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Midwest Diocese Meets

The 47th Diocesan Assembly of the Diocese of Chicago and Midwest opens this evening, October 6th, in Willowbrook, a western suburb of the city. Among the decisions to be taken by the Assembly affecting the OCA as a whole will be the election of a new lay delegate to the Metropolitan Council to replace Dr. Richard West, a strong advocate of reform, who is completing his second term, and thus ineligible for re-election. While the diocesan papers focus on local communities and the diocese’s own needs ( including the diocese’s innovative “parish health” initiative), many parishes report on how the OCA scandal has affected their communities. The papers for the Assembly (reports, financial statements, etc.) may be found on the diocesan website here.

Two comments, and one recommendation, in particular, stand out.

In his Chancellor’s Report Fr. John Zdinak writes of Archbishop Job:

“The scandal of our beloved OCA has consumed many over the past three+ years, most of all, His Eminence.

I have, as in the past, attempted to relieve him of as much stress as possible while he continues to deal with His responsibilities. He has been involved everyday in the ongoing saga.

He does so because, first and foremost, he is the shepherd, the archpastor of this diocesan flock and he is doing his best to protect the flock from the wolves.

Secondly, he is a member of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America. As a member of the
Synod, he has attempted to ensure that this issue was never swept under the rug. He has held it up in front of the Synod from the day we, the Diocese of the Midwest, requested clear and complete reporting for the AAC in Toronto in 2005. This task consumes his entire life. From morning to evening he is in communication with someone about the issue.”

Then there is this assessment by Fr. Tom Mueller,

Dean of the Chicago deanery regarding the scandal:

“The sky is not falling on the OCA, regardless of Syosset. This report is brimming with great indicators of renewed parish health from all around the Deanery. As Dean, I am pleased and blessed to be able to report this. This strength of the Church is not in her administrators but in her local communities. And we should be positive and uplifted by this, not continually pessimistic and shamefully depressed by jurisdictional failings.”

Given such attitudes, it is no surprise that Fr. Zdinak concludes his Chancellor's Report by stating:

“... we send a great deal of money from the Diocese of the Midwest to Syosset that could be better managed by the Diocese and local parishes. I would propose that we join our brothers and sisters in Western Pennsylvania and propose a resolution for the AAC that the Central Church’s assessments not exceed $50 per capita.”

Finally, the reports contain this little nugget from St. Michael’s parish in Cleveland, Ohio which has found a most novel way to raise money in difficult times: “The two oil and gas wells we are blessed with are each still producing good quantities of both and bringing in valuable extra revenue..”

We should all be so lucky...

The Assembly is scheduled to end Tuesday afternoon, October 7th.

-Mark Stokoe


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