The Statute Revision Task Force completed the initial phase of its work during a meeting at the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Church here January 13-16, 2015.
Appointed by the Holy Synod of Bishops in 2013, the Task Force drafted a revised version of the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America. The original Statute was adopted at the Second All-American Council in 1971. A major guiding principle of the Task Force’s work has been ensuring that the revision reflects current realities of the OCA’s life and structure, which have changed significantly over the past four decades.
Under the guidance of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, Chairman, Task Force members considered several revised articles drafted prior to the meeting. As new provisions were considered, they carefully checked them against previously drafted sections of the Statute to ensure that no contradictions will appear in the revision while maintaining uniformity and integrity, as many provisions in different sections of the Statute are interdependent.
Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Task Force Secretary, reported on recent presentations on the revision process offered in several dioceses. The presentations stressed the complexities of the revision process and cautioned that the process might not meet the deadline for adoption of the revised Statute at the 18th All-American Council [AAC] in July 2015.
“I am pleased to see that the members of the Task Force, working exceptionally hard at a difficult task, have completed a draft ready for consideration by the Church,” Father Alexander stated.
Over the next few weeks, the revised text will be reviewed by copy editors and legislative proofreaders. The Task Force will then seek the Holy Synod’s blessing to disseminate the proposed text of the revised Statute to encourage discussion and solicit comments and suggestions for further revision from clergy and faithful alike.
According to amendment provisions in Article XIII of the current Statute—suggested revisions and comments will be accepted up to 90 days prior to the opening of the AAC. The final text will be posted 60 days before the Council and subsequently presented for adoption to AAC delegates. Hence, the revised text is expected to be posted on the OCA web site sometime in February. A dedicated e-mail address will be created to enable clergy and faithful to submit comments and suggestions before April 21, 2015. During this period, Task Force members will be available, on request, to answer questions or facilitate discussion at diocesan, deanery, parish or other gatherings.
After all comments and suggestions have been received, the Task Force will meet in late April to consider all submitted feedback. The text of the revised Statute will then be finalized, incorporating suggested revisions and comments as appropriate. By May 21, 2015, the final proposed text will be posted on the OCA web site and disseminated throughout the Church, after which the text will not be subject to further revision until it is presented for adoption at the AAC.
In addition to Archbishop Nathaniel and Father Rentel, other Task Force members include Archimandrite [now Bishop] Daniel [Brum], Archpriests Dimitri Cozby and John Erickson, Priest Ioan Cozma. Judge E.R. Lanier, and Alexis Liberovsky. Task Force members expressed profound gratitude to Priest Thomas Frisby, and his parishioners for hosting the meeting.
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