UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Bishop Daniel Visits Diocesan Church School Camp at All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Camp in Emlenton, PA
Over the weekend of June 26-28, 2015 His Grace Bishop Daniel, accompanied by the seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary (South Bound Brook, NJ) traveled to Emlenton, PA to visit the campers of the Diocesan Church School Camp at All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Camp.
Considering the rainy weekend, all activities at the Camp had to be rescheduled, thus providing an opportunity for the staff and especially the campers to spend more time with their bishop and the seminarians of the Church.
Mrs. Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon – the director of the Consistory Office of Youth and Adult Ministry along with the staff of the encampment prepared a two week long program for the campers, touching upon the lives of the Holy Martyrs of the Church, especially Holy Martyr Sophia and her three daughters Faith, Hope and Love. Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins, serving as a spiritual father of the encampment led numerous prayer services of the weekend, and encouraged the seminarians of the Church to share with the campers their journeys of Faith, starting from the early childhood years in Ukraine and the path of serving the Lord while at the Seminary in the United States of America.
Once Vladyka Daniel arrived, the entire chapel of Holy Apostle Thomas was filled with the chanting of “Gad, grant you many years, Master!” It was beautifully done by all of the campers, under the leadership of the counselors and the staff of the Encampment. Receiving blessings from the hand of their bishop, some 65 plus children embraced their spiritual father in the so-called “group hug”, which almost landed everybody on their knees.
The bishop spoke to the campers on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, relating the prayerful greetings of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Later, His Grace spoke about the importance of prayer and taught them about the importance of a prayer of “Five Fingers”, praying for parents and relatives; teachers and clergy; civil authorities; the sick and infirm and finally for themselves. It was enjoyable to see the interaction of the smallest campers, as they kept conversing with bishop about the importance of prayer.
In the afternoon hours of the day, Bishop Daniel, driven in a golf cart by Chris Burgan, visited several cabins of the campers, while trying to select the cleanest and most organized cabin. Needless to say, there was a lot of last minute cleaning done by the campers with their personal items, etc. Moreover, in order to keep the bishop’s attention from the real nature of his visit to the cabins, the young men tried to challenge him with the several sporting exercises, doing push ups, etc.
Later in the day, following several games played at the Millennium building, the campers spent their late afternoon hours preparing gifts and writing cards to the children of Znamyanka orphanage in Ukraine. Vladyka Daniel promised to hand-deliver all of the gifts from the campers of All Saints Camp to the children of Ukrainian orphanage, sponsored by the UOC of the USA.
On Sunday morning, the Camp chapel of Holy Apostle Thomas was once again filled by the youth of the Church, as well as numerous visitors from the local Ukrainian Orthodox parishes. His Grace arrived to the chapel in time for a full archpastoral vesting, which was done by the altar servers of the encampment under the guidance of the Seminarians. All fifteen altar servers walked out of the Holy Altar space carrying a piece of the bishop’s garments and watched in awe, as each item was placed on Vladyka and a prayer recited.
During the Divine Liturgy the responses were chanted by all of the campers. Concelebrating with Vladyka Daniel were Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Perkins and Very Rev. Fr. Oleksandr Yatskiv. Prior to his sermon, Bishop Daniel tanked the campers for preserving his archpastoral walking staff, which was made and beautifully decorated by the campers of 2013 camping season. In his sermon, the bishop concentrated his attention on the topic of “authority” in our lives and the need to be a follower of “Just say the Word, O Lord!”
The bishop concluded: “When we think about our relation to Christ, do we see ourselves as a just say the word follower? We want to be a totally committed follower of Christ. Deep down inside we want Christ to make a difference in everything we do. We want our relationship with Him to impact our decision-making, our money management, our vocabulary, our relationships, and everything else we do in living our lives. We want to be totally surrendered to His love and leadership. This is what it means to be a just say the word follower of Christ… . Remember, 95% commitment is 5% short…”
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, all campers came for the veneration of the cross from Bishop Daniel’s hand and received a personal gift – a leather medallion of the Birth-Giver of God or the Savior – as a prayerful reminder of our dedication of service in the Vineyard of Christ – His Church.
Brunch hour was extremely special, as the cooks of the Encampment – Chris Mills and Aimee and Becky Cheyeanne prepared a feast for the “hungry” congregation. All children with gratitude in their eyes and on their lips approached the buffet style tables in order to get nourishment for their physical bodies.
Once the brunch hour came to conclusion and right before the bishop’s departure from the Camp, Mrs. Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon called upon Vladyka Daniel to judge a Camp cabin song contest, which produced two winners and excited everybody in attendance.
Bidding farewell to the campers, Bishop Daniel gave a final blessing – and then he received the unexpected – a huge “group hug” which almost once again landed everyone on their knees.
Diocesan Church School Camp is a program of the Ukrainian Orthodox Camping Ministry and the Consistory’s Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry for children between the ages of 9 and 13. Applications are always available in February of each year.
The second session of the camping ministry, Teenage Conference begins on July 5th for teenagers. The Mommy & Me/Daddy & Me session for parents and children ages 4 - 8 is still accepting applications. They may be downloaded at www.uocyouth.org. Family Fest will take place Labor Day Weekend.
We ask that you keep the remainder of our Church’s Camping programming in prayer for the rest of the summer!