College Student Sunday
September 17, 2006
You therefore beloved, beware lest you be carried away with error…But grow
in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (II Peter
The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in
To all the Clergy and the Laity of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops
(“SCOBA”) in the Americas, we greet you with the love of Christ, on this
first Sunday after the Feast of the Exaltation of His most precious Cross.
Each year, we designate this day as College Student Sunday, a day when we
ask all of you, our beloved faithful, to keep our young college students in
your minds, thoughts, and prayers as they grow in the knowledge of Christ
and learn to walk in His love.
For many students, the college years are perhaps the most formative ones in
life. The task of learning how to balance study and recreation, the prospect
of encountering challenging ideas in the classroom, the idea of living in
close quarters with a roommate who might offer an entirely foreign worldview
or perspective on life, and the first encounter with total and complete
freedom outside the family environment can be altogether exciting
experiences for the college student. However, they can also be quite
confusing and disorienting.
It is the common experience of many young college students that within a
matter of months upon entering college, and indeed throughout the college
experience, the college student is challenged by central questions of
identity: “Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life? Who do I
consider my close friends in this newfound environment?” are among the
myriad of such questions. Inevitably, the question of identity as it
pertains to the question of God also arises, a question that, once in the
calm and comfort of home had been long taken for granted, suddenly arises
with a sharp pang as if from nowhere: “What exactly is my religious
This question is a burning question that begs for an answer, and this is
precisely why the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) was instituted, to
provide Orthodox Christian students in college with a community to support
them as they seek the answers to the questions that they face. Today, the
OCF has over 200 chapters on college and university campuses throughout
North America. For six years now, OCF has been formally reestablished as the
official campus ministry of SCOBA, and its evolution is noteworthy. What
once began as a grassroots movement among Orthodox Christian college
students now receives our full and committed support. Its impact on our
Orthodox students’ lives is significant.
On many college and university campuses, Orthodox students have their meals
together, socialize together, and on some campuses have even established
formal housing arrangements with their college’s housing departments. Though
many students are able to attend a weekly Vespers service through the
visitations of a nearby priest who has placed college outreach as a vital
part of his active ministry, it is not uncommon for Orthodox Christian
college students and their friends to travel to nearby Orthodox Churches for
Sunday Divine Liturgy, Vespers, and the full cycle of Lenten services. These
students, who away from their homes are seeking answers to burning questions
of faith, bring a renewed vitality and a passion for the Gospel which can
very often serve to energize the entire parish. They sing in the choir,
chant the Epistle, serve in the Altar, teach in Church School programs, and
host coffee hours. Their impact is noticeable, and their role in building up
the Orthodox Church is vital.
In affirming our support as hierarchs to our OCF program, we kindly ask our
clergy to take a collection from every parish to support this important
national ministry, which aids students in their search for religious meaning
and fellowship. Equally important, we ask that our clergy afford college
students in their parishes with the opportunity to speak to parish members
about their experiences with OCF during their college years, and to be
mindful of the many college and university campuses that still do not have
OCF chapters. Our national OCF office in Boston, Massachusetts, is fully
staffed with professionals who are ready to assist students and area clergy
who would like to begin the process of starting a chapter.
With warm thanks for your support of this ministry, we extend our heartfelt
prayer to our college students that they may experience their college years
as St. Peter describes in his epistle, as years to grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
With paternal blessings and love in Christ,
†Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Orthodox Church in America
†Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in
of North America
America and Canada
†Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
†Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
†Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
College Student Sunday Packet
Every Orthodox Parish in North America should receive their College Student
Sunday packet in the mail a week or two before September 17th. If you need
one, please download from http://www.ocf.net/css
I am a student... What can I or my OCF do?
* Please make sure your parish's clergy are aware of College Student
Sunday and encourage them to support the day.
* Get involved in the College Student Sunday (It's your day!). Make
yourself visible at church, ask the clergy if you could talk to the parish
about your own OCF experience or use some of the information provided above.
Encourage your entire OCF to show up and be available after Divine Liturgy.
It is a great chance for your OCF to find support. So many people are
willing to help!
* If you don't have an OCF, College Student Sunday could be a
launching pad to start one <http://www.ocf.net/startup.asp
> , find students,
talk to your parish and your off!
Web: www.ocf.net <http://www.ocf.net/