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OCMC News - Missions Represented at the 19th All-American Council

by Niko Birbilis (Posted 8/13/2018)

OCMC News - Missions Represented at the 19th All-American Council
An affirmation of missions was a major theme of this year's All-American Council which was punctuated by the commissioning of the Moore Family who are exploring long-term missionary service in South Korea.

From July 23-27, the Orthodox Church in America held their 19th All-American Council. Representatives from many Orthodox jurisdictions were present, including the Church of Finland, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Church of Russia, the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and the Excharchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Parishes of the Russian Tradition in Western Europe. This wonderful global turnout led to a very fruitful week of discussions.

Over the course of the week, many valuable talks and sessions were offered. One was presented by our very own Fr. Martin Ritsi, in which he described the role that OCMC plays in the Orthodox Church. He summed it up well: “What do we do? Changing lives and saving souls, by God’s grace. How do we do it? Bringing people to Christ, establishing the Church, and sharing His love. That’s what we’re about.”

Very encouraging, however, was the fact that the Church’s responsibility to participate in missions and evangelization was not only mentioned in Fr. Martin’s presentation, but was a recurring theme in talks throughout the entire council. That served as a good reminder that missionary work is, at some level, an intrinsic part of every Christian life and ministry.

This emphasis on missions was even manifest directly, when the entire body of the council gathered to commission the Moore family at the end of the Divine Liturgy, as they begin exploring South Korea for the next phase of their missionary service. With representatives from Orthodox Churches all around the world gathering to bless the Moores and send them off, a true icon of missions in the Church was portrayed.

This was a living example of what His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, was describing in his opening address, when he quoted St. Tikhon: “We must share our spiritual richness, truth, light, and joy with others who do not have these blessings. And this duty does not only lay upon the pastors and missionaries, but on the lay persons as well, since the Church of Christ, according to the wise comparison of the Holy Apostle Paul, is the body, and every member takes part in the life of the body.”

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Prayer for Missions

God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
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