2012 MGOCSM Brooklyn / Queens / Long Island Area Back to School Conference Held on September 15, 2012

Often as Christians, we are constantly required to defend our faith. We live in a society where not everyone believes in God, and they would question us Christians as to why WE believe in Him. How do we respond to that? And even with the little knowledge we do have, how can we adequately argue against theories and “supposed facts”, backed up by science, proving Gods inexistence? What then?

I’m sure that majority of us have been in a position where we experienced this or perhaps something similar to this. And the question that arises is, how? How can we defend our faith? That is why on Saturday, September 15th of 2012, the Brooklyn/ Queens / Long Island area hosted its annual “Back to School Conference” with the theme “Defending the Faith”. It was held at St. Mary's Orthodox Church 38 Cherry Avenue West Sayville, New York, from 11am to 7pm, ending the retreat with Evening Prayer and Confession. We had approximately 60 individuals come out and participate in this blessed event, ranging from middle school to post grad students; all of which who had positive feedbacks regarding this retreat. Now we were blessed to have Rev. Fr. Alexander (James) Kurien be our guest speaker for the day, in the presence of clergy members Very Rev. Fr. Paulose Adai Chor Episcopos , and Rev. Fr. Mathew (Sujit) Thomas.

In addition to his amazing speaking abilities, love for youth ministry, and his dedication and service to the church, Rev. Fr. Alexander (James) Kurien was also chosen to be the guest speaker due to his involvement in the US Government as the Director of Strategic Planning. With the theme “Defending the Faith”, he was the perfect person to help guide our youth in the proper way and strategically lay out plans to help swivel our way out of the attacks on our faith that pin us and leave us uncommunicative.

Over all, this retreat was a huge success. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Rev. Fr. Alexander (James) Kurien led (two) hour long sessions; and workshops were led by Rev. Fr. Mathew (Sujit) Thomas, Robin, Jennie, and Deena. In addition, a presentation was prepared and presented by the Committee to help promote the message Rev. Fr. Alexander (James) Kurien was trying to convey. Throughout the day, we indulged in fellowship during lunch and snack time, where members of each church mingled and displayed a sense of “unity” in our Area. The retreat concluded with Evening Prayer, led by Rev. Fr. Alexander (James) Kurien and Rev. Fr. Mathew (Sujit) Thomas, as well as the sacrament of Holy Confession was administered for those who were ready to partake in it. Lastly, elections were taken place for the new Area Council Member, Area Secretary, and Area Treasurer. The following people will hold these positions respectively for the next two years – Bobby Varghese, Lincy Thottathil, and Deena Zacheria. Congrats to these three individuals and may God use them to do His will.

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