The final plenary session of the 13th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America opened with a presentation by the 400 youth and young adults who participated in the Council as observers on Friday, July 26, 2002.
The Rev. Michael Anderson, Director of the OCA’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, introduced representatives of the various age groups involved in the Council’s youth program, each of whom offered a presentation related to the Council theme while sharing their impressions of the week. At the conclusion of the presentations, Father Anderson presented His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, with a calendar of pictures of the youth during the Council as a reminder that they are ready and willing to serve the Church, now and in the years to come.
Metropolitan Herman expressed his deep gratitude to the youth for attending the week-long gathering and challenged them to remain faithful to the Church in the years to come. “It will be you,” he said, “who will guide the life of the Church well into the 21st century.”
The Council youth program was the largest in the history of the All-American Councils. Staffed by volunteers from parishes across North America, the program involved religious instruction, discussions, and numerous fellowship activities and outings for each age level. The youth also undertook a service project by which hundreds of t-shirts will be sent to needy children at the Hogar Rafael Orthodox Orphanage in Guatemala and to Project Mexico.
In other matters, Prof. John Erickson, Dean of Saint Vladimir Seminary, Crestwood, NY, presented the report of the Resolutions Committee. He noted that a number of resolutions were being forwarded to the Holy Synod of Bishops for consideration at their special session scheduled for September 8-9, 2002. The proposed resolutions deal with such diverse topics as Orthodox unity in America, the situation in the Middle East, existing policies dealing with sexual abuse, current developments in biomedical technology, and the mentoring of newly ordained priests.
Metropolitan Herman announced that the next All-American Council will be convened in 2005, at a date and place to be decided by the Holy Synod of Bishops.
Prior to adjournment, council delegates adopted a resolution of recognition and thanks, which reads as follows:
• Whereas the work of the 13th All-American Council, convened on July 22-26, 2002 in the city of Orlando, Florida, was most excellently facilitated by the efforts of Archbishop Dmitri and the local committee, so that all participants were assured of all essential services and movement necessary to their deliberations, be it resolved that the hierarchs, clergy and laity—all delegates, observers, and guests of the 13th All-American Council—express their love and gratitude to the members of the local committee, to Stephen Gidus, Chairman, to Bart Gursky, Treasurer, and to Helen Stephenson, Secretary.”
A Service of Thanksgiving and the installation of those who had been elected to Church-wide posts brought the 13th All-American Council to a close.