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The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America Blesses the Work of FOCUS North America

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Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director & CEO

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The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America Blesses the Work of

FOCUS North America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 27, 2010 – Kansas City, MO

With great joy and thanksgiving, the FOCUS North America Board of Directors with the Executive Director, Fr. Justin Mathews, is pleased to announce the blessing and endorsement of its work by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.

In a letter dated May 23, 2010, on the Feast of Pentecost, His Eminence Metropolitan JONAH writes:

“This organization has already done great work in the short time it has been in existence, and we encourage everyone to visit their website at http:www.focusnorthamerica.org…It is only by coming together to “love one another” that we can lift a person or family from despair to hope. This is what the Church is called to do on a daily basis. FOCUS assists all in finding Christ in even the most desperate situation…It is through this group that the Orthodox in North America can be focused on the ministry of assistance to those in need.”

This season of Pentecost brings to mind the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ as they set out to preach the Good News.  Likewise, FOCUS North America, with its newly operational local centers and partner ministries, humbly endeavors to emulate this witness to the Gospel teachings of Christ by serving the poor and the needy in our own communities. Strengthened by the blessing and support of the Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America, FOCUS North America continues to provide meals, vital life-recovery ministries and a living witness to God’s love for all mankind.

Attached to this press release is the letter from His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH in its entirety.

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FOCUS North America and its programs are committed to serve those in need, support Orthodox Christian social action ministries and supply parishes and others with the education, resources and training to initiate social action ministries in their own communities. In all of this, it continues in the work of Restoring Living Icons. FOCUS North America is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Donations can be made online at www.FOCUSNorthAmerica.org or checks can be made out to “FOCUS North America” and sent to: PO BOX 871578, Kansas City, MO 64187-1578.

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FOCUS North America Announces Local Centers Operational With Launch of Feeding Ministry

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Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director & CEO

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FOCUS North America Announces Local Centers Operational

With Launch of Feeding Ministry

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 21, 2010 – Kansas City, MO

 

The FOCUS North America Board of Directors with the Executive Director, Fr. Justin Mathews, announces the recently established local FOCUS centers – FOCUS Orange County (CA), FOCUS Gateway City (St. Louis) and FOCUS Minnesota – are operational and moving forward with services to the poor and needy in their communities.

 

A highlight of these recent activities was the feeding and care of 61 newly arrived refugees from Nepal as well as from Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Senegal and other West African nations. Twenty-one Orthodox volunteers led by Eric Shanburn, local director of Focus Gateway City, dedicated over 75 man-hours to prepare, deliver, serve and clean-up the meal. Volunteers also coordinated transportation, using a fleet of 5 mini-van style vehicles to shuttle guests to and from the sit-down meal that featured table service and games for the children. School supplies were distributed to children as hospitality gifts at the end of the evening. Similar events are being planned in the Twin Cities (MN) and Orange County (CA).

 

FOCUS Gateway City has also launched a Women’s Employment Assistance Center with a specific outreach to clients of Thrive St. Louis, adding to their crisis pregnancy program occupational assistance, counseling, job placement and a professional clothing closet. Personal wardrobe selection in preparation for secured job interviews is offered to the guests by Orthodox Christian women from the surrounding parishes.

 

A special feature of the FOCUS ministry in Orange County will be the “Mother Maria (Skobtsova)” Hospitality Van. It is an outgrowth of the traditional Orthodox emphasis on serving the poor through hospitality, specifically healthy, home-cooked food. A hot nutritious meal is prepared in the kitchen of one of the volunteer parishes each week and then distributed to identified areas of need by the FOCUS hospitality van and ministry team. Orthodox volunteers gather to serve the food and distribute material aid onsite to those in need while Kevin Allen, local director of FOCUS Orange County, social work professionals and trained volunteers offer companionship and other life-recovery ministries to those in need.

