We believe that the primary goal of Orthodox Christian Youth Ministry is the nurturance of Christ-likeness and the growth in personal holiness. We recognize a critical need for our Diocesan Youth to have a deeper experience of the Orthodox Spiritual life as lived within the body of Christ, the Church. The primary purpose of the Diocesan Apostolate for Youth is to evangelize our youth, and encourage their active participation in all aspects of the life of the Church. Our ministry focuses on the following aspects of the Orthodox Christian Way: Worship, Vocation, Witness and Fellowship.
WORSHIP: Recognizing that the ultimate goal of Orthodox Christianity is Communion with God, the apostolate seeks to educate, encourage and facilitate the commitment of our youth to a daily rule of prayer and their active participation in the communal worship of the Church. To facilitate this, we will encourage opportunities on the parish, deanery and diocesan level for instruction in congregational Plain Chant singing. We also encourage the active participation in the Sacramental life of the Church and especially the Holy Mysteries of Repentance (Confession) and the Eucharist. With the blessing of Metropolitan Nicholas, the apostolate has established a prayer ministry for the spiritual needs of our youth and their parents. In conjunction with this new ministry, an Akathist (Supplication) Service for our youth will be served on a rotating basis on a deanery level, each month. During this service diocesan faithful will have the opportunity to submit names of youth that they wish to be prayed for during the service.
EDUCATION: Assisting our youth in the discernment of God's will for their lives is a high priority for of the Apostolate for youth. The apostolate seeks to encourage the instruction of our youth in the Orthodox understanding of the vocation of married and family life, monasticism and Holy Orders. Working with the Diocesan Religious Education Commission, we are in the process of providing resources for retreats, youth discussion groups on the parish level, other forums on contemporary moral issues from an Orthodox point of view, and the reinforcement of the knowledge of foundational catechetical and dogmatic teachings of the Church. The bi-monthly newsletter Daylight is one such initiative that provides educational and informational resources for our youth. We desire as well to encourage reading of Holy Scripture, the lives of the saints and other spiritual reading.
WITNESS: Orthopraxis or the correct living of the Orthodox Christian faith is the natural expression of one's faith in and commitment to the Lord. The Diocesan Apostolate for Youth is committed to encouraging our youth to live their faith in their daily lives by providing opportunities for missionary outreach and charitable works on the parish, diocesan and Pan-Orthodox levels.
FELLOWSHIP: The understanding of God as a Trinity of Persons who are perfectly united in a Communion of Love, is the ultimate icon for interpersonal relationships within the Church. Therefore, we seek to encourage the interaction of our youth with their contemporaries on the parish, deanery and Pan-Orthodox levels, to foster a sense of community. We are working to achieve this and thereby build a spiritual support system for our youth, through the hosting of pilgrimages and spiritual retreats, and encouraging their involvement in the Junior ACRY and other social activities. We will actively encourage the participation of our Youth in the Summer Camping Program at Camp Nazareth, which provides our youth a comprehensive experience of living an Orthodox Christian way of life in community with their Orthodox peers.
We are striving to achieve our stated goals by developing training programs for clergy, youth workers and parents and by furthering the communication with and ministry to our youth through newsletters, direct mailings, internet presence, and interpersonal contact on the parish, deanery and diocesan levels.