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OCMC News - Celebration, Progress, and Reflection: The 2019 Spring Board Meeting

by Niko Birbilis (Posted 5/29/2019)

OCMC News - Celebration, Progress, and Reflection: The 2019 Spring Board Meeting
OCMC Missionaries Thomas and Elizabeth Manuel held a video conference with the board durning this year’s Spring Board Meeting. The Manuels are part of a growing number of missionaries the OCMC staff and board hope to train and send into the field in the coming years.

The Board of Directors of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center convened for its spring meeting at the Mission Center in St. Augustine, FL, on May 20-22. The Divine Liturgy, Board Meeting, and board/staff dinner (held on the feast of Sts. Constantine and Helen) coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the dedication of the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building. It was a great opportunity for everyone in attendance to reflect and evaluate what has been accomplished and formulate plans going forward.

In his report to the Board, OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi presented a number of current special projects underway or recently completed. These included:

  • Building missionary housing in Guatemala
  • Building churches in Uganda and Indonesia
  • Helping with orphan care in Albania, Kenya, Guatemala, India, Madagascar, and Mexico
  • Assisting with education in Ghana and Kenya
  • Supporting the dioceses of Albania, Ghana, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Kenya, South Korea, Madagascar, and Sweden
  • Supporting seminaries in Alaska and Kenya
  • Drilling wells in Kenya and Uganda
  • Sponsoring the memorial fund and funeral arrangements for Bishop Athanasius of Kenya

Fr. Martin also noted future efforts being considered - all in addition to, and in conjunction with, the long-term missionaries and short-term teams serving in various countries. Missionary Director Deacon James Nicholas briefed the Board on the streamlined long-term missionary recruitment, training, and sending process as OCMC continues to increase its work in various countries. Thomas and Elizabeth Manuel, two OCMC missionaries in the field, also spoke with the board in a video call. They are currently studying Spanish in Mexico and preparing to serve in Guatemala, and they shared some of their experiences to give the Board a glimpse into the life of missionaries serving in the field.

The Board welcomed its newest member: Stacey Gleeson of Newtown, PA. Officers were reelected for a new three-year term including John Colis, President; Gayle Woloschak, Vice President; Fr. Ceraphim Mitchell, Treasurer. Bruce Humphrey was newly elected as Secretary taking over for Betty Slanta who was recognized for her long service in that roll.

A new Strategic Planning Committee was created to follow-up on the innovative one-page plan adopted at the last Board Meeting. OCMC finances and investments were reviewed, including the most recent audited financial statements; and a balanced budget for the new fiscal year was approved.

All-in-all, staff and board working closely together toward accomplishing the goals set forth in the new strategic plan has been very fruitful, and the organization eagerly anticipates the continued growth of Orthodox missionary efforts worldwide. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support! You make all of this work possible!

Contact Information


220 Mason Manatee Way
St. Augustine, FL
United States
(904) 829-5132

Toll Free:

(904) 829-1635


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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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