CYMK Report – Eastern EPARCHY CONFERENCE
Cлава Ісусу Христу,
My name is Tanya Buciora and I am the newly elected National CYMK President for the term of 2017-2019. I am here to speak about the youth organization of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Many of our youth were unable to attend todays Conference, therefore I have written this report on the organizations behalf. However, our youth have grown as members dedicating their patriotism and loyalty to our church, our faith, and organizations, and are upholding our current operations and consultation, confiding our performance, guidelines, support, and role-model influences.
Attending an Eastern youth retreat, I was given a book by Elissa Bjeletich and Caleb Shoemaker titled ‘Blueprints for the Little Church.’ How do we as Orthodox parents keep our children in the church throughout their lives? Well, to start off this presentation, I would like to keep in mind what Elissa and Caleb affirmed in their literature that and I quote, “it all begins with involving them in the life of the church from birth onwards – in the parish and at home.” In their chapter ‘Growing Up’ the header quote really stood out to me: “our teenagers have to reach on their own the stage of adult conviction about the faith. This does not mean in isolation, but from their own, experience. They have to emerge as Orthodox adults because they believe that Orthodoxy is true – that it shows us how God is and how we are. Only such a faith will be enough to preserve them in Orthodoxy throughout their life.” Therefore, this provides us with further understanding the vital role of CYMK and that providing our youth this positive experience is essential, as we represent the future of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada.
Some background and history of our Ukrainian orthodox youth organization: Our organization CYMK-UOY – signifying the (SOYOZ UKRAINSKOI MOLODI CANADU) was founded in 1931 as the youth organization of USRL/CYC becoming the first Ukrainian Youth organization in Canada. The branches across Canada are based in UOCC parishes with parish Priests serving as Chaplains to provide spiritual leadership and guidance. In 1975 the UOCC Sobor, designated CYMK as the youth organization of the UOCC.
CYMK is made of local youth groups at parishes across Canada. In 2016 and 2017 a major effort was made to revitalize various CYMK branches. Plans are underway to continue this initiative across Canada. Currently we have 6 locals involved with the CYMK organization: within Alberta we have the St. John’s Cathedral which have been long-standing supporters of CYMK and St. Elia’s Church in Edmonton which is a newly-joined parish of CYMK. In Saskatchewan we have the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Saskatoon. Manitoba’s CYMK group resides in the Joint Cathedral-Sobor, in Winnipeg and here in the East we have Ontario with two CYMK locals, St. Demetrius Sobor in Toronto, and St. John the Baptist in Oshawa, which was recently developed, with the assistance of Fr. Bohdan Hladio and we thank you for that. He has been our outstanding CYMK Chaplain for the previous few years. The CYMK Branch within Ukrainian Orthodox Church Decent of the Holy Spirit in Regina is currently being initiated by our Saskatchewan regional representatives and National Executive. British Columbia and Quebec remain vacant and prevailing.
Our organized events are aimed at promoting the Orthodox faith, Ukrainian culture, leadership and fostering a sense of belonging for youth. Recently many initiatives or projects that were executed by the CYMK National and their local executives included the collaboration with the Help Us Help the Children Campaign, where we collected hundreds of shoes, boots, and donated funds for orphans across Ukraine; our Toronto and Winnipeg Conventions; religious Eastern and Western retreats to open new locals, such as Montreal and Ottawa; unification with the CYMK National in the United States. We sent one of our members, William Kowalenko our Long-Branch treasurer, to the recent USA CYMK Convention in Rhode Island to observe and introduce our Canadian organization; ongoing collaborations with the MUNO organization, and recent augmentation to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, where Liza Zienchuk represented CYMK in the UCC AGM in Vancouver in October 2017.
Participating in CYMK, a faith based organization, is valuable to every member as we are able to remain close with our family and friends gaining opportunities and knowledge which are unique and beneficial for our development. These events help reunite our members with experiencing the 4 CYMK pillars: Faith, Culture, Leadership, and Friendship, as created by the Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association in 1934. As stated in Hebrews, Chapter 6, verse 10, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
As members of CYMK, we are honest, sincere and hard working Ukrainian Orthodox Youth. We are reminded of this during our every recital of the CYMK Klych:
Ми є чесні молодчі, бyдем шуро пращуювaти, добри ділo продoвжaти!
As the President of the National CYMK Executive group and being the Long-Branch Local Secretary and President for several years, I have realized how significant this phrase really is. During the last 2 years, I have learned and comprehended the amount of dedication, commitment, allegiance, devotion, time and exertion it takes to dominate and prevail with success. It takes a group, not one individual to win, but most importantly, it takes a family. Enjoying moments as a CYMK group is a paramount quality which helps us grow within our bonds, companionships, trust, culture, and spirituality.
