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May 2006 Newsletter

Christ is risen! With the academic year nearing its completion, I want to share with you some of the things God is doing through your participation and support of this ministry, which is bringing Christ and His holy Orthodox Church to the students, faculty, and alumni of Annapolis.

This past week I was at the first OCF chaplain’s conference. It was an edifying time to learn from one another and share in our love for our students. Annapolis College Ministry is the first full-time campus ministry in the Orthodox Church and serves as a prototype for others. The National OCF leaders are hoping for more regional ministries. Another full-time ministry is starting at UNC this Fall, God willing, based in part on this model you help make possible. The major barrier to having full-time campus chaplains is financial support. The time I spend catechizing and meeting with inquirers, leading services, encouraging our student leaders, teaching and preparing talks, all takes a commitment of time and resources.

The fruit of full-time ministry is evident and worth the investment: We now have an additional two alumni from St. John’s College and one midshipman from the USNA receiving Holy Baptism and Chrismation this summer. In part because of the ministry here, parents and committed Orthodox are interested in St. John’s College. Two incoming freshmen and their parents have indicated that they are coming to St. John’s next Fall in part because of this ministry.

This past Tuesday we held our final Vespers of the academic year. Now it’s time to get ready for the incoming class of midshipmen (plebes) at the USNA who arrive this June. My meetings with our catechumens continue as well, as do preparations for the new semester. Both our student leaders, Elijah Ferbrache (SJCA) and Steven Vuleta (USNA) are graduating and we will need to find new student leaders for the Fall. Steven is being commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corp. Eli will be teaching at the St. James House in Alaska. Both will be striving to live out their Orthodox Faith as they enter this new season of life. Both were converts through this ministry and I’m thankful for their service in helping build up this ministry. It’s been a privilege to mentor them and see the transformation and growth that God has worked in their lives over the years.

The impact that this ministry is having on the students is also seen in the two non-Orthodox students who asked to meet with me before they head off for the summer. Another non-Orthodox asked for additional Orthodox reading for the summer. A Roman Catholic participant in the OCF mentioned to our student leader, Elijah, that the Orthodox “really know how to mentor and provide spiritual direction.” This is what we bring to the students.

Thank you for your participation in this ministry through your financial support and prayers. It is because of your faithfulness that God is working through this ministry and working in the lives of the students, faculty, and alumni of these two great and historic institutions in Annapolis.

If you are not currently, one of our monthly contributors or haven’t supported us in a while, our need is great for additional support so that the ministry can continue to grow and minister to the incoming class of Midshipmen this June and the new class of St. John’s students beginning this August. Please consider making a monthly pledge.