As the sun rose over the St. Iakovos Retreat Center this morning, memories filled with 4 weeks of blessings flooded our minds. Since June 15th the Retreat Center has been a buzz with the sights and sounds of hundreds of Staff and Campers laughing, smiling, and engaging their faith in a real and vibrant way. As words fail to accurately describe our indescribable God, they also fail to describe a real and true experience of Him. Therefore, the last four weeks of the Retreat Center’s life cannot be put into words. However, falling short of describing the true Joy that was lived this summer, we will summarize it the only way that seems remotely appropriate; Fanari has found a home in the St. Iakovos Retreat Center, and the St. Iakovos Retreat Center has been brought to life through Fanari.
Both of these realities have been through the blood, sweat and tears of so many throughout the Chicago Metropolis. All who dedicated their time, talents and treasures to the building up of both of these ministries. The existence of these ministries is made possible through the unwavering guidance and love of His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos.
The late Fr. William Chiganos, a spiritual giant of Fanari, and the man upon who’s back the program itself was literally built, passed away just before he could see that which he loved and worked so hard for, finally come home. However, Director Nick Kirkeles reminded us all “that this is a place that he would be really pleased to see; a place where Orthodox Christians and young people can put away the rest of the world… Come and be apart of something based in faith, on love and in friendship.”
We look forward to Fanari 2016 with much Joy and anticipation, and as our halls quiet and the sun sets on Fanari 2015, we say to all the campers and staff “Every time I think of you, I thank my God” – Philippians 1:3
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A special thanks to all the campers who participated in this historical year, as well as all the staff who gave not only of their time, but of themselves to this unique ministry. A special thanks to Directors Dcn. Chris Avramopoulos & Nick Kirkeles as well as the core staff Diakonissa Nicole, Maria Pentaris and Alex Magdalinos who work tirelessly year-round to make this ministry possible. We appreciate you!!!!