February 11, 2003

New York, NY - The newly formed Mission Team New York met with Archbishop Demetrios on February 6 and received His Eminence's blessing to promote the work of missions to the people and parishes in the greater New York area, including New Jersey and Connecticut. The meeting was attended by members of the steering committee. Also participating in the meeting were Father Nektarios Morrow, the group's spiritual advisor, and Athan E. Stephanopoulos, the New York-based director of OCMC’s Capital Campaign.

In offering his archpastoral blessings, the Archbishop spoke of many other endeavors that have been initiated in the recent history of the Orthodox Church that led to the establishment of substantive missionary work around the world. "Your initiative," he told the group, "is a clear indication of your love for missions; and this effort will help others to know that missions is essential to the life and work of the Church."

The focus of Mission Team New York is to encourage more Orthodox Christians in the metropolitan area to be witnesses to the gospel message of Jesus Christ through participation in the mission programs and the short and long-term missions activities coordinated by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, the foreign missions agency of SCOBA.

The group is developing additional programs to assist clergy and parish leadership in raising awareness of missions, including presentations by long-term OCMC missionaries and former mission team members. The group will also serve as a support to those who will participate on future mission teams. Domestically, as it strengthens its ranks, the group will help local parishes needing assistance for basic programs and building projects.

This new effort by the New York group follows the successful ministry and program of Mission Team Chicago, which was formed in 1996 under the guidance of the late Father George J. Scoulas.

Mission Team New York is hosting a reception the evening of March 4 at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to gather former OCMC mission team participants. His Grace Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, founding director of the Mission Center, will speak at the event. Former team members and active OCMC missions supporters living in the New York area are encouraged to email [email protected] for more information.