Friday, January 19, 2007


While I work on my articles concerning the Church, I wanted to update the site about something happening in our Orthodox churches here in America.

As some of you know, I am the development director for Orthodox Christian Network. OCN is a SCOBA agency that is responsible for creating a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for the Church here in the US. We currently produce and syndicate the weekly half hour radio program called "Come Receive The Light" across the country (soon to launch in Houston in February!).

Our SCOBA hierarchs have declare the third Sunday in January national "Share The Light Sunday" for all our Orthodox parishes across the nation. Here is an excerpt from their recent Encyclical:

But the day and age in which we live offers us so many ways to effectively communicate the message of faith to our neighbors and families. We live in an age when communication technologies have expanded our ability to raise awareness of our Orthodox faith as never before. Technologies like the internet, podcasting, cell phones, as well as TV, radio, and print, challenge us to take advantage of these new tools to obey the command of the Savior. These
technologies are already being used by many to communicate to our children and grand children, and those messages, some good and some not so good, are affecting our lives every day. Where is the sweet, balanced, and salvation bearing voice of Orthodoxy in this modern cacophony of messages?

It is because of this unprecedented opportunity to serve the local parishes through media that we have set aside the third Sunday in January as Share The Light Sunday. This year it falls on Sunday, January 21, 2007, and we urge each parish to enthusiastically participate by passing a special tray on this Sunday to help us build a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for our Orthodox Churches.

Let us together take up these valuable talents and use them faithfully to serve one another and this nation, and together we will hear from our Lord “Well done.”

Here at OCN we are also excited to be launching The Ark on this same Share The Ligth Sunday. The Ark is going to be a 24 hour internet radio outreach that will feature contemporary Orthodox Christian artists like Fr. Peter Jon Gilquist, Fr. Justin Matthews, Jimmy Santis, Eikona, Monica Matthews, and Ron Moore. For too long these talents Orthdoox musicians had few outlets to help us contextualize the beauties of Orthodoxy for this music-centered culture.

You will be able to hear The Ark on our web site I hope you'll listen and give us some feedback about our initial efforts.

We are working hard to use media in constructive and challenging ways to raise the awareness of Orthodoxy in the lives of everyday Americans, and to support the faithful as they live in a culture all too often shaped by the exact opposite of Orthodox Christianity.

Please pray for OCN this weekend that we will be faithful to the Master with the talents He has given us.


Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty good! I am excited. Joe R.

Catrin said...

It sounds good, but I guess I don't see why the (now) 3 Orthodox internet stations can't join forces. Seems to me that it would help the station to become more robust and do a better outreach.

Does this mean that Ancient Faith Radio won't be able to broadcast the program again?

And what IS "contemporary" Orthodox music?


Just pondering on this Saturday morning :)

Barnabas Powell said...


Great points. Ancient Faith Radio is really a great product. I've known John Maddex since before either of us were Orthodox. We spent many years in Evangelical media and are dear friends.

There was an attempt at a possible merger, but nothing has hapopened yet. The possibility is still there and John and I both hope it will happen.

In the mean time, we both work in the vineyard we find ourselves in.

As for "contemporary" Orthodox music, it certainly isn't music of the liturgy, but there are Orthodox musicians who are writing songs that express in song the beauties of the faith. Its like St. Paul said "songs, hymns, and spiritual songs."

The music we are featuring is meant to be a bridge from Sunday to Sunday. To offer those outside the faith a way to hear about the faith in a context they might appreciate. It is a way to offer those who use to be connected to the faith a way back home.

This music is not meant to be a substitute for the Liturgy. It is not meant to compete with the wisdom of the Church or to reduce the beauty of the Faith to some crass attempt at a spiritual con. It is meant to offer a sense of connection to a culture so formed by music and so unformed by Orthodoxy.

It may work. It may not. But we are going to try.

Hope this helps.


David Bryan said...

The jpg on my sidebar anxiously awaits a link. Good job, sir.

Catrin said...

Certainly I wish you the best, though I will continue to hope there is a merging of efforts on the Orthodox internet front. Of course these things are easier said than done :)

Good luck with your efforts!

s-p said...