At the Calgary CYC Convention in 2015, our Toronto local has taken the leadership role of National Executive to cultivate our youth organization. Liza Zienchuk, our Former National CYMK President and Taras Chved our Former National CYMK Treasurer, envisaged the plan and had the passion required it took to have ameliorated our organization. Also, during 2016, Christina Kowalenko was hired as the National Youth Organizer by the SUS Foundation and later she was joined by Yuri Haldio as an assistant. Being the Eastern Canadian National Representative the last two years, and working with Christina and Yuri personally, made me realize how important their ambitious companionship was and how strongly their assistance dominated our practicing Executive, with maintaining conventions, fund raising, event planning, and media coordinating. There is much more aid these two charismatic leaders have provided us, but I would be here all day if I was to go over everything they have done for us.
In 2017, at the Winnipeg CYC Convention, Toronto members were elected to form another National Executive CYMK Term for 2017-2019, as we now have the experience and proficiency of what it takes to carry out this initiative. However, we no longer have the assistance of youth coordinators, and our Executive group has increased with Lesia Buciora as my essential Vice-President and Event Planner, Michael Lukcazyn is our National Treasurer, Liza Oravec is the Secretary, and Natalia Lukcazyn, our media-coordinator. Our past experience with conducting meetings, and knowing these members personally through family and friendships, I am confident we will not disappoint our members.
Pani Natalia Olynyk Kowalenko, Leo Atamanchuk, and formerly Dennis Kuchta, are our National CYMK advisors, who share their expertise, support, and guidance. It takes courage and patience to run a National Executive, and I am proud of our accomplishments through our energetic and bold team work. As mentioned earlier, Fr. Bohdan Hladio has been our National CYMK chaplain. Every CYMKivets is very fortunate and thankful for the passion he carries towards our organization. We truly yearn his leadership, knowledge, and dedication. At this time, however, we are having problems with communication and dialogue regarding the congregational hierarchy with the Blessings of office for Chapter Executive sessions and other relations. We hope that we will be able to over come these obstacles and continue the religious circle we have prevailed over the past decade.
I would now like to take this time to thank several individuals with their involvements of our continuing CYMK organization. The Metropolitan for acknowledging our organization and for giving our youth their Oath as it benefits our Ukrainian Orthodox community. Chancellor Fr. Taras Udod for coming to speak to the CYMKivtsi at the Convention, along with Peter Kondra and all the other speakers at the Toronto and Winnipeg Conventions. Bishop Ilarion and Andriy for their letters of support in assisting me with making the CYMK Convention booklet. Also, for attending the vespers and morning prayers.
The National CYMK Executive would like to thank the following organizations for their input and benevolent financial support towards our Ukrainian Orthodox Youth’s participation in the 2017 Winnipeg CYC/USRL Convention: SUS Foundation of Canada, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada Foundation, Shevchenko Foundation, Ukrainian Self-Reliance Association, Holy Trinity Metropolitan Cathedral, and St. Andrew’s College. Without the assistance of our fellow Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Canadian organizations, the Convention would have been much more difficult to plan, many of our Ukrainian Orthodox Youth would not have been able to take part in this convention, and this event would not have been classified as such a celebrated success!
We as CYMKivtsi consider our organization a loving and tight-knit family, however, without these Conventions, it is challenging to keep the strong bonds and friendships our members make throughout the years. The Convention teaches our Youth the importance of religiosity and value of our organization. Seeing all the assemblies come together to share their thoughts and ideas teaches our youth the value of following our beautiful and strong religious faith, and reinforces their importance during activities and educational sessions. Stated by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his message to the CYMK organization, “This event brings together young Canadians, parish youth workers, council presidents and priests, and CYMK advisors to explore ways in which youth programs can be improved… You can take pride in knowing that your valuable efforts are helping young Canadians reach their full potential.”
We are grateful that we are provided with such generous contributions and endowments by USRL/CYC and other organizations and leaders. “Let us consider how we may help one another toward love and good deeds, encouraging one another” Hebrews chapter 10, verses: 24-25. Because of your support, we can commit to sending our Youth to these influential Conventions to meet and reconcile with their fellow CYMKivtsi, engage in spiritual events, and learn more about our Ukrainian Orthodox Faith. The knowledge learned at these conventions will be continually used during fellowship and shared around their communities.
We look forward to working with you all during the next term with our newly elected National Executive, and we thank you again for being continuously supportive sponsors of CYMK. We hope we can assist with future projects, continue increasing our Ukrainian Orthodox Youth membership, and be the passionate, strong, and dedicated Ukrainian Canadians our next generation needs!
National CYMK President, Tanya Buciora.