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Metropolitan Herman Honored by OCMC Board and Team Chicago

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Nov 18, 2005

St. Augustine, FL:  The Orthodox Christian Mission Center Board of Directors held their fall meeting at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Des Plaines, Illinois from November 9-11, 2005. They also welcomed and honored His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America & Canada of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), in conjunction with Team Chicago's Benefit Banquet.

The Board of OCMC, the official international mission and evangelism agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), is comprised of thirty-four clergy and laity members representing various Orthodox jurisdictions. Metropolitan Herman represented SCOBA and actively participated in the board meetings. The OCMC Board reviewed the Mission Center's ministries, especially missionaries serving throughout the world; and progress of a new five-year Strategic Plan, as well as future projects and direction for its continued growth. With OCMC's continued expansion, Fr. Martin Ritsi, Executive Director of OCMC, presented the board of directors with an architectural rendition of OCMC's future building, scheduled to break ground in Spring of 2006.

During the three day event, the OCMC Health Care Committee held a wine and cheese reception for all local area health care professionals to learn more about Mission opportunities. Dr. Spero Kinnas, Acting Chair of the Health Care Committee and OCMC Board Member, was instrumental in coordinating the event.

Thanks to OCMC Team Chicago's enthusiasm for missions, the group comprised of former OCMC missionaries organized a banquet where Metropolitan Herman was the keynote speaker. Fr. John Rallis, pastor of St. John the Baptist, welcomed nearly 400 pan-Orthodox attendees from throughout the area. Also present and recognized at the event were Archbishop Job of the OCA Diocese of Chicago and Metropolitan Iakovos of the Chicago Greek Orthodox Metropolis, official host of the OCMC fall meeting.

Fr. Martin spoke on how Orthodox missions has grown from very little to a vibrant organization of missionaries throughout the world. When he began his mission work in Kenya, he received one of the first mission teams in 1988 that included George Conopeotis, now an active member Board Member and part of Team Chicago, as well as Christine Pappas, now serving as an OCMC long-term missionary in Albania. With these early members from the Chicago area, their mission experience and their zeal, they established an active group to promote mission work throughout their Orthodox community. Cliff Argue, President of OCMC, then spoke and encouraged all Orthodox Christians to step up and consider "Putting their Faith in Action" by considering a mission experience.

The evening's highlight was His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman's speech about the importance of mission and service as members of the Body of Christ. His speech drew attention to the tremendous accomplishments that OCMC has made in the missionary field over the past few decades. As he said "The work of these selfless individuals has truly made an impact on their lives, on the lives of those to whom they have ministered and continue to minister, and on the life of the Orthodox Church as a whole".

OCMC would like to thank all the individuals of our Orthodox community in the Chicago area and around the world that made this three day event a success.

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