OCA Strategic Planning Committee holds first meeting

The Strategic Planning Committee, mandated to design and facilitate the process by which the Plan will be developed, held its first meeting last week at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. The meeting was scheduled so that Committee members could attend the Seminary’s Summer Institute that took place June 18 to 20, titled “The Council and The Tomos: 20th Century Landmarks Towards a 21st Century Church.”

Chaired by Archpriest Robert Arida, the Committee consists of Archpriest Theodore Boback, Archpriest Michael Oleksa, Archpriest Alexis Vinogradov, Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, Deacon John Zarras, Dr. David Greer, Dr. Dmitri Solodow and Ms. Elena Silk. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah is the Holy Synod liaison and OCA Secretary, Archpriest Eric G. Tosi is liaison from the Chancery administration.

The Strategic Planning Committee will propose to the Metropolitan Council, and to the Holy Synod of Bishops for its blessing, a development process which is aimed at ensuring maximum, Church-wide participation.

The Holy Synod has held a number of retreats and other discussions to agree upon its vision and future direction for the OCA. At its 2009 Fall meeting, Sept. 22 to 25, the Metropolitan Council will devote at least a full day to the same purpose: reaching agreement on its views. These will then be aligned with those of the Holy Synod and presented to each diocesan hierarch for distribution to each parish for discussion and input.

A series of regional forums is then envisioned, to allow for lay and clergy input on what the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council have formulated. Forum participants will also be asked to respond to a series of questions, designed to elicit their views on critical Church issues, as well as to engage in less-structured discussion. The output of these meetings will help form the foundation of the strategic plan.

The Committee has also invited input from experts on the development of the present Statute to discuss the thinking behind that document.

Metropolitan Jonah shared with the Committee his hope that the process will be concluded in time to present the plan at the 16th All-American Council, scheduled for the year 2011, which would have to vote on any proposed changes to the Statute.

The Strategic Planning Committee will next meet on Monday, Sept. 21, at the OCA Chancery.