Our weekend retreat theme was a verse taken from the Gospel according to the Apostle Matthew 2:2: "For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." Retreat discussion lessons led by Rev. Fr. Symeon Kees, associate pastor of St. George Houston, TX and Paul Fuller, Youth and Young Adult Director of St. George Houston, TX and small group sessions focused on the Magi (Wise Men) who came from the East at the Nativity of our Lord in the Flesh bringing gifts and worshipping the One True God.
|Adoration of the Magi|
The SOYO Advent Retreat allowed for a wonderful opportunity for Orthodox teens to enjoy quality time among their peers to share in worship, fellowship, witness, and fun! We spent time in liturgical services (Vespers, Evening Prayers, Morning Prayers, Divine Liturgy, and the often overlooked communal prayers before meals); lessons discussing our retreat theme, as well as my personal favorite, small group sessions discussing the lessons and sharing your own thoughts and questions; a special service project of making gift bags (more accurately termed "necessity" bags) for a Luncheon hosted later in the week at St. George for over 350 poor elderly sponsored by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS); outdoor games of Angleball (Yaboy!), Ultimate Frisbee, and Football; an exciting and fun game of Orthodox Trivia modeled after our Diocesan Bible Bowl; and during free time which truly took on a life of its own, continous games of LOGOS (Orthodox Taboo game) filled with tough competition, Orthodox knowledge, playful banter (apparently some teens think they know more than the Youth Directors and chaperones LOL).
A special thanks to our young adult chaperones for the weekend: Andreea Balan, Youth Director of Ss. Constantine & Helen Antiochian Orthodox Church of Dallas, TX, Elise Namee, Andrew Treckman, Julia Mekdessi, Ivette Mekdessi, and George Katrib. It is truly a blessing for teenagers to see such active college students and young adults offering their talents in ministry!
A special thanks to the Sackllah Family for their generous donation of our Friday evening "feast" of Lenten dishes!
A special thanks to our sister parish, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Houston, TX for allowing the use their gym and shower facilities (no one likes a smelly teenager!).
Congratulations to our Orthodox Trivia Game winners of Mary Catherine H., Kathrine S., and Hibbah K. who each received beautiful icons of our Lord's Nativity!
Please enjoy a few photos from the weekend courtesy of Samantha R.:
|SOYO Advent Retreat participants|
|Some smiling ladies!|
|Ss. Constantine & Helen Dallas, TX Teen SOYO|
|Kathrine made me a UK cookie!|
|SOYO Service Project - Assembly Line|
|I even offered to show the teens how its done!|
|Sunday School lesson - yes, you there, let's hear it!|
|Leading my Discussion Session|
|Trying emphatically to make a point - I think!|
|Apparently someone needed some help figuring |
out what the bell was used for during LOGOS!
Thanks to all our teen participants and hope to see ya'll next year!
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director