2015 Annual Young Women's Conference (GROW)
G.R.O.W. Ministry held its annual One-Day Young Women's Conference at
Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, New York on Saturday, April
18th, 2015. This
was the fourth diocesan conference hosted by G.R.O.W. Ministry. Women
from Virginia to
Boston attended the conference.
The theme of the conference was "In God We Trust," based on Psalm
62:5, "For God alone
my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him." As in previous
years, we were once
again extremely honored to have our Diocesan Metropolitan, His Grace
Nicholovos, bless us with his presence and his words. His Grace, who formally
established the ministry, and has been very supportive of this
ministry, expressed his joy in the
growth of the ministry and the work God is doing through this
ministry. His Grace encouraged
the attendees to take an active role in the ministry.
The main speaker for this year was Ms. Katrina Bitar, a graduate of
Seminary, and the Director of Yes! Program, of FOCUS North America.
Ms. Bitar talked
about how humans are motivated by fear and love, and said that our
through our struggles. She emphasized that trusting is more about
that God uses pain to help us meet with Him.
In addition to the main speaker, two workshops were conducted. One
workshop was on
"Christian Meditation" and was led by Rev. Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, the
Vicar of St. Thomas
Indian Orthodox Church, Unruh Avenue, Philadelphia. Fr. Kuriakose
taught the women how
proper meditation time can not only strengthen one's mind, but their
soul and body. They
learned that even in silence, God works in us.
The other workshop was led by Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, the
Director of Admissions and
Recruitment at the seminary. Using the iconography of the Three
Hierarchs Chapel at seminary,
Pdn Joseph led the participants in a discussion designed to help them
engage with the iconography
and sacred space of the Orthodox Church.
Group discussions were held in small groups where women met with other
women of the
similar age group and had real lively discussions. There was also an
open forum where the
women had an opportunity to ask our Diocesan Metropolitan and the
guest speaker any questions
that they had. In addition, there was a digital scavenger hunt for all
the women and an
activity for high school, college and the singles/professional groups.
One of the main highlights of the conference was a campus tour that
included a visit to the
bookstore, where the women were given some time to browse and purchase
ropes, CDs, seminary t-shirts etc. It was also a beautiful experience
to conduct the noon
prayers in the Three-Hierarchs Chapel which was adorned with paschal
flowers after the
Feast of Resurrection. Women enjoyed the fellowship during lunch time, and were
especially blessed with a beautiful sunny day. All women were given
highlighted the theme, and there were theme-based t-shirts available on sale.
The conference came to a close as the women spent time in spiritual
reflection. During this
time, the participants were encouraged to think about the power of the
God in whom we
trust - the God who has the power to part the Red Sea. They were
reminded that like the
people of Israel, they were chosen and that each one of them is
precious in the sight of
God. The participants were given time to write down their own "Red
Sea," i.e., their own
obstacles in trusting God and the struggles they face in their lives.
As they watched a video
of the parting of the Red Sea, they were reminded that they can cast
their burdens on the
Lord. Each woman individually came up before the icon of Christ and was given an
affirmation card with the theme verse and a prayer, as well as a
prayer card based on this
year's conference theme. The spiritual reflection ended with the women
Through the support of our Diocesan Metropolitan, clergy and
seminarians present, the
volunteers from various churches, and the prayerful support from all
the various spiritual
organizations and friends, the conference was fruitful and uplifting.
We acknowledge the
cooperation and support of St. Vladimir's Seminary in hosting this conference.
View Photos from the Conference
The mission of G.R.O.W. Ministry is to help women be active in their
Orthodox Christian faith and to
deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, and to help them in their
daily lives with the
support and prayers of their sisters in the Church. Glory to God for a
beautiful and blessed
Please support this ministry through your prayers and cooperation.
GROW, Marth Mariam Samajam
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