The young adults in our parishes often struggle to understand why they should remain Orthodox, or even Christian. They wrestle with questions of identity, vocation, and relationships. They want to connect with the Orthodox Church, but they don’t always know how.
To this end, we are dedicating the next five years to discovering new ways of engaging young adults ages 23–29 in Orthodox parishes.
Based out of the Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College Holy Cross, the Telos Project has invited fourteen pilot parishes to participate in Telos webinars, conferences, and other resources as they embark on designing new ministries for and with the young adults in their communities. These parishes, in turn, will share their learning with us and with the Church more broadly, helping shape Hellenic College Holy Cross curriculum and future leaders of the Church.
The Telos Project is inspired by the work of the CrossRoad Summer Institute, a popular youth theology program for high school juniors and seniors run by the Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College Holy Cross. Founded in 2003, CrossRoad has inspired nearly 700 Orthodox youth to engage in their faith and make life-giving choices in college and beyond.
After over a decade of this work, we noticed a pattern. CrossRoad alumni face new decisions about identity, faith, vocation, and relationships as they graduate from college and enter young adulthood. They yearn to find local Orthodox parishes that will help them relate their faith to their everyday lives. Our aim is to connect Orthodox parishes and young adults wrestling with these ideas.
We are also inspired by the work of Sophie Koulomzim, a great religious educator shaped by the 1920s Orthodox youth movement. Her visionary approach to young adult ministry raised up an entire generation of Orthodox leaders in the United States. Our dream is to inspire a new generation of clergy, lay leaders, philanthropists, and volunteers who will serve in the Orthodox Church well into the 21st century.