Members of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America unanimously recommended the agenda for the 19th All-American Council [AAC] and passed the 2018 budget before concluding their Fall Session on Friday, September 22, 2017. The agenda and budget will be presented to the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops at their upcoming session November 13-17.
The gathering, which opened at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, NY on September 19, was chaired by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon. Also in attendance were His Eminence, Archbishop Michael and His Grace, Bishop Paul of the Standing Synod of Bishops. His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin was not present due to illness.
Sessions opened with a one-day retreat, during which Archivist Alexis Liberovsky reflected on the history of the OCA within the context of the 50th Anniversary of the granting of autocephaly, slated to be celebrated in 2020. Also addressing the Council were the members of the original delegation who traveled to Moscow in 1970 to receive the Tomos of Autocephaly — Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak, Archpriest John Nehrebecki and Dr. Constantine Kalluar — who shared their experiences and insights. Metropolitan Council members spent the remainder of the retreat discussing possible activities and celebrations marking the anniversary, as well as the 50th Anniversary of the glorification of Saint Herman of Alaska, also to be observed in 2020.
In his opening remarks, Metropolitan Tikhon further developed his vision of the Church for the future, including specific issues to be addressed by the Metropolitan Council. Specifically, he presented a draft document on his “Four Pillars” for Council members to review. Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor, reviewed the work of the Department of Pastoral Life, as presented by Priest Nathan Preston, Department Administrator. Father John was joined via video conference by Cindy Heise and Bernard Wilson in reporting on the work of the Office of Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations [ORSMA] and the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee [SMPAC]. Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, Secretary, offered an update on the Archives Renovation Project, reviewed ongoing work on the upgrading of the OCA web site, and reported on a number of issues involving the Chancery building and grounds. He also reviewed the work of the Preconciliar Commission and Local Committee planning the 19th All-American Council. Protopresbyter Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs, reported on a number of recent developments in world Orthodoxy. Melanie Ringa, Treasurer, and the Finance Committee reviewed the current budget and presented the draft of the 2018 budget, which passed unanimously. She noted that five Church Planting Grants were included in the 2018 budget. Council members also heard the positive reports of the Internal and External Auditors, which will be released in the near future. [See related story.] The Legal Committee reported on current legal and related issues.
Updating Council members on the work of the Department of Evangelization was Priest John Parker, while Archpriest Ian Pac-Urar, who was unable to attend, offered a written report highlighting ongoing efforts on the part of the Department of Continuing Education. Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak reported on the work of the Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America [SOCA] and projected upcoming appeals.
Metropolitan Council committee reports also were offered. The Human Resource Committee reported that new job descriptions for the Chancery staff had been drafted, while work on a revised employee handbook continues. In response to a recommendation by the Charity Committee, the Metropolitan Council approved funds to assist the Diocese of Mexico in recovery efforts in the wake of the September 19 earthquake.
Complete minutes and reports will be posted as they become available.