OCF Chaplains Conference – Shaping the Future of Campus Ministry

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

5/23/2007

SCOBA
The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2007                                                             
Orthodox Christian Fellowship
P.O. Box 300249
Boston, MA 02130
1-800-919-1623
www.ocf.net

OCF Chaplains Conference – Shaping the Future of Campus Ministry


Boston, MA – Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) held its annual Chaplains Conference for clergy and lay leaders May 1-3, 2007 at the Antiochian Village Conference Center in Ligonier, PA. This retreat brought together twenty five clergy and lay OCF chaplains from throughout North America. 

The conference hosted OCF Chaplains from schools including Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, University of Arizona – Tucson and as far away as the University of Alaska – Fairbanks. The conference has become an annual event where chaplains meet to network, to share their experiences, and to discuss the future of campus ministry.  With over 20 OCF chapters opened last year and a total of about 240 OCF chapters in North America, Orthodox campus ministry is growing rapidly and this event is a great opportunity to shape its direction for the future. 

The three-day event included:
 Fr. Kevin Scherer’s keynote address
 workshops
 round-table discussions
 daily worship services
 team building activities on a ropes course. 

Fr. Kevin, who was appointed the OCF Executive Director in August 2006, spoke about challenges facing students and chaplains on campus as well as ways to improve campus ministry.  One of the main goals for the North American Office in the near future is to hire more full-time regional chaplains.  Mr. John Stonestreet is the first chaplain hired in September 2006 for the North Carolina Triangle area and preparations are under way for at least three more full-time chaplains. 

The keynote session was followed the next day by informative and motivating workshops presented by Fr. John Reeves, Pres. Mary Cowles and Fr. James Coles.  They focused on spreading the Gospel on campus, lay leadership and nurturing student relationships.  In addition to the discussions inside, the ropes course, organized in beautiful weather and scenery, provided a great way to work effectively as a team to overcome challenges put forth before them and relating these challenges to those they encounter in campus ministry.

This conference was very important for OCF’s growth.  Fr. Kevin Scherer shared, “This was a really foundational conference.  I genuinely believe that we’ll look back on it five years from now and talk about its strategic significance.  I think all of us gained a great deal of common ownership in this ministry.”

The closing activities of the conference included discussions on resources needed from the North American Office, best curriculum topics, finding the appropriate title for the regional chaplain, and fundraising for campus ministry.  This energizing and crucial conference was made possible by a generous grant from the Order of St. Ignatius of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Plans for next year’s conference are under way and information will be available in early 2008.

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Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official campus ministry program of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). OCF works to nurture and strengthen love for Jesus Christ and His Church in its fullness at this most critical juncture of human life. OCF supports 240 local chapters throughout North America and involves hundreds of college students through its programming, including the College Conference and Real Break. Additional information on all the OCF programs can be found on the OCF website, www.ocf.net, or by calling toll-free, 800-919-1623.