Hi Catrin and Barnabbas,
I'm kind of 50/50 on the idea of "merging"... There are 6 "Christian radio stations" here in Phoenix and each one has a personality and audience, just like there are a dozen talk radio stations and 20 music stations etc. With what little Orthodox media presence there is I think I'd rather see MORE variations perhaps with a small "shared pool of programming" like many stations that play the same teachers, music or syndicated programs then fill in with their unique stuff, than one station that tries to do it all. The more the merrier, IMHO.
God bless OCN and AFR and IBN and everyone else who has a blog, discussion list, program and website for trying to get Orthodoxy out of the closet.

Barnabas Powell said...


Here is a link for your jpg -


I share your ambivolence.

However, I struggle with two competing values.

The first is a desire to, as Mao said, "let a thousand flowers bloom." I hope everybody out there begins to grab the technology by the horns and magnify the message of Orthodoxy.

But the second value goes to the heart of an Orthodox view of ecclesiology. I am currently researching for some articles on the Church for this blog, and more and more I am convinced that our tendancy here in America for unbridled entrepreneurialism can, and often does, clash with the episcopal nature of our Church.

While all Orthodox believers are part of the Royal priesthood and all of us are responsible for both the unity and the purity of the faith, it is the episcopacy that incarnates this aspect of the Church for all of us.

There is a needed tension and balance between these two realities, but we cannot ignore one and favor the other without losing a real value in our faith.

I'm thinking long and hard about this, but I am leaning away from the "every man doing what is right in his own eyes" ideas I held in my former religious life. As a wise saint once said "Do nothing without the bishop."

s-p said...

Hi Barnabbas,
"I feel your pain"... :)
How do we icon the unity of the Church and the diversity of the Body in the Holy Spirit of I Cor. 12 with a media that represents the "Church"?
Does "doing nothing apart from the Bishop" mean homogeneity or being all things to all people? I think these are critical issues when we think about the pragmatics of how we represent the life, teachings and spirituality of the Church to the non-Orthodox (AND the Orthodox...) in ANY form of media whether it is preaching on Sunday or a CCM Orthodox song. I am under a Bishop with my program and he loves our format and approach. But that does not obligate AFR or OCN to air my show even though our archdiocese is part of SCOBA. I'm interested in seeing what you are thinking along these lines. Having been part of 4 archdioceses now in various ministries, it is murky water when we start trying to think in terms of where "universal Church" and "Bishop of my diocese" intersect. Looking forward to your thoughts!

Barnabas Powell said...


Right on comments!

I think we are going to end up discovering that the "murkiness" is purposeful.

It is this "bright darkness" that forces an emphasis on loving one another. It takes love out of the theoretical and places it right in the middle of our pragmatism.

This very well may be the main reason this tension is inherent to this ecclesiology. It forces us to rub sholders and deal with flesh and blood people with all their inconsistencies and fears and pride, and it is that conflict that we are invited to radically apply the teachings of the Faith to every aspect of life.

Barnabas Powell said...

Oh, and one more comment, I like your program as well. :-)

Thanks for the note S-P.

s-p said...

Hi Barnabbas,
Thank you...
I like the concept of "purposeful murkiness" because it really points us, as you say, to the humanity of the Church. WE are murky and are called to co-exist, but not MERELY to co-exist as parallel beings, but to co-work, co-serve and co-mingle as members of the Body and be interdependent. We cannot avoid the consequences of the objective unity we have in Christ, but we are called to realize it in the love of the Trinity. While all of our parts may not do the same thing we ultimately MUST acknowledge our interdependence on what sometimes appears to be disparate and even contra- functions among the members. Not all receive the same glory and not all are esteemed equally because not all do the same things, but the goal is not uniformity but to raise our vision of each other to the image of God. I think this is why the Orthodox Church is not a big bandwagon jumper and doesn't embrace and put forward new things quickly and with great fanfare sometimes, it is both a function of our humanity that gets bogged down in esteeming some above another because we humans just tend to traditionalism and clericalism naturally, and it is a function of the Holy Spirit that causes it to discern and try the new to discern the fruit. I don't think we can come up with a seminar or "decision tree" that can weed out which is which and to systematize or expidite the processes. And THAT I think is the murkiness that drives many of us crazy when we want to see quick decisions and results and responses to our efforts and ideas. As you said, ultimately love is the triumphant sign of any ministry. May God bless the efforts to both serve and to love.