SCOBA Hierarchs review plans to open DC Office

Hierarchs representing Orthodox jurisdictions belonging to the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA] reviewed a detailed proposal for the establishment of a full-time SCOBA office in Washington, DC during their meeting at the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA here December 17, 2002.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey, were among the hierarchs participating in the meeting. Also attending was Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor and V. Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, Assistant to the Chancellor for Interchurch Relations and Ecumenical Witness. His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America chaired the meeting.

The proposal notes that “it is important that the Orthodox Church have a formal representative who actively works in the public policy arena of Washington, DC” to address, among other concerns, “issues concerning the poor and helpless in this country, protection of religious freedom and human rights, internationally and nationally.” Funding for the proposed SCOBA office would be provided by the various member jurisdictions and possible foundation grants.

Further study will be given to the proposal prior to its implementation.

In other matters, the hierarchs reviewed the proposed agenda for the forthcoming conference of Orthodox hierarchs, slated to be held May 7-9, 2003. In addition to workshops on clergy and pastoral leadership, the family, youth, communications, philanthropy, and mission and evangelism, the conference will include an informal discussion on the topic of clergy sexual abuse.