Archive | September, 2014

All-American Council Facebook page makes its debut

18thAACIn preparation for the 18th All-American Council, a dedicated Facebook page has been initiated to tell the story of the Orthodox Church in America and facilitate updates from the AAC website.

Among the page’s current and future features are articles and pictures detailing the OCA’s history and highlights of various ministries that represent how the Mission is being expanded today.

“Like” us and invite your friends to get the latest news on the AAC, as well as to share what your parish is doing to help “Expand the Mission!”

Metropolitan Council concludes fall 2014 session

2014-0922-metcouncil4The fall session of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America concluded on Thursday, September 25, 2014.

Chaired by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, the meetings also were attended by the members of the Lesser Synod of Bishops, including His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon; His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin; and His Grace, Bishop Michael.

Sessions opened on Monday, September 22, with a one-day retreat on Christian Stewardship conducted by Priest Robert Holet of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, who drew upon his book, The First and the Finest: Orthodox Christian Stewardship as a Sacred Offering, as a resource. The retreat offered a variety of practical suggestions to Council members, whose duties include financial oversight and fundraising.

In his opening address to the Council, Metropolitan Tikhon offered a comprehensive review of his work and travel schedule. He also presented the ongoing evolution of his comprehensive vision for the work of the Church with regard to evangelism/mission/revitalization, the development of monasteries and monastic life, and the care for and development of pastoral care for the clergy. He fielded questions on a variety of concerns, including the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA, the work of the Chancery, and the field of development.

Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor, reported on his current work and direction for the coming year, while Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, presented an overview of current issues, including the approval of a Document and Electronic Retention and Disposal Policy for the Chancery, funding for 2015 Church Planting Grants for fledgling missions, and emerging plans for the OCA’s Mission School program. He also offered a comprehensive review of preparations in process for the 18th All-American Council [AAC], slated to be held in Atlanta, GA in July 2015. In addition to presenting a preliminary draft agenda, he reviewed plans for the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America’s annual national convention, which will be held concurrently with the AAC; the AAC’s youth program; electronic registration; and related areas of operational concern.

Alexis Liberovsky, OCA Archivist, reviewed the work of and recommendations by the Archives Advisory Committee, while Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of the Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, advised Council members on funding concerns for the coming year.

Reports were given by representatives of the Metropolitan Council’s committees, including the Legal, Ethical and Charity Committees; the Crisis Management Team; and the Human Resources and Internal Governance Committees. Reviews of ongoing litigation issues and legal concerns, Human Resource policies and plans, and the work of the Crisis Management Team and potential training in this regard were offered. The Internal Governance Committee reviewed the new internal and external auditors, revision of the Metropolitan Council Handbook, and upcoming meeting agendas and retreats. The Strategic Plan Committee reported on the recent integration and implementation of its plans.

Melanie Ringa, OCA Treasurer, reported on the OCA’s current financial status. She noted that, as of August 1, 2014, a surplus of $182,410.00 had been realized, and she shared the positive reports of the internal and external auditors. She went on to present the balanced budget of $1,912,570.00 for 2015. The budget is based on a $90.00 per adult member assessment rate — a further reduction of the assessment rate, based on the resolution of the 17th AAC, which resulted in a $15.00 per adult member decrease in the past five years.

The Financial Development Committee reported on investment strategies, which include moving assets to the Philadelphia Trust Company. The Committee also reported on the Stewards of the OCA campaign, which netted $27,000.00 through August 2014. A stewardship plan for 2015 is in the process of being developed.

Archpriest Dr. Alexander Rentel reported on the work of the Statute Revision Committee in anticipation of the 18th AAC, while Priest Gleb McFatter offered a report on behalf of the Pension Board. Ms. Cindy Davis reviewed the work of the Office of Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations [ORSMA] while Dr. Al Rossi reported on the work of the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee [SMPAC].

As part of rotating presentations by the OCA’s departments and offices, Council members heard reports on the work of the Office of Militray Chaplains by the Dean, Archpriest Theodore Boback, and Assistant Dean, Archpriest Joseph Gallick and the Department of Liturgical Music and Translations by Prof. Dr. David Drillock. Council members lauded these bodies for their incredible and sacrificial work that continues to make a huge impact in and beyond the OCA.

The minutes and reports of the fall session will be posted on the OCA web site as they are received.

A photo gallery can be viewed on the OCA web site and Facebook page.

Metropolitan Council begins fall session

2014-0923-met-councilThe fall session of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America opened at the OCA Chancery here on Monday, September 22, 2014.

The meeting began with a one-day retreat lead by Priest Robert Holet of the Ukranian Church of the USA. Father Robert offered presentations on Christian Stewardship as a preparation for the upcoming 18th All-American Council. His book, The First and the Finest: Orthodox Christian Stewardship as a Sacred Offering, formed the backdrop to the retreat.

The Council agenda includes the address on the state and vision of the Church His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon; a review of the work of ORSMA and the work of the Chancellor by Archpriest John Jillions; a review of the latest plans for the 18th All-American Council by Archpriest Eric Tosi, OCA Secretary; and a presentation of the 2015 budget by Melanie Ringa, OCA Treasurer. Reports from various committees, including legal and financial, also will be reviewed.

As part of the rotating departmental reports, Archpriest Theodore Boback will offer a presentation on the work of the military chaplains, while Prof. David Drillock will review the work of the Department of Liturgical Music and Translations. Other reports include a review of the work of the Statute Revision Commission by Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Commission Secretary.

Council members will also review and approve requests for 2015 Church Planting Grants.

The meeting will conclude on Thursday, September 25.

The Metropolitan Council, as defined in Article 5 of the Statute of Orthodox Church in America, “is the permanent executive body of the Church Administration which exists for the purpose of implementing the decisions of the All-American Council and continuing its work between sessions.” Chaired by the Metropolitan, the Council’s membership includes the OCA’s Chancellor, Secretary, and Treasurer; one priest and one lay representative from each Diocese, elected by their diocesan assemblies; and three priests and three lay representatives elected at the All-American Council.

Registration opened for 18th AAC vendors

18thAACAs announced earlier, space will be available to vendors wishing to display their goods and services at the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, slated to be held at the Hilton Atlanta on July 20-24, 2015.

Vendors will find an introductory letter, prospectus and contract, and related information on the AAC web site at http://18aac.oca.org/related-information.

According to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, each vendor may contract for use of an 8′ x 10′ booth with table and chairs. For vendors requiring more space, additional booths may be contracted on a first come, first served basis. Additional resources, special items, and shipping information may be handled through the contracted exhibit company, Freeman, at www.Freemanco.com.

Space is limited, so early registration is highly encouraged. Deadline for vendor registration is May 15, 2015.

For questions and/or additional information, please contact Jeff Condra, 18th AAC Exhibit Chair, at jcondra.aac@gmail.com.