Monday, June 9. 2008
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It really doesn't matter. Whoever came up with doing this and putting it forward as a good plan to really find out what the people of the OCA think, wasn't thinking straight. Read this forum; read the letters written to the SOB's; ask the priests; etc. These meetings are a waste of time and money. Yes, they will offer concrete samplings of what people think, but everyone already knows what the OCA consensus is. WE NEED NEW LEADERS! This must begin with + Herman stepping down as soon as possible. This will probably end in nothing, going no where and accomplishing nothing. A lot about everyone mutually crying to eachother with no REAL action!
#1 Anonymous on 2008-06-09 10:45
bla bla bla!
Lets see some action, forget the meetings. How many more meetings, 5, 10, 20, 60, 80!? All leading to what this lame AAC? Come-on! In any real organization this would have been delt with completely and long ago.
#2 no name on 2008-06-09 14:58
I believe in the town hall meetings. What I will also believe in is the releasing of the report from the Special Investigative Committee before the AAC (Don't know yet if I will believe what is in it but I do believe it needs to be released before the AAC.
#3 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-09 16:34
Come on! Just open up the meetings to the feds and lets see what they have to say, after all we pray for our civil authorities and our president of the united states at every liturgy.
Let them hear the cries of the people of God and let them have a seat at the AAC.
I'll be the first one to ship them an airline ticket.
Sadly I feel for those priests who are good hearted and are thrown into this fire of hell. So very sad indeed.
I vote no confidence until all of the closets are cleaned out! No money until all the rotten wood is cleared away.
#4 Anonymous on 2008-06-09 20:53
I marvel at the continual confidence in "the Feds" expressed by Anonymous in multiple postings. Whether there is one or many people hiding behind anonymity in this case, you need to read the Constitution. The First Amendment by any reasonable reading prohibits agents of the Federal government, in their official capacity, from taking seats at our councils. We are neither Byzantium nor Russia. The government of this Republic is strictly forbidden by our highest law under God to interfere in the internal lives of the various churches. And that is most certainly a good thing. If one can provide sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, then, perhaps, Federal authorities might pursue an indictment. This is an entirely different matter from inviting agents of the Federal government to sit in on our deliberations. Quit calling, Anonymous, for the Feds to violate our Constitution. There is already too much of that sort of thing going on as it is.
#4.1 Scott Walker on 2008-06-10 18:13
No I don't find it to be ludicious to invite federal authorities to any meeting.
In fact I would encourage it, if you are truthful, and have nothing to hide then really it wouldn't matter at all what council you sit on. The truth is the truth.
We pray for our civil authorities, our armed forces, the president of the united states, at every liturgy on sundays we certainly don't leave those who are called in these positions out of our prayer life, now do we.
I'm entitled to my opinion such as yourself,
Please don't spend so much time on marveling, I wish you a joyous feast day.
#4.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-15 22:46
Thanks for the advice, but one cannot but marvel sometimes. I borrow, just once, from our erstwhile friend, All Caps Anonymous Guy.
READ THE CONSTITUTION. ESPECIALLY THE FIRST AMENDMENT. The Feds cannot and will not take a seat at our councils. Period.
It is not a question of having nothing to fear. It is not even a matter of opinion, as the First Amendment says what it says, regardless of your opinion. Have any opinion you want; it's a free country, but what you are calling for is simply illegal and contrary to our Constitution.
And yes, thank you, I had a terrific feast day, until the Lakers won at the end of it.
#220.127.116.11 Scott Walker on 2008-06-17 06:59
I am sure that more must have been said at this Ottawa meeting, but from the reporting here, it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. What was offered by people talking for 3 hours?
One man not sure he wants to be a priest? OK. Another about the nature of the Church? Really, what does that mean? And another, not impacted by the recent events.
Great. I guess. But what am I missing? Confession? Repentance? Do we need to meet to say we need this? Of course we do, starting with each person, starting with me.
But here is where I am really confused......with the concluding statement....."will the Synod hear and act? " On what? That people have expressed their opinions? Concerns? Pain? What exactly do we want the Synod to react to? Say?
Sure, resign, retire, die. For sure they will all die, and so will the rest of us. I really am not trying to be a cynic here? I am just utterly underwhelmed by this first Town Hall.
Gosh, if they want to know how people feel, READ THIS WEBSITE. Does having a bishop or two in the room add more validation to what has already been said again and again.
I suppose if everyone sang Kumbaya when the meeting was over and went away felling like they were heard, it was a success? Rather low expectations wouldn't you say? Now that is really scary.
