OCMC's SAMP Program: 20 Years of Making a Difference

Friday, June 16, 2006

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OCMC's SAMP Program: 20 Years of Making a Difference

June 16, 2005

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), St.  Augustine, FL-Twenty years ago,  the Orthodox Christian Mission Center’s Board of Directors had an  idea to support indigenous Orthodox priests in extremely poor areas around the  world with funding from parishes and individuals in the  United States.  In 1985, one of the founders of the SAMP program stated “Our goal is to find enough sponsors each year so that we can offer this minimal help to indigenous Orthodox priests.” With that, the OCMC’s Support A Mission Priest (SAMP) program was born.  


 [IMAGE]Together  we can make a difference in supporting newly ordained clergy who are spreading  the Gospel in harsh conditions in 20 countries around the world through OCMC's  SAMP program.


SAMP still holds the same ultimate goal that it has had for the last twenty years; to alleviate the financial stress that priests face when dedicating themselves completely to ministry, especially in regions where  poverty is rampant. For example, in most SAMP countries the average life span is fifty years old, due to poverty and disease. Add to these struggles the fact that many SAMP priests serve an average of four parishes, which usually means  days of traveling from parish to parish by bicycle, bus or on foot. The  ministries of these dedicated men would be severely limited if they had to have  another full-time job in order to financially support their families.


Over the last ten years, the number of Orthodox Christians around the  world has grown and the need for trained clergy is increasing. New dioceses and  metropolitinates have been established in Africa,  South East Asia and Latin America.  The Mission Center has received requests from the hierarchs to add over 80 more clergy to the program and to help ease the financial burden of these growing communities. With the same vision that its founding members had, the program is expanding into another region of the world,  Latin America; and adding new countries in  Africa. OCMC is ready to meet the challenge!
For twenty years individuals and communities in the United States have participated in the spreading of the peace and joy of knowing Christ, through the SAMP program. SAMP priests know the blessing of receiving financial support, a symbol of solidarity, love and concern, from their brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the world.


It is with great anticipation that the SAMP program enters its third decade. Each Orthodox Christian in North America has the  opportunity to impact lives by becoming a SAMP pledger and sponsoring a priest  in mission lands. For more information on OCMC’s SAMP program, please contact  Presbytera Renee Ritsi, SAMP Coordinator, at 1-877-GO-FORTH (463-6784) or samp@ocmc.org and  visit www.ocmc.org/samp.php.

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center: Helping Orthodox Christians respond to  Christ's call to preach, teach, baptize, minister to the poor and make  disciples of all nations as the official international mission agency of  SCOBA.

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