Archive | June, 2015

July 10 marks deadline for AAC registrations

18thAACParticipants in the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, slated to convene July 20-24, 2015 in Atlanta, GA, are reminded that the registration deadline Is Friday, July 10.

“Registration must be completed by that date to ensure a place at the Council,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “Registrations that arrive after that date will require special approval by the Preconciliar Commission and the registrants’ diocesan bishops.”

The on-line registration procedure may be completed here.

In related news, the Atlanta Convention Bureau has created two special web sites through which AAC participants will find special discounts at Atlanta-area attractions and venues.

The “City Pass,” valid for discounts at the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola, CNN Tours, Zoo Atlanta, the Civil Rights Museum, and a host of other venues, is available here.

The “Savings in the City Card,” customized for AAC participants and good for discounts at numerous attractions, restaurants and stores in the Atlanta area, also is available here.

Pension Board holds quarterly meeting, announces AAC events

Members of the Orthodox Church in America’s Pension Board held their quarterly meeting at the Chancery here on Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

The Board finalized plans for the upcoming 18th All-American Council. The Board will host an Open House from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 20, 2015 . The informal session is open to all clergy, Church workers, members, nonmembers, and spouses to visit at any time during the session with questions or to learn more about the Plan. The Board will present a formal report to the entire Council during Plenary Session III on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

The independent auditors of the Plan, Saslow, Lufkin and Buggy, presented an unqualified audit report for the year ending December 31, 2014. Interested parties may contact Maureen Ahearn, Plan Administrator, at maureen@oca.org to receive a copy of the report in PDF format.

Finally, Board Chairman John Sedor was honored and appreciated for 20 years of dedicated service to the Pension Plan. Mr. Sedor’s term as a Board Member will expire at the upcoming All-American Council. To ensure a smooth transition, Priest Gleb McFatter was elected Interim Chairman.

The Orthodox Church in America Pension Plan serves over 325 active participants and more than 125 retirees, widows, and beneficiaries. The Plan is the only approved retirement vehicle for OCA parishes and clergy. Participation is expected of all clergy and is available for all full-time Church workers. Information and resources concerning the Plan are available here.

Pension Board Trustees include His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon; Archpriests Matthew Tate and John Zdinak; Priest Gleb McFatter; and Messrs. Theodore Bazil, Barry Gluntz, and John Sedor.

AAC reports now available; hotel deadline June 26

18thAACIn accordance with the current Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, Article II, Section 5e, reports in preparation for the 18th All-American Council are now available on-line.

The reports, which are now available include

Printed copies of the reports will not be available at the AAC, slated to convene in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015. Delegates may print out copies of the reports and place them in the three-ring binders they will receive at registration or bring them in electronic form to AAC sessions. Similarly, delegates are asked to print out copies of the Delegate Handbook, which also may be placed in the binder. Upon registration, delegates also will receive tote bags and delegate badges, which must be worn in order to gain entry into AAC plenary sessions.

The credentials and final registration process is being completed by the AAC staff. Please note that AAC registration will close on Friday, July 10. Registrations received after this date will have to be secured through special permission from the diocesan bishop.

In related news, the Atlanta Hilton is sold out, while the overflow hotel, the Hyatt Regency, is rapidly selling out. Delegates and participants are urged to make hotel reservations by June 26, 2015. The Hyatt Regency’s special AAC rate—$124.00 per standard guestroom, per night, plus applicable taxes and fees—is available from July 17 through 24. Reservations may be made on-line or by phone at 1-888-421-1442. Request the “Orthodox Church in America” Group Rate.

A Layperson’s View: “Remembering… with Thankfulness”

by Mary Ann Bulko

“This is My Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” [Luke 22:19].

Ah yes, remembrance – in the biblical sense it means a “reliving” — not simply recalling — of a particular event. When we are receiving the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ is actually present with us – it is not a mere recollection of Him and His words. A memory, however, is a wonderful gift that God has given us. True, there are occasions or events that we might prefer to forget – a traumatic or disastrous situation such as war or some calamity, for example. Yet even in these circumstances, there is a possibility or potential for healing, be it physical or emotional; and with God’s help and mediation, spiritual healing can occur.

