The second day of the 19th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America opened on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 with a plenary session during which the OCA’s Officers offered their reports. [Written copies of their reports are available in the online Delegate Handbook.
Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor, focused his presentation on the Journal of the late Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, while Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, Secretary, reported on the work of the Chancery, thanking everyone whose hard work makes the administration of the OCA possible. Melanie Ringa, Treasurer, outlined the positive financial status of the Church. Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, Director of the Stewards of the OCA, thanked those who supported its Church-wide campaign and challenged the assembly to increase their support.
Two major decisions were taken at the plenary session. The first was a proposed amendment to the Statute of the OCA, calling for the periodicity of the All-American Council to be changed from every three years to every four years. With 210 delegates voting in favor of the change and 203 delegates voting against it, the necessary two-thirds majority was not obtained to pass the amendment.
Statute revision resolutions to change the periodicity for audits by the Audit Committee of all OCA accounts, clarifying the election of at-large members of the Metropolitan Council, the right to canonical process, the composition of the Synodal Court, and related matters all passed.
Following the report of the Audit Committee, which noted that the Church’s financial records are in excellent shape, Archpriest John Dresko, Chair of the Metropolitan Council’s Finance Committee, presented highlights of how the financing of the OCA has worked in the last three years, since moving to proportional giving at the 18th All-American Council. He invited Melanie Ringa to explain what the proposed resolution would mean to each individual diocese, as well as to the Central Administration. The resolution detailed how each territorial diocese, with the exception of Canada, Mexico and Alaska, are to remit their annual financial obligations for the work of the Chancery for 2019 through 2021. After considerable discussion, the resolution carried.
During the plenary session, brief videos showcasing the work of the dioceses were aired. His Grace, Bishop David of Alaska, spoke movingly about the plight of Orthodoxy in his territory. He then presented the prestigious Order of Saint Innocent Award to Mary Anne Khoury for her nearly two decades of tireless work supporting the Alaskan Orthodox. The videos can be viewed here:
Tuesday afternoon’s third plenary session consisted of individual forums meant to unpack the “Four Pillars” of Metropolitan Tikhon’s visionary work, Of What Life Do We Speak?. Topics included Spiritual Life, Care of the Clergy, Stewardship, Missions, Community, External Affairs. Each forum, facilitated by a panel of speakers, invited attendees to take part in the conversation. A second round of the same forums will be offered on Wednesday afternoon, July 25.