By Betty Yanowsky Slanta
Interest in the Orthodox faith is at an all-time high! Orthodox mission parishes are opening all over the United States. The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America (FOCA), an arm of the Orthodox Church in America, pledged to assist Orthodox missions in its mission statement which included this promise: “...to support and encourage the missionary growth of our Church.” We need your help!
The Mission HOTLINE, a project of the FOCA, is a church-article exchange (or donation) program that serves as a “broker,” transferring church articles from established churches to mission parishes requiring such articles. The FOCA Mission HOTLINE maintains a “wish list” of church articles. If your parish has any duplicate church articles, e.g., chalices, processional fans, Gospel covers, blessing crosses, seven-branched and altar candle stands, vestments, an Epitaphion, altar boy robes or other items, let the FOCA Mission HOTLINE know of the availability of the excess church items. Over the years, parishes receive many liturgical items from donors to commemorate an event, or in memory of a loved one, often more than a parish can use. Sometimes unused items sit in a closet or basement and may even be forgotten.
If your mission is in need of items, provide the name of your mission, address, phone number, and e-mail address, and the list of what you need, to the FOCA Mission HOTLINE. Your needs will be placed on the FOCA Mission HOTLINE “wish list.” When a church item becomes available that matches a mission’s need, the item will be forwarded to the mission. The established church is notified of the match and sent mailing instructions. Likewise the mission is notified that a particular item is coming and from whom it will come. At times, donations are also acquired from thrift or antique stores or from personal family collections.
Items Currently Needed
A few of the items now needed by Orthodox missions include:
- Baptismal font
- Chalice set and covers
- Festal and Lenten Icons
- Byzantine Cross
- Altar boy robes
- Vestments in purple, white, green, red, blue
- Epitaphion (winding sheet)
- Altar candle holders
- Hand Cross
- Processional banners
- Gospel and cover
Other ways that you and your parish can assist Orthodox missions and their parishioner
- Adopt a sister “mission” parish.
- Hold or attend a mission retreat sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (http://www.ocmc.org).
- Volunteer for short-term or long-term mission service with the OCMC.
- Provide books on mission for your church library.
- Teach about Orthodox mission in your Sunday School class.
- Donate books on Orthodox mission to your public library.
The FOCA Mission HOTLINE, reactivated nearly 20 years ago, began in 1948 to serve Orthodox churches. Since then, the HOTLINE has served more than 60 missions from all canonical Orthodox Christian jurisdictions. FOCA Chapters and Districts assign specific members to monitor the program in their parishes. A notice or flyer kept on the parish bulletin board about the HOTLINE is a good reminder.
The FOCA Mission HOTLINE depends on established Orthodox churches to assist with mission needs. If your parish or you personally are willing to arrange for a donation to a mission parish, please contact the FOCA Mission HOTLINE at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Mrs. Betty Yanowsky Slanta, Administrator, FOCA Mission HOTLINE, 6610 Cypress Point Road, Alexandria, VA 22312.
In addition to being administrator of the FOCA Mission HOTLINE, Betty Yanowsky Slanta is a board member of the OCMC, and a member of St. Nicholas Cathedral, Washington, D.C.