#5 What Am I Missing? on 2008-06-09 23:16
Reading the "OCA 15th All-American Council" blog (http://oca15aac.wordpress.com/) is dangerous to the emotional health of the reader. The reader will most likely experience high levels of frustration due to the lack of postings from the Preconciliar Commission (PCC) and the lack of timely responses from its members to questions or observations posted to the blog.
It appears that Bishop Nikon and, more surprisingly, Fr. Andrew Jarmus have yet to learn what power they have in the 15th AAC blog site. It is the power to engage many of the OCA faithful that view the coming AAC with skepticism, are most tired of and vocal in their criticism of the "pray, pay, and obey" ethos, and are highly likely to attend the 15th AAC as delegates or observers. It is the power to more realistically than ever plan an AAC that will meet the expectations of the faithful that will attend, and conversely manage the expectations of the delegates and observers to minimize disappointment with what is planned to happen at the AAC. And they squander that power. What a shame for the OCA to once again fail to take advantage of the power of modern communications technology to build up the feeling of community among the faithful of the OCA, no matter where they are located.
#6 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-06-10 03:57
Absolutely. One need only look to the Greek church to see use of video, sermons, etc.
We do need new leaders for reasons absent the scandal. If the bishops were really serious about reform, they would be teaching business classes at the seminary right now, instituting new technology and addressing the need to train priests on how to give meaningful sermons and serve the liturgy properly.
I am in the process of moving. In investigating new OCA churches, those in the area that I am moving do NOT have websites. Can you imagine? No website! Honestly. My current parish priest does NOT have a cell phone! This I don't understand.
If we are not teaching seminarians new technology and business to our seminary students, what are we to expect?
Every church is literally a small, not-for-profit business. Each should have its own website, financial data and technology to broadcast its message. Priests should have blackberries. I text now more than I phone! How can this church evangelize youth if it doesn't act in this manner? Respond to emergencies and broadcast the gospel. How about a text message telling me the latest sermon is online? Podcasts on the OCA site so you don't have to search the internet for them?
I'm so disappointed in our bishops. Sadly, this same parish with no financials and no website had a priest who served the liturgy like nothing that I ever seen. The sermon was also extremely shallow - failing to make any connection to Christ in my life today and the Gospel message.
This is the fault of our bishops. And, because I know that they read this, I will write plainly - Get a clue! No one - not even the RC Church is wearing vestments from the first millennium. Byzantium has long been conquered. Stop pontificating yourselves by vesting ceremoniously in the center of the church as if you are Christ himself. Your actions and negligence display something otherwise.
Reform yourselves and reform the church. For the sake of us all.
And, lastly, please have a meeting, hosted by +Herman in the NY / Washington Diocese. FACE your strongest accusers! If you are truly innocent, you'd have nothing to hide. But, you are not St. Paul - not hardly. It must be such a conflict for you to celebrate the liturgy.
May God have mercy on us all!
#7 Anonymous on 2008-06-10 06:35
" Podcasts on the OCA site so you don't have to search the internet for them?"
Are you living under a rock? Ancient Faith Radio has hundreds of hours of educational programs and sermons, more than any parish could ever provide. The Greeks have virtually nothing to do with it, and they have nothing like it. Several OCA priests provide content.
#7.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-11 11:41
Just a quick correction - Ancient Faith Radio is a wonderful resource but it isn't the only source. Orthodox Christian Network has been producing the only syndicated radio program in the country for many years - Come Receive The Light. This radio program produced by OCN is syndicated on radio stations around the country and available by podcast as well on OCN's web site. OCN also produces other audio podcasts as well as a video podcast.
OCN is a SCOBA agency that has the support and participation of all the SCOBA jurisdictions here in America. All the SCOBA Hierarchs, including Metropolitan Herman and Metropolitan Philip, created a special "Share The Light" Sunday the thrid Sunday of every January to support OCN.
Finally, it seems to be counterproductive to allow the current difficulties in the OCA to degenerate into the major sickness of our Orthodox experience in this country of reducing all our troubles to one ethnicity as opposed to another ethnicity. Why point out that "the Greeks" arent't involved with Ancient Faith Radio (inaccurate, by the way) and that "they" have nothing like it (also inaccurate). What good does that serve?
As a convert to Orthodoxy and a member of the GOA, I join my brothers and sisters in the OCA in praying for healing and authentic reconciliation within the OCA and among the sad jurisdictional rivalries that seem to please some, but simply cannot please the Lord.
