St. Thomas the Apostle
Orthodox Church
Waldorf, MD
St. Thomas Jr. ACRY Officers

President:  Ashley McNeil
Vice-President:  Caleb Karbowsky
Treasurer:  Katia Dewey
Secretary:  Kristen McNeil
Sgt. at Arms:  AJ McNeil


Advisors for Jr. ACRY-  Andrew & Shannon McNeil

Report from Camp Nazareth

Report from Camp Nazareth

As you all know, the kids from our parish just came back from Camp Nazareth. We are all proud to say that this is one of our best years. This year we played ring ball, had some amazing food, witnessed not one but two weeping icons, had a bonfire, movie night, trivia games, had a Russian festival, pool party, dance, slip and slide, and the Bishop’s favorite - the dizzy bat. This is just a few of the amazingly fun activities we did. I am almost positive that everybody if not more people are coming back next year. Below is what some of our campers had to report being their favorite parts about camp this summer……….

Jocelyn Connour: my camp experience was awesome. I loved the sports. The entire thing was so much fun I can't pick a favorite part!

Mary Vallandingham: Camp Nazareth was a really amazing experience & I am blessed to be able to take part in it. The beautiful area, along with the dedicated people in it, is both a refreshment and an encouragement.

Ashley Vallandingham: Camp Nazareth changed my life and so did the weeping icon, and I love the bunks.

Tyler Vallandingham: I like everything! Camp Nazareth changed my life with the weeping icon and everything - the food, the people, the deacon, the priests - and I really loved the bishop; and the counselors are really funny.

Caleb Karbowski: my favorite part of camp was going stargazing with my cabin 3 boys and the sports.

Katia Dewey: I liked how well our cabin got together and making new friends, and of course I loved the food.

Adam Roberts: My favorite part about Camp Nazareth has always been all the new people I got to meet and reuniting those that I have known for years because of camp. I also loved the fact that whenever anyone needed help there was immediately someone there helping with whatever that person needed. I can’t wait return again next year.

Carol Vallandingham: I loved the beauty of the 150 young voices at the services, with the young men as cantors, with the Bishop and all the priests. So beautiful! Secondly, was the entertainment put on by the counselors during the campfire. What a dedicated, talented group!

AJ McNeil: My favorite part was meeting new people, seeing my old friends, all the activities, free time, and the church services.

Kristen McNeil: my favorite part was seeing old friends that I haven't seen in years and the whole camp experience.

Ashley McNeil: I had no favorite part of camp. I absolutely loved everything about everything. From the food to the people, Camp Nazareth is paradise on earth for me. I'm already counting down till the camp next year.

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Altar Boy Retreat

Altar Boy Retreat

From AJ:

This was my first time going to the Altar Boy Retreat.  We did many activities, including clergy rap (where we could ask questions of the priests), good food, and opportunities to meet new people.  They taught us how to better altar boys.  The best part was going to the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game!  It was a great game, with a good comeback by the Pirates.

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Young Women's 1st Retreat

Young Women's 1st Retreat - 07/10/14

The women's retreat turned out to be pretty awesome! We weren't too sure what it would be like at first, but overall we are glad we went. Getting deeper into our faith was one of the things we addressed. However, the biggest impact that the women's retreat had on us, would have to be how us women could help out in the church. Even the "One on One" Bishop time with Bishop Gregory was amazing! We talked about "X" and "Y" chromosomes and how the women are FAR MORE SUPERIOR than the men and are the staple of the not only the family but the church, and the world today.  

During the course of our retreat we visited the Brethren Community Retirement Home, in Winber, where we made bird feeders with the residents, visited the House of Miracles, where a family of (4) prepared us lunch while we learned of all of the many miracles and blessings their family and visitors of this home had experienced.  The stories were life changing and really touched our hearts.  It was a cool experience. (Complete story will be printed and downstairs with Ashley if you'd like to talk more about it).  We also got to meet an iconographer, Cheryl Pituch. That was definitely Kristen's favorite part. Did you know that she has to pray the whole time while making an icon? Sometimes she said she made her own boards from scratch. It was truly a humbling experience to see how much dedication and effort goes into every detail of the painting.  When we arrived back at the church, we had a cookout with the altar boys, then made wood-burned icons and learned how to make prayer ropes.

Bonding with all of the girls there made it worth the while as well. So, we do encourage every young woman in our church to show up next year. Pani Marianna and Pani Eleni were amazing directors and made it a once in a life time experience. I can promise you that you'll have an amazing time learning more about our roll in the church and will a blast. We know that we are going back next year, come join us!

Kristen & Ashley McNeil

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2014 Jr. ACRY Lentin Projects

Jr. ACRY Lenten projects - 04/06/14

They Jr ACRY has been busy making Easter Candy to sell this past week.  There will be a table set up in the social area for everyone to check out.  Thank you for your support.

Candy Makers:  Adam, Kristen, Caleb, Ashley, & Dominic (Ashley's friend)

 Finish Products Last Sunday,

The Jr ACRY had (9) members join together to pick up trash along Rt 5 at 8:30 in the morning.  They collected (8) bags of garbage that the county will be picking up.  Thank you to all those that participated.  

Thank you to everyone who donated items for our Bagged Lunches for the homeless.  Last year we made 60 lunches, this year with everyone's help we prepared over 80 lunches which is a GREAT success.  

The lunches were dropped off at the Safe Night Location where they were very appreciated and needed. The Jr ACRY will be joining Good Shepherd Church this Sunday (4/13) to serve dinner to the Homeless.  A special thanks to Kim Stitch for helping with assembly.

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Jr. ACRY 2014 Calendar
Jr. ACRY Lock In

Jr. ACRY FUN EVENING - 04/20/13

On Saturday evening under the guidance of Shannon and Andy, the youth of Saint Tomas gathered for Vespers service, confessions and fellowship that included dinner with Father Joseph, making candy for their fund raising, barn fire and story telling and spending the night. 

On Sunday they attended Mattins and Liturgy.

We thank God and all of you who supports our youth.

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Jr. ACRY Family Ski Trip to Davis, West Virginia and Black Water Falls

Jr. ACRY 16th anual ski trip - 03/17/12

For the past 16 years, the Saint Thomas the Apostle Orthodox Church Jr. ACRY members, family and friends have spent one weekend in March at Timberline Ski Resort, in West Virginia, skying, snowboarding and sharing meals and prayers.
These are the pictures from this year.  If you missed it, God willing, next year you could join them.

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