The Orthodox Youth Directors in North America welcome you!
This website is designed as a pan-orthodox resource for families, parents, and youth workers. You will find resources and programs designed in all the jurisdictions under the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North America. If you know of resources or programs that should be on this site, please email us.
We have added some links to agencies that have information regarding dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
and in particular there is an excellent article by Elder Zacharias on the Pandemic.
We are very grateful to Fr. Chris Shadid for hosting the video the ART of Staying Mentally and Spiritually Healthy During the Coronavirus. This video is targeted towards teenagers and young adults, but we believe it could be helpful to faithful of any age.
This page provides a wide range of resources that may be used by youth workers and families while preparing for
and journeying through Holy Week to Pascha at home.
Register for the April 29th Webinar - “What We’ve Learned So Far” in the series “Do Not be Afraid: Youth Ministry Now”
Tuesdays - Orthodox Camp Directors Town Hall Meetings
if you need to join by phone Dial please contact for the information FRANTHONY@AVCAMP.ORG
Dear Fellow Youth Workers in Christ,
While we are trying to profit our Youth in a time of challenge to our ministry, while we are working hard to keep them connected to Christ and His Church when their faith is threatened in a new way, we are all, like the Apostles, following our Lord in amazement as He makes His way to Jerusalem and through His Passion. We know what is to come. The Apostles did not. The apostles were clearly told by our Lord what was to come! They may have chosen to not fully accept – but our Lord told them clearly. But now we engage our ministry in the conditions in which the Apostles found themselves.
The Apostles faced uncertainty, worry, and fear on their way to and in Jerusalem. They were overwhelmed by what was taking place and when Jesus was crucified their very reality and all they believed seemed to be taken away. At that point they went INSIDE and LOCKED their doors. Their Life had been crucified and they were terrified.
As the Orthodox Youth Directors of North America we are writing again to encourage all of us to first maintain our faith and then our ministries to our youth at a time of uncertainty, worry and fear.
What the Apostles went through sounds familiar to us right now. Uncertainty and fear surround us. Worry threatens to overwhelm us. We are working BEHIND closed and locked doors, afraid of the very world God came to save. Our reality and belief is threatened. The unthinkable happened to the Apostles…Christ was taken away to be Crucified and closed in a tomb. To us the unthinkable has happened…not just a total disruption of life, but the Churches are taken away from us; they are closed and their doors are locked. All of that threatens our faith. It threatens our stability. All of that threatens our SANITY in a very real and very powerful way. How many of us and our youth literally feel like we are going INSANE?
As your Youth Directors we encourage you in this time RIGHT NOW to remember the purpose of the Church, and its life. The Church is HERE, is given to us by God, to ensure we literally DON’T lose our minds and hearts to uncertainty, to fear, to worry, to doubt, to sorrow, to grief, to depression, to Hell; to ensure that we literally don’t lose what God has given us in and through His Son. Every Service, every Gospel Reading, every Sacrament, every private prayer, every person, every icon, every Church building, every altar, every Saint, every guardian angel, every hymn, EVERYTHING of the Church has been given to us to ensure we DON’T lose what God has done for us; that we DON’T lose HIM, that we DON’T lose sight of Him, or faith in Him, because He is Life for us, eternal life for us.
This is the message we are encouraging you to bring to our Youth RIGHT NOW: we will not lose what God has done for us; we will not lose sight of Him; we will not lose faith in Him. Not in the circumstance of the Apostles, not in the circumstance that confronts us now. Not because of fear or worry or doubt. Not because of sorrow or grief or temptation.
Encourage your Youth to stand firm in their faith in the midst of sorrow over no graduations, in the midst of grief over seasons ended, in the midst of uncertainty over jobs, in the midst of worry over schoolwork, in the struggle of doubt about the future, in the anxiety of their world turned upside down and seemingly taken away from them.
How can we?
By the same POWER that brought about the Resurrection through the Cross and Life through Death. By the POWER of God expressed in an unwavering faith, an unqualified love, and an imperishable hope. By a prayer. By a call. By a card. By a message. By a video. By a post. By a conference. By a hangout. By a candle. By a tear. By a word. A word of hope. A word of encouragement. A word of love. A word of comfort. By a word in prayer.
As the Orthodox Youth Directors of North America we offer you first our prayers, second a word of encouragement, and third our own work on behalf of the Youth entrusted to all of us.
Persevere in faith and in your own Youth Ministry on behalf of Christ and His Church.
To aid you in your ministry this week, we are producing a series of videos featuring the bishops of the Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in the USA. Each day a hierarch will offer a reflection. We encourage you to share these reflections and discuss them with your youth. They may be found on our Youtube channel and on social media.
Join us for our second webinar entitled “What We’ve Learned So Far” in the series “Do Not be Afraid: Youth Ministry Now” which will take place on Wednesday April 29th at 7pm EST. The link to join this webinar is available on our website at orthodoxyouth.net.
Finally, remember that the Risen Christ appeared to the Apostles behind those closed and locked doors and entrusted them to bring the message of the Resurrection, the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, to the world. Our ministry will not to be stopped by closed and locked doors.
