed. My experience with OCF has been amazing so far, and I hope others can benefit from this organization as much as I have. APPLY!!!”

Remy

Remy

Rutgers University

“SLB has made me a better student, friend, Orthodox Christian, and individual! Serving on the student leadership board has strengthened my time management and communication skills! I find it much easier to stay on top of my responsibilities as a student and EMT as I’ve learned to maximize my time to ensure everything gets done immediately!” 

Anna

Anna

Kansas State University

“The SLB is an answer to praying in bringing me a community who supports me in my work and who I can be my authentic self around. I know I could call up anyone on the board, and they would be there for me to listen or help in any way. I love everyone I have met so much, and I know these people care about me deeply! Every person puts their whole heart into their work and wants to create a beautiful experience for their fellow students.”

OCF March 2021 Blogs

OCF Announces Annual Student Information Collection Drive

OCF Announces Annual Student Information Collection Drive

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, is proud to announce the commencement of its annual Student Information Collection Drive and "First Forty Days" Campaign....

April District Retreats

Students coming together with their peers for a day of fellowship, learning, service, and prayer. 

chicago

columbus to lexington

Follow us to stay up-to-date on all OCF happenings!

OCF February 2021 Highlights

february 2021

OCF's Spring Semester is well underway!

real break now

 

The newly launched Real Break Now program is in session! This year, Real Break is being offered as a virtual course on how to be the Church in the world. Students will grow in community with like-minded peers while learning from incredible examples of the Orthodox Christian faith. Upon completion of the program, students will have an opportunity to apply for a $1000 grant to impact their community!

spiritual wake up

 

New program alert!

Spiritual Wake-Up aims to create a community of prayer within OCF where students can grow and learn together throughout the Lenten season. This program will create the opportunity for an entire community to participate in the same activities on the same days and sometimes even at the same time, while each student is still completely immersed in their own environment!

Registration is still open for Spiritual Wake Up. Share the link below with a college student you know!

 

The Byzantine Chant Appreciation video series continued in February with Plagal First Tone.

February featured two student-submitted blog posts centered on the theme of “hope.”

OCF Announces Annual Student Information Collection Drive

OCF Announces Annual Student Information Collection Drive

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, is proud to announce the commencement of its annual Student Information Collection Drive and "First Forty Days" Campaign....

Small Groups

February 1-April 11, 2021

Virtual small groups provide an intimate setting for students to connect with each other, check in, reflect, and be a source of Christ’s comfort and love. Groups of 4-7 students are facilitated virtually by trained OCF Student Leadership Board alumni and gather weekly.

District Day Retreats

Spring 2021

In-person District Retreats are happening this spring! Each District Retreat is a day long schedule including learning, fellowship, and discussion. COVID guidelines are followed at each gathering.

OCF’s very own Director of Ministries, Christina Andresen hosts a weekly podcast, “Sirach, Meech, & Teens” on Ancient Faith Radio. 

Christina Andresen (Teens) and Dimitri (Meech) Gagianas reflect on living the wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach. Students can listen in on their walk to class, morning drive, or a Bible study with their OCF. This podcast offers practical advice for being faithful to God in any situation.

spots are still available for…

Day of Prayer

March 14-15, 2021

Students can join OCF for a 24-hour prayer marathon to kick of Great Lent! Starting at 6pm on Forgiveness Sunday and culminating at 6pm on Clean Monday, OCF chapters across the nation will live stream their chapters praying the hours and commemorating all OCFers across the country.

Follow us to stay up-to-date on all OCF happenings!

OCF January 2021 Highlights

January 2021

A New Year of Orthodox Christian Campus Ministry

 

January was an exciting month at OCF!

We are thrilled to welcome college students back after Christmas break and provide opportunities for them to encounter Jesus Christ as we begin a new year! 

Ocf presents

A New Year’s Series for College Students

It’s a new year! OCF kicked it off by creating a video series for our college students addressing some important questions.

 

  • How can we step into 2021 with a perspective that’s directing us towards the Kingdom?
  • What can we be certain of after a year of deep uncertainty?
  • What is some practical advice for resetting your perspective this year?  
i

Blog

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

OCF’s latest blog series featured submissions from students reflecting on the best advice they have ever received. Check them out below! 