Orthodoxy in America needs a healthy OCA, but more than that we need a healthy Orthodoxy. Let us pray for that vision. Orthodoxy has no human enemies.
#7.1.1 Barnabas Powell on 2008-06-13 09:06
We should use the most effective means at our disposal to coummunicate with people, not necessarily the most efficient or modern. There is much about modern technology that makes it more difficult to transmit the message of the Church simply because electronic media flatten everything. Also it is way too easy to allow the technology to be the end and not just a means.
However the most telling statement in your post is "Every church is literally a small, not-for-profit business."
Absolutely wrong in every way I can imagine! Where did you learn your ecclesiology? Of all the statements I have read on this blog, this one takes the cake for outstanding ignorance and arrogance, no, not arrogance, akedia, i.e, an orientation toward the world rather than toward salvation--busy, busy, busy; activity without meaning or purpose; communication without content or substance, but we did it in a nano-second therefore it must be great. Perhaps it is an indication of the root of the problems. Folks, its not just the bishops. Without a change of heart, nothing will change if all the bishops retire or resign or are kicked out. We get the kind of leaders we want and deserve. Our leaders reflect us, personify us, especially in the Church. There are exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions.
All the technology in the universe won't make a bit of difference if we don't love our Creator more than we love the creation; if we don't reject Satan and all his works, seek union with Christ in daily repentance and in the sacraments while allowing our minds and hearts to be conformed to the truth. TRANSFORMED LIVES, LOVING ONE ANOTHER not Blackberries. Please tell me how a Blackberry accomplishes forgiveness of sin? I'd much rather have my priest at the altar praying for me than accessible on a blackberry. I'd much rather that a parish community demonstrate active caring for one another and the larger community in which they live than have a web-site.
The various parish communities are not 'churches' there is only one Church. They are, or should be communities centered on the Holy Temple where we come together to worship and praise our Lord, God and Savior.
Lord have mercy!
#7.2 Michael Bauman on 2008-06-12 07:14
I strongly disagree. The money stolen here is outrageous, and money lost on the national and local levels takes away from ministry. Every church is a small not-for-profit business. Each church is actually needs to be required to submit finances on a quarterly basis and right this ship. As one with an MBA, I cannot believe money wasted on the national and local levels, primarily in terms of marketing. Why couldn't we on a national level provide a cell phone plan and discount to all of our priests to maximize the best possible deals? Same with the internet. Perhaps you are of a different generation, but I would never belong to a church, any church, that didn't have an email address and website. Some priests don't even have cell phones. Now, I won't judge. If these priests are standing on street corners and attracting new parishioners and young adults, that's wonderful, but I'm sure it's not the case. A lack of vision and direction at the national level hurts on all levels. And, business classes should be mandatory at our seminaries on the most basic of levels. Marketing and finance are essential. One Roman Catholic church in my area brings in nearly 20,000US a month on revenue from ads in its bulletin alone. I mentioned this to my priest and he said, "I don't know how to do it or have the time to do it?" He doesn't have a cell phone either! How about services? I went to 3 different churches in my diocese this past Lent and was a part of 3 different services. Each served it differently. What of refresher courses? I care about the church and want to see it progress and grow. It's no wonder we are shrinking!
#7.2.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-15 14:52
I have just read the reflections from the gentleman from Baltimore, MD as well as the Ottawa townhall meeting summary. True, many people feel it is the parish where the real christian work is done. Parishes and missions do charitable works without the need to send these funds to the central administration. The central administration solicited these charitable fund drives, received these funds and then used these earmarked funds for other purposes. Where is the honesty and integrity in this.The Bishops are given the command to love the church as the "husband should love his wife" in other words to lay down his life for her. From where I sit the bishops have not done this. "The wife has been abused by her husband. There is no remorse, no repentance, no acknowledgment just blaming the other as the abusing husband blames others and not himself. It is time for our Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan to act and reveal the whole truth and take the consequences of their actions. The Metropolitan should be the one asking for forgiveness and then resigning. Is the Metropolitan covering "his brother sins"; if so, resign and allow a new Synod of Bishops to be installed and carry on the mission of Christ's Church.
#8 cbshinn on 2008-06-10 08:06
Have we ever truly stood at the foot of the Cross on Golgotha with Mary, John and Mary Magdelene? To some extent, I suppose, each of us commenting here have suffered the "pain of loss" ...
Have we every truly gone to the Sepulcher with the Myrrbearing women to annoint the body of Christ, for a proper burial, and there find the timb to be empty? empty of what? but also full-filled! Yes!
