With the blessing of Metr. Demetrius of America, the Dormition of the Theotokos parish in Concord, NH, hosted this year’s Youth and Family Conference on the weekend of October 20 – 22. The conference theme was “Reverence and the Fear of God.” Metr. Demetrius and Metr. Moses of Toronto joined us along with more than a dozen clergy and about 150 laity. Conferees came from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Toronto, and as far away as California. It was wonderful to get re-acquainted with old friends as well as get to know many new folks.
The event began and ended with a short service asking for our Lord’s blessing on this event and clearly our Lord blessed us greatly. On Friday night at the church, a large group gathered for fellowship and snacks. On Saturday, activities and meals were held at an elementary school a few blocks from the church. In the morning, attendees were divided into four age groups, and clergy presented talks to each group on reverence and fear of God in church, at home, and in the world. Everyone attending the sessions spoke highly of how the theme was fleshed out and made practical to our daily lives. The younger children also enjoyed painting pumpkins, other crafts and relay races.
The weather was beautiful through out the weekend, and many attendees enjoyed a trip to an apple orchard for apple picking, cider and fresh cider doughnuts Saturday afternoon. Following vespers and dinner, the young people went bowling. Adults took part in a Q&A with our hierarchs, focusing on the topics discussed earlier in the day.
On Sunday, Matins and a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy were celebrated, with two hierarchs, six priests and four deacons. Both Metropolitans gave edifying brief sermons on the Gospel lesson, the raising of the widow’s son in Nain. What a great blessing to all be together worshipping our Lord. The event concluded with a banquet at the school. Presbytera Katina Patitsas entertained us with some of her songs. Metr. Moses agreed to hold next year’s Youth and Family Conference in Toronto.
Fr. Andrew Snogren, the Dormition parish priest, expressed his thanks to our hierarchs, the clergy who attended and participated, the planning committee for their great work, and to all the parishioners and guests who helped in many ways.
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Tucson, AZ, is a beautiful mission parish near downtown Tucson, a city in southern Arizona. It was started in 1997 by Father John Bockman, who was a missionary priest formerly serving missions in Tennessee and Massachusetts since 1990. Read more...
Q. There seems to be a lot of variation in how people observe fasting, but my confessor told me to fast from oil on Wednesday and Friday. Oil is a pretty vague category, though, and I was wondering if I could get a more explicit description of what kinds of food and drink are excluded on strict fast days. Read more...