OCF Announces Annual Student Information Collection Drive

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, is proud to announce the commencement of its annual Student Information Collection Drive and "First Forty Days" Campaign....

Your 4-Step Guide For Preparing For Lent

Happy Monday, and a blessed Cheesefare Week to you all! Yes indeed, it is that wonderful time of year again--or at least, it almost is. Great Lent is just around the corner: a time to intensify our relationship with Christ and the saints; go an extra mile or two to...

A WORD

From an OCF Student

“OCF has allowed me to connect with people my age that are faced with the same challenges and worries as I am, and helped me to create a network of Orthodox life-long friends all over the country.”

– Andreas

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Class of 2021 

Flex Chapter Guide

It’s here!  Created for advisors and student leaders to plan a spiritually-enriching year that prioritizes the health and well-being of students, parishes, and campus communities, the 2021 OCF Flex Chapter Guide serves to help navigate campus ministry during COVID-19. 

Psalm 40 and the Justice of God

After a Christmas break, Podcast Student Leader Marcus turns to Psalm 40 and St. Paisios to both meditate on God’s justice and righteousness and think about what happens when we lose sight of God in our human attempts for justice, equality, and mercy.

Calendar

Upcoming Events & Activities

01

February

Virtual Small Groups Begin

 

04

February

Real Break Now Kick-Off

 

19-20

February

Virtual Virginia District Event

 

13

March

Minnesota & Iowa District Event

 

14-15

March

Day of Prayer

 

15

March

Spiritual Wake-Up Kick-Off

 

Follow us to stay up-to-date on all OCF happenings!

OCF receives $25,000 Matching Grant Opportunity

OCF receives $25,000 Matching Grant Opportunity

50 Goddard Avenue – Brookline, MA 02445

Phone: 617.850.1227 | Fax: 617.850.1460

www.ocf.net | info@ocf.net

Contact: OCF National Office
office@ocf.net

Date: June 15, 2020

We’ve got good news!
OCF receives $25,000 Matching Grant Opportunity

BROOKLINE, MA — Over the past few months, we have all been faced with challenges that point to an uncertain future. However, in the midst of these challenges, OCF remains committed to building community, strengthening faith, and bringing Christ’s love to college students. Since March 2020, OCF has provided these new opportunities for college students:

  • Virtual discussion series on Fr. Thomas Hopko’s “55 Maxims for Christian Living”
  • Virtual chapel opportunities, including Compline, Paraklesis, and the Akathist of Thanksgiving
  • Virtual small groups facilitated by OCF alumni connecting students with their peers to discuss their faith and current experience
  • Lenten cooking videos
  • Holy Week video series connecting the pilgrimage sites of Real Break Jerusalem to the services of Holy Week
  • Graduation video series honoring the Class of 2020, featuring actor and musician Jonathan Jackson as keynote
  • Virtual series on racial reconciliation as Orthodox Christians (currently being offered in partnership with the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black and CrossRoad Summer Institute)
  • Virtual Summer Leadership Institute (beginning June 28)

OCF has been offered a tremendous opportunity for the faithful to support our college students. The Renaissance Fund has extended a $25,000 matching grant to OCF, where donations of up to $500 between June 15th and August 4th will be doubled if the $25,000 goal is met!

College students need us NOW. They want to live faithfully. They want to be engaged in their faith. They want their faith to engage them. OCF can only do this with the help of its supporters. 

Donations can be made at www.ocf.net/ocfnow

For more information about this matching grant opportunity please contact OCF Development Manager, Donna Levas at donna@ocf.net

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and serves as the official campus ministry for the twelve (12) Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that the Assembly represents. Its mission is to transform the lives of college students by guiding them along the path to Jesus Christ through His Church, cultivating a campus community of worship, witness, service, fellowship, and education.*Matching Grant generously provided by The Renaissance Fund. A donation up to $500 will count towards the matching grant opportunity until the $25,000 match goal is met. For donors who gave in 2019 or 2020, donations will be matched if the amount given towards this campaign exceeds any previous 2019/2020 donation. This provides current donors with the opportunity to increase their support for OCF as well as invite friends to learn about and support OCF’s ministry.

Registration for the first-ever virtual OCF Summer Leadership Institute is now open!

Registration for the first-ever virtual OCF Summer Leadership Institute is now open!

