Speakers announced for second Small Parish Forum
WEIRTON, WV [OCA] — Speakers for the second Small Parish Forum, which is being cosponsored by the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania and the Diocese of the Midwest at Saint Nicholas Church here June 18-20, 2015, were recently announced.
“The Forum is unique in that it focuses on the needs of numerous small parishes throughout the Orthodox Church in America and other Orthodox jurisdictions, and we are pleased to offer a strong array of Forum contributors that will explore the theme, ‘Becoming Stewards of Our Parish Future,’” said Joseph Kormos, Forum co-chairperson and Parish Development Leader for the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh. “The presence of these speakers will enable us to offer a range of topics critically important to the life of 21st century Orthodox parishes.”
Archpriest Thomas Soroka will reflect upon his experiences in leading change in parishes with a long history, while Archpriest Marc Vranes, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Willimantic CT, will provide a profile of how new life was breathed into a parish in a small town. Father Marc will offer specific tools and tips in use in the parish. Priest Jonathan Bannon will offer insights into invigorating Christ the Savior Church, Rockville, IL [American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese], including recent successful community outreach efforts.
In addition to examples of parish renewal, a variety of topical sessions will offer specific tools and assistance. Prof. David Drillock, who chairs the OCA’s Department of Liturgical Music, will offer sessions dedicated to liturgy and worship, during which techniques for strengthening liturgical singing in small parishes will be explored. Priest Stephen Frase will offer insights into sharing the Gospel in a 21st century environment, while Priest Basil Biberdorf will lead discussions and offer insights on education and faith formation in small parishes. Ann Marie Mecera, Orthodox leader and author, will share experiences of building lay leadership, dealing with conflict and motivating the faithful during the early phases of parish life at Saint Gregory of Nyssa Church, Columbus, OH. Joseph Kormos will offer recommendations for growing parish stewardship by focusing on “meaning before money.”
“Small parishes can bring people to Christ in intimate and exciting ways often unavailable to larger parishes,” said co-chairperson Archpriest Daniel Rentel. “In addition to a top notch array of speakers we will have plenty of time for discussion, interaction and individual assistance. Our goal is to assist and inspire small parishes to achieve stability, build positive self-images, and accept their calling to live a life in Christ without necessarily becoming “big.”
Registration may be completed on-line here. Registration is open to all clergy and laity regardless of jurisdictional affiliation. The $100.00 per person registration fee will include lunches and dinners, coffee breaks, and forum materials. Scholarships covering partial expenses are available to small parishes from the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania and the Diocese of the Midwest. To help build fellowship and dialogue among attendees registration will be limited to 70 persons.
The Forum location is 22 minutes from the Pittsburgh airport, less than four hours from Detroit, and four and a half hours from DC and five hours from Scranton/Philadelphia. Over half of the OCA’s parishes are within a manageable drive of the site. A block of rooms has been reserved at two local hotels. Hotel registration is the responsibility of the attendee. More information is available on the Forum web page here. Questions may be directed to Joseph Kormos at firstname.lastname@example.org.