2015-2016 Academic Year off to a Great Start!

Greetings from Urbana-Champaign!

With a lively group of freshman and other fresh faces, the OCF at the University of Illinois U-C is moving full speed ahead! We started off the year great with a welcome day BBQ at the NIKA house (thank you Foti!), hosting about 40 people and having a first-time-ever live band play during the BBQ.

Tuesdays this semester have consisted of bible studies, discussion, and deep spiritual conversation, in addition to social hours and visits from Champaign volunteer groups. The group of students that we have attend both Three Hierarch’s Greek Orthodox Church and St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church and continue to help out with service events at each church.

Recently, we have been active in serving communities inside and outside of Champaign via food drives and preparing shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts to be sent to children in Africa, for example. Coming up during our spring semester, we are participating in Relay for Life, where we raise money for the American Cancer Society and spend time inside the University’s Armory honoring and remembering those who have battled with cancer.

In January 2016, we will have our semiannual winter retreat at the Wilderness Resort, Wisconsin Dells.

Stay posted for our upcoming events for Spring 2016!!

If you have any questions about joining or just want more information, please do not hesitate to send me an email at mastora2@illinois.edu!

In Christ,

George Mastorakos

Spring Semester Update!

Hello everyone!

 

We have had such a great spring semester.  Our Tuesday night meetings are full of great discussions where we get to grow in our faith together. In addition, our OCF participated in Relay for Life, where raised $594 for the American Cancer Society! We thank all our members for their donations & the members of Three Hierarchs parish for donating to our Valentines Day fundraiser!  We couldn’t do it without everyone’s help.  Below is a picture from Relay For Life’s pancake dinner!  All proceeds from this dinner went straight to fundraising!

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have had fun social events!  During cheese fair week, our board member Maria hosted us for a “wine and cheese night”.  It was a great time!

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Before we knew it, Great Lent began!  We helped Three Hierarchs church at their annual family night, where we prepared “Lazarakia” Lazarus loaves, palm crosses, bay leaves, and much more!  We also had record attendance at church for Palm Sunday!  Some students stayed on campus for Pascha, and some went home.  Either way, we hope everyone had a lovely Pascha. Christ is Risen!

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We have recently elected the board members for 2015-2016 school year!  We are so excited to see what great things the board will accomplish.  As always, we are so thankful for everyone who ran, and everyone who makes up our OCF.  Without our members, OCF wouldn’t be as strong as it is today!

OCF at Illinois welcomes His Grace Bishop Demetrios!

We were so honored to have His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Chicago come to Champaign this past weekend!  It was wonderful to see him in the church service, and he gave us a fantastic sermon at Three Hierarchs Church!  After church, we went to the NIKA house on campus where the OCF students got to meet and talk with His Grace.  We are so thankful to have the NIKA house and are even more thankful for all the people who have and continue to support it!  Without the NIKA house, our OCF would not be where it is today!

 

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Spring semester is off to a great start!

We had a wonderful first meeting of the semester with a very impressive amount of people gathering together!  We are so thankful to have a lovely location on campus to meet each week–without the NIKA house, our OCF would not be where it is today.  And we are always so thankful to everyone who donates food to our organization! Tony Pomonis donates food from Merry Anns diner nearly every week! Foti, the house manager also donates his time to cook for us.  We cannot wait for the semester to continue.  We are having more students to lead discussions for our each week; we cannot wait to grow in our faith together and learn from each other.

 

We also have plenty of social events coming up! Lots of sporting events, such as ice skating and volleyball games, as well as dinners/movie nights! Our Valentines day fundraiser is coming up shortly as well. In addition to that, we plan to have volunteering events at various locations on and off campus!  Keep checking back here for more updates!

 

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Winter Retreat 2015!!

This year, for the first time in a while, OCF held its annual winter retreat in Chicago.  Our retreat began on Saturday night at one of the board member’s house, where we enjoyed a yummy dinner as well as cutting a Vasilopita bread!  Following dinner, OCF members got to catch up with one another.  We also played many, many rounds of Mafia! (a card game!!).  On Sunday morning, OCF members went to St. George Greek Orthodox Church, which is located in the Lincoln Park area.  Following the liturgy,  we headed to brunch at Wildberry Café in downtown Chicago!  The food was delicious!! To end the day off great, we all headed over to Millennium Park for some ice skating!  It was a great two days full of lots of fun, fellowship, and an overall great experience to hang out with everyone before school starts up again.

As for our upcoming spring semester, we have a lot of great ideas running through and can’t wait for what is to come!  From discussions, retreats, Pascha, and other fellowship events, we know it will be a great semester!  Keep checking back here for updates!

A summary of fall 2014

We have had such a great fall semester, and it is so hard to believe it is over!  This post is dedicated as a summary of what we have accomplished this semester.  Also be sure to check out our photos!   August 2014: We started the year off with Quad day, where we got many new members to sign up and attend our annual quad day BBQ.  We had food catered from Black Dog BBQ and it was delicious!! Thank you to all who attended! IMG_4302   September 2014 For our first meeting of the month, we played some “getting to know you” games and also did a blessing of the NIKA house.  We all went to the quad after to enjoy some yummy insomnia cookies! We also celebrated college student Sunday at Three Hierarchs church.  We had a lovely turn out!  Thank you to the parish for providing the students with a free lunch after liturgy. We also had some lovely discussions in September.  One of which was all about Iconography; we learned all about the meanings behind the colors and symbols in icons.  OCF also spent a meeting at J. Gumbos restaurant, where we got to enjoy yummy cajun food and each others company!  We closed September off with our annual trip to Curtis Apple Orchard! churhc   October 2014: Our October was full of wonderful events and discussions.  We started the month with a discussion about our vocation as Orthodox Christians.  Then, in the middle of October, we had our annual Fall retreat where we invited Fr. Elias Khouri, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to talk more with us about Vocation.  It was a great time spent growing our faith in Christ with friends at both the NIKA house and at the University of Illinois Arboretum.  OCF also volunteered at Three Hierarchs annual food festival this month.  It was great giving back to the church community that has given us so much! retreat November 2014: In November we started a weekly event– “OCF lunch”, where each Thursday afternoon, OCF students meet up for lunch at a restaurant on campus.  It is a great way to catch up with our OCF friends during the week!  November also brought some great discussions!  In remembrance of Veterans Day, we talked about “self defense and the holy wars”.  We also talked about the patron saint of OCF–Saint Katherine!  It was amazing to see how much us students can relate to such an amazing Saint! In the spirit of giving, OCF hosted a canned food drive to donate to families in need.  We received a lot of support from the members of Three Hierarchs for this food drive, which we are very thankful for!   st_catherine   December 2014: December was a short month for us!  But we were sure to enjoy it before finals began. For our one meeting of the month, we talked about different Christmas prophecies.  For our second meeting of the month, we celebrated by having our annual Christmas party!  We enjoyed dinner with desserts, and then we played “white elephant” gift exchange.  Before we left for break, our two board members, Lia & Kathy, held a reading day breakfast at their apartment.  It was great way to spend some time with everyone before heading to the library to study for exams! breakfast   It really has been a great semester, and we are planning for a great spring semester!  Stay tuned to this site to see photos from our winter retreat, happening in January!