SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications]—His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, chaired the fall session of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America at the chancery here November 11, 2004.
In his opening address to council members, Metropolitan Herman reported on a variety of issues affecting the life of the Church. He emphasized his intention to continue his visits to the sister autocephalous Orthodox Churches, noting the importance of maintaining and strengthening contacts throughout the world. At the same time, he emphasized how his participation in recent assemblies of several OCA dioceses serves to emphasize the unity of the Church in North America.
With regard to finances, Metropolitan Herman spoke of the need to increase voluntary giving, especially through the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards [FOS], to ensure sufficient funds to maintain and expand the work of the OCA’s nearly two dozen departments, boards, and commissions.
Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, briefed council members on the work of the departments, provisions made by the Loyal Christian Benefit Association to provide life insurance policies to all OCA seminarians and their families at no cost, and reviewed the document, “Duties and Responsibilities of Metropolitan Council Members on the Diocesan Level,” designed to assist diocesan representatives to the Metropolitan Council in fulfilling their responsibilities to the Central Church Administration of the Orthodox Church in America as well as their respective dioceses.
In reporting on current financial matters, the Very Rev. Dimitri Oselinsky, OCA treasurer, echoed Metropolitan Herman’s observations concerning the need for increased voluntary giving. With the Very Rev. Stavros Strikis, OCA comptroller, he presented the 2005 budget and fielded a number of questions concerning savings realized through teleconferencing, financing the highly successful seminarian summer internship program, and costs for maintaining and expanding the OCA web site. The need to increase the number of parishes actively supporting FOS was also emphasized. The proposed 2005 budget was approved as presented.
Dr. Alice Woog of the project team preparing for the 14th All-American Council, slated to convene at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, ON, July 17-22, 2005, reported on preliminary council preparations and the enthusiasm expressed by the local planning committee. The Very Rev. Myron Manzuk, council manager, also commented on preliminary plans for the gathering and urged diocesan representatives to the Metropolitan Council to meet with their respective diocesan bishops to ensure appropriate diocesan exhibits.
The Very Rev. Jonathan Ivanoff of the Department of Evangelization offered a detailed presentation on Church growth and health in the ongoing effort to strengthen parish life and reverse declining membership in older parishes.
Metropolitan Council members also heard reports on the OCA insurance and pension plans and were reminded that dioceses and parishes are expected to adopt and strictly adhere to the “Policies, Standards, and Procedures of the Orthodox Church in America on Sexual Misconduct” adopted by the Holy Synod of Bishops in April 2003.
The Metropolitan Council is composed of clergy and lay members elected at the All-American Council and representatives elected by the Church’s dioceses. It meets in the fall and spring of each year to implement the decisions of the All-American Councils and consider a variety of issues affecting the life of the Church.
In addition to Metropolitan Herman and Fathers Kondratick and Oselinsky, other Metropolitan Council members participating in the meeting included the Very Rev. Paul Kucynda, OCA Secretary; the Very Revs. Vladimir Berzonsky, Sergei Bouteneff, John Onofrey, Philip Reese, Gregory Safchuk, Victor Sokolov, Eugene Vansuch, David Vernak, Michael Westerberg, and Constantine White; the Rev. Lawrence Margitich; Priestmonk Isidore [Britain]; and Mr. Robert Kornafeld, Mr. George Ludko, Mr. Gary Popovich, Dr. Richard Schneider, Dr. Richard West, Mr. Coy Williamson, and Dr. Alice Woog.