PARMA, OH – Led by Board President Fr. George Liacopulos, Board Members from across the country recently gathered for the annual Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) Fall Board Meeting. With the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine, Fr. John Nakonachny, Fr. Michael Hontaruk, Fr. Dn. Ihor Mahlay, and the faithful of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, OH, this was the second board meeting for His Grace Bishop Savas who serves as a liaison between OCMC and the newly formed Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.
During the meeting, the many accomplishments of OCMC missionaries serving in Albania, Moldova, Romania, and Tanzania were reviewed. Stories of the Church’s rapid expansion among the Turkana of Northern Kenya were shared as well as potential opportunities that exist for sharing the Faith in Mongolia.
OCMC ministries are increasingly working to welcome non-Christian peoples into the Body of Christ. This focus has been a driving force behind the Mission Center’s recent strategic planning process. The work that has been done thus far on the strategic plan was approved by the board. The new strategic plan is aimed at emphasizing the importance of bringing people to the Faith, establishing church communities in parts of the world where they may not yet exist, and helping these communities to mature into self-sustaining, self-governing, and self-propagating parishes.
On Tuesday, October 11th, a reception was held at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Rocky River, OH. This event, organized by Fr. Dn. Ihor and Fr. James Doukas, was held to broaden awareness of, and support for, Orthodox missions and the work of the OCMC. During the banquet Mission Team Member to Alaska Alexis Steffas, OCMC Board Member John Colis and his wife Carrie who recently served in Tanzania, and OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi shared their experiences from the mission field and highlighted the importance of missions in the world. The evening’s festivities ended with some closing remarks from His Grace Bishop Savas who, following his recent trip with OCMC to Kenya, underscored the profound impact that missions can have in the lives of others.
The next OCMC Board Meeting will be held in May 2012 at Mission Center headquarters in St. Augustine, FL.