Message from the
|Volume 12, No. 2
On the streets of the hurricane-devastated Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans, you’ll find new, brightly painted churches sitting side-by-side with rotting, deserted houses. That community knows something: the church can be in the lead of any effort to rebuild and renew a community.
The broadest stroke that emerged from IOCC’s recent strategic planning process was our commitment to build the capacity of the Orthodox Church to help communities respond to emergencies and to achieve economic sustainability. You may not have known this but in order for IOCC to provide an Iraqi refugee in Syria with a job skill, or a Ugandan teenager with a school, IOCC collaborates with and trains national Orthodox churches to implement programs, create good governance practices, and maintain transparent financial systems.
That commitment to building the Orthodox Church’s capacity is reflected in the stories of this issue of News & Needs. Our cover story features IOCC’s “Volunteer on the Gulf Coast” program that builds new Habitat for Humanity homes for hurricane survivors in Louisiana. We’re very proud of that program, now in its third year, for the excitement it has generated among hundreds of Orthodox volunteers to find service opportunities in the U.S. Two more stories highlight IOCC’s US Program: Desire Street Ministries provides an education and crucial mentoring for at-risk boys in New Orleans, and in Alabama, Penelope House provides shelter and transitional services for women and their children who want to build new lives apart from domestic abuse.
Our story on Park Town Clinic in Zimbabwe shows the dedication of Orthodox Christians to build a clinic in the midst of a country that has completely lost its social service structures. In Georgia, our war relief work is expanding to provide trauma therapy and continued food assistance to the thousands of Georgians who were displaced by the August 2008 conflict. As always, our work there is in coordination with the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Ultimately, our collaboration with the Church underlines everything IOCC does. Of course, we could not accomplish anything without the grace of our Lord and the blessing of our Church fathers. As long as I have worked with the Church, I have felt that blessing and seen its power. May that blessing touch you and your family for your support of IOCC.
Yours In Christ,
Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director & CEO