June 28, 2018

NEW YORK – Forty young adults participated, from May 31 through June 11, in the inaugural session of IV Next, a ministry of the Office of Ionian Village of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Leadership 100. The twelve-day itinerary included time at the beautiful Ionian Village campgrounds, as well as excursions to the cornerstones of the Ionian Village travel program. What made this program unique was the time dedicated to personal and professional development.

Participants spent time evaluating their own vocational calling through various “Orthodox Life” sessions and devotionals with their trip leaders, Fr. Vincent and Presvytera Nadia Minucci of Saint Demetrios in Weston, Massachusetts. Both Fr. Vincent and Presvytera Nadia are experienced youth workers and guided the participants along a journey of true self-reflection and growth.

"The young adults participating in IV Next are challenged not only by the new relaxing and "tech-free" environment that Ionian Village has to offer, but also by the leadership team both in Greece and in the United States who provide them with thought provoking discussions about being an Orthodox Christian professional in a secular and anxiety-ridden world. The campgrounds and excursions provide the young adults with perspective as many of their professional and social viewpoints are tested and transformed in a short period of time through talks, discussions, and activities with their peers” commented Trip Leader Presvytera Nadia Minucci. “The young adults leave feeling refreshed and armed to take on the social, spiritual, and professional challenges that lie ahead not only with concrete resources provided at IV Next but with connections to leaders willing to help them throughout their journey."

Working together with members of Leadership 100, IV Next was also able to give participants direct access to successful members of the Greek-American community. For the developmental sessions, participants met via live video conference with Dimitra Manis and Erinn Goldenberg to discuss “First Steps of starting your career,” Kathleen Chimicles and Father Jim Kordaris regarding “Financial planning and what Stewardship really looks like,” and lastly Katherine Relle, Mike Manatos and Greg Papadeas to work the maze of what it really means to be “Young, professional AND Orthodox.”

“We really wanted to focus on integration in this program. Too often, people think that being a young adult means balancing the church on one side of your life, and then your social and professional life on the other side of this scale of life,” remarked Father Evagoras Constantinides, Director of Ionian Village. “To me, I think that’s where a lot of our problems originate from. We talked about integration during IV Next because being a successful young adult doesn’t mean balancing Christ and your life on a scale, it means finding a way to make Christ a part of your every day life.”

IV Next was fully subsidized by a grant from Leadership 100, and would not be possible without their response to the crisis the Orthodox Church is facing regarding young adult ministry. “Leadership 100 is pleased that IV Next, supported by our grant, was successful in orienting our Greek Orthodox young adults to integrate their faith and professional lives with the help and mentoring by our members. We fully recognize and support the importance of engaging young adults through innovative ministries,” remarked Agryris Vassiliou, Leadership 100 Chairman.

Ionian Village and Leadership 100 hope to continue working together to develop and provide ground-breaking ministries to engage as many young adults as possible and bring them into the fold of the Orthodox and Greek cultural community.

See photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzrvtei

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