[ditty_news_ticker id="27897"] First AMEN Retreat, “The Audacity of Manhood,” Motivates and Inspires - Orthodox Christian Laity

First AMEN Retreat, “The Audacity of Manhood,” Motivates and Inspires


Source: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Antiochian Men of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast

The Antiochian Men (AMEN) in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast (DOMSE) held their first ever in-person conference and retreat on March 7-9, 2024 and it was a big success, thanks be to God. The event took place at the Woodland Christian Camp & Retreat Center in Temple, Ga. with 140 men in attendance. 

The AMEN Conference & Retreat incorporated the best aspects of camping, conferences, and retreats into a first-of-its-kind event for Orthodox Christian men. Attendees also included some catechumens and inquirers to the Orthodox Faith. Over half of the parishes from DOMSE were represented, and there were 46 men from outside DOMSE who attended. This included men from all over the country, and even one from Canada!

The event was well organized thanks in large part to the efforts of DOMSE AMEN President Michael Baclig, as well as the rest of the AMEN board members. It offered a wide variety of sessions including spiritual talks, liturgical services, outdoor activities, sports competitions, strategy games, workshops, and campfire fellowship. The most unique aspect of this event was the scheduling of activities between guest speaker sessions, especially the outdoor activities which included a flag football game, basketball games, kayaking, fishing, ziplining, and a ropes course challenge. There was truly something for everyone who attended, regardless of age.

The guest speakers included His Grace Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Stephen De Young, Fr. Hans Jacobse, and Fr. Jacob Andoun. Each speaker gave an edifying talk on the theme of the event: “The Audacity of Manhood: Strength Through Virtuous Work.” Fr. Stephen kicked things off with a talk titled “Who Do You Work For?” That was followed by a talk by Fr. Jacob titled “And You Thought the Saints Just Prayed?” Fr. Hans then delivered a powerful talk titled “Work Shapes the Inside and the Outside” followed by another talk by Fr. Stephen titled “Men at Work.” The final talk was given by Bishop Nicholas and was titled “God Won’t Do All the Work for You.” All the talks resonated deeply with all of the men.

The retreat also included a panel discussion with all the guest speakers responding to questions from the attendees. The speakers shared their wisdom on some key issues that many men struggle with. Liturgical services included morning prayers, daily vespers, and the Akathist to St. Joseph the Betrothed followed by a rousing sermon by Fr. Hans.

There were two very helpful workshops that took place during the event, including Faithtree’s “Lionheart Sessions” (video with discussion) and a “Restoring Young Men to Manhood” workshop led by Fr. Hans. If that wasn’t enough, there was also a live recording of the “Coming Out of Chaos” podcast with audience participation and another AMEN Bible Study hosted by Fr. Stephen De Young.

With the direction of Bishop Nicholas, The Antiochian Men in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast are planning to make this an annual event. They have received extremely positive feedback from everyone who attended thus far, and they intend to make the next one even bigger and more successful, God willing.


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