Have we ever been confused by all kinds of reports, conjecture, suppositions, and unrest concerning what is happening in our Church, in our world, in our homes, in our own souls? Hopefully!
Have we ever tried to solve the seeming HUGE problems in our church? That is what we are trying to do for the past years. To what avail?
Hve we ever tried to be still in the midst of all the turmoil around us; and just simply connect to the ever-present Holy Spirit? Hopefully!
So during these 10days prior to the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in our Liturgical cycles -- the sunday, the 15th of June will be Pentecost!
We have all been hurt, confused, betrayed, gone to too many meetings, trying to unravel the thready mess that will not restore the "seemless garment of Christ Jesus" unless the lead thread is found in the weaving of our Church life, personal life and human life.
the questions remain: What? How? Why?
Hve we ever just simply gotten together to WAIT for the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth to appear in tongues of fire?
Perhaps we need to learn to wait, be still, and know the God is in control, not any one of us in particular.
Have we read the Act of the Apostles during the 50 days between Pascha and Pentecost? and realized that in the midsts of all the turmoils and unrests of the early Church, the Holy Spirit was always guiding through the weakness and uncertainties of the leaders and elders.
Are we looking for "UTOPIA", or are we going to finally enter into the Living Mystery of Christianity, day by day, as the process unfolds under and in the Light of the Holy Spirit? allowing the Mystery to grasp us, and not to always be trying to control the action of Life as it happens.
Modern technology, communications money, Government, or this wordly impulse that we find ourselves under that are to bring us back on track, it seems to me.
Just a "pence" from an unlettered, annonymous one who cares, loves and simply stays with the CROSS of Christ in Trust and Hope. For me that is where certainty lies, in the not knowing how Loooooooooooong it will take to resolve the infinite movement, but just knowing that the process goes on even without my little "pence" of input.
expecting the Holy Spirit to renew us all in God's time, not our limited time,
#9 annonymous on 2008-06-10 09:12
Despite the "breadth and depth of the candor" and the "open listening stance of the hierarchs," that whole exercise held in Ottawa is decidedly underwhelming. Twenty-five people in all were present, including two hierarchs and the 'Communications Director,' plus some persons from Upstate New York who are obviously not members of the Canadian Archdiocese, and how many faithful of the local Church were even there? Twenty people representing all of Eastern Canada? We know that the OCA is very thin on the ground in Canada and largely made up of people with very recent Orthodox pedigrees but this is ridiculous.
It would appear that most of the OCA convert communities in Canada share much the same attitude towards the Church as the dynamic Body of Christ as their co-religionists in the Diocese of the South. Having found the true faith and formed their little inward looking pietistic communities they're now too busy with ritualism, beards and Old Mother Russia to note the world the flesh and the devil which has infiltratred the very leadership of their church. Talk about the silence of the lambs.
Or is this really just a cynically manipulated ploy by the embattled leadership to take some of the heat off while they prepare a manipulated AAC in good old Orthodox fashion (i.e. the Clergy Laity Assemblies of the GOA) to prove to the vetted delegates that the problem has all been looked after and the membership can all go back to sleep and leave the affairs of the Church in the hands of the old anointed leadership as before? (who really do know what is best for all!)
One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. Clearly Orthodoxy in North America has a very long way to go yet to come to grips with an understanding of the modern Western world and its culture of engagement, accountability and transparency, to say nothing of the Gospel imperative. Burying one's head in the sand in little walled-off pietistic communities that deny the elephant in the room while concentrating on "the one thing necessary" is simply a recipe for irrelevency in this world.
One wonders how He who cleared the money changers from the temple in such deft and decisive fashion would look upon these little pre-ordained public containment exercises replete with tears and hankerchiefs. Surely there are tears in heaven tonight.
#10 Sartor Resartus on 2008-06-10 12:23
That the Archdiocese of Canada continues to be an instrument whereby God attracts new souls to the Holy Orthodox Faith should---one would be think---be a cause for rejoicing, not snarky (and perhaps jealous?) criticism.
That we are busy with things other than "ritualism, beards and Old Mother Russia"---especially since most of our "cradle Orthodox" in the Western heartland are proudly Ukrainian, and Bukowynian at that!---is evident precisely from the growth we're experiencing.
That the Town Hall in Ottawa did not attract more people may be due to the fact that because our Ruling Hierarch is more accessible than some others, a lot of us have already sounded off (and some of us, including this writer, at considerable length) and feel no need to repeat ourselves ad nauseam (which is Latin for "till you barf").
