Thursday, August 31, 2006
The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2006
Orthodox Christian Fellowship
P.O. Box 300249
Boston, MA 02130
OCF Growth Surges:First Full-time Executive Director in 30 years and Charlotte Area Chaplain Hired
Boston, MA – Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) continues its fantastic growth as a vital ministry of the Orthodox Church with its recent full time hiring of Rev. Fr. Kevin Scherer as the Executive Director of OCF and Mr. John Stonestreet as full-time OCF Chaplain in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fr. Scherer will be the first full-time Executive Director since the initial establishment of Orthodox campus ministry over 30 years ago. The OCF Team of four full-time staff are dedicated to the mission given to OCF from the hierarchs to become the Church on the college campus— ensuring each student has the opportunity to stay connected to the church.
OCF is a recent recipient of an Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund grant. OCF is honored to partner with Leadership 100 to serve Orthodoxy by providing a transition for our young adults from college and reintegrating them into our parishes. The grant enabled OCF to establish an Executive Director position to lead the OCF ministry.
“There is nothing more critical to the future of our Orthodox faith in America than to minister to our youth, especially as they are intellectually and spiritually challenged and their values tested during their college years,” said George D. Behrakis, Chairman of Leadership 100. “Leadership 100 is proud to support such a needed and significant outreach program as the Orthodox Christian Fellowship.”
As well as maintaining the Boston office, Fr. Scherer will organize national and local events, solicit grants and acquire funding, facilitate communication between the National OCF Office, local chapters, and all OCF chaplains. Additionally, Fr. Scherer will further develop and execute the OCF’s vision and mission with its Board of Directors.
Fr. Scherer comes to the OCF after having spent the previous four years at St John’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Orinda, California. A 1990 graduate from San Diego (CA.) Christian College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology, Fr Scherer went on to receive a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, in 2002. Fr. Kevin and his wife, Robin, are the parents of three children: Hannah, 10; Julia, 6; and Clare, 4.
During his pastorate at St John’s, Fr. Scherer established a national teen program, Orthodox Youth Outreach. The purpose of the program is to encourage youth to live out their faith through Christian service to others. Fr Kevin hopes to bring some of the same ideas that are successful with Orthodox Youth Outreach to his new position with the OCF.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of OCF, the Rev. Mark Leondis, spoke of his excitement with these milestone achievements: “With Fr. Kevin now at the helm of OCF, I am more hopeful than ever before about our ministry and our ability to attain our goal of having the Orthodox Church present in the faith-challenging environment of the college campus. Additionally, having John present full-time on the campuses in the Charlotte area is another watershed event as we begin to realistically put our resources where they are needed to have the proper impact to stem the exodus of our young people from the Church.”
Mr. Stonestreet comes to the OCF as a result of a request made by the Charlotte Orthodox community. The locally funded North Carolina OCF Chaplain program serves as the model for other communities throughout North America. A 2006 graduate from St Vladimir’s Seminary, Mr. Stonestreet will minister to students, concentrating mainly on three campuses: Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Although his immediate focus will be on these three campuses, Mr. Stonestreet will coordinate regional events and visit surrounding schools as his schedule permits. His presence should serve to significantly change the Orthodox campus ministry environment in North Carolina.
Together, Fr Scherer and Mr. Stonestreet will join the current National OCF team of Mr. Joseph J. Samra III, the Program Director; and the Program Coordinator, Ms. Veronica Stavila. Mr. Samra’s work will expand to include development, while continuing to oversee all national programs. Ms. Stavila will work with Mr. Samra to expand the national programs and will continue to be the primary contact point between the national office and the local chapters.
“I am extremely excited to be a part of the OCF team,” Fr. Scherer said. “To help nurture and shape the future of the Orthodox Church on the North American continent is unbelievably exciting. The OCF will continue to assist in shaping future generations of Orthodox workers in Christ’s vineyard.”
OCF humbly asks each Orthodox Christian to continue to offer prayers and support for this crucial and growing college ministry.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship is the official campus ministry program of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). It is a Pan-Orthodox effort which is overseen by an Executive Committee and assisted by a Student Advisory Board. Additional information on the all OCF programs can be found on the OCF website at www.ocf.net , or by calling toll-free at 800-919-1623.