His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine with the Delegates of the Second Youth Sobor of the UOC of the USA
The Second Youth Sobor of the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA was a Great Success the Weekend of October 5-7 2007.
In conjunction with the 18th Regular Sobor of the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA the 2nd Youth Sobor was held. Eight participants from parishes across the country were in attendance. The Youth Sobor Delegates maintained a very full schedule.
Friday sessions by began attending Divine Liturgy and breakfast with the Regular Sobor Delegates. His Eminence Archbishop Yuri of Canada officially opened the Youth Sobor with a prayer and blessing. Fr. Stephen Hutnick, Director of Vocations led a workshop on Spiritual Time Management. The second speaker of the morning Kenneth Kidd of Orthodox Christian Mission Center(OCMC) spoke to the delegates about the varied offices and organizations of SCOBA. He then spoke to them about opportunities for lay people to work within the church and with religious not for profit organizations.
Friday afternoon began the official deliberations of the Youth Sobor Delegates. They reviewed three main objectives and brainstormed ideas on each topic. The first topic was to review the Vision Statement for the Ideal Church composed by the 2004 Youth Sobor Delegates. After review and deciding unanimously that no changes needed to be made, the delegates proceeded to make recommendations as to how this Vision Statement can be realized practically in our parishes and as a national church. A few of the recommendations made are:
The Church should be: “A place of peace”.
- To promote peace, we could think about having uniting activities, an anonymous suggestion box, and give more hugs.
- The Kiss of Peace during the Liturgy is important and should be taken part in and mean it.
- Be open to change, and talk about problems one-on-one, face-to-face, rather than talking behind people’s backs.
- Hold meetings outside of the church building.
“A place welcoming to all people, where converts will be given proper introduction to the faith”.
- In order to make converts feel more comfortable, we need to make them feel welcome.
- Provide introduction to Orthodoxy classes,
- Provide/produce Orthodox booklets (i.e. Orthodoxy in a Nutshell)
- Invite visitors to coffee hour after church and spend time with them.
- Talk about Orthodoxy openly with friends.
The second and third topics of discussion were "How can we reach out to marginal youth within our parishes and encourage them to participate in our local parishes and on a national level?" and "What can we do to help preserve our Ukrainian Heritage and at the same time not alienate those within our church of a different ethnic background or potential new parishioners?" Recommendations for these two topics ranged from reading the Gospel in both English and Ukrainian to providing car pools for children of the parish who may not have rides to church. The complete recommendations of the Youth Sobor are attached to this article.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine spent time with the participants and discussed some of their topics with them. He commended them for taking the time to come and learn more about the church and he encouraged them to seek out leadership roles within their parishes now and in the future. He instructed them that to be a leader in the faith does not just mean to hold a job or a title, but also to be a leader by simply living the faith and by action. The Delegates completed the day by participating in the solemn 75th Commemoration of the Artificial Famine in Ukraine 1932-33.
Saturday the delegates reviewed and accepted the recommendations developed the previous day. They then participated in inter-active leadership activities. That afternoon they presented their work to the Regular Sobor Delegation. Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry Director, Natalie Kapeluck Nixon, encouraged the Regular Sobor Delegates to take these recommendations back to their parishes and utilize them to best fit the needs of their individual situations.
The Youth Sobor was called to a close and the delegates participated in the remainder of activities of the Regular Sobor proceedings.
We pray that the work of these young leaders of our Church may be used to the Glory of our Lord and His Church. Please encourage the youth of your parish to participate in future Youth Sobors.