2022 6th Regular Youth Sobor
During Teenage Conference, July 10 – 16, the participants of the encampment from parishes across the country served as delegates to the 6th Regular Youth Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. His Eminence Archbishop Daniel joined our youth for two days of proceedings.
His Eminence opened the Youth Sobor discussing the purpose or the Sobor in the life of the church and his hopes for the deliberations of its young people. Natalie Kapeluck Nixon, Director of Youth Ministry, gave a brief overview of the of the Youth Sobor and review of the initial Vision Statement for the Future of the Church written by the delegates of the 1st Youth Sobor.
The delegates then reviewed the work of the previous Youth Sobor led by 2019 delegate Rachel Harendza. They then broke into small groups to begin work on two main topics: Struggles our young people face with in the world and struggles our young people face within the church/their faith. The small groups were led through brainstorming sessions and discussions. Over three plenary sessions, they worked in large groups and small groups to hone in on the most pertinent struggles and then develop strategies for how the church can support them moving forward.
Some of the identifies struggles include: Body Image and Appearance, Mental Health and Negative/toxic people within parish life. Among the main suggestions for support these are a just a few:
- Providing a support group with adults who have struggled with body image issues. The support groups could bring in professionals to work with the group on promoting positive body image. Using the support group to view ourselves through Christ’s eyes and not the world’s.
- Bring in professionals to work with youth on how to stay mentally healthy, perhaps an Orthodox mental health professional. It is important to our youth that this struggle be given a safe place of discussion with the church instead of their only options being outside of the church.
- Encourage the parish to find the positives in one another and not the negatives.
- Study scripture and share scripture concerning not judging our brother/sister but loving our neighbor.
His Eminence Daniel celebrated Great Vespers on the Eve of the Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul with the youth. At the service lithographs of the hierarchs of the the UOC of the USA were prominently placed throughout St. Thomas Chapel. Not just along the front but in amongst the people. His Eminence spoke to the youth about their hierarchs and the importance of knowing their history of the church. A memorial service was prayed on their behalf. The following day a beautiful festal liturgy was celebrated with several local clergy and dobrodijki joining for the morning.
His Eminence Daniel along with several of our seminarians from St. Sophia, created an incredible tryzub of 500 images from war torn areas of Ukraine. The Youth Sobor delegates participated in a heart-felt and emotional parastas (memorial service) to those who have lost their lives so far to the war in Ukraine.
The full work of the 6th Youth Sobor was presented to the 23rd Regular Sobor of the UOC of the USA in October at the Metropolia Center in South Bound Brook, NJ. Upon their ratification, they will be released to the parishes for consideration and implementation.
- Youth Sobor Delegates participated in regular sessions of the Sobor
- During Special Youth Sobor Sessions the delegates discussed Stewardship and Struggles facing our Youth
- The Youth Sobor Delegates created two documents. The first discussed how we can promote stewardship with our youth within our communities, parish and the greater church. The second discussed the struggles our youth face in the world and within the church. They provided suggestions on how the church can support our youth through these struggles.
Read the Youth Sobor Reports!
- Stewardship and our Youth (English) (Ukrainian)
- Struggles of our Youth and Solutions for their Support (English) (Ukrainian)
Copies of these documents will be provided to every parish in both English and Ukrainian language.
The first Sobor of our Church in the United States took place in 1924, following the arrival of Metropolitan John. The Sobor has taken many twists and turns to where we are today. Presently the Sobor takes place every three years. At the Sobor, Hierarchs, clergy and laity (that is you and me), gather together to discuss the state of the church. Just as the President gives a state of the union address, our church gathers its people from across the country to discover the “state of the union”. They also discuss the needs of our parishes currently and in the future. Each parish has a limited number of delegates and alternates that they may send to the Sobor. The national church organizations are also granted representation.
The Sobor is not only for business but is also for the spiritual enrichment and renewal of those participating, so that they can return to their parishes ready to work in our Lord’s vineyard. Divine Liturgy is served every morning. There are evening services, memorial services, and evening meditations at the end of the day. Workshops are provided on a variety of topics concerning our faith and our parish life.
There is also time allotted for fellowship. These occasions are a wonderful opportunity for the clergy and laity of the church to interact with one another, discuss the similarities and differences in their parishes, help one another with suggestions, and just plain get to know each other.
Sobors can take place at times other than the designated every three years. A Special Sobor may be called in the case of an emergency in the church.
The Sobor holds a special place in the workings of our Church because it provides the people the opportunity to voice their concerns, opinions, and ideas.
In 2004, at the 17th Regular Sobor, the first Youth Sobor was instituted. This special program was developed to help the youth of the church gain a better understanding of how the church works and to lend their voice to the decision making for the present and the future.
Read the Vision of the Future created by the 1st Youth Sobor!