His Grace Bishop Thomas and Subdeacon Symeon Dana Kees co-authored a visionary statement which was published in the recent WORD Magazine (the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese magazine):
The Emergence of Local Orthodox Christian Societies in America http://www.antiochian.org/node/22053
This article tells me that our goal is to create parishes, schools, monasteries, health care networks, businesses, and other social structures that have the Orthodox Christian way of life- toward healing and theosis- at the very center of their aims. Such would embody true worship and true teachings.
The upcoming Ecumenical Council will, among other actions, seek to straighten out the jurisdictional questions that have led to separate efforts that would be stronger if they were brought together. http://www.ocl.org/
One new effort which is already beginning to bring unity to our social service efforts is Focus North America: http://www.focusnorthamerica.org/
Recently Focus North America began supporting a new ministry in Omaha, Nebraska, The Sheltering Tree, Inc.: http://shelteringtreecommunity.org/ See also
The Sheltering Tree, Inc. is an Orthodox Christian-based ministry which is seeking to provide a residential facility as well as vocational opportunities to young people with developmental disability through the ABLE Center (Arts, Business, Life Enhancement and Education).
Here is their June 2009 newsletter:
In this newsletter one may learn some of the sources of their funding, the phases of their comprehensive plan, three short pieces on “Overview of the Development of Teens with Down Syndrome,” “The Parent Dilemna: What Will Happen to my Adult Developmentally Disabled Child?” & “Vessels of Honor- All the Glory We Can Hold,” by Louis Markos (2006), among other things.
After the Hellenos House on Long Island, this will be the second Orthodox community for persons with developmental disability in the U.S.- as far as I know of.
And so His Grace Bishop Thomas’ vision for local Orthodox Christian societies is finding fulfillment.
Thanks be to God, Who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!