Statute Revision Task Force completes first stage of work

2015-0130-statute-rev-meeting1The Statute Revision Task Force completed the initial phase of its work during a meeting at the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Church here January 13-16, 2015.

Appointed by the Holy Synod of Bishops in 2013, the Task Force drafted a revised version of the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America. The original Statute was adopted at the Second All-American Council in 1971. A major guiding principle of the Task Force’s work has been ensuring that the revision reflects current realities of the OCA’s life and structure, which have changed significantly over the past four decades.

Under the guidance of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, Chairman, Task Force members considered several revised articles drafted prior to the meeting. As new provisions were considered, they carefully checked them against previously drafted sections of the Statute to ensure that no contradictions will appear in the revision while maintaining uniformity and integrity, as many provisions in different sections of the Statute are interdependent.

Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Task Force Secretary, reported on recent presentations on the revision process offered in several dioceses. The presentations stressed the complexities of the revision process and cautioned that the process might not meet the deadline for adoption of the revised Statute at the 18th All-American Council [AAC] in July 2015.

“I am pleased to see that the members of the Task Force, working exceptionally hard at a difficult task, have completed a draft ready for consideration by the Church,” Father Alexander stated.

2015-0130-statute-rev-meeting2Over the next few weeks, the revised text will be reviewed by copy editors and legislative proofreaders. The Task Force will then seek the Holy Synod’s blessing to disseminate the proposed text of the revised Statute to encourage discussion and solicit comments and suggestions for further revision from clergy and faithful alike.

According to amendment provisions in Article XIII of the current Statute — suggested revisions and comments will be accepted up to 90 days prior to the opening of the AAC. The final text will be posted 60 days before the Council and subsequently presented for adoption to AAC delegates. Hence, the revised text is expected to be posted on the OCA web site sometime in February. A dedicated e-mail address will be created to enable clergy and faithful to submit comments and suggestions before April 21, 2015. During this period, Task Force members will be available, on request, to answer questions or facilitate discussion at diocesan, deanery, parish or other gatherings.

After all comments and suggestions have been received, the Task Force will meet in late April to consider all submitted feedback. The text of the revised Statute will then be finalized, incorporating suggested revisions and comments as appropriate. By May 21, 2015, the final proposed text will be posted on the OCA web site and disseminated throughout the Church, after which the text will not be subject to further revision until it is presented for adoption at the AAC.

In addition to Archbishop Nathaniel and Father Rentel, other Task Force members include Archimandrite [now Bishop] Daniel [Brum], Archpriests Dimitri Cozby and John Erickson, Priest Ioan Cozma. Judge E.R. Lanier, and Alexis Liberovsky. Task Force members expressed profound gratitude to Priest Thomas Frisby, and his parishioners for hosting the meeting.

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4 Responses to Statute Revision Task Force completes first stage of work

  1. Dn Michael Schlaack February 21, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    To the Statue Task Force;

    I have been told that deacons in the OCA are considered by be members of the laity rather than the clergy. While I have been hearing this statement for many years, I have not found anyone who can show me where in the by-laws of the OCA that this definition has been established.

    Therefore:
    1. Could you please provide the reference for the definition of the status of ordained deacons, if one does exist?
    2. If deacons are defined as non-clergy, could you please put forth an amendment to the by-laws or statute establishing deacons to be considered part of the clergy?

    Thank you for you in advance for your reply and consideration to my proposal.

    With love in Christ,
    Dn. Michael Schlaack

    • Bishop Daniel February 23, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

      Dear Deacon Michael,

      Many thanks for submitting your question concerning the status of deacons in the Orthodox Church in America. Deacons in the Orthodox Church in America are, indeed, considered to be members of the clergy– as in all the Orthodox Churches. The confusion in this regard most likely arises from the fact that in the current Statute deacons may be accredited as delegates to the All American Council only within the category of lay delegates. Some dioceses may also observe this practice in relation to their own diocesan assemblies. The proposed draft of the Statute changes this. Please see the proposed Statute, Article III, Section 2, e.

      I hope you find this helpful. A Blessed Lent to you and those you serve.
      +Bishop Daniel

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Preconciliar Commission reviews AAC agenda, Statute revisions | 18th All-American Council - February 7, 2015

    […] The general and plenary session agendas will be presented to the Metropolitan Council and the Holy Synod of Bishops for approval in the coming weeks. High priority was given reviewing progress made by the Statute Revision Committee and the timeline for posting the final draft text on the OCA and AAC web sites. [See related story.] […]

  2. Metropolian Council concludes spring session | 18th All-American Council - February 13, 2015

    […] “Archpriest Alexander Rentel of the Statute Revision Committee presented an update on the status of the revision and the anticipated time of release,” said Father Eric. “The revisions, currently going through the final editorial stage with a legislative editor, will be presented to the Holy Synod prior to their public release and commentary.” [See related story.] […]

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