50 Goddard Avenue – Brookline, MA 02445

Phone: 617.850.1227 | Fax: 617.850.1460

www.ocf.net | info@ocf.net

Contact: OCF National Office
office@ocf.net

Date: June 11, 2020

We’ve got good news!
Registration for the first-ever virtual OCF Summer Leadership Institute is now open!

SLI2019

BROOKLINE, MA — Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s Summer Leadership Institute will be offered from June 27 – August 9, 2020 as a six-week virtual leadership training course for college students and young adults (ages 18-25). Attendees can expect to learn what it means to be an Orthodox leader in OCF, the Church, and the world. This is the first-ever virtual offering of SLI and attendance is free of charge.

Various aspects of leadership will be explored through readings, short video lectures, interactive sessions with instructors, and weekly leadership breakouts. SLI 2020 will feature lectures led by OCF staff as well as experts in Orthodox theology, spirituality, and pastoral ministry to help prepare participants to be Christ-centered servant leaders. 

This year’s instructors will include John Meese, Entrepreneur & Dean of Platform University; Dr. Philip Mamalakis, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology; Matthew Namee, General Counsel & COO of Orthodox Ministry Services & Founding Director of the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas; Christina Andresen, Director of Ministries for OCF; Donna Levas, Development Manager for OCF; and Fr. Panagiotis Boznos, pastor of Saint Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church in Aurora, Illinois. 

Emma, a former SLI Participant, had this to say, “During SLI, you grow as an Orthodox Christian not only by learning about your faith in the theological or doctrinal sense, but by harnessing essential life skills like public speaking, servant leadership, organization and planning, and conflict resolution and giving them back to the Church.”

Have questions regarding the program? Email studentleadership@ocf.net.

Registration is now open! Visit www.ocf.net/sli to sign up!

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and serves as the official campus ministry for the twelve (12) Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that the Assembly represents. Its mission is to transform the lives of college students by guiding them along the path to Jesus Christ through His Church, cultivating a campus community of worship, witness, service, fellowship, and education.

A Letter from our Executive Director

March 17, 2020

Christ is in our midst!

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. -Romans 12.12

As we experience an unprecedented situation and challenging times, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) can only begin to understand the current reality and its impact on college students and the world. Simply put, life as we know it has been turned upside down.

In the midst of uncertainty, confusion, sickness, distancing, and even isolation, we trust in one constant- the love of God. It is this love that propels us forward. It is this love that gives us hope.

Know that during this time, OCF remains committed to providing relevant and meaningful ministry for college students. Our staff recently explored the question, “Why does OCF exist?” The answer was unanimous, “To offer opportunities for college students to encounter Jesus Christ and the Orthodox Church.” It is to this end that our mission carries forward.

In the coming days and weeks, potentially even months, OCF Staff will continue to work with student leaders, advisors, our hierarchs, friends, and other ministry efforts to evolve our ministry given the current situation. We ask for your prayers as we discern, plan, and implement a purposeful & meaningful engagement for students, one that assists their journey on the path laid forth by Christ and His Church.

Let us accept challenges as opportunities, and let us each remain faithful to the message of the Gospel, the “Good News”, as we live in each moment in each day.

Yours in Christ,

Dn. Marek Simon

OCF Update Regarding COVID-19

After time spent in prayer and careful consideration, coupled with close monitoring of the Coronavirus outbreak, it has become clear it would be unwise and unsafe for OCF to continue with our scheduled Regional Retreats, District Events, and YES Days for the remainder of the spring semester. 

For those events with a registration fee, registrants will be refunded any fees already paid. Please reach out with any questions you might have.

We ask that you join us in prayer for those who are being affected, those who are in the medical profession, and those who are making decisions for the safety of our country.

“O God Almighty, Lord of heaven and earth, and of all creation visible and invisible, in thine ineffable goodness, look down upon us, thy people gathered in thy Holy Name. Be our helper and defender in this day of affliction. Thou knowest our weakness. Thou hearest our cry in repentance and contrition of heart. O Lord who lovest mankind, deliver us from the impending threat of the Coronavirus. Send thine angel to watch over us and protect us. Grant health and recovery to those suffering from this virus. Guide the hands of physicians and preserve those who are healthy. Enable us to continue to serve our suffering brothers and sisters in peace that together we may glorify thy most honorable and majestic name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.”