Source: Orthodox Christian Laity
The meeting of the Orthodox Christian Laity directors in Bonita Springs, Florida, at the end of March, was successful on many levels. Two new board members, Chris Panagos, Clearwater, FL and Pamela Collins, Naples, FL, were welcomed. Board members attended Salutations Services followed by a Lenten Supper. Board member Dr. Gayle Woloschack presented insights into the organization of the International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA) Meeting in Romania in January 2019. The morning board meeting provided challenging discussions and actions as we move forward into the second decade of the 21st Century. Here are a few highlights:
- OCL will explore ways to broaden its fundraising efforts to attract micro donations via the Internet. Through these means, we afford more faithful and committed church members the opportunity to participate in our ministry of helping to unify Orthodox Christianity in the USA so that it can work more efficiently and get into canonical order.
- OCL will make every effort to broaden its educational outreach to the faithful via social media and will explore the development of a Mobile Phone App to reach more folks.
- OCL will work directly with the 14 independent Patriarchs and hierarchs to help them understand that the Assembly of Bishops in the USA cannot function, if they do not give them the blessing to solve the problems facing the faithful living in this geographic area. The difficulties of the mother churches must be separated from the work of the Assembly, which is not functioning, because the bishops are distracted by disputes among the old-world hierarchs. The mother churches need to empower the Assembly to do its work.
- A research study needs to be developed that focuses on the cost effectiveness of a unified Orthodox Christian Church in the USA. This is a stewardship issue. The fragmentation and duplication of institutions, publications, education, churches, and maintenance of physical structures, philanthropic, mission and outreach efforts dilute the stewardship and major donations of the faithful. The return on the stewardship of the faithful is negligible. The Church is not growing. It is stagnant. The Church cannot retain our children. How do we make the gifts of time, talent and resources of the faithful more effective? OCL will seek funding for such a project.
- Is there any one effort and institution that the Assembly can empower and work together to make worthy and excellent? It is the sense of the OCL board that the faithful and the Bishops should consider consolidating the many theological schools that train our priests into ONE world-class Orthodox Christian theological seminary in the USA. Is this a project that can show our unity? Transforming theological education is something all jurisdictions should embrace and work to make a reality. The faithful should encourage them to consider such a project.
- OCL will continue to build relationships with other Pan-Orthodox Christian Ministries. OCL will feature them on our web site. OCL will promote the efforts of grassroots Pan-Orthodox projects taking place all over the USA and encourage groups to send the information to us to post on the web site.
- OCL board members will join the Romanian Episcopate in its Pilgrimage to Alaska during June 2020, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Tomos of Autocephaly and the Glorification of St Herman of Alaska. Join us. For details see http://www.culturallycreativetravel.com/pilgrimage-to-alaska-2020/.
- Preparations are being made for OCL’s 33rd Annual Meeting which will take place in Houston, TX on November 1-2, 2019. Save the date and plan to attend.