УПЦ США Провела СОБОР представників МОЛОДІ Церкви
During Teenage Conference, July 10 – 16, the participants of the encampment from parishes across the country served as delegates to the 6th Regular Youth Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. His Eminence Archbishop Daniel joined our youth for two days of proceedings.
His Eminence opened the Youth Sobor discussing the purpose or the Sobor in the life of the church and his hopes for the deliberations of its young people. Natalie Kapeluck Nixon, Director of Youth Ministry, gave a brief overview of the of the Youth Sobor and review of the initial Vision Statement for the Future of the Church written by the delegates of the 1st Youth Sobor.
The delegates then reviewed the work of the previous Youth Sobor led by 2019 delegate Rachel Harendza. They then broke into small groups to begin work on two main topics: Struggles our young people face with in the world and struggles our young people face within the church/their faith. The small groups were led through brainstorming sessions and discussions. Over three plenary sessions, they worked in large groups and small groups to hone in on the most pertinent struggles and then develop strategies for how the church can support them moving forward.
Some of the identifies struggles include: Body Image and Appearance, Mental Health and Negative/toxic people within parish life. Among the main suggestions for support these are a just a few:
- Providing a support group with adults who have struggled with body image issues. The support groups could bring in professionals to work with the group on promoting positive body image. Using the support group to view ourselves through Christ’s eyes and not the world’s.
- Bring in professionals to work with youth on how to stay mentally healthy, perhaps an Orthodox mental health professional. It is important to our youth that this struggle be given a safe place of discussion with the church instead of their only options being outside of the church.
- Encourage the parish to find the positives in one another and not the negatives.
- Study scripture and share scripture concerning not judging our brother/sister but loving our neighbor.
His Eminence Daniel celebrated Great Vespers on the Eve of the Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul with the youth. At the service lithographs of the hierarchs of the the UOC of the USA were prominently placed throughout St. Thomas Chapel. Not just along the front but in amongst the people. His Eminence spoke to the youth about their hierarchs and the importance of knowing their history of the church. A memorial service was prayed on their behalf. The following day a beautiful festal liturgy was celebrated with several local clergy and dobrodijki joining for the morning.
His Eminence Daniel along with several of our seminarians from St. Sophia, created an incredible tryzub of 500 images from war torn areas of Ukraine. The Youth Sobor delegates participated in a heart-felt and emotional parastas (memorial service) to those who have lost their lives so far to the war in Ukraine.