OCMC Board Gathers for its Annual Spring Meeting in St. Augustine, FLOCMC Communications (5/21/2009)
St. Augustine, FL – The OCMC Board of Directors gathered at the Renaissance Resort at the World Golf Village on May 19 and 20 for their annual Spring Board Meeting. The occasion for this meeting, however, was of tremendous significance, as it immediately preceded the dedication of the new Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building.
On the evening of May 19, OCMC Board President Clifford Argue and OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi updated the board on the progress of OCMC’s current strategic plan and emerging mission fields in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Former Board members Bob Gremley and Dr. Spero Kinnas were also recognized for their contributions to the organization over the years.
As chairperson of the new building Dedication Committee, Helen Nicozisis reported that preparations for the dedication event had been completed. She offered sincere thanks to her fellow committee members, Board Members, and staff for their tireless efforts in welcoming the many hierarchs and guests from around the world who would share in the joy of the new building’s completion.
On the morning of the 20th, the Board received presentations from two of the Mission Center’s longest serving Missionary families, Nathan and Gabriela Hoppe and Floyd and Ancuta Frantz. They arrived from Albania and Romania to represent all OCMC missionaries and missionary candidates during the dedication events.
Nathan shared that two of his former students at the seminary in Tirana, Albania have been elevated to serve as bishops. He also reported that the summer youth camps he and his wife Gabriela coordinate in Kosovo are enjoying increasing popularity. These camps are a ministry of love to children who suffered terribly during the war. These camps are part of the humanitarian and philanthropic work of the church and not religious in nature.
Floyd reminded the board that alcoholism remains a significant issue in Romania and that the St. Dimitrie program that he directs has intervened in the lives of thousands of people who struggle with this debilitating disease. He also shared that the Protection of the Theotokos Day Center, which is directed by his wife Ancuta, maintains its wonderful record in preventing child abandonment by offering unwed mothers daycare, counseling, and employment services. Following his talk, Floyd presented the Board with a hand painted icon from the Church in Romania.
The OCMC staff was also given the opportunity to introduce themselves and offer presentations that detailed many of the Mission Center’s programs. The staff was honored to meet the Board they serve.
An afternoon session led by OCMC Board Treasurer Bill Birchfield revealed that, in spite of a difficult economic climate, support for the work of missions continues to grow among the Orthodox faithful of North America. Although the faithful remain supportive of the work of missions, the need for continuing support was stressed.
The Board also welcomed its two newest members, former Missionary to Albania and Professor of Missions at Holy Cross Seminary, Fr. Luke Veronis, and Dn. Andrew Rubis of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America.
As the annual Spring Board Meeting drew to a close, events for the dedication of the new building began – an occasion that represented an answer to prayer shared by all the Board Members, staff, and Missionaries who were in attendance.
The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is the official missions agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) dedicated to fulfilling Christ’s last command to make disciples of all nations.
Hierarchs, Clergymen and faithful traveled from throughout the world this week to gather in St. Augustine Florida for the Dedication of their new Mission Center. OCN will bring you full coverage of this historic triumph for Orthodoxy. Click here to visit the travel blog page for interviews and photos of the leading lights of Orthodoxy gathered to celebrate the Great Commission of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The official opening of the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Mission Training Center in St. Augustine, Florida was held this morning. Currently we are at the special Luncheon celebrating this extraordinary event which celebrates the erecting of the first official center for a SCOBA Agency. Representatives of all of the Orthodox Jurisdictions were present as well as representatives of all SCOBA Agencies to witness this glorious event and show solidarity in the aim of SCOBA to share the Gospel of Christ.
The morning began once again with a downpour but this did not wash out the positive spirit of those who came to St. Augustine. In the holy presence of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios as well as other hierarchs and priests, the Board of Directors of OCMC and hundreds of supporters began the day with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. From there all present traveled in the pouring down rain to the OCMC headquarters. You might even be able to pick up the sound of the rain in this recording.
I must confess to you that on my way to the Divine Liturgy I got lost and found another member of the Board of OCMC who also had lost her way, since most of the roads leading to the church had been washed out by the rain and the police were detouring everyone. It was at this point that I decided to go directly to the training center. Much to my joy I met Helen Nicozisis, the former Chairman of the Board and the Capital Campaign at the center who gave me a personal tour of the new center prior to everyone arriving. You can hear this tour for yourself by clicking on the link below.
The new building is approximately 12,000 square feet and two stories tall with a reflecting pool. The blessing of the waters service was chanted with the faithful singing the responses. The prayers read by the Hierarchs and priests were so moving that some people were brought to tears. For some, the goal of having a mission center has been a life-long endeavor now realized.
You can also hear two talks given by the honorees which were very moving’ recalling their time together in Greece when they were students and their statements of how important missions are for our Church. We will be posting numerous photos so please take your time to review them. Thanks for visiting our OCMC coverage of the Dedication. It was an honor for OCN to be invited to partner with our sister agency of SCOBA.