Glenview, Illinois: On Saturday, February 27th, the Holy Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago hosted a BeeTreat – a retreat offered by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for Youth, Young Adults, Youth Workers, and Parents. The all-day retreat was lead by Archdiocesan Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Steven Christoforou, Archdiocesan Coordinator of Young Adult Ministries, Christian Gonzalez, and Melissa Tsongranis, Associate Director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Center for Family Care. The BeeTreat was held at SS. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, Illinois. Also assisting in the BeeTreat were Ambassadors from Hellenic College Holy Cross, an Ambassador from St. Katherine’s College, and Youth Ministers from the Metropolis of Chicago.
The BeeTreat, which drew over 260 youth, young adults, youth workers, and parents from the Chicagoland Area had three main tracks: Youth, Parent/Youth Workers, and Young Adults. The Youth and Youth Worker/Parent portion took place at SS. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church from 9:30am-5pm. Activities included worship, ice breakers, sessions, and (of course) good food. The Youth Track, lead by Steven Christoforou, focused on unity; Union with God, Union with Ourselves, and Union with our Neighbors. The Young Adult Track included sessions on Reflecting the Image of Christ in what we do as parents and youth workers. Midway through the BeeTreat, all in attendance were blessed to have a visit from His Eminence, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, who blessed the children, youth workers, and parents, and spent some time observing and enjoying the BeeTreat.
The BeeTreat continued into the evening, as Steven was the guest speaker at a YAL Chicago Orthodoxy on Tap, sponsored by Raise.com. Steven spoke on the topic, “Living Orthodoxy Today: Where God has called you to be.” The Young Adults had an opportunity to tour the headquarters of Raise.com, enjoy great food and refreshments, and engage in a lecture and discussion with Steven.
It would be no understatement to say that the BeeTreat was a home-run on all fronts. Julia Economy, a participant in the Youth Track noted, “The BeeTreat was an amazing experience. Not only did the retreat teach me about my relationship with God, but it was also a place where I was able to meet other Orthodox Christians from all over the Chicagoland area.” Another participant, Sophia Lehocky explained, “I learned a lot about the way the world works and how having faith strengthens even the weakest of people.”
It was a beautiful blessing to see the entire Archdiocese come together in one place and one time to grow together in faith through worship, learning, fellowship, and fun.