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8.10.08 Statement to the South River Town Hall

How has the OCA affected me personally?
As many of you know, I am the daughter of a priest, a wife of a priest, a mother and grandmother. I am not a public speaker.  I am distraught about what has happened and is happening in the OCA, and utterly confused about why it is taking so long to get us out of this morass.
Like many, I am disappointed in the bishops.  I don't trust "Syosset".....  I fear the Metropolitan will do something to my husband, to my son, and/or my son-in-law..... Fear prevents most of the priests and their families from saying anything. They wait for others to say something and to see what happens. 
Archbishop Job, Protodeacon Eric Wheeler, and a few others put their heads on the line. My husband and I have talked about this extensively. The bottom line is that everyone, beginning with the bishops, has to do what's right. No more lies. No more cover-ups. It wasn't  only one person who was responsible for all of our problems.
Speak the truth in love about all who were responsible,  and act as though we believe in the One, Holy, Apostolic Church and Jesus Christ.
Because I also want to have faith in the OCA, here are some thoughts on the best case scenario for resolving the problems besetting the OCA:
 • We need new leadership: a real bishop, a father who treats his children with Christ-like love.   A bishop who is always there (not hiding in "constant motion".)  

• Priests/Laymen who take their responsibilities seriously and are not "yes men".

• Confession and True repentance by ALL for their sins of commission and/or omission.

• Transparency: Have all the books open...Syosset, St. Tikhon's Seminary, Monastery and Orphanage --  St. Vladimir's, etc.

•  When abuse happens... deal with it -- immediately. Got an immoral priest or bishop?  Deal with him. Don't cover-up or sweep things under the rug.   Th former Diocese of NY/NJ is a perfect example..... (where Metropolitan Herman said;) "You will never find out where the money went, there'll be no audits and no more questions, just get back to the business of the Church".

    *  Our diocese  should represent the diocese-at-large, not just one parish -- as is the case now-- with its inherent risk of single-mindedness and bias.

The upcoming AAC will be able to address my concerns.......only if all is disclosed so that we can start afresh. 

The Special Investigative Commission report and how it is handled will be a sign.
Here's what the Church needs: 

Election of each diocesan bishop by each diocesan assembly and of the metropolitan by the entire All-American Council.   Our choice of metropolitan will, unfortunately, be limited to the bishops we have, most of whom were not elected. 

We need new leadership: a real bishop, a father who treats his children with Christ-like love. A bishop who is always there (not hiding in "constant motion").   
-- Mariam Vernak



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