In 2018 and 2019, the Hellenic Foundation awarded grants to the Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology to expand the CrossRoad Summer Institute Program in Chicago. This allowed 58 young people of Orthodox faith to participate and take ownership of their religion, develop meaningful friendships that will last a lifetime, and grow in their capacity as servant leaders for our church and the world.
CrossRoad Chicago is a program of the Orthodox Vocation & Ministry Foundation (OVM Foundation). The OVM Foundation unites generosity and vision to sustain and expand the initiatives of the Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology to regions across North America. Since 2003, the OVM has provided transformative opportunities for Orthodox Christian youth and young adults to grow in faith, vocation, and leadership.
CrossRoad is a “high impact ministry,” as one parent described it. It counteracts the trend of young people leaving the Orthodox Church. It nurtures and inspires the minds, hearts, and souls of our young people, giving them a sense of purpose and a deep connection to the life-giving nature of our powerful spiritual and theological tradition – which, we believe, will sustain them for life. We have the audacious goal that CrossRoad will develop generations of purposeful and grounded servant leaders for the Church and world.
Interview with Kyra Limberakis: In honor of the 2020 Grant Awards, Peter Valessares, Executive Director of the Hellenic Foundation, met with Kyra Limberakis, Program Director of Orthodox Vocation and Ministry Services – CrossRoad Summer Institute Program, to discuss the impact of the summer program on the youth of the Greek American community of Illinois. Watch the full interview above to learn more.
The words of a CrossRoad Chicago alumni gives a glimpse into the program’s desired outcome and impact on participants:
“Experiencing this summer institute bridged the gap of the tough transition from high school to beginning college. Learning who I am, who God is, and who our neighbors are taught me to never take anything for granted… I feel new. I feel stronger. I feel inspired, and more full of love than ever before.” – Athena Pantelas from Aberdeen, NJ (CR Chicago 2018 alumna)
We see the Impact as broader than just Chicago-area youth though. It’s about a much wider group of people and parishes having a new understanding/vision for the formation of our young people and a kind of religious vibrancy in Chicago. You’ll see this in the reflection of one of our CrossRoad Chicago professors who reflected on his experience teaching at CrossRoad saying:
“The future of our Church obviously lies, in large measure, with the spiritual health of our children. Teaching in the CR program provided a wonderful opportunity for me to shape the hearts and minds of young adults. I was blessed with renewed energy to see their hungry hearts and searching minds for the truth of Christ! The CR program provides a catalyst for spiritual renewal not only for Orthodox students, but also for those of us entrusted with intellectual leadership. Sharing the program with a committed staff and eager students made this an unforgettable experience!” – Dr. Bradley Nassif, North Park University