GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA 8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10021 Tel: (212) 570-3530 Fax: (212) 774-0215 Web: http://www.goarch.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release: April 27, 2007
Contact: Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos Cell: 617-680-7222 Email: email@example.com
ARCHDIOCESAN COUNCIL OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX
ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA CONVENES IN HOUSTON TEXAS
HOUSTON, TX ? The Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America held its spring meeting at the Renaissance Hotel in Houston, Texas on Thursday and Friday, April 26-27, with Archbishop Demetrios of America presiding.
Following the opening prayer Archbishop Demetrios delivered his Introductory Address. He outlined three major issues that are relevant to the life and mission of the Church: religion and science, family and youth, and the increasing interest in Hellenic universal tradition in contemporary socio-cultural contexts in America. â??As members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese we are the carriers of Orthodoxy and Hellenism that have a direct impact in dealing with the three issues that I have outlined,â?? said the Archbishop. He added that, â??we must also focus on the fact that ultimately we serve the Gospel of Christ, and as St. Paul says in his Epistle to the Colossians we must offer the Gospel in a fruit bearing and growing manner (Col. 1:6).â??
In his comments, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, Mr. Michael Jaharis, congratulated the members of the Standing Committees of the Archdiocesan Council for their faithful and productive work. He also commented on the significance of the phenomenon of the increasing number of converts entering the Orthodox Church. In addition, he spoke about the inter-faith family, and family in general, and the ensuing Councilâ??s responsibility to promote Orthodoxy and Hellenism as vital factors for the existence and growth of the Orthodox Christian family.
The Standing Committees of the Archdiocesan Council each described the recent progress of the institutions and ministries of the Archdiocese and outlined specific initiatives that will be pursued in the future. More specifically:
1. The Administration Committee outlined key administrative considerations, including the SWOT strategic process and the establishment of parish council training programs. The committee provided a review of the Clergy-Laity Congress in Nashville, TN. Minor amendments to the Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America were presented, discussed and accepted. 2. The Communications Committee reported on the work that was done during the Papal Visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in November 2006 and the vast media coverage it received worldwide. Based on the critical issues identified by the SWOT process it also discussed the enhancement of overall communications through the development of parish list-serves, an on-line daily Observer, the publication of a parish communications handbook, and the creation of a video production studio at the Archdiocese. 3. The Youth Committee report described numerous educational initiatives and SWOT-based programs and activities. Information was provided concerning the formation of a task force for Ionian Village and the upcoming 2nd International Young Adult Conference sponsored by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on July 10-16, in Constantinople. 4. The Religious Education Committee outlined seven specific recommendations addressing the primary SWOT concern of providing effective educational material and resources for adults. A detailed action plan was presented which included, among other initiatives, the appointment of a Religious Education Director in each Metropolis. 5. The Finance Committee presented a report on the meetings that have been held at various Metropolises in order to provide information concerning the new financial funding strategy for the Archdiocesan budget. Included in the report was a detailed financial summary of 2006 and the first quarter of 2007 income and expenses of the Archdiocese that indicated a major decrease in accumulated debt. 6. The Committee on Marriage and Family provided an overview of its work with Interfaith Marriages, the launching of a new website, and educational resources and programs for families and parents. The Committee report also included a description of the work that is being done to address important issues facing clergy and their families. 7. The Outreach and Evangelism Committee reported on its cooperative work with the other departments and organizations of the Archdiocese. In reviewing the SWOT data the committee reiterated its intention to provide educational resources that assist in the establishment of new parishes and the interest for the Orthodox Faith among the non-Orthodox. 8. The Committee on Technology reported on the status of the Alexander Project that aims to develop a system that will empower the Archdiocese, the Metropolises, and parishes to achieve the goal of personalized ministry through the robust management of the data available to the Archdiocese. This project will provide the ability to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to reach out and minister to all of her faithful. 9. The Greek Education Committee described the primary activities of the Department of Greek Education which included among others the staff development seminars for teachers throughout the various Metropolises, the development of performance questionnaires, and the continued cooperation with the Ministries of Education of Greece and Cyprus in training our teachers and providing new instructional materials tailored to the needs of our schools and students.
A detailed report was presented by the President of the Retired Orthodox Clergy Association (RCA) who highlighted its goals and the work that is being done for the support of the retired clergy and presbyteres by the Archdiocese and the RCA.
Additionally, a brief report was offered by the Chairman of the FAITH Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism and announced that thus far 40 million dollars have been pledged.
On Thursday morning the Archdiocesan directors and the chairmen of the Standing Committees met to discuss the next phase of the strategic planning process based on the data obtained from the 2006 SWOT Analysis Research Project.