With love in Christ,
The Orthodox Youth Directors of North America
Dear Fellow Youth Workers in Christ,
What the Archangel Gabriel said to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the time of the Annunciation he says to all of us, “Do not be afraid…” Whether that is during a time of uncertainty, of distress, of natural disaster, or in our current time, those words of our Lord spoken through His archangel were given to us as well. “Do not be afraid…”
As the Orthodox Youth Directors of North America we are writing to encourage all of us to maintain first our faith and then our ministries to our youth at a time when both are challenged.
First, our faith. Nothing replaces faith in God. Learning is given to deepen it. Services are given to help it grow. Prayer is given to strengthen it. But nothing replaces faith. Noah had to have faith BEFORE he built the ark. Abraham had to have faith BEFORE he was asked to leave his own country. Moses had to have faith BEFORE he led God’s people out of Egypt. The Three Holy Youths had to have faith BEFORE they stepped into the firey furnace. Our Lord had to have faith in His Heavenly Father BEFORE He ascended the Cross. Nothing replaces faith. Without it, nothing is possible. But with it, mountains will move. We confront the mountain in front of our ministry and with faith in God it WILL move!
And second then, our ministry to our youth. The mountain in front of our ministry WILL move! In fact, it is already moving. The “distance” between us is being erased. Why? Because love does not know separation and prayer does not know distance. As your fellow youth workers in Christ, we encourage you to maintain your connection with your youth, with our kids, AND as always point them toward CHRIST, just as St. John the Baptizer of our Lord did. At a time when people were questioning WHOM to follow, John pointed them emphatically to the Lamb of God. John at that time lost his disciples, his followers, because He pointed them to CHRIST. Stay connected with your youth and point them to Christ and His Church.
Thanks be to God, He’s already given us the tools in this day and age. He’s given us distance learning which many of us have been engaged in for a while now. He’s given us the ability to broadcast services, which many of us have been doing for a while now. He’s given us online chat rooms and apps to stay together over distance, and we’ve already been using them to stay connected. He’s already given us the tools and now we are called to use them like never before. But they are only the tools and with them we will help our youth follow Christ and lead them back to His Church.
As the Orthodox Youth Directors of North America, we are offering encouragement in our common ministry. Our website, developed together, is a source of information, resources and tools all of us can use to help our Youth confront with faith their current circumstances. This website was designed for all of us, where we could share, and now can see, the good work God is allowing us to do with our youth.
To that end, not only are there resources here that can be used to help us in our youth ministry, but we will also be offering an additional page sharing what others are doing across our country to minister to our youth at a time of crisis.
We are asking all those engaged in youth ministry across the country to point God’s children to Him and His Church by doing the following:
- First, direct them toward their parish and their priest. What is their parish doing to help them maintain and increase their faith in God? Are they streaming services? Are they offering online sermons? Are they offering online learning opportunities? Are they finding new ways to minister to their faithful? Point them toward Christ and His Church through their parish.
- Then direct them toward their Archdiocese/Metropolis/Diocese. What is their Diocese doing to help them maintain and increase their faith in God? They may be streaming services if their parishes are not. They may be offering new online content to learn about and enrich their faith if their parish is unable to do so at this time. They may have set up new online chat rooms to support and encourage one another in a way they had not before. Again, point them toward Christ and His Church through their Diocese.
- Then also, direct them through our common website to the work being done all over our country, by all our Churches, to support one another in our faith. There is much being done by the grace of God. Point them to Him and His Church through our common ministry; and finally,
- Continue to help each other, minister to those in need, and remember, as God gives you the ability, EVERYONE…by visit, by call, by card, by instant message, by email, by video chat, by the means and tools at your disposal, and above all by prayer. Need doesn’t stop because life has been put on hold.
As the Youth Directors in North America we are offering you an opportunity to join us for a special edition of our Webinar series entitled “Do Not be Afraid: Youth Ministry Now” which will take place on Tuesday, March 24 from 3pm-4pm EST. The link to join this webinar is https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_A4Fsu6hcR9-S_Y0iYkyb-Q or you may join from our website. Join us in conversation as we help each other engage our ministry and youth in a time of crisis.
In addition, the Orthodox Camp Directors in North America are offering a “Town Hall Meeting” online every Tuesday for the coming weeks, beginning March 24 from 11am-12pm. We will discuss the impact of our current situation on camps and their programs. The link to join this gathering: https://zoom.us/j/482432443 or join from orthodoxyouth.net .
Finally, remember that while nothing replaces faith, so also nothing replaces prayer, nothing replaces reading the Scriptures and nothing replaces the Sacraments and Services of the Church. We may not have access in person to our Sacraments or the Services of the Church at this point in time, but we will again, and we will rejoice in them like never before, and thank God for them like never before. While we are separated from them (though we can participate online through streaming services and are encouraged to do so) spend additional time in prayer, additional time in Scripture reading, and additional time thinking about what the Sacraments mean to you. If God has allowed them to be removed from us for a time, then we need to give serious thought about them and about our relationship with them.
Have FAITH and PRAY and ask God to inspire us with LOVE because with FAITH the mountain will move, and with love there is no distance, and with prayer there is no separation.
With love in Christ,
The Orthodox Youth Directors of North America