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by Eva M. Economou-Economy

Nestled in the Wisconsin woods, the rustic Saint Iakovos Retreat Center (SIRC), hosted Metropolis of Chicago families during Labor Day Weekend.  Around forty families attended the annual event, centered around the theme of:  Sacred Space, Sacred Time: Cultivating Orthodox Families.

Fr. Andrew G.C. Kearns, whose studies have focused on Youth Ministry, Pastoral Care and Peace Studies, and is also an active Duty Chaplain in the U.S. Navy, led the adult workshops which focused on how Orthodox Christian families might intentionally create sacred space and sacred time.  In keeping with the retreat theme, time was allotted for an early morning family walk, a couple’s activity, where spouses were encouraged to ask some poignant questions of each other, and a family talk.

The thought-provoking weekend retreat, with its sylvan setting, was an ideal venue for families to contemplate how to create sacred space in their homes and how to cultivate sacred time within that space.   Discussion was given to physical space: How is it organized? Is it cluttered? Is it clean? What is the focus in our homes? Icons sanctify our spaces-how are they being used in our respective homes?  

In addition to the annual Labor Day Weekend Retreat, The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago Family Synaxis hosts a day-long Lenten Retreat, a woman’s retreat, a men’s retreat and recently launched, Parenting University seminars.   The Family Synaxis mission is to build up “The Church in the Home” by instructing both parents and children in the praxis (practice) of Orthodox Christianity.

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago and the guidance of Rev. Fr. John Rallis, Proistamenos of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines, Illinois, the Family Synaxis Ministry continues to thrive.
For more information about our ministry, please visit our website at: www.gocfamilysynaxis .org