Members and guests of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA], an official organization of the Orthodox Church in America, gathered for their 86th national convention at the Kingston Plantation Resort here under the leadership of Dr. John Schultz, president, August 30–September 3, 2012.
Over 200 individuals of all ages participated in the meetings, liturgical events, golf outings and social activities, including a “turtle” race and beach olympics.
Representing the OCA were His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey, administrator of the OCA; Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary; and Andrew Boyd, recently appointed OCA youth director, all of whom participated in an informative and lively forum discussion on Saturday. Favorable comment was made on the August 2012 “Chancellor’s Diary” on the OCA website, written by OCA Chancellor Archpriest John Jillions, a portion of which was devoted to the FOCA and the convention.
Bishop Michael presided at the Sunday Divine Liturgy, assisted by six priests, including National Spiritual Advisor Archpriest William Evansky (who is stepping down after seven years) and several subdeacons and altar servers. Basil Kozak directed the 30-voice choir. Bishop Michael commented that the lesson of the day’s Epistle reading “is that the Church is about the people and not the building. We worry too much about the property and the utility bill, but we should worry more about souls. Christ died for people and not buildings. Throughout its history the Church has existed without buildings. You in the FOCA have been concerned about people, especially youth, since your founding in 1927. I urge you to continue to do the good work of the Church and the FOCA by having Christ and His Love enthroned in your hearts, and invite others to join your wonderful organization.”
In convention action, the assembly
- resolved to partner more closely with the OCA Chancery, particularly in the area of youth ministry, and to support Mr. Boyd’s position financially;
- decided to explore the possibility of holding the 2014 convention in conjunction with the OCA All-American Council and sponsoring the youth and young adult programs;
- donated an additional $10,000.00 to the Saint Tikhon Seminary married student housing project, bringing the total amount to over $100,000.00, with an overall goal of $300,000; and
- contributed $10,000.00 and loaned up to $40,000.00 for improvements at Saint Vladimir Camp in Ohio, owned by the Ohio District FOCA, the site of summer camps and the national junior summer sports tournament.
Newly-elected to the executive board are president Rebecca Tesar of Cleveland, OH; vice-president Marge Kovach of Bayonne, NJ; recording secretary Allison Steffaro of South River, NJ; treasurer Michael Bowan of Chicago; and immediate past president Dr. Schultz of Weirton, WV.
The 2013 convention will be held in suburban Cleveland June 27-July 1 and will be sponsored by the Cleveland “R” Club.
For more information on the FOCA and how to become a member, visit http://orthodoxfellowship.org/.