Campus Ministry workshop held in Yonkers, NY

OCF Group

On Saturday, August 18, 2012, twenty clergy, lay persons, parents, and college students gathered at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church here for a workshop titled “The Fields are White for Harvest: Welcome to College Ministry.”

The workshop combined practical tips for establishing and expanding campus ministry efforts with personal stories of the power of healthy, on-campus ministry.

The day opened with a presentation by Edward Ryan, Outreach Coordinator for the University of Connecticut Orthodox Christian Fellowship. He shared the story of his conversion to Orthodox Christianity as an undergraduate student, crediting the love shown to him by a local parish and OCF chapter.

The second presenter, Andrew Boyd, OCA Youth Director, surveyed specific strategies and challenges of campus ministry in the parish and campus settings. After a lunch break, Deacon John Diamantis, Chairman of the College Ministry Department for the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, offered practical steps to starting OCF chapters and detailing ways campus ministry can impact a parish community.

His Grace, Bishop Michael, was unable to be present, but sent a letter to workshop participants to encourage them and bless their work. In his letter, he shared how he commonly hears clergy and parishioners mourn for youth and young adults that have left the Church—an issue the workshop also addressed.

“We are very thankful to Father David Cowan and the parishioners of Holy Trinity Church for inviting our group in and showing us true, Christian hospitality,” said Deacon John. “It was also a pleasure to partner with our national OCA youth department to offer something substantive on a local level.”

Through the generosity of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey as well as local parishioners, and the hard work of many, the event was free to attendees.

“I wish I had this type of workshop years ago,” said Protodeacon Michael Sochka, long-time assistant chaplain at Princeton University.  “The priceless practical information was augmented with honesty, humor, and personal stories.”

“This workshop inspired me to go back to my chapter and make it the best it can be,” said Rebecca Oliver, a student from the Diocese of New York and New Jersey studying at Penn State University. “As I sat with others who were passionate about this ministry, I was proud to be a part of something so wonderful. OCF has changed my life in so many ways, and I hope other college students can benefit from campus ministry as well.”

“The energy in the room was almost tangible,” said Mr. Boyd. “It was amazing to see the excitement and commitment of new and experienced clergy and committed lay people, parents, and students. It is my hope that other parishes, deaneries, and dioceses would follow New York and New Jersey’s lead and contact me to plan similar events.”

Those interested in hosting similar workshops may contact Mr. Boyd at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 203-215-1690.

A gallery of photos may be viewed here.