That Canadians generally are culturally and behaviourally rather different from their American cousins and, in consequence, are less fond of in-your-face confrontation (except at hockey games, of course) is something with which most Canadians are quite pleased.
So perhaps our courageous correspondent might want to reflect for...oh, I don't know...say, 100 years....on John 7:24.
#10.1 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2008-06-11 04:06
Can you explain what you mean by
"It would appear that most of the OCA convert communities in Canada share much the same attitude towards the Church as the dynamic Body of Christ as their co-religionists in the Diocese of the South. Having found the true faith and formed their little inward looking pietistic communities they're now too busy with ritualism, beards and Old Mother Russia to note the world the flesh and the devil which has infiltratred the very leadership of their church."
First of all, what experience do you have personally with the diocese of the south? It seems to me that if you are basing your experience on mere hearsay, you are really not qualified to speak on the spiritual condition of the Diocese of the South. But, again, you might be "in the trenches" as it were and know first hand what is going on, so please enlighten us, dear brother, or sister. However, I doubt that you have lived among us and thus are speaking out of an emotional outburst of anger at what's going on in syosset. Please, brother/sister, might it not be more beneficial to pray for us, who are in the south? Granted, you are right, I think in the essence of your comment: we are sinners, even very bad ones. More so the reason to pray for us, don't you think.
Vladyko Lazar, could you comment a little on what kind of comments are more destructive than constructive? It seems to me, that more often then not, I am guilty of more than my share of this, comments here are made from an emotionally agitated state of mind, anger, rage, and despondancy. How can we have a constructive and respectful dialogue on this and similar forums? Is there some principles from the Fathers that can guide us as we comment here so that we can have an honest dialogue while avoiding the corrosiveness than has often plagued this type of cyber-dialogue? I would greatly appreciate your advice.
by your prayers
#10.2 Bautista Cabrera on 2008-06-12 08:45
What becomes more evident as time passes is not only the culture of obfuscation, equivocation, tergiversation and inveracity that has dominated the Holy Synod of Bishops, but also the Synod's poor awareness of the nature of communication since the big-bang birth of the cyberworld.
Bishop Tikhon, retired, of the West, in a published reply to criticism by his fellows around the table at Syosset concerning his acid persona as the "Cyberbishop" on the internet, observed that when it comes to computers, the bishops are Luddites. (Ref: rioters in 19thc England who destroyed factory equipment believing that machines would deprive them of work; those who oppose technological change).
Surely there are bishops in our Holy Synod who simply brushed off the comment as yet another "Tikhonism", for they use computers, and think they are thoroughly modern in doing so. Equally, there are priests who spend hours a week at their computers doing research, working on sermons, orders of services and newsletters, who would reject such a criticism. And yet, on a certain level, the Cyberbishop might have been right. I'll try to explain what I mean, using the language of my old professor, the ever-memorable Marshall McLuhan.
The internet is an interesting amalgam of hot and cold media. Hot media are those that deliver a significant amount of information so that one is relatively passive in absorbing it: reading, writing, looking at pictures, movies. Thus the literary use of the computer as a combination of typewriter, printing press, library, archives, post office, telegraph, etc is hot. Hot media tend to be linear and logical, reinforcing rational values, order, authority, the greater societal and political structures.
Cold media are those that deliver information in such a fragmentary way that one is involved more actively in absorbing it:conversation, making and listening to music, drama, dance, circus, sports, performance and spectacle of all kinds. Thus, the communicative use of the internet as a combination of telephone, radio, television, recordplayer, is cold. Cold media tend to be non-linear, fragmentary, oral, reinforcing intuitive and emotional randomness, casualness, intimacy, synchronicity and serendipity, values of the smaller societal structures and communities-- the "global village".
With the advent of interactive media, we have an interesting mixture of hot and cold. If anyone thinks that he can continue to send an authoritative declaration from his cathedra using the computer as a typewriter/ courrier service to deliver an encyclical that the faithful will receive with awe, he is wrong. Microsoft and Apple have eliminated that possibility forever. That is too hot a use of a medium that has cooled down.
The absence of members of the Holy Synod of Bishops expressing themselves on the 'net is a grave mistake. Now, they are probably hesitant of throwing themselves into the global-oca- village, remembering the reaction to Bishops Tikhon and Nikolai. The mistake of these two was to use a cold medium to try to deliver a hot content. You cannot be authoritarian, distant, formal and linear (hot) on a medium that is fragmentary,spontaneous, non-linear, casual and intimate (cold). It was only a matter of time that these bishops would crash in the climatic disturbance they themselves created.
