MC concludes spring session
Metropolitan Council concludes spring session
CHICAGO, IL [OCA] -- The spring session of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America opened at Christ the Savior Church, Chicago, IL on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, presided.
His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania chaired the meeting, while Igumen Alexander [Pihach] served as vice-chair.
After approving the agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting, Metropolitan Council members heard the opening remarks of Metropolitan Jonah. An extensive discussion ensued, during which the Holy Synod announced the four resolutions it had adopted concerning OCA governance going forward. The resolutions -- found in the public minutes of the Holy Synod of Bishops posted HERE on the OCA web site, deal with Locum Tenency, the Officers of the Church, the Permanent Lesser Synod, and the Chancellor.
In his report, Bishop Melchisedek, Interim Chancellor, spoke of the work that was done during his two months, including specific issues dealing with the leave of absence of Metrpolitan Jonah. He informed the Metropolitan Council that he will continue as Interim Chancellor until the 16th All-American Council. He also outlined major concerns going forward.
Archpriest Eric Tosi, OCA Secretary, reported on his activities. He spoke in length about the difficult work in the chancery and introduced the new communications team and spoke about their recent work and the process of communications in the Church. He also reviewed a variety of administrative issues, including human resources, insurance, estate management, pastoral and legal issues.
In an executive session, the members of the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee [SMPAC] discussed their work, focusing primarily on the methodology used in compiling its confidential report, which was presented at the Holy Synod session preceding the joint meeting.
After a long and intense discussion, the Metropolitan Council resolved to recommend strongly the cessation of any activity of Priest Gregory Jensen in matters pertaining to sexual misconduct, and that any candidates to fill a position in the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations must be vetted by the SMPAC. The MC also resolved to commend the SMPAC for its extraordinary work.
Also in executive session, the Metropolitan Council received the report of the Ethics Committee and reviewed various ethics complaints that had been raised. The ethics committee was blessed by the Holy Synod to conduct an investigation into those ethics complaints and to present a full report.
Priest John Vitko presented the latest revised version of the OCA Strategic Plan. The Metropolitan Council resolved to recommend that the revised Strategic Plan be posted on the OCA website for continued feedback from the Church and that it be incorporated into the agenda of the upcoming 16th All-American Council. The formation of a Post-Concillar subcommittee of the Metropolitan Council to oversee implementation of the Strategic Plan after the Council was recommended.
On its second day, Thursday, May 5, the Metropolitan Council heard the report of the Charity Committee; the Council Development Committee, which presented its report and an updated version of the Council Handbook; and the Crisis Management Committee, which presented its report in executive session. An extensive discussion on failures in the Church to adequately respond to critical issues was held.
Following the Human Resources Committee report, the Metropolitan Council resolved to recommend that Archpriest Alexander Garklavs remain as consultant to the Interim Chancellor for his institutional knowledge and continuity of the work of the Chancery; that his compensation and benefits continue until he receives another appropriate appointment; and that his severance package of four months’ salary be deferred compensation.
The Internal Governance Committee presented a report in executive session on various critical issues in Church government. Out of executive session, the Internal Audit Committee, represented by Michael Strelka, presented their findings and outlined the reporting procedures leading up to the All-American Council. The Metropolitan Council thanked the Internal Audit Committee for its professional work. To date, all stavropegial institutions have been examined or have had their external audits examined, with the exception of one institution slated to be audited during the summer.
The Legal Committee presented its report, which covered a variety of current and potential legal issues, in executive session. A lengthy discussion ensued on instances of potential liability of the Church and involved an in depth discussion.
Melanie Ringa presented her extensive Treasurer’s report, after which it was resolved to make some minor adjustments to the 2011 budget. Among the adjustments are funds for further OCA web site development for the Feasts and Saints section; translations into Spanish; funding for psychological evaluation of all ordination candidates; and funding to cover costs realized by the change in the Metropolitan Council meeting venue. She also presented a budget for the 16th All-American Council.
