The Metropolitan Council has concluded its two day meeting in Syosset. You can read the OCA’s summary here.
While fully accurate, the OCA’s version omitted the substance of the meeting. The majority of time was spent in what was described to OCANews.org as a “brutal”, “ugly” and “frustrating” recounting of the Metropolitan’s purposeful actions over the past six months that have undermined all the OCA has been attempting to accomplish. As in Syosset a year ago September, and in Chicago last May, the business of the Council was dominated by report after report of how the Metropolitan, in word and deed, has been working against his synod, staff and council. As in earlier meetings the hope was that the Metropolitan would change his destructive behaviors and actions when confronted with them. Alas, this “intervention” was as unsuccessful as the all the earlier ones.
As in the previous two meetings the Metropolitan responded to every charge of misbehavior and subversion with denials. When presented with concrete evidence (such as emails indicating he was revealing OCA legal strategies to opposing counsel) the Metropolitan would respond that such evidence was taken “out of context". When the full email or context was presented, the Metropolitan would attempt to excuse himself by stating “That was not what I intended.” When shown by action after action that was indeed what he intended, the Metropolitan would finally admit the truth of the charge.
The Metropolitan would offer no apologies for his repeated misconduct but would simply stare blankly and silently into space.
Interlocutor after interlocutor would rise to confront him, only to sit down in frustration at the Metropolitan's inability to respond honestly.
Nor was it just MC members who complained of the Metropolitan’s actions and dysfunctional leadership. Lesser Synod members also confronted the Metropolitan on issue after issue, including the ailing Bishop Nikon of Boston, who shouted at the Metropolitan in one tense session -- despite his recent and painful throat surgery.
In short, the overwhelming problem with the OCA is its Metropolitan and all his works and all his ways. The OCA, as the Metropolitan Council reviewed, cannot get ahead of events because the Metropolitan himself is constantly creating new ones. Worse, he is unwilling, or unable, to stop doing so.
He will not be shamed, nor resign, nor does the Synod seem willing to remove him, ostensibly because whatever his pathology (for +Jonah refuses diagnosis) it is not a traditional "canonical" offence. It is only an offence against common sense and the natural instinct for self-preservation, both of which virtues seem to be sorely lacking among our enabling higher clergy.
It was against this backdrop that all the MC's decisions were taken. The Council adopted a proposed budget for 2012 based on the current assessment level of $105. It was widely discussed that the forthcoming AAC may not agree to that level of assessment, given that delegates from the West and South, traditional opponents of head taxes, may decide to support NY-NJ’s $50 initiative. (They will form the majority of delegates, since only 550 delegates have registered. EPA, WPA and NY-NJ are woefully underrepresented.) The Diocese of NY-NJ, which was reported is facing possible bankruptcy in three years given its steady decline in numbers, proposed the $55 reduction in assessment in the vain hope that the $55 could then be diverted to the diocese in order to postpone its own difficulties.
Melanie Ringa, the OCA’s Treasurer pointed out that a $50 assessment would have the same effect as shutting down the OCA entirely, since she questioned if anything could be adequately funded at that level. Others pointed out that such an assessment would simply continue to enable +Jonah, since +Jonah has suggested that all that needs to be funded in the OCA is himself, his personal secretary, aide and driver. $50 would therefore suffice.
In the only other major decision taken, the Council recommended the name of one candidate to become Chancellor of the OCA. The Lesser Synod asked that his name not be released until he could speak to his current employers, a final contract with the OCA be negotiated and he be formally elected (or not...) at next week's full Synod meeting.