 

“The establishment of these operational FOCUS Centers is a momentous occasion in the history of Orthodoxy in America,” commented Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director and CEO. “Together we offer an Orthodox Christian witness in North America through intentional social outreach ministry with our most needy neighbors. These three FOCUS Centers are the first fruits of the resources that the faithful have entrusted to FOCUS North America.”

 

The first operational FOCUS Centers in North America are modeled in part on Reconciliation Services-FOCUS KC, the first FOCUS Center located downstairs from the FOCUS North America headquarters in Kansas City, MO. Additional FOCUS Centers are actively being developed in Central Florida, the Appalachian Region, San Diego, CA and Pittsburgh, PA. More information about the FOCUS Centers can be found online atwww.FOCUSNorthAmerica.org.

 

FOCUS North America, with a commitment to the poor, the needy and the disadvantaged in our own communities, continues to expand its mission and vision of serving God, through the cultivating of resources, development of parish ministries and the launch of FOCUS Centers across North America. Working with the Churches and offering a place for the faithful of all ages to serve regularly, FOCUS Centers provide hot, nutritious meals, vital life-recovery ministries and hope for the hopeless.

 

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FOCUS North America and its programs are committed to serve those in need, support Orthodox Christian social action ministries and supply parishes and others with the education, resources and training to initiate social action ministries in their own communities. In all of this, it continues in the work of Restoring Living Icons. FOCUS North America is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Donations can be made online at www.FOCUSNorthAmerica.org or checks can be made out to “FOCUS North America” and sent to: PO Box 871578 Kansas City, MO 64187-1578.

 

gtwy-center-meal

 

 

Quarterly Board Meeting PR

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For more information contact:

Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director & CEO

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FOCUS North America Holds Quarterly Board Meeting,

Concludes First FOCUS Center Training

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 17, 2009 – Kansas City, MO

The FOCUS North America Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting at the ministry’s headquarters in Kansas City, MO on April 15-16 to review its amazing first year of ministry together. (View the 2009 Annual Report online at www.FOCUSNorthAmerica.org)

The highlight of the meeting was the introduction of the three Local Directors of the new FOCUS Centers. The Local Directors are Eric Shanburn, Local Director of FOCUS Gateway City (St. Louis); Mat. Vera Proctor, Local Director of FOCUS Minnesota; and Kevin Allen, Local Director of FOCUS Orange County (CA). The Local Directors gave updates on the progress of their respective FOCUS Centers.

Concurrently, FOCUS North America hosted its first FOCUS Center training session in Kansas City April 14-17. The training session was headed by Bryan Dahms, National Director of Ministries for FOCUS.  The Local Directors met in person and shared creative ideas on establishing their respective FOCUS Centers. Reconciliation Services-FOCUS Kansas City staff Mother Nicole Oakes, Emergency Services Director, and Fr. Paisius Altschul, Executive Director, were instrumental instructors during the training. Through intense immersion in the Kansas City FOCUS Center operations and comprehensive training on running social action ministries, the Local Directors were equipped to implement the mission and vision of FOCUS North America in their region.

To conclude the meetings the Board of Directors, ministry team and the Local Directors joined together with Orthodox volunteers and the staff of Reconciliation Services-FOCUS Kansas City on Friday April 16 to serve the weekly meal to over 250 poor and needy men, women and children.

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FOCUS North America and its programs are committed to serve those in need, support Orthodox Christian social action ministries and supply parishes and others with the education, resources and training to initiate social action ministries in their own communities. In all of this, it continues in the work of Restoring Living Icons. FOCUS North America is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Donations can be made online at www.FOCUSNorthAmerica.org or checks can be made out to “FOCUS North America” and sent to: PO Box 871578 Kansas City, MO 64187-1578.

   

YES Upcoming Trips May & June 2010

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For more information contact:
Katrina Bitar
YES Director

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or 1-866-267-3083

UPCOMING YES TRIPS ON THE EAST AND WEST COASTS IN MAY AND JUNE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 7, 2009 – Kansas City, MO

The YES Program of FOCUS North America is YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SERVE. YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service with the ultimate purpose being to raise up a generation of Orthodox Christians who lead others in living out the true mission of the Church- to love and serve our most needy neighbors.

