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Fourth Small Parish Forum attracts record number of participants

NEW KENSINGTON, PA [MW Diocese Communications] — A record 70 individuals representing parishes across the US and Canada participated in the Small Parish Forum at Saint John the Baptist Church here July 13-15, 2017.  The group was the largest of any previous Small Parish Forums, attracting clergy and lay participants from eight OCA Dioceses — Western Pennsylvania, the Midwest, the South, New York and New Jersey, and New England, and the Bulgarian, Albanian and Romanian Dioceses — as well as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Fourth Small Parish Forum attracts record number of participants
Archbishop Melchisedek and Bishop Paul with participants in July 2017 Small Parish Forum.

Jointly sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the Midwest and the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania, the Forum — the fourth in a series initiated in 2014 — had as its theme “Becoming a Community of Engagement.”  The program was facilitated by Joseph Kormos, Parish Development Ministry Leader for the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania.

His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania and His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest welcomed the participants and offered their insights throughout the three-day gathering.

“Individual sessions explored the dimensions of engaging in worship, engaging with the neighborhood, engaging across generations and engaging with our parish future,” Mr. Kormos explained.  “Eight speakers offered remarks of various length along with video presentations and open discussion.”

Among the presenters were

  • Priest Justin Patterson, Rector of Saint Athanasius Church, Nicholasville, KY; Archpriest Joshua Frigerio, Rector Holy Ascension Church, Albion, MI; and Priest Jonathan Bannon, Rector of Christ the Savior Church [ACROD], Rockford, IL, who offered profiles of life in their small parishes.

  • Mother Seraphima, choir director at Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA, who offered remarks and a music laboratory session titled “Engaging in Worship.”

  • Igumen Patrick [Carpenter], Rector Holy Assumption of Mary Church, Pittsburgh, PA, and Matt McCroskery and Janet Damian Lapko, both of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Detroit, MI, who shared their experiences in the segment on “Engaging with the Neighborhood.”  Archpriest Jonathan Proctor, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, St Paul, MN, joined the session via video.

  • Archpriest Marc Vranes, Rector Holy Trinity Church, Willimantic, CT, and Cathy Vrugitz of Saint Gregory of Nyssa Church, Columbus, OH, who collaborated to share perspectives on “Engaging Across Generations.”

  • Archpriest Peter Baktis, Rector of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow Mission, Princeton, NJ, who helped attendees focus on “Engaging with our Parish Future.”

Mr. Kormos also facilitated a number of workshops on related themes.

“One important product of the Forum was the development of a set of ‘Principles of Vibrant Small Orthodox Parishes,’ the final version of which will be available shortly,” Mr. Kormos added.  “We felt that building a consensus around fundamentals of healthy small churches was an important breakthrough for the Forum, and we hope to build on these in the future.  We also encouraged attendees to select one initiative for their parish upon return.  Members of the Forum planning group will be available as catalysts for follow-up to encourage parish action.”

The 2018 Forum tentatively has been scheduled for July 12-14, 2018.

Presentations and resources offered during the Forum are available on-line.

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Diocesan Assembly: October 8-10, Lansing, IL

Upcoming Feasts of the Church

Polyeleos-rank Jun 19 - The Holy Apostle Jude the Brother of the Lord
Polyeleos-rank Jun 23 - Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God
Great Feast Jun 24 - Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John
Polyeleos-rank Jun 26 - Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jun 28 - Icon of the Mother of God, called The Three Hands; Polyeleos-rank Our Venerable Fathers Sergius and Herman, Wonder-workers of Valaam
Great Feast Jun 29 - The Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul
Polyeleos-rank Jul 2 - The Holy Hierarch John Maximovich, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco;
Polyeleos-rank Jul 3 - The Holy Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow
Polyeleos-rank Jul 5 - Our Venerable Father Sergius, Abbot and Wonderworker of Radonezh
Polyeleos-rank Jul 6 - Our Venerable Father Athanasius of Mount Athos
Vigil-rank Jul 8 - The Sitka (Kazan) Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 10 - The Deposition of the Robe of our Savior; Polyeleos-rank Our Venerable Father Anthony of the Kiev Caves
Polyeleos-rank Jul 11 - The Holy Equal of the Apostles Blessed Princess Olga
Polyeleos-rank Jul 12 - Icon of the Mother of God, called The Three Hands
Polyeleos-rank Jul 14 - Our Venerable Father Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
Vigil-rank Jul 15 - The Holy Equal of the Apostles Great Prince Vladimir
Polyeleos-rank Jul 17 - New Royal Passion-bearers Tsar Nicholas and his family
Vigil-rank Jul 19 - Our Venerable Father Seraphim, Wonder-worker of Sarov
Vigil-rank Jul 20 - Holy and Glorious Prophet Elijah
Polyeleos-rank Jul 23 - Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 24 - Right-believing Russian Princes Boris and Gleb
Polyeleos-rank Jul 26 - The Righteous Priest Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of the Native Peoples of Alaska
Polyeleos-rank Jul 28 - Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 30 - The Holy Martyr John the Warrior


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