FIRST ANNUAL YOUTH CONFERENCE
August 9- 11, 2006
The Participants started their day with an active partaking of the Matins (Morning Service) served in the chapel. Today's first presentation was delivered by Alex Miskov (Youth ministry committee member) on the theme: "Am I saved?" An active participation continued with keen questions raised by the youth. Choir practice was led by the members of the National Liturgical music, Fr. Milos Vesin, Fr. Stevan Stepanov, and Popadija Betsy Tumbas. Afternoon recreational activities took the youth outside on the volleyball and basketball courts, while a few of them chose to stay inside to play various musical instruments, checkers, and billiards. Following Vespers (Evening Service) and dinner, the second presentation on the theme: "Can I Find Christ In My Music" was given by Fr. Dusan Koprivica, OCA priest from St. Nicholas parish in Jackson, MI . This presentation also generated lively participation from everyone present. Fellowship and reflection on the second day of the Conference afforded everyone, late in the evening, an opportunity to quiet down after a busy and spiritually fruitful day
Our third day brought even more enthusiasm, as our Youth continued reflecting on another important topic: "Mission Impossible: Communicating as a Family", led by Proto Stevo Rocknage, the Ministry Committee chairman. As on the previous day, choir practice, daily service, and recreation were on the schedule. The second presentation was given by Hieromonk Calinik (Berger) from the Romanian Orthodox Church on the topic of: "My Life, My Future, My Decisions." This presentation served as a climax of our goal and brought all the points together. We learned that: Christ and Me, Living My Faith in Today's World can be realized by our commitment to Christ aided by our families and faithful communities. Renewed, energized, and enthused about their young Orthodox lives, the participants look forward to participating in the Divine Liturgy at St. Lazarus Cathedral and St. Nikolai Oratorical Festival.
At the dawn, all packed and thrilled about this wonderful fellowship, but saddened by the fact that it would end after the Oratorical Festival, the participants headed to St. Lazarus Cathedral where they sung responses for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Many participants took Holy Communion. Four exceptional papers were presented on the theme: "As a Serbian Orthodox Teen, What Does It Mean to Serve Christ?"
The four orators representing the Western, New Gracanica, Midwestern, and Eastern Diocese were:
FIRST PLACE: Gabrielle Antonioli, from Holy Trinity SOC, Butte, Montana
SECOND PLACE: Stevan Stankovic, St. Nicholas SOC, Indianapolis, IN
THIRD PLACE: Milica Trikic, from St. Archangel Michael SOC, Lansing, IL
HONORABLE MENTION: Jovana Zaremba, St. Sava SOC, St. Petersburg, FL
At the conclusion, the participants expressed the desire to extend the length of our 2007 Youth Conference, scheduled to be held in the Chicago area. Another thrilling aspect of this conference was the election of the National Youth Leaders, whose names have been submitted for the approval and blessing of our Hierarchs. They are: From the Midwestern Metropolitanate: Danilo Nikolovski and Milica Trikic. From the Eastern Diocese: Juliana Lytkowski and Zachary Krieger. From the Western Diocese: Joanna Aud and Diana Burge. From the New Gracanica: Steven Stankovic.