30 Years of OCMC Missions Celebrated

November 2014

The annual Fall OCMC Board meeting was held November 10-11, 2014 at the Mission Center in St. Augustine, Florida. The setting was appropriate and meaningful as OCMC celebrates 30 years of missions ministry. In his remarks to the Board, OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi took the opportunity to reflect on the amazing witness that the faithful have shared with the world over the years, including the service of 100 long-term missionaries and 2,000 short-term team members and the construction of 37 churches and 10 schools resulting in thousands of people being welcomed into the Body of Christ.

These efforts increase every year, and the rank of long-term missionaries will soon be growing, as the Executive Committee unanimously approved Dr. William Black for service in Kenya to teach at the Makarios III seminary.

Board Treasurer William Birchfield III reported on the organization’s continued financial health. Much of the Board’s discussion centered on growing the Mission Center’s capacity to reach even more people with the message of the Gospel.

To that end, Dr. John Demakis shared plans for the creation of a missionary endowment fund. This fund will encourage the recruitment and training of more missionaries by helping to offset the financial support they need in order to serve abroad. After a thorough vetting process overseen by Board Vice President and Development Committee Chair John Colis, the Board also approved enlisting the services of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners. This philanthropy consulting firm will be contracted to conduct a development audit focused on assessing OCMC’s current capacity and designing a plan to increase the reach of its ministries with optimum results. The findings of the audit and the recommendations made by Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners will be extremely useful as the organization continues drafting its strategic plan for the next three years.

None of this hoped-for growth will be possible without the continued support and guidance of the hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. Led by attorney Bruce Humphrey, board members reviewed the organization’s bylaws and articles of incorporation which had been amended to reflect all recommendations made by the Assembly to reflect OCMC’s relationship as an agency of the Assembly.

The Board Meeting concluded with a dinner with staff and board members at a local St. Augustine restaurant. Everyone in attendance appreciated the opportunity for fellowship and continued discussion about Orthodox missions and brainstorming new ways to continue the work of making disciples of all nations.

Please continue to pray for OCMC’s staff, board, missionaries, and volunteers in the coming year.