Online registration is now open for the Parish Development Forum, slated to be held at Saint John the Baptist Church in the Pittsburgh suburb of Canonsburg, PA from 3:00 p.m. on July 11 through noon on Saturday July 13, 2019.
Co-sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America’s Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania, the Diocese of the Midwest and the Bulgarian Diocese, this year’s theme will be “Strengthening Our Commitment to the Community: Growing and Sharing Our Faith; Welcoming Others”.
“The Forum will focus on encouraging parishes to move beyond the status quo and adopt a mindset of thriving – not merely surviving,” said Joseph Kormos, Forum Co-Chair and Parish Development Ministry leader for Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. “Emphasis will be on the attitudes and practices that enable Orthodox parishes to grow, both spiritually and numerically, in our increasingly hostile post Christian religious environment.
“Recently known as the Small Parish Forum, we realized that the conference content was clearly relevant to a range of parish situations—small and large, growing and declining. As a result the event name has been reshaped to ‘Parish Development Forum’ to better describe the Forum’s goal of delivering actionable ideas and good practices valuable to clergy and lay leaders,” noted Kormos.
Keynote speaker, Archpriest Maximus Urbanowicz, Rector of Saint James Church, Port St. Lucie, FL, will set the tone for the Forum’s workshops and discussions by motivating attendees to undertake parish efforts designed to share the light of Christ with the world.
The Forum will also include contributions from Priest Paul Abernathy, Saint Moses the Black Antiochian Orthodox Church, Pittsburgh, PA; Ms. Stacey Gleeson, Mother of God Church [OCA], Princeton, NJ; Protonica Michelle Jannakos, Principal, Saint Sava Academy, Chicago, IL; and others.
“This year’s content is not a repeat of past Forums,” said Archpriest Stephen Frase, Forum Co-Chair. “Our theme will allow us to explore many new topics associated with Outreach, Education and Evangelization.”
Specific themes will include Tips for Welcoming Others; Why Do Persons Choose to Become Orthodox?; How Do Others View Us?; Committing to Your Neighborhood through Outreach; Using Social Media to Communicate Your Parish; Principles of Orthodox Evangelization and Parish Education Resources.
Registration will be limited to 60 persons, and early registration is recommended. Access to the local block of hotel rooms is accessible from the online registration page. A $100.00 per person registration fee will include meals, breaks, a hospitality reception and Forum materials. Attendees from the OCA’s Bulgarian Diocese, the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania and the Diocese of the Midwest are eligible for full tuition rebates and grants to assist with travel costs. Many other OCA Dioceses offer scholarships to parishes wishing to send participants.