Strategic Planning Committee begins discussions at diocesan assemblies

The Orthodox Church in America’s Strategic Planning Committee [SPC] continues to solicit comments and input on the Working Draft of the Strategic Plan, posted in PDF format on the OCA web site at

The SPC, which includes clergy and lay members representing a broad geographic spectrum, was commissioned by the Metropolitan Council and the Holy Synod of Bishops to develop a draft Strategic Plan for the OCA. According to the introduction to the Working Draft, “the goal is to provide an initial version of the plan in time for discussion and perhaps adoption at the 16th All-American Council in the fall of 2011.” As such, the draft is designed to elicit feedback from all segments of the Church. Based on the feedback received, the plan will be revised.

Diocesan Assembly presentations. The SPC has initiated a series of interactive planning discussions at the Diocesan Assemblies. According to Priest John Vitko, committee member, “the presentations typically involve two to three hour sessions, with 20-30 minutes devoted to providing an overview of the planning process and plan. The rest of the time is devoted to listening to feedback and ideas from delegates with regard to potential pilot projects related to the plan’s goals.”

To date, sessions have been conducted at the annual Assemblies of the Diocese of the South and the Archdiocese of Canada.

“His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah and Archpriest Joseph Fester, diocesan Chancellor, facilitated the discussions at the Diocese of the South’s Assembly, while Archpriest Michael Oleksa and David Grier led the discussions at the Canadian Archdiocese’s Assembly,” Father John said. “The sessions went well, with lots of good and frank input for continuing to evolve the draft. Delegates at both assemblies were asked to solicit feedback and reactions from members of their home parishes.”

With the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Michael, the Diocese of New York and New Jersey will hold three deanery-based open forums at which clergy and laity alike will be afforded the opportunity to discuss the plan with SPC representatives.

Internet feedback. The SPC also is gathering feedback on-line via the OCA web site. Comments and suggestions may be submitted to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The draft also has been posted on a number of other Orthodox web sites and blogs.

Reaching out to the other institutions of the Church. The SPC will meet with the chairpersons of the OCA’s departments and ministries at the Chancery on August 17, 2010, to better understand their vision and to gather their reactions into the plan.

“We are also considering meeting with the seminaries and several monasteries to hold similar interactive discussions,” added Father John.

The Orthodox Church news magazine. Recognizing that a segment of the Church will not be reached by any of the above, the SPC is preparing a special “reader friendly” feature on the draft that will appear in an upcoming printed issue of The Orthodox Church.

“The intent of these efforts is to gain input from as broad a representation of the Orthodox Church in America as possible,” said Father John. “All input will receive serious consideration and be grouped around common themes which, as appropriate, will be used to revise the Working Draft of the Strategic Plan. A new revised plan, incorporating input from throughout the Church, will be available well in advance of the 16th All-American Council, at which time it will be considered.”


  • READ the Working Draft of the Strategic Plan at
  • SUBMIT your reactions, comments, and suggestions by e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).