Awareness of Orthodox Missions was raised this past week, as Orthodox communities around the country held events for Mission Sunday. From Northern California, across the Midwest, and to the Florida coast, Orthodox Christians answered the call to pray for and support the mission work of the Church in 2009. These mission efforts include: the training of at least four new long-term missionaries, and the ongoing ministries of 12 missionaries serving in 3 countries; the service of 11 Orthodox Mission Teams in 9 countries; the support of 324 priests, 7 seminaries, and 8 philanthropic projects of the Church abroad; and the opening of the new Archbishop Anastasios & Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training & Administration Building.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and Chairman of the Standing Council of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), was the keynote speaker at the annual Mission Team Chicago banquet benefitting Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).
OCMC Staff and Board Members spoke about missions with the faithful across the country. In Minnesota, St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church welcomed OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi at a concert held for missions featuring original music by composer Chris Granias. OCMC Associate Director Fr. David Rucker spoke in Orlando, Florida. In Phoenix, Arizona, OCMC Staff Member Margo Toscas Kelley attended an event held in support of Orthodox missions, while visiting with communities and speaking with Orthodox youth in Scottsdale and Tucson. Staff Members Kenneth Kidd and Alex Goodwin conducted Bible studies, held youth workshops, and spoke at several parishes across Northern California, and Theodore Theodorou visited Orthodox parishes in Washington.
Many Orthodox churches involved their youth by talking to them about missions in Sunday School and by encouraging them to fill coin boxes with spare change in order to help make this vital work of the Church possible.
On behalf of all those who will be welcomed into the body of Christ because of this wellspring of prayer and support, the staff, board, and missionaries of the OCMC would like to extend sincere thanks. May we continue to love others by sharing our faith with them, so that they too may know salvation through Jesus Christ.