If any of the bishops decided to take to the internet, he would have to roll with the punches, answer directly and kindly with no equivocation or tergiversation, be polite, witty, spontaneous, sincere. He would have to avoid sounding like a textbook, allow intuition to show his fatherly knowledge, love and concern. He would have to present himself as conversational or even chatty, for information in the global village is passed over the back fence--even as "innocent" gossip. I know of one bishop who has made a good start at this kind of communication: Vladika Lazar.
At the advent of the video camera, Pat Boone appeared on TV to denounce the thing as the instrument of the devil that would be used for pornography. Similarly, I know a priest who denounces the internet as a vehicle for the devil's work, not the least of which are gossip, pornography and cybersex. There were similar puritan reserves about the horseless carriage. This kind of thinking is not far from luddism.
The idea of the town hall meetings is a good one, but only if the bishops who administer the dog and pony show are known as well on the "village party line"--the internet. The clergy must learn how to use to their advantage the media that have invaded overnight and changed collective consciousness and consciences, as a way to unify the church into one great "global parish." They are not doing so, and it is that which might make them Luddites. I hate to say it, but Bishop Tikhon's evaluation might be right on the money.
#11 hierodeacon Amvrosi on 2008-06-10 15:56
I believe there is something even deeper at work. The notion, or rather Canon I believe, that Bishop's must not interfere in each other's dioceses creates absurd boundaries and exceptional fear.
For example, if the OCA really wanted to grow the church, it would behave completely differently than it does today.
It would recognize and realize the ability for new mission churches to capitalize on other dioceses with gifts of labor, monetary gifts, and even the sharing of any excess Liturgical items. The central church could become a clearinghouse of information for struggling parishes, and upcoming parishes. Instead, each diocese, or even further down, each parish, struggles and those struggles are rarely known or spoke of..lest we offend the Bishops, or lead them to see the parish communities as weak, or the clergyman as weak.
I believe Tikhon of the West, as nutty as we may find him, overcame those fears or perhaps never had them. In the end, his words may have hastened his retirement, and he led by example, in a poor fashion, because he generally was a contentious fellow.
It would be good to hear more from our Bishops, much more. It would be even better for them to recognize how our governance structures hurt the church continually and for them to be bold enough to make some serious changes to rules than hinder, rather than foster the development of the OCA.
#11.1 Daniel E. Fall on 2008-06-12 16:45
Well, it sounds like it was a mixed experience, but I do think that this process is worthy of support. For better or worse, the Synod will never believe that the views expressed in various web forums represents the church. When they can hear and see people, see people they know to be faithful and involved, see the concern and hear the disappointment -- it may have an impact.
The key is that the SIC report be released and that its findings [which will, we hope, be honest and comprehensive] are acted upon. The call for confession and repentance as a necessary prelude to reconcilation is essential -- yes, as a church we must move on from this mess, but despite the 'for the good of the church' crowd, we will never move on unless we fully understand and acknowledge what we are moving on from.
I'm glad they are considering adding more of these. I had hoped to go to the one in DC [which is not at all convenient, but the only one that was remotely possible], but have to be in NYC that afternoon.
Let's hope the honesty continues and that more people show up for these meetings.
#12 Rebecca Matovic on 2008-06-11 14:59
The OCA appears to have been little more than a bureacratic playground for petty thieves who went through the motions, refined the art of looking good in their regalia (the definition of narcissism), all the while stealing the cookies from the cookie jar.
We still hope that these people were/are Christians who are willing to confess their sins and be forgiven so we can heal. Perhaps the healing will be very different. Perhaps the healing needs to be our admission that we empowered wolves to wear the sheep's (and the shepherd's) clothing. Perhaps they are not Christians. Perhaps they are frauds. Perhaps the sooner we stop wasting time hoping for the repentance of reprobates, the sooner we we will start getting somewhere with the stewardship of our time. Right now it seems we are wasting it in fruitless waiting on people who are not worthy of our wait. I suspect that the many appeals for "in God's time" in the past have been the falsely pious appeals of the thieves so that they could steal more from the widows and orphans. Waiting might be the right response sometimes, but not all the time, in every circumstance.
Let us stop waiting to repent of the sin of allowing ourselves to be duped... for being fools. Does not God desire more from us and our stewardship of the gifts, abilities and skills that He has given us?
