47th Convention Highlights
The 47th North American Convention of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America was held in Dearborn, Michigan from July 25th through July 31st, 2005. The convention was hosted by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Troy, Michigan and was attended by 2,500 faithful. It was the first regular convention held since the granting of self-rule status by the Holy Synod of Antioch by unanimous resolution in October, 2003. Highlights of the Convention included:
A. The organizational and departmental meetings held earlier in the week
B. The General Assembly held on Thursday and Friday
C. The North American Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festival
D. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday concelebrated by Metropolitan PHILIP, Archbishop of New York and All North America, the visiting Metropolitan PAUL, Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand, and the six diocesan bishops of the North American Antiochian Archdiocese
The General Assembly was attended by 1,000 delegates comprised of pastors, retired pastors, clergy who are full-time department heads, North American and diocesan presidents of organizations, and Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees. The General Assembly took specific action on the following items:
- The delegates approved a voluntary contribution plan for clergy and full-time employees of the Archdiocese whereby the contributor may deposit up to 3% of his or her salary into the fund, and the parish (for pastors) or the Archdiocese (for full-time employees) may match this 3% contribution.
- The delegates approved a new and significant system by which the parishes of the Archdiocese will contribute to the Archdiocese budget. The old system had consisted of a fixed dollar amount that each parish contributed based on the number of people reported by the parish census. The new system will eventually result in the parish tithing to the Archdiocese based on its Operating Income. The 10% will be attained by starting with 8% in 2006, 9% in 2007, and 10% in 2008.
- The delegates approved a resolution calling on SCOBA to act decisively to plan and implement Orthodox Unity in North America (attached)
- The delegates approved a resolution in vigorous opposition to extreme positions being taken by so-called “left-wing”, and “right-wing” Christian groups (attached)
- The delegates approved a motion which removes the Archdiocese from membership in the National Council of Christian Churches in the USA (NCCCUSA), in light of the shift of the NCCCUSA to a position which no longer contributes to the mission of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in North America. This move does not signal an end to participation in ecumenical dialog, and membership in appropriate groups. On the contrary, it allows our attention to be focused on participation in groups which are consistent with the mission of this Archdiocese in North America.