At the beginning of the week of June 24, 2007, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, announced that a special meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops would be convened at the Chancery here on Tuesday, July 31, 2007.
In related news, Metropolitan Herman and the Very Rev. Myron D. Manzuk, All-American Council manager, met with representatives of Conference Direct, a hospitality resource company that assists organizations with the increasingly complex and costly details involved in planning and executing large events, on Tuesday, June 26, 2007. Preliminary plans for the 15th All-American Council, slated to be convened in 2008, were discussed.
Representing Conference Direct at the meeting were Andy Anastasi, regional vice president, and Roxane Kramer, national account manager. Also in attendance were the Very Rev. Paul Kucynda, OCA acting treasurer; the Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs, OCA chancellor; the Rev. Jonathan Ivanoff, OCA systems information manager; and the Very Rev. Andrew Jarmus, who recently was appointed to fill the newly created position of OCA director of ministries and communications.
“Conference Direct, which offered its expertise in finding the sites for the 13th and 14th All-American Councils, will be charged with finding the appropriate venue for the 15th Council, reserve space, and assist in negotiating the initial hotel contract free of charge,” Father Myron reported. “Conference Direct receives a commission from the hotels and service partners with which the Church contracts, at no cost to the OCA.”
It was decided that the Council will begin on a Sunday either during August, over Labor Day, or during the fall, and conclude the following Wednesday.
“Hotels generally offer lower rates for Sunday night and the beginning of the week,” Father Myron added. “Rates are also considerably lower before the peak of the fall convention season, which runs from September through November in some cities.”
It was also decided that the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America, which generally holds its national convention over Labor Day, will be contacted well in advance to avoid any potential date conflicts.
“While some within the Church have expessed the desire to hold the All-American Council at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary and Monastery in South Canaan, PA, it is clear that it does not have sufficient facilities to host a gathering of 550-600, and housing options within a reasonable distance are severely limited,” Father Myron continued. “Hence, it was decided to research ‘second tier cities’ including, but not limited to, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwuakee, Louisville, and Hartford.”
The estimated number of attendees is substantially lower than at previous councils, due to the elimination of programs for youth and observers. The number of displays and vendors also will be considerably reduced. The program format for the Council will be modeled after that used at the Third All-American Council held in Pittsburgh in 1973, with necessary adjustments.
Before the end of the meeting, Metropolitan Herman signed the letter of agreement with Conference Direct. He also requested that Conference Direct provide its findings with regard to location and costs to Father Myron before July 28, so that they may be presented for consideration to members of the Holy Synod of Bishops at their July 31 meeting.