2014 Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference
Shine Forth: A
Summary of the 2013 Orthodox
Christian Camp & Youth Worker Conference
By Steven Christoforou
The 11th Annual Orthodox Christian Camp & Youth Worker Conference
took place at the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Austin, Texas
January 24-26. Over 100 youth workers
from around the United States and Bahamas assembled for this three-day
conference hosted by the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
This year’s theme was “Shine Forth:
Helping our Orthodox Youth Follow and Represent Christ.”
Father Apostolos Hill, of St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Prescott,
AZ, offered the keynote address. He
distilled his years of pastoral experience into a talk that urged his listeners
to maintain a focus on the transformative power of Christ. He stressed an “openness to the truly broken”
as essential to any true Christian ministry, however, he was careful to note
that a youth worker cannot open a young person’s eyes to the Gospel without
attempting to live it oneself. He stated
that “you cannot push a rope;” just as a rope is used to pull a person towards
oneself, a youth worker needs to be grounded in Christ so he can pull a young
person towards Him. He also cautioned
that a parish’s budget, both of time and money, says a lot about its
priorities, and that these are messages our youth absorb. Finally, he insisted that a call to service
is a necessary part of youth ministry: no matter how effectively we educate
young people, if we do not engage them then they will disconnect from Christ
and His Church.
Friday featured workshops led by youth workers from various
jurisdictions. Subjects included
keeping our college aged young adults connected to Christ and His Church to
protecting our youth.
Fr. Jason Roll, Director of the Department of Youth and Young Adult
Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, left the conference
enthused. “It’s great to see old and new
faces developing their talents together and sharing best practices with one
another. We put our heads together and
came up with some great ideas while cementing crucial ties with our fellow
The Ukrainian and Carpatho-Russian Churches will host the next
conference, slated for January of 2014.
The conference provides an arena for Orthodox youth workers from
different jurisdictions to share and provide resources. All Orthodox parish and
diocese youth workers, camp directors and staff, and OCF chaplains are invited
Steven Christoforou is the new
Youth Protection / Parish Ministries Coordinator of the National Department of
Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Originally from Astoria, NY, he is in his fourth and final year of the
Masters of Divinity Program at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in
Boston, MA. A graduate of Yale University and Fordham University School
of Law, Steve worked as a corporate attorney on Wall Street for two years
before enrolling at Seminary. This year, he has been serving as Lay
Coordinator for the Harvard and MIT chapters of Orthodox Christian Fellowship. He
has extensive parish experience, as a former Parish Council member, Sunday
School teacher, and youth volunteer. He also has extensive experience in
youth and camping ministries, having led retreats around the country as a
member of the Seminary's Ambassadors Program, and having served at the Direct
Archdiocesan District's Camp Saint Paul, both as a Counselor and Boys Director.
Please check back soon for more details about the 2014 conference!
Click here for information about the 2013 Conference and past conferences.