A Sample Parish Outreach Program for College Students

Introduction

Trying to keep college students connected to the Church while they are away at school is a challenging task which requires love, prayer, team work, and consistency.

The one thing that is universal to all college students is their desire for mail, especially mail from home.

The program outlined below is similar to some efforts already in place at parishes through out the country. The plan described has been developed based upon the elements that have proved most successful.

While the program was developed for college students, young adults, who are not going to college but are moving to an new area, would also benefit from this.

Step One

Announce to the members of the parish that your community is undertaking this type of outreach program and solicit volunteers for looking at the expenses of such a ph

Step Two

Every year during the summer create a database of the names, addresses, e-mails, phone numbers, birthdays, and names days of all parish young adults who are going to be away at college during the coming year. This will require checking the parish listings and making phone calls. One of the

Step Three

Buddy program (prays for them, sends parish bulliten, diocesan newsletter, and The Orthodox Church newspaper, birthday and names day cards, occasional notes - see attached list)

Out-reach Mailing Program

Give them a going away packet from the parish and send one packet out each fall and each spring with materials that will help them live their Orthodox faith on campus.The parish would need to look at the cost of this and allow for a line-item in their budget to offset the expenses of purchasing and mailing these materials.

Below is a sample of a four year cycle (the items listed below are just one possibility)

Going away packet:

1. Icon (Christ, Theotokos, Patron Saint, or parish feast)

2. Prayer book: The bookstores at St. Tikhon’s and St. Vladimir’s Seminaries have a variety of prayer books from which to choose.

3. Bible: Accepted biblical translations include: The King James Version (KJV), the New King James Version (NKJV), the Resized Standard Version (RSV), and the New International Version (NIV). The Orthodox Study Bible (New Testament and Psalms) available from OCPC has many short articles about Orthodox beliefs, as well as a short rule of prayer in the back.

4. Church Calendar: Send a Church wall calendar with the daily scripture readings, feasts, and fast periods. Since most of these calendars begin with January this could be mailed as an annual Christmas present along with a nice note/card.

5. A Note saying that they will be receiving the parish bulletin, diocesan newspaper, and The Orthodox Church newspaper (contact the subscription department at 516/922-0550).

6. Our Faith: a Popular Presentation of Orthodox Christianity by Fr. John Matusiak. Available from OCPC.

7. Contact at an Orthodox parish close to their college: include the name, address, and phone number (e-mail where available). Check out the OCF Campus Directory sent to all parishes each February, ask your parish priest, or check the OCA web page North American Directory link

Be sure to contact the parish ahead of time so that they know there is an Orthodox college student nearby!

8. A Listing of Interesting Orthodox Web Sites and Internet Publications: The OCA web page at http://www.oca.org; the North American OCF Directory and YO-Mail at http://www.oca.org/YO!; the national OCF page at http://www.goarch.org; the college information provided at http://www.antiochian.org.

First year:

Fall

- Youth of the Apocalypse and the Last True Rebellion by Monks John Marler and Andrew Wermuth. Available from Light and Life Publications.

- Cassette tape or CD of the Divine Liturgy in English: Various productions are available from OCPC and the bookstores at St. Tikhon’s and St. Vladimir’s seminaries.

- Pastoral Encyclical on Confession and Communion available from OCPC.

Spring

- The Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers by Stanley Harakas: available from Light and Life Publishing ()

- Pastoral Encyclical on the Spiritual Life available from OCPC

Second year:

Fall

- The Doctrine book in the Orthodox Handbook series by Fr. Thomas Hopko: Four small books on various aspects of the Orthodox faith and life, intended for the average reader. Available from OCPC.

- Pastoral Encyclical on Christian Unity and Ecumenism available from OCPC.

Spring

- The Spirituality book in the Orthodox Handbook series by Fr. Thomas Hopko. Available from OCPC.

- A Taped presentation on prayer. There are currently many titles available from St. Vladimir’s and St. Tikhon’s Seminaries.

- Pastoral Encyclical on Marriage available from OCPC

Third year:

Fall

- The Worship book in the Orthodox Handbook series by Fr. Thomas Hopko. Available from OCPC.

Spring

- The Church History book in the Orthodox Handbook series by Fr. Thomas Hopko. Available from OCPC.

Fourth year:

Fall

- The Orthodox Way by Timothy Ware available from St. Vladimir’s Seminary. It as good explanation of Orthodox Christian spirituality.

Spring

- Orthodox Christians in North America: A history of Orthodoxy in North America. Available from OCPC.

“Reunions”

Between Christmas and New Years, and/or in the summer schedule a reunion for any college-aged young adults at home. It can be as simple as a dinner at the priest’s house, or a trip to a nearby amusement park.

If there are a number of “alumni” from a regional camping or retreat program in the area, plan a regional get-together: a field trip to the camp grounds; a ski trip; etc..

Have them Subscribe to YO-Mail (Young Orthodox Mail)

Sent out twice a month from the OCA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, this e-mail “zine” contains current Church news, upcoming young adult events throughout North America, answers to questions submitted by readers, and short spiritual reflections. Subscriptions are available via the OCA youth page on the world wide web http://www.oca.org/YO!

Where to get it:

Orthodox Christian Publications Center (OCPC) 973/694-5782

St. Tikhon’s Seminary Bookstore: 888/454-6678

St. Vladimir’s Seminary Bookstore: 800/204-BOOK

Light and Life Publishing

OCA web page: http://www.oca.org

Taken from the OCA Resource Handbook for Lay Ministries