In anticipation of this year’s 18th All-American Council, I pondered the archival summaries of councils and sobors from decades ago, so conveniently available through technology. For me, it became a walk down memory lane. In the late 1970s, the subject of “women delegates” to the AAC was a matter of much debate. At the Fifth AAC in 1977, “observers” were permitted to take part, including women. It wasn’t until November 1980 that the issue was finally resolved with the passage of a Statute amendment allowing women to represent their respective parishes as AAC “delegates.” Later in the 1980s, I was called upon to actually address the AAC on a serious issue concerning clergy widows. It was a matter that deserved particular attention before the entire Church body.

On another matter which I discovered in a personal archive, I found this simple yet delightful excerpt from a letter written in December 1974. “I have begun publishing ___’s articles. I believe she’s one of your ‘finds.’ Can you get her to produce a photograph of herself so that I might give her the same ‘visual’ coverage that I give all our male columnists?” That request was made by Father John Meyendorff, then Editor of The Orthodox Church newspaper, to a young priest named Father Thomas Hopko. Father John was referring to a 28-year-old “writer” who was a fairly new member of Father Thomas’ parish of Saint Gregory the Theologian in Wappingers Falls, NY.

In a truly insightful article published in TOC in 1999 titled “Finding One’s Calling in Life,” Father Thomas makes several key points. “Everyone is called to serve God and his fellow human beings in some form of life which God wills. This ‘form of life’ is not necessarily a job or profession.” He continues by citing those with disease or affliction or being an object of another’s care or disdain. “This is their vocation, and they are particularly blessed by God and loved by Christ in its acceptance and fulfillment.” He goes on saying we are called to love, know, serve and live as God does. Each person has his or her own life to sanctify and will answer for what he or she has done. And each must discover one’s own way, and thereby glorify God. All one needs to discover God’s will is “the pure desire to see, to hear, to understand and to obey. God does the rest.”

“We also need His help as it comes to us through others,” Father Thomas continued. It is here that I share my personal remembrance of him, as he was instrumental in showing me that by being “faithful in the little things of life,” one inherits much more. “Accepting who we are, where we are, how we are… struggling to sanctify our state of existence by the grace of God” is what he prescribes for all.

On the 20th anniversary of Father John’s repose in 2012, Father Leonid Kishkovsky, TOC Editor, wrote, “He knew that an educated and informed clergy and laity were necessary for a healthy Church.” Father John valued the possibilities of an experience in American Orthodoxy, having come to the United States from France. In truly appreciating the universality of the Orthodox Church, he without hesitation agreed to accept a woman’s view or perspective on Church and contemporary matters. It was because of both Fathers John and Thomas that I was given a blessed opportunity to express my love for the Church with observations on life in commentaries through a column titled “A Layperson’s View” for 30-plus years.

I’ll always remember with gratitude and humility their example as mentors and conduits to help others discover a way to serve in the name of Christ. May their memories be eternal!

AAC hotel fully booked, additional venue now available

2015-0605-hyattDue to the unexpected number of registrants for the Orthodox Church in America’s 18th All-American Council here July 20-24, 2015, the Hilton Atlanta Hotel is fully booked and an additional hotel — the Hyatt Regency — is now accepting reservations for council participants, according to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary.

“While a June 26 deadline for room reservations at the Hilton had been announced, the entire block of reserved rooms had already been booked by June 4,” Father Eric said. “Initially, the number of rooms booked was based on attendance at two previous councils in 2011 and 2008. We did not anticipate the surprising, sharp increase in the number of faithful planning to attend this year’s AAC.”

The Hyatt Regency, located at 265 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, is conveniently connected to the Hilton via Skybridge through Peachtree Center Mall.

The Hyatt Regency’s special council rate—$124.00 per standard guestroom, per night, plus applicable taxes and fees—is available from July 17 through 24. Deadline for registration is June 26, 2015.

“Those who have yet to book rooms for the council must make their reservations by June 26 to receive the quoted special rates,” Father Eric added. “All requests received after this date will be subject to availability.”

Reservations may be made on-line or by phone at 1-888-421-1442. Request the “Orthodox Church in America” Group Rate.

In related news, the deadline for submitting ads and greetings for the commemorative book to be published in conjunction with the AAC and the 89th annual Convention of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America is June 15. Detailed information and ad forms may be accessed here.