The Financial Development Committee reported on investment strategy and the need for a professional financial advisor.
The Pension Board presented two amendments to the OCA Pension Plan, both of which were adopted. The amendments include housing allowance calculation for non-clergy Church employees and a clarification on disability retirement benefits.
Father Eric presented an extensive overview of the 16th All-American Council, highlighting work accomplished and items that still need attention. He outlined the timeline for the months leading to the Council and reviewed the registration process. The draft agenda was adopted.
Father Eric unveiled the new OCA website and reviewed the process and work that has gone into its redesign. He explained various features on the site, which is due to make its debut in June.
Father Alexander Garklavs addressed the Council, offering words of gratitude. A motion was made to acknowledge with profound gratitude Father Alexander’s service as Chancellor, which was accompanied by a standing ovation.
The Human Resources Committee was mandated to organize the search for a new Chancellor by the next meeting of the Metropolitan Council in September 2011. Council members authorized funding to conduct the search.
The Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council offered their gratitude to the Diocese of the Midwest and Christ the Savior Church for hosting the gathering.
After the Metropolitan Council meeting closed on Friday morning, members of the Strategic Planning Committee met to discuss the changes and release of the Strategic Plan, plans for the All-American Council, and other issues.
Complete Metropolitan Council minutes and documents will be made available in the near future.
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- February 7, 2014
Metropolitan Council concludes spring sessionDespite travel delays due to the heavy snowfall affecting much of the US, members of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America gathered for their spring session at the Chancery here February 4-6, 2014.
In his address to Council members, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon spoke on the vision of the Holy Synod of Bishops for the coming year with regard to the ongoing work of the Church, noting that three areas of focus—missions and evangelism, clergy health, and training and seminaries—were singled out as priorities. He reported that in the months ahead, the members of the Holy Synod will be exploring and addressing these issues through meetings, focus groups, and acquiring a common understanding on the challenges that will lead to concrete action for the future.Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor, outlined the work of the Chancery. He specifically spoke on the annual meeting of the diocesan chancellors and treasurers and the focus group slated to meet February 12 to consider prospects for expanding the Church’s evangelistic efforts.
Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, Treasurer, spoke about recent developments in the areas of human resources, operations, communications and related matters. He offered an in depth presentation on progress made in establishing plans for the 18th All-American Council, slated to be held in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015. He highlighted the work of the Preconciliar Commission and the local committee, adding that a team to oversee youth activities had been formed. He reported that the theme of the Council will be based on that of the First All-American Sobor held in Mayfield, PA in 1907—“How to Expand the Mission.”
Alexis Liberovsky, Archivist, offered an overview of the work of the Archives Advisory Committee and reviewed various policies and procedures.Dr. Albert Rossi, reported on the work of SMPAC, while Cindy Davis reported on the work of ORSMA. Highlighted were the posting and implementation of the new PSPs and webpage.Council members also heard a variety of committee reports, including a review of legal issues and financial strategies.
In her report, Treasurer Melanie Ringa reviewed the 2013 budget and the results of the external audit. Included was a review of progress made by the Stewards of the OCA, as reported by the Financial Development Committee.
Jim Geoly, Esq, an attorney who has worked on behalf of the OCA on a number of matters, offered a presentation on First Amendment issues and Church operations as well as an in depth presentation on legal responsibilities with regard to the Church’s response to misconduct issues.
Matushka Valerie Zahrisky reported on the work of the Department of Christian Education and presented various projects that are now available or in process. Archpriest Steven Voytovich, who chairs the Department of Institutional Chaplaincies, reported on the work of the department.During the meeting, Great Vespers and the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Saint Theodosius were celebrated, at which Metropolitan Tikhon presided. The tenth anniversary of his consecration to the episcopacy, as well as the 41st anniversary of the ordination of His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York, were noted. Also in attendance was His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon of Boston, New England and the Albanian Archdiocese, who attended the meeting of the Lesser Synod of Bishops that followed.
A complete set of minutes and reports will be posted when available.