FOCUS North America is excited to announce the following upcoming trips open for registration.

YES BOSTON- MAY 7-9- Housing Location: Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, MA

YES WASHINGTON D.C. – MAY 21-23- Housing Location: St. Nicholas OCA Cathedral

YES SAN FRANCISCO- JUNE 18-21-Housing Location: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

YES LOS ANGELES- JUNE 25-27- Housing Location: Fred Jordan Mission

YES trips impact the lives of the teenagers who participate in dramatic ways.

“The trip completely changed my perspective. It showed me how grateful I should be for everything I have. I think the trip has humbled me. Smaller things make me happy, when I probably never thought of those things before the trip.” -Elizabeth Waters, YES Student

Interested? Visit our website to register for a trip: www.yesnorthamerica.org.

Questions? Contact Katrina Bitar at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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FOCUS North America and its programs are committed to serve those in need, support Orthodox Christian social action ministries and supply parishes and others with the education, resources and training to initiate social action ministries in their own communities. In all of this, it continues in the work of Restoring Living Icons.

FOCUS North America is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Donations can be made online at www.FOCUSNorthAmerica.org or checks can be made out to “FOCUS North America” and sent to: PO Box 871578 Kansas City, MO 64187-1578.

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Tackle Poverty with Troy & Theodora Polamalu

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For more information contact:
Fr. Justin Mathews
Executive Director & CEO
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or 1-866-267-3083

FOCUS North America Partners with Troy and Theodora Polamalu to Tackle Poverty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 22nd, 2009 – Kansas City, MO

FOCUS North America Board Member, Theodora Polamalu, and her husband Troy, two-time Super Bowl Champion, have partnered with FOCUS North America on the “Tackle Poverty with the Polamalu Family” campaign.

Troy and Theodora realize the great need in North America and are dedicated to doing something about it.  Recognizing that the poor, needy and suffering are living icons, they choose to venerate them with love and compassion by living out the gospel as related in Matthew 25 to the fullest extent.

Theodora said, “What inspired us to become involved with FOCUS is the commitment to the poor domestically, from an Orthodox perspective.” She further says that, “FOCUS implements unconditional love and a genuine interest in each individual that is served so that by God’s mercy, people are being exposed to Christ’s Church, Christ’s Holy Apostolic Church, every time they are received by FOCUS.”

Fr. Justin Mathews said, “FOCUS North America is blessed to have the Polamalu family on its team. They are extremely compassionate and amazingly zealous in their desire to support FOCUS North America and its ministry to the poor here at home. Our prayer is that all of America, but especially the Faithful, will accept the invitation of the Polamalus to join with them in supporting this vital ministry to our most needy neighbors. Every gift makes a difference.”

Recently you likely received in the mail more information about this campaign.  Theodora and Troy have also done a radio interview and podcast about "Tackling Poverty with the Polamalu Family" Campaign on Come Receive the Light, a nationally syndicated radio program, and on the Ancient Faith Presents podcast.

Look also for the "Tackling Poverty with the Polamalu Family" poster that will be sent to your local Orthodox Church soon.

This Lent please join the Polamalu family in serving the poor, needy and suffering here at home through FOCUS North America.

For your convenience, you can give online directly to this campaign at tacklepoverty.org.

 

FOCUS North America and its programs are committed to serve those in need, support Orthodox Christian social action ministries and supply parishes and others with the education, resources and training to initiate social action ministries in their own communities. In all of this, it continues in the work of Restoring Living Icons.

FOCUS North America is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Donations can be made online atwww.FOCUSNorthAmerica.org or checks can be made out to “FOCUS North America” and sent to: PO Box 871578 Kansas City, MO 64187-1578

   

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