At a meeting described by one participant as “unprecedented and very frank,” the chancellors and treasurers of eight of the Orthodox Church in America’s dioceses met with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah; Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor; Archpriest Eric Tosi, Secretary; Mrs. Melanie Ringa, Treasurer; and Priest Gleb McFatter, chair of the Metropolitan Council Finance Committee, at the Chancery here January 17-18, 2012.
“The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and move forward on the resolution on assessments passed at the 16th All-American Council in November 2011,” said Father Eric.
After initial remarks by and encouragement from Metropolitan Jonah, Fathers John and Eric and Mrs. Ringa presented critical concerns, including budgetary matters, restructuring, and accountability, and opened discussion on steps that need to be taken in light of the Council’s resolutions.
Offering the chancellors and treasurers an overview of the work of the Church’s ministries, the OCA’s department chairs, who had met on Monday, January 16, outlined current and future projects and discussed methods of interaction and cooperation between their respective departments and their counterparts on the diocesan level.
“Each diocesan representative was then given an opportunity to present an overview of his or her diocese’s current ministries, financial status, and concerns,” Father Eric said. “They also shared the challenges they face and major issues in parishes.
“In the process of reviewing a number of possible methods for securing an appropriate level of funding for the Church, it was clear that, while maintaining the work of the Central Church administration is critical, equally critical is the need to lighten the financial burdens being faced on the diocesan and parish levels,” Father Eric continued. “A frank discussion was held on per capita assessment methods and the move toward proportional giving on the parish and diocesan levels.
“It was clearly noted that the process will require creativity, especially in light of each diocese’s unique circumstances and history,” Father Eric added. “While it is obvious that some dioceses will take longer than others in embracing proportional giving, the chancellors and treasurers are committed to reforming the assessment methodology over the next triennium and will continue their work together.”
A statement issued at the end of the two-day meeting offers full support for the Central Administration, the Chancery staff, and the departments and deep appreciation for their work and dedication despite limited resources. It also notes that “the current system of revenue is dysfunctional and will not support the OCA in the future.” The statement includes immediate actions that will be taken in the ongoing effort to promote proportional giving as an alternative to the current system.
The complete text of the statement with the signatures of the diocesan chancellors and treasurers present may be found here.