St. Augustine, FL - On March 5, 2006, Orthodox Christians will observe Mission Sunday, a day designated by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) to focus on the sacred missionary work of our Orthodox Church and especially the ministry of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).
The nine hierarchs of SCOBA write: "On this day, we commend the noble work of our Orthodox Christian missionaries everywhere who have realized Jesus' words that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37), and who have prayerfully responded to His call by going out as laborers to spread the Good News of salvation to all corners of the earth."
They also call on all Orthodox Christians to participate in this calling: "Through your prayers, perhaps you yourselves may be led to consider the immense spiritual rewards of participating in one of the many missions offered by the OCMC as a direct means of answering the Lord's call to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Alternatively, your fervent prayers may lead you to consider supporting the OCMC by contributing to its work through your financial and material support, according to your own abilities, supporting those worthy laborers abroad who have answered the Lord's call to go forth into His harvest."
"As we enter into the Lenten season, embarking upon a spiritual and disciplined journey toward our eternal salvation, let us remember Jesus' exhortation to pray that the Lord may send forth laborers into His harvest, so that all persons from all places of the earth may come to know His abiding love and saving truth."
The full text of the SCOBA Encyclical can be found at the special Mission Sunday 2006 section of the OCMC website.
Also available in this section of the website are tools to help parishes participate in Mission Sunday. Parish priests are encouraged to observe Mission Sunday by reading the SCOBA Encyclical at the end of the Liturgy, taking a special offering, and praying for OCMC missionaries and the people they serve. Bulletin inserts are provided for parishes to include in their Sunday bulletins. Sunday school teachers can take advantage of OCMC's mission education lesson plans and have their students participate in the Lenten mission coin box program. A special Mission Sunday sermon brings additional perspective on the need for Orthodox missions.
The Orthodox Christian Mission Center: Helping Orthodox Christians respond to Christ's call to preach, teach, baptize, minister to the poor and make disciples of all nations as the official international mission agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).