The second annual meeting of the chancellors and treasurers of 10 of the Orthodox Church in America’s dioceses was held at the Chancery here on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.
The chancellors and treasurers met with Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Eric Tosi, Secretary; Mrs. Melanie Ringa, Treasurer; and Priest Gleb McFatter, who chairs the Metropolitan Council Finance Committee. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, was unable to attend due to a prior commitment in Chicago; however, he sent a written message which was read to the group by Father Jillions. [The text of Metropolitan Tikhon’s message may be read here.]
The meeting was held for the purpose of continuing the work initiated in January 2012 in response to the resolution on assessments passed at the 16th All-American Council held in November 2011. New to the group this year were representatives from the Archdiocese of Canada, the Diocese of Alaska, and the Bulgarian Diocese. Invited representatives from the Albanian Archdiocese and Romanian Episcopate were unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.
After initial remarks by Father Jillions, each representative offered an update on activities in his or her respective diocese while highlighting any concerns, challenges and major issues. The meeting then focused more directly on the progress made by each diocese during the past year to collect parish financial data on which to base a formula for the transition to a proportional giving or “tithing” methodology.
“In addition, several of the dioceses have held conferences and seminars on stewardship and tithing; some have set dates by which to complete the transition to tithing, with these dates ranging from imminent to several years out,” said Ms. Ringa. “It became apparent that, while all dioceses share a desire to accomplish this goal, the challenges faced by the more ‘mature’ dioceses, such as Eastern Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, and New England, are vastly different than those encountered by dioceses such as the South and West.”
The discussion on this transition was “lively, with many potential formulas offered,” Ms. Ringa added. “The primary challenge centers on developing a formula that will accommodate each diocese’s distinct circumstances.”
The treasurers of the aforementioned dioceses expressed enthusiasm for working together and with Ms. Ringa via conference calls over the next year to exchange ideas and work towards a more concrete plan for the transition to proportional giving in their dioceses.
Those participating in the meeting further expressed their support for continuing and funding the work of the Central Church Administration, which has pledged to assist the dioceses in their respective ministries.