DARIEN, IL [DOM] – The annual Clergy Convocation of the Diocese of the Midwest concluded it’s three day gathering at the Carmelite Spiritual Retreat Center in Darien, IL. This yearly spiritual retreat brings together priests and deacon from all over the Midwest.
On Monday, May 8, the clergy gathered with His Eminence Archbishop Daniel for Vespers and opening remarks by His Eminence. That evening also saw guest speaker, Priest Paul Abernathy, give the first part of his presentation. Fr. Paul, a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese, is the pastor of St Moses the Black Church in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, and the founder and CEO of the Neighborhood Resiliency Project, an Orthodox Christian nonprofit focusing on building healing and healthy communities through trauma-informed community development. Father gave three talks centered around a common theme: “Preaching in the Areopagus: Witnessing to 21st Century America as Orthodox Christian Priests”.
An Akathist before the Tikhvin Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was celebrated by Archbishop Daniel on Tuesday morning. Fr. Paul continued to focus on his theme in two more sessions that were scattered throughout the day’s schedule. At the end of the day, Great Vespers was celebrated for the feast of Mid-Pentecost. Following dinner, a Special Diocesan Assembly was held in person and via Zoom. The meeting concluded with the assembly voting to sell the former Archangel Michael Church, Burbank property. Archbishop Daniel then met with the deacons of the diocese to close of the evening.
The retreat concluded with the celebration of Divine Liturgy for the Mid-Pentecost Feast at St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Burr Ridge. His Eminence served with the Deans of the diocese and Fr. Paul offered the sermon. Priest Gregory Ealy directed the clergy choir. A meal was held in the parish hall following the service.
In the final hours of the convocation, the Archbishop gathered his priests to share his thoughts and vision for the diocese. His Eminence took questions and conveyed his pleasure in being able to serve the liturgy and pray with his clergy.