OCA Diocese of Eastern PA holds annual assembly
Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania holds annual assembly
Article posted: 12/4/2006 9:55 AM
Over 60 clergy and lay delegates of the Diocese of Eastern
Pennsylvania gathered for their annual assembly, November 17-18,
2006, in Bethlehem, PA.
BETHLEHEM, PA [Diocese of Eastern PA] The Diocese of Eastern
Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church in America held its 43rd annual
assembly at Saint Nicholas Church here November 17-18, 2006. Over 60
clergy and lay delegates attended the expanded two-day gathering.
On Friday evening, November 17, His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of
Philadelphia and Eastern pennsylvania celebrated Vespers, after
which the assembly was formally opened. In his opening remarks,
Bishop Tikhon presented some reflections on unity, the theme of this
year's assembly. In light of the current crisis in the OCA, he spoke
of the need to preserve an attitude of sobriety and prayer. He
encouraged the clergy and faithful to cultivate actively unity on a
personal level, beginning with true repentance that blames oneself
rather than others, and on a diocesan level by participating in the
work that will help the Church to preserve unity, which is a gift of
After a discussion period, everyone partook of a common meal, during
which a reading was offered from the Homilies of Saint Gregory
Palamas, "On Peace with One Another."
On Saturday, November 18, Bishop Tikhon concelebrated the Divine
Liturgy with diocesan clergy, after which the assembly sessions
resumed with the reports of the diocesan Bishop and the chancellor.
Expanding on his comments from the evening before, Bishop Tikhon
highlighted the good work that has been done within the diocese over
the past year, including the establishment of new Orthodox Christian
Fellowship chapters, successful events sponsored by the Department
of Christian Education, and the growth of Holy Apostles Mission in
Changes within the diocese were also announced. The Rev. Martin
Browne was appointed treasurer. The new budget will reflect
increases for missions, seminarian scholarships, and the Department
of Christian Education. In addition, the diocesan magazine will be
published twice, rather than three times, a year.
The Very Rev. John Kowalczyk, chancellor, further expanded on Bishop
Tikhon's report by highlighting some of the activities of the
diocesan hierarch and parishes, including the generous response to
the appeal for All Saints Church, Olyphant, PA, following a
devastating fire in the spring of 2006.
After lunch, the Very Rev. Michael G. Dahulich, dean of Saint
Tikhon's Seminary, offered a presentation in which he encouraged
assembly delegates to keep their hearts and minds focused on the
Lord, the Divine Head of the Church, and on their responsibility to
continue the work of the diocese by reflecting the Gospel message in
all they do. He added that the current financial issues should not
be the focus of our total involvement; citing Saint Paul's analogy,
that if one part of the body is ill, we should not let the rest of
the body become paralyzed by the infection. He stressed that while
treating the illness, we need to resume nourishing the whole Body of
Christ and move toward healing and spiritual growth.
During the afternoon sessions, further reports were offered from the
diocesan deans and department heads and from the Metropolitan
Council representative, who fielded many open and direct questions
concerning the progress of the present investigation into the
After elections for Diocesan Council and Metropolitan Council
representatives, the Assembly concluded with a recommendation from
the floor that, in the spirit of fair-share giving and in an effort
to restore our entire Church to solid financial ground, Bishop
Tikhon call for a special collection requesting all members of the
diocese to offer voluntarily a contribution which would be forwarded
to the Central Church Administration and applied directly towards
the principal of the $1.7 million loan. Bishop Tikhon accepted the
recommendation and will consider the proper procedure to implement
this positive effort.