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Orthodox Christian leaders - two from the Diocese of the Midwest - discuss outreach at White House Conference

WASHINGTON, DC [IOCC/OCA] -- More than 80 representatives of the nation’s Orthodox Christian service organizations gathered at the White House here on Friday, December 14, 2012 to discuss strategic service alliances with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The White House Conference on Orthodox Christian Engagement was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement in conjunction with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and facilitated by International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC].

Among those representing the Orthodox Church in America to discuss the role of Orthodox Christians in social outreach, disaster response, and community development in the US were Archpriests Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, and Antonio Perdomo, Pharr, TX.  Other OCA clergy, all of whom serve as IOCC first responders, in attendance were Archpriest Timothy Sawchak, Overland Park, KS and Priest Joel Weir, Saint Stephen Church, Crawfordsville, IN both of the Diocese of the Midwest; Archpriest Mark Vranes, Willimantic, CT; and Priest Barnabas Powell, Kirkland, WA.

Also present were His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas and liaison to IOCC from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America; His Grace, Bishop Gregorios of Nyssa of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese; His Grace, Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, Chief Secretary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Eparchial Synod, representing His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of America, a member of the Presidential Commission for Faith-Based Organizations; IOCC Chairperson Michael S. “Mickey” Homsey; numerous IOCC board and staff members; and other clergy and lay representatives engaged in outreach ministries.

“The opportunity for this level of discourse with the White House is an important way to build understanding between our communities and contribute toward serving needs here in the United States,” said Homsey. “The conference is an important step toward uniting the efforts of Orthodox Christians to effectively serve their communities and builds on similar service IOCC has provided in more than 50 countries around the world over the past twenty years.”

The half-day conference brought together the community’s leadership to learn more about its multifaceted ministries and to explore potential collaborations offered by the federal government to support the Church’s service work.

“The Orthodox Christian community plays a critical role in social outreach, disaster response, and community development,” said D. Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. The conference provided a forum for dialogue on that outreach and areas for mutual cooperation.

Preceding the White House conference was a gathering of IOCC’s Frontline, a national emergency response network comprised of volunteers trained in disaster response.  Frontline was organized after the events of 9/11. IOCC recently deployed members of the Frontline to assist in coastal communities along the Eastern seaboard following Superstorm Sandy and seeks to expand its network of volunteers nationally to serve more communities through disaster preparedness and emergency response.

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Diocesan Assembly: October 8-10, Lansing, IL

Upcoming Feasts of the Church

Polyeleos-rank Jun 19 - The Holy Apostle Jude the Brother of the Lord
Polyeleos-rank Jun 23 - Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God
Great Feast Jun 24 - Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John
Polyeleos-rank Jun 26 - Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God
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Polyeleos-rank Jul 2 - The Holy Hierarch John Maximovich, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco;
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Polyeleos-rank Jul 6 - Our Venerable Father Athanasius of Mount Athos
Vigil-rank Jul 8 - The Sitka (Kazan) Icon of the Mother of God
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Polyeleos-rank Jul 11 - The Holy Equal of the Apostles Blessed Princess Olga
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Polyeleos-rank Jul 17 - New Royal Passion-bearers Tsar Nicholas and his family
Vigil-rank Jul 19 - Our Venerable Father Seraphim, Wonder-worker of Sarov
Vigil-rank Jul 20 - Holy and Glorious Prophet Elijah
Polyeleos-rank Jul 23 - Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 24 - Right-believing Russian Princes Boris and Gleb
Polyeleos-rank Jul 26 - The Righteous Priest Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of the Native Peoples of Alaska
Polyeleos-rank Jul 28 - Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God
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