Issuu on Google+

JULY – AUGUST 2012 • Vol. 77 • No. 1277 • e-mail: $1.00 C-L Delegates ‘Bear Fruit’ from Arizona Desert Congress the July 4 banquet to “go and bear fruit” in three areas: youth, outreach to Orthodox Christians who have disconnected, or have no connection to the Church, and support for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church. by Jim Golding PHOENIX -More than 1,200 participants attended the successful 41st ClergyLaity Congress and National Philoptochos Convention July 1-4, undaunted by tripledigit temperatures in this southwestern desert environment. The J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort served as the spacious location for the congress. Among their major actions, delegates overwhelmingly voted to continue holding the congress every two years. Resolutions from the Boston, New Jersey and Atlanta metropolises had called for changing the frequency to three–years as a means of reducing expenses for communities. National Philoptochos Convention delegates pledged $205,000 toward a new Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy. (story below) Many workshops and seminars took place on July 2 and 3 where delegates received briefings and information on the National Ministries which they can take to their individual parishes for implementation. Several auxiliary organizations also held meetings in conjunction with the congress, including the Retired Clergy Association, Sisterhood of Presvyteres, the National Fourm of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians and others. Separate articles in this issue highlight the work of several of these groups. Also in attendance was the patriarchal representative, Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, who delivered the greetings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the opening session and spoke to several groups. Archbishop Demetrios served as the Dimitris Panagos photos Archbishop Demetrios addresses the opening session of the 41st Biennial Clergy–Laity Congress, delivering a 45–minute keynote speech. keynote speaker at the opening session on July 2 and expounded on the theme of “Chosen and appointed by God to go and bear fruit” there and at other events at the congress. National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas also offered her greetings. She noted the significance of the city of Phoenix taking its name from the mythological bird that became an early Christian symbol representing Christ’s resurrection. In his welcoming remarks, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco observed that the format of the congress is unique in the Orthodox world, engaging “all of our parishes in the work of the church” and demonstrating “in a very concrete way the unity of the Archdiocese.” He added, “The purpose of this congress is to grow in our faith and make decisions in our life together as the Greek Orthodox Church in America. The process begins here to go and bear fruit. To continue in Christ’s salvific work and proclaim Orthodoxy will require new ideas and new strategies. That’s why we are here; to learn from the Archdiocese and ministries and, most importantly, to learn from one another.” Later in the week, Archbishop Demetrios commented that the congress, “set a high level of achievement in everything that happened.” He told the 1,400 persons attending Archbishop’s keynote highlights The Archbishop enumerated a litany of reasons to “be thankful to God,”which characterizes the role, purpose and recent accomplishments of the Church in America over the past two years since the last congress. “For the gifts we have received in the two years since the last congress we give thanks for everything,” His Eminence said. “The period of 2010-12 is full of circumstances for us to give thanks to God,” which include: • for the very distinguished hierarchical service by Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh. We owe him much for his contributions to theological, pastoral and ecumenical work of the Church. • for Savas, the new Metropolitan of Pittsburgh. • for the new Bishop Sevastianos, the chief secretary of the Holy Synod and bishop of zeal. • for the new clergy who have been ordained, including 28 priests and 41 deacons. • for the life and work of the 22 clergy who have departed after long years of fruitful diaconia. • for the agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the rebuilding of the new St. Nicholas Church. The agreement was signed last October and the paperwork for the technical details is u u to page 4 National Philoptochos Convention Raises $205,000 for Center of Philanthropy by Melody Simmons PHOENIX – With a spotlight on 80 years of its philanthropic endeavors, close to 400 delegates at the biennial Philoptochos convention turned inward for a golden hour and raised a stunning $205,000 toward a new Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy on the final day of the Clergy–Laity Conference here. The flurry of donations and pledges were made by many of the 392 regis- Philoptochos delegates attend one of many meetings of their convention. tered delegates, some on behalf of their chapters all across the U.S. and others in honor of or in memory of beloved Philoptochos members and family members. The amount was added to an existing $1.2 million raised over the past two years for the Center, to be located in New York City. It was the pinnacle event of the fourday conference held at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort on the edge of the rugged and beautiful Sonoran Desert. The wide-ranging agenda included a forum on domestic violence awareness and prevention, emotional testimony of Philoptochos-sponsored charitable work, a discussion on lifestyle choices called “Are You a Martha or a Mary?” and passage of the organization’s budgets for 2013 and 2014. “You have the traits of true Christian leaders,” said Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, the newly appointed spiritual advisor for Philoptochos. “Be the example of what you want people to do.” National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas told the delegates that the convention was a success because of their diligence and concern to keep the organization’s ministry that included a recent donation of $160,000 made to non-governmental relief agencies in Greece to help relieve suffering brought on from the economic collapse in the country. “The Philoptochos women in America demonstrate through unwavering faith and commitment that Philoptochos is the extraordinary philanthropic organization of sterling integrity offering healing, peace and hope for more than 80 years,” she said. u u to page 4

Orthodox Observer - July-August 2012 - Issue 1277

Related publications