Minutes of OCL Board Meeting and 25th Anniversary Meeting October 24-27, 2012

Approved Minutes

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] Wednesday, October 24 at 6:30 pm dinner meeting begins at Savoy Hotel.  Those present included: George Karcazes, Andy Kartalis, His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel, His Grace Bishop Mark, Alice Kopan, Chis Xeros, Peter Marudas, Bill Souvall, Peter J Petkas, George Pontikes, George Matsoukas, Guest was Joel Kalvesmaki, a member of the web oversight committee.

The first item of discussion was about the revised web site.  Alice Kopan started discussion by stating that the purpose of the web site overhaul is to attract youth. Who is our audience?  How will we measure this objective?  A history of the development of the site was presented by Bill Souvall and Andy Kartalis talked about the oversight committee.  It was decided that a new oversight committee should be developed.  The committee would come up with an oversight philosophy; finalize new regulations; set up a functioning web site committee. 

  A Discussion on the function of the Web site followed.  What are we capable of doing?

George Karcazes pointed out that the feature missing in other sites was the ability to interact with the story. The question is how do you keep editorial control? Peter  J. Petkas asked do we want a web site that is educational and communicates information or do we want to be a blog?  The OCL website should be educational and not a platform. If we cannot control the commentary then we should not have it.

Joel Kalvesmaki, a member of the oversight committee stated that the site needs to be the voice for those who have no voice.  If the parish or institutions does not act in transparent and accountable ways then the site needs to be the outlet.  This is consistent with the mission and purpose of OCL.  The present web guidelines attempt to create an independent, web editorial board that is a standing committee of OCL. OCL by laws should reflect the independence of the editorial board.

Peter Marudas offered that OCL needs to stay focused.  What are the priorities of OCL?.  You cannot do many things well.  OCL advocates for the rights of the laity which call for transparency and accountability in administrative and other matters.  OCL promotes unity.  The call for unity is not being projected anywhere.  OCL is pushing unity and has endorsed the Protocols of Chambesy since 2008.  Unity is not filtering down to a parish level.  We need to stay focused on these two items.

Alice Kopan reminded members that OCL is an educational ministry that provides information and this information draws us into being a semi-advocacy organization.  George Karcazes stated that OCL must find the balance between information and advocacy.  George Pontikes suggested that we must have a monitored web site.  Articles and comments are posted by OCL and then invite people to comment.  OCL has the right to decide what is appropriate.  We do not want instant responses.  There should be an orderly system to make comments.  We invite comments and readers know that they will be reviewed.  Guidelines relate to 4 elements: accountability, transparency, unity and lay participation.  

Alice Kopan reminded us to keep aware of who is our audience.  We need to focus on being a grassroots/catalyst educational organization.

Peter Haikalis suggested that board members should not contribute their thoughts without clearance.

Conclusion:  The consensus is the web site has an educational function.  The oversight committee will determine what are appropriate comments based upon OCL principles/values of accountability, transparency, unity, and lay participation.   Andy Kartalis will work to develop the oversight committee.

Further considerations for a Communication Strategy.  This concept was also reviewed.  It should be based on the 4 principles/values  of accountability, transparency, unity and lay participation.  We need to connect to a younger demographic.  What messages do we send to this group?  Accountability is helping our hierarchy to maintain its integrity by insisting that they work together to bring unity to our Church in the US.  How can we do this?  What capacity do we have to do this?  H:ow do we bring in the voices from other jurisdictions? Getting involved in groups is not our capability.  What does the web site reflect?  It must stay focused on our 4 core values/principles  and not contradict them.  We must have the opportunity to edit what is put on the web site and find a balance to allow those who come to the web site to express themselves and not stifle their energy.  Is our site informational? Advocacy- What are the issues within the church? What direction is the church going in?  Do we allow multiple points of view in discourse?

Our web site must reflect the direction OCL is advocating.

Board Meeting Continued Thursday October 25, 2012 at St Nicholas Cathedral Church Hall

Thursday Meeting was held at St Nicholas Cathedral following the Liturgy.  It convened at 1:oopm. Minutes of previous meeting in Columbus Georgia were accepted with a correction in the second paragraph correcting the spelling of Souvall.  Office reports on web site and bookkeeping were reviewed and discussed.  How can we better relate to other Orthodox Christian Fellowships is an ongoing topic.  Names suggested to be included on the Internet Committee were Teva Regule and Deacon David Oancea .  Do the OCL By-Laws need to reflect the work of the Oversight Committee?  George Pontikes will review this matter. 

At 1:45 pm the meeting was recessed and an Endowment Committee Meeting was convened and board members participated.  Peter Haikalis, chairman directed the meeting.  The structure of the committee members was reviewed as well as donations received  during the year.  A discussion followed on reaching out to some major donors who were identified.   Meeting was adjourned at 2:15pm and the meeting of the OCL board continued.  The topic of discussion was how to contact OCF students?  Can we use the web site to reach out to them?  Can we get Teva Regule involved with helping us undertake this project?      

The report of the Nomination Committee prepared by Chairman Jim Demetrion was presented and accepted.

Board Members nominated for 3 year terms were:

  1. Susan Haikalis
  2. Nicholas Karakas
  3. George Pontikes
  4. Robert Poydasheff
  5. William Souvall
  6. Dr Gayle Woloschak

Father Irenaeus Scott Watson of the Western Rite ROCOR was nominated to the Advisory Board.

Peter Haikalis and Nick Pappas were transferred to the Advisory Board.

A prayer was offered in memory of our departed Board Members and Brother in Christ Father Peter Gillquist.  May his Memory Be Eternal!

The resignation from the Advisory Board of Cal Oren was accepted.

President Bill Souvall was thanked for his inspiration and service as President of OCL during the past three years as were the services of Vice President  Andy Kartalis who worked diligently to assist Bill.  The 25th Anniversary Board Meeting was adjourned.

Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of Orthodox Christian Laity was convened at St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral  Washington D.C. on Thursday October 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm.  The order of business was the election of officers for the New Year.

The board members elected the following officers:

President:            Susan Haikalis

Vice Presidents:  Andrew Kartalis, Peter J. Petkas, William Souvall and George Pontikes

Secretary:           George Karcazes

Treasurer:           James Koulogeorge

Co-Treasurer:    George Aravosis

Andy Kartalis reported on the preparations that were made for 25th Anniversary Dinner that would take place at St George Antiochian Church on Friday evening featuring His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Deacon Peter Danilchick liaison to the Assembly of Bishops.   He also expressed thanks to Father Joseph and the staff of the Church who worked diligently to make the dinner affordable and celebratory.

Peter Marudas updated the board on the facilities at George Washington University Mt Vernon Campus where the Annual Meeting Program Our Orthodox Past Our Orthodox Present and Our Orthodox Future will be presented on Saturday.

The board thanked Katherine and Andy for their donations underwriting the Anniversary Dinner and Peter Marudas for hosting the Saturday Morning Program Brunch.

The board members also thanked His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel and Bishop Mark of Baltimore and the clergy of the Cathedral for celebrating the Divine Liturgy on the Occasion of the Anniversary of OCL on Thursday October 25.

George Matsoukas provided information about the Reception at the Library of Congress at the Whittal Pavilion that was scheduled for Friday October 26. Joel Kalvesmaki and the Auxiliary of the Cathedral were thanked for their help in preparing the fellowship brunch following the liturgy.  Joel was also acknowledged for helping arrange the use of the Church Hall for the OCL Meeting.

The Annual Meeting was adjourned at 4:15pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted by George Matsoukas on behalf of George Karcazes, Secretary

Susan Haikalis, President, Reviewed Minutes   

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