IMPACT Introduced: Empowering Youth Ministry in East Africa

 

OCMC Youth Ministry Missionary Specialist Dana Bates discussing with Archbishop Makarios of Kenya and youth leaders
from the Metropolis about opportunities available with the IMPACT program (Kenya 2024).


"We have been praying for support to further develop our active youth ministry, and the program that Dana has created is like a gift of gold," proclaimed His Eminence Jeronymos, Metropolitan of Kampala and all Uganda, after hearing the presentation by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center's (OCMC) newest missionary, Dana Bates, who is a multi-country youth specialist. 

Over a ten-day period, Fr. Rob Spaliatsos and Dan Christopulos, OCMC’s Missionary and Development Directors, visited seven dioceses and six hierarchs in Kenya and Uganda to learn more about their needs for missionaries or other resources and see how the IMPACT Orthodox service-learning youth ministry model Bates developed might be implemented in the two countries.

Dana Bates demonstrating the IMPACT ministry model to youth leaders in Uganda (Uganda 2024).

Bates created the IMPACT model based on Orthodox theological foundations which are amplifications of the two greatest commandments: Love of God and love of your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). He states:

Nicholas Cabasilas has written, ‘Two things, then, commend us to God, and in them lies all the salvation of men. The first is that we be initiated into the most sacred Mysteries; the second, that we train the will for virtue.’ If salvation involves training the will for virtue, it is a vital question: precisely how is the will trained for virtue? Gregory Nazianzus tells us that God is pleased by acts of mercy and not the performance of virtues per se. It is only through acts of mercy that the virtue of mercy is developed, and our service-learning model helps our youth do these acts of mercy to and for their neighbor in order to become more Godlike – engage in Theosis. This is simply impossible without action, service—the Liturgy after the Liturgy.

Christopulos, who was the first OCMC missionary serving in East Africa from 1985-1988, helped introduce both Fr. Spaliatsos and Bates to the areas and various hierarchs and priests, since he worked with and taught many of them during his tenure in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The trip started in the Archdiocese of Nairobi before proceeding to the dioceses of Nyeri, Kisumu, and culminating in Kenya’s newest diocese of Eldoret. From there the team went to the Archdiocese of Kampala as well as Gulu and the newest diocese of Uganda, Jinja.

"We are hopeful that after successfully introducing this model to our Orthodox brothers and sisters in East Africa that it will be embraced in other countries where OCMC is supporting the Church’s efforts to preach the Good News to ‘all nations’," concluded Fr. Spaliatsos.

 

Click below learn more about these efforts in Kenya, Uganda, and elsewhere, and how you might support them. 

Learn More about OCMC

 

To learn more about the work of Dana and how you can share in it.

 

Learn More About Dana Bates

 


 

Many Gifts, One Body, For the Glory of God!

 

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The following photos were captured during the recent trip by OCMC staff to Kenya and Uganda to introduce the IMPACT, make connections, and discover new opportunities to further mission initiatives of the local Church in the region of East Africa. Please enjoy these precious moments. Visit the various links with each Orthodox Church to learn more about their communities and see how we are united with our brothers and sisters in our Risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

 

 

Orthodox Church in Kenya

Photos courtesy of the Archdiocese of Nairobi and all Kenya, Holy Diocese of Nyeri & Mount Kenya, and Holy Diocese of Eldoret and Northern Kenya.

 


Uganda Orthodox Church

Photos courtesy of the Holy Diocese of Gulu and Northern Uganda and the Holy Diocese of Jinja & Eastern Uganda