#13 Anon. on 2008-06-11 17:43
Unfortunatley, the uncovering of past misdeeds and who may be responsible for them is like trying to figure out the intracies of rocket science or neurological surgery. What is scarry is that there actually exists, somewhere, by at least that person who did the deed (or who didn't do the deed, such as ignore the mess), what happened. But we faithful so far, do not get to know the entire picture.
The obfuscation of the truth is just too plain hard to miss. There appears to have been more integrity in the persistence of getting to the truth in the Nixon Watergate fiasco than in getting to the truth with the OCA. I am not sure we will ever see +Herman waive to the faithful as he embarks into his "helicopter" to ride off into the sunset of resignation or retirement.
If the town hall meetings are acting as a formal gesture to appreciate the faithful's concern, then this may just be a very significant indication of how important the upcomming AAC may prove to be this November in Pittsburgh.
Perhaps it is going to take some very gutsy (I didn't say nasty, mean, or vindictive, but gutsy) people to tell it to these bishops straight, or at least to one bishop, that there is a void of confidence.
We still have many excellent parish priests and faithful carrying the day. The actual successes of daily Orthodox life shadow and cover the awful mess that we still have yet to fully understand so we do not repeat it.
The SIC #2, if permitted to be released, may be the key to understanding the truth and being able to move some people along...
It seems to me, however, that any dramatic move into a fuller restoration of the OCA may only be with the faithful's involvement in the AAC...a mere 5 months away...
#14 Patty Schellbach on 2008-06-11 18:16
In reply to several posts above, it is correct to say that there is only "one church" not many "churches". However, each "church" is a non-profit business unto itself. Separate from theology is the "business" of the parish - fundraising, paying bills, etc. If the central church is in chaos, and has no set guidelines for its parishes and also continues to ignore teaching its priests business classes at the seminary, this church will never survive. My own parish priest did not know what a balance sheet was! And, by his own admission, his own checkbook "never balances". My girlfriend is Roman Catholic, and her parish collects quite literally over $25,000 in regular collections a week! Every week they break down their spending. Perhaps some priests understand finance and business, but i will bet the majority do not! Same with preaching. We need to get to the "real" business of the church. Forget evangelization! We need organization and responsibility in our church and also new leadership on the Metropolitan Council! The bishops and all members of the Metropolitan Council should step down! If this were a business, it would have ceased to exist years ago!
#15 Anonymous on 2008-06-12 15:26
Glory to IC XC!
As Christians, we cannot separate anything that we do from our theology. Sure, we clergy-types need to know what we are doing, and we need to show ourselves as a pattern of good works (Titus 2:7). But this is not separate from theology. Our theology needs to be the motivator. St. Paul even tells slaves to do their mundane, obligatory service to their masters "as to the Lord" (Ephesians 6:5-8 & Colossians 3:22-24). How much more our parish business!
Yet, your write: Separate from theology is the "business" of the parish - fundraising, paying bills, etc. and you go on to say, Forget evangelization!
Your statements define the problem exactly as we inherited it from the RSK school of church management.
Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik
St. Nicholas Mission Church
#15.1 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2008-06-13 16:35
Thank you for your comment. In response, I say of course the theology comes first. But, sadly, because of this scandal, even that is lacking in our church. In my parish alone, my priest is cutting services. Sermons run in circles, and hold little relevance to Christ in my life today.
With resources and proper finance, we can focus on the issues of the church. Our church is shrinking, not growing, particularly in Metropolitan areas. And, I just don't see how any of the bishops can raise their hands and offer the sacrifice with purity of heart as they hide behind their lies, and for that matter, do not schedule town meetings in major metropolitan cities.
In an age of Kenneth Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, WS scandals, etc., our church is no different.
#15.1.1 Anonymous on 2008-06-15 14:59
Please exercise a bit of restraint with the hyperbole. Don't Ottawa, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, constitute "metropolitan cities"? Edmonton and Hartford may also be considered metropolitan areas.
Isn't the real question regarding the PCC Town Hall meetings "Where can the PCC hold the fewest number of meetings with the largest concentrations of OCA members within a 'reasonable' travel distance/time?" For the dioceses of the Midwest, the South, the West, and Alaska, it would seem both obvious and necessary to schedule multiple Town Hall meetings to provide the faithful of those dioceses with the opportunities to participate.
Although I am afraid I already know the answer, I will ask the question: did the members of the PCC make use of any "geospatial aids" or "geospatial tools" in selecting the locations for the Town Hall meetings? In other words, did anyone on the PCC or assisting the PCC create maps showing the locations of OCA parishes, missions, and monastic communities to help in the selection of Town Hall locations?
