Source: Orthodox Christian Laity
Orthodox Christian Laity successfully completed its first in-person annual board meeting and conference, since the beginning of the pandemic, in the Atlanta metropolitan area on October 14-15, 2022. This 35th Annual Conference brought together board members, presenters and participants from New Jersey, Texas, Utah, Illinois, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, California and Georgia.
Thursday, October 13
Board members arrived in Atlanta on Thursday evening, October 13, and enjoyed an evening dinner together prior to the annual program. With the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, an OCL Advisory Board Member, the Sts. Constantine & Helen Romanian Orthodox Church in Lilburn, Georgia, hosted the event under the leadership and organization of Rev. Fr. George Acsente, Preoteasa Diana Acsente and Mr. Florian Ion. OCL chose this particular site due to the fact that this parish is an integral part of the Atlanta Inter-Orthodox Parish Association (AIOPA)
Friday, October 14
The OCL Board met in the parish’s social hall for its annual board meeting on Friday morning, which included three board members via ZOOM. Reports of the Executive Director, President and Webmaster summarized the organization’s activities and accomplishments since the last annual meeting held via ZOOM in November 2021. A few of those activities include: monthly “mastermind” meetings and presentations; board member participation and contribution of suggestions to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s (GOA) Charter Committee; distribution of a statement and press release on the invasion of Ukraine; creation and distribution of “A Declaration for Orthodox Christian Unity in America” via the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, press releases, regular mail and digital media; direct contact with Archbishop Elpidophoros in his role as the head of the Eparchial Synod of the GOA and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Assembly of Bishops USA (AOB); meetings and direct contact with Mr. Nicholas Anton, Director of Operations for the AOB; committed to supporting the International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA); wrote and distributed three papers in support of the Declaration; received a second major bequest from the Frank Kamberos Trust; and posted numerous articles that promote the positive work of the committees of the Assembly of Bishops that exhibit Pan-Orthodox cooperation at the grassroots level (i.e. AIOPA). Other decisions made and actions taken by the board: passed a budget of $116,000 for 2023; revisited the need for a grant to fund the digitizing of OCL’s archives at DePaul University; passed a resolution regarding the continuing war in Ukraine; reviewed and discussed a marketing and communications plan for the more effective promotion of OCL’s initiatives and educational offerings; elected the new executive committee and board for 2023.
Visit of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Atlanta, GA
Following the annual board meeting and a delicious lunch at Sts. Constantine & Helen Parish, OCL Board members took a field trip to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral complex in Atlanta at the gracious invitation of one of the clergy of the cathedral and President of the Atlanta Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood, Fr. Christos Mars. Fr. Christos met board members in the nave of the Cathedral Church, reviewed the history of the location and fielded questions for over an hour. The Board is grateful to Metropolitan Alexios for the blessing to visit the Cathedral and to Fr. Mars and Cathedral staff for their hospitality during their busy schedules on a school day.
The second session of the Conference featured a Panel Discussion on “A Declaration for Orthodox Unity in America” led by Attorney George D. Karcazes with participants: Peter Zarras, George Matsoukas and Alexei Krindatch (Video of Panel Discussion available here).
The third and final session featured a presentation by Alexei Krindatch regarding the results of his most recent survey: Changes in Orthodox Church Life in the post-Pandemic America (Video of Alexei Krindatch’s presentation available here).
The OCL Board wishes to express its heartfelt thanks to Fr. George Acsente, parish priest of Sts. Constantine & Helen Romanian Orthodox Church, Psa. Diana Acsente, the cooks and parishioners who so warmly welcomed OCL and the participants in the Annual Program. Thank you to the presenters: Fr. Christos Mars (Chairman of AIOPA), Fr. Anthony Salzman, Toni Taggart, Florian Ion and Alexei Krindatch. Special thanks to Florian Ion for the technical arrangements and for recording each session.
Read more about the Conference and AIOPA activities in the November 2022 issue of The Orthodox Chronicles, the monthly newsletter of the Atlanta Inter-Orthodox Parish Association.
Looking Ahead: 36th Annual Meeting and Conference
Tentatively, the OCL Board is planning to hold the 36th Annual Meeting and Conference in the New York Metro/New Jersey area the weekend of October 20-22, 2023. Mark your calendar!