#18.104.22.168 Mark C. Phinney on 2008-06-17 04:20
"Forget evangelization"! Words fail me. What, exactly, is then the point of all the activity that you, anonymous, want to see more of, complete with Blackberries and websites? If we are not offering the light of Christ to a suffering world, we have become the salt that has lost it's savor. Do you remember, anonymous, the ultimate destination of that useless salt, or have you forgotten the Gospels along with evangelization? Here's a hint: useless salt ends up in the same pile as the sweepings from the cattle stall, even if equipped with Blackberries.
#15.2 Scott Walker on 2008-06-14 09:19
Not in reply but just really concerned about what is happening in the South...Has anyone looked into the health of Bishop Dmitri? I do believe it is starting in the South all over again with no records and spending spending spending...Please change it before we loss everything down here also!
Very Very concerned.
#16 Anonymous on 2008-06-14 06:04
A complete set of the DOS financials are posted on the website. If you have questions as to where the dollars are going, or why, I'd be happy to discuss it with you.
Milos Konjevich, Treasurer
Diocese of the South
#16.1 Milos Konjevich on 2008-06-14 11:29
Dear 7.2.1, et. al.: I can think of no good reason to hide one's name on this blog. Our Lord Jesus Christ has told us that all will be revealed (What is occuring in the OCA is proof of His promise). He certainly knows who you are. Have no fear, He has overcome the world. I'm responing to your post even though it is clear you did not understand anything I wrote--must be my poor use of technology, huh? Would it help if I had a blackberry? If we were taking in person, I think it would have been far more clear and you would have understood more easily. It is quite hard to communicate complex ideas in e-mail; so many nuances and subtlties are left out. It strips the human if one is not careful.
That said, there is nothing wrong with the appropriate use of technology or with running a business. It is just wrong to identity them with the Church. (BTW: That "different generation" crap is just more arrogance showing and detracts from any substance there might be in your approach. In fact, it is a clear indication of exactly what I am talking about: miss-placed priorities. There are only two generations: the generation of our Lord Jesus Christ or the generation of the father of lies. The problem for us is discerning the difference)
Technology will not help solve the problems of the OCA, only repentance will. Unless there is something to communicate, technology is worse than useless; it can become an end in itself, an idol. It can be quite seductive. Technology is a tool not a cause or a panacea. Clearly, the type of technology one uses to communicate shapes the message one delivers. For that reason the Church has to be careful when using electronic technolgy or her message will be distorted. A blackberry in the hands of a bad priest in a dysfunctional community will do nothing positive. A blackberry in the hands of a good priest in a dynamic community will be just that, a blackberry in the hands of a good priest in a dynamic community--both of which preceeded the blackberry. It will be used well.
Evagelization does not necessarily mean large numbers. While there can certainly be a mass component to it, it is largely personal. It is not just the priest's job. It is your job as you meet people in your daily life. Do you invite other folks to share worship with you, or are you 'anonymous'?
Every study of commumnity growth ever done with which I am familiar says the invitation of an acquiantance is the single most effective tool in promoting larger attendance. The personal connection with one other person in the community within the first few weeks of attendance is what encourages people to stay. Love and caring. Humanity inspired by divinity.
God provides. If you are doing His work, you will have the money you need (not what you want nor will it necessarily be easy). Does your parish need $20,000 a week? For what? Reminds me of one the first committees I was on as a new member of the Orthodox Church. It was a fund raising committee deceitfully called a community growth committe. I asked a simple question, "What are we raising money for?" No one could answer me. In fact, they looked at me as if I were slightly crazy. The prevailing opinion was that we just needed to raise money, that was 'community growth'. I quit the committee and it disbanded shortly after that, praise God.
The attitude that "the-parish-is-a-business" is highly destructive. Of course, when I say that, you leap to the unfounded conclusion that I lack the understanding of the importance of proper financial controls and the necessity of accountability and even the need for money. You are wrong.
Money is primarily a medium of exchange and comes in many forms, some official, some not. If you are attempting to accumulate money for money's sake, that is greed. If you are attempting to use money to give the appearnce of power and authority in place of the Cross, that is apostasy and is a common temptation among Christians in the United States.
All human activity has an econcomic component. Such econcomic activity should be conducted with the highest integrity and with as little waste as possible, especially in the Church. That does not make a parish a business, especially an isolated business run for itself and by itself.
"To do the right deed for the wrong reason is surely the greatest treason" T.S. Eliot.
#17 Michael Bauman on 2008-06-17 08:22
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