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2009 Archdiocese Convention

The 49th Convention of our Archdiocese is being held at JW Desert Springs Marriott Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, California, from July 19-26, 2009. This section will be our home on for the daily coverage we'll be providing from the Convention itself. May our gathering be greatly blessed!

General Assembly Continues on Friday, July 24

Today is the second day of the General Assembly of the Archdiocese Convention. Douglas Cramer and Ginny Nieuwsma, of the Dept. of Internet Ministry, will be updating this post with news from the assembly throughout the day. Ancient Faith Radio will be posting audio segments of the General Assembly throughout the day as well. Please check back as the day progresses for updates.

2:05pm: Extensive discussion continued during and following the report from the Dept. of Legal Affairs. Scheduled new business regarding the 2013 Convention and the appointment and election of Archdiocesan Trustees concluded the General Assembly, which adjourned at 2:00pm with concluding prayers led by Bishop JOSEPH.

1:05pm: Reports followed from the Dept. of Chaplain and Pastoral Counseling Ministry, and from Charles Ajalat concerning the new Pan-Orthodox charitable ministry FOCUS North America.

12:50pm: Metropolitan PHILIP's presentation was followed by the report of the Dept. of Finance. Many comments from the floor followed, initiating a lengthy back-and-forth discussion with Metropolitan PHILIP, Robert Laham, the bishops, officers of the Archdiocese, and others, around the topic of the need for and nature of financial audits of the Archdiocese. Much of the discussion centered on the technical details of auditing, what entities would need to be audited, the costs of auditing, auditing requirements and pros and cons, and more. The discussion was closed when a motion was approved to accept the Dept. of Finance report.

General Assembly Begins on Thursday, July 23

Today is the first day of the General Assembly of the Archdiocese Convention. Douglas Cramer and Ginny Nieuwsma, of the Dept. of Internet Ministry, will be updating this post with news from the assembly throughout the day. Ancient Faith Radio will be posting audio segments of the General Assembly throughout the day as well. Please check back as the day progresses for updates.

4:00pm: Reports were delivered by the Dept. of The Word, after which Fr. John Abdalah was presented with bound sets of recent issues of the magazine with a special inscription from Metropolitan PHILIP; the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America; the Dept. of Lay Ministry; and the Dept. of Convention Planning. These were followed by a rousing presentation from Fr. Joseph Purpura of the Dept. of Youth and Parish Ministries, recognizing the central role of our youth in the Archdiocese, and from Amanda June Sahawneh, President of NAC Teen SOYO. Gifts prepared for Metropolitan PHILIP by Teen SOYO are to be presented tomorrow, as His Eminence has not been present at the Assembly after lunch.

Antiochian Women General Assembly Audio Available

Audio from Wednesday's general assembly of the Antiochian Women at the 2009 Archdiocese Convention is now available on Ancient Faith Radio.

Click here to listen to the morning session.

Click here to listen to the afternoon session.

New Direction for Conciliar Media

John and Tonya MaddexJohn and Tonya MaddexThe 2009 Antiochian Convention in Palm Desert coincided with the announcement by Conciliar Media Ministries that the ministry is discontinuing AGAIN and The Handmaiden magazines in their current printed forms, as well as moving the base of operations for Conciliar to the Chicago area.

Said CEO John Maddex, “We are embracing new technology that will reduce our costs by utilizing digital and audio formats where possible. While such decisions are difficult, these adjustments represent a necessary pruning and will result in a new lean model of operations with a continued strong evangelistic emphasis.”

Images from Tuesday Evening Vespers

All the Antiochian hierarchs were in attendance at Vespers on Tuesday evening. His Grace Bishop THOMAS gave the final blessings. The homily was provided by Fr. John Salem of St. George Church in Houston, Texas.

Click here to see more photos from Tuesday Vespers.

2009 Archdiocese Convention Audio on Ancient Faith Radio

Ancient Faith Radio is on the job at the 2009 Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, California. Visit AFR's site to listen to key speeches, events, divine services and other gatherings. Highlights so far include a pre-convention interview with Co-Chairman Don Meena about the work that went into planning and preparing this year's conference; an interview with Fr. Consantine Nasr of St. Elijah in Oklahoma City; plus recordings of Vespers and Divine Liturgy.

Click here to listen!

2009 Archdiocese Convention Begins

The 2009 Archdiocese Convention began on the morning of Sunday, July 19 in Palm Desert, California. Events commenced with the celebration of orthros and Divine Liturgy, as well as a Teen SOYO leadership workshop. Divine Liturgy commemorating the Prophet Elias was celebrated on Monday morning, and Monday's schedule also contained a variety of youth activities.

The Convention will continue through Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 26. Please check our 2009 Convention page here on for continuing updates and images. For any registration and logistical information, please click here.

Click here for more photographs from the convention.

Soliciting Convention Photographs for will have two people attending the Archdiocese Convention. Along with meetings, presentations and posting updates from the convention, we'll also be taking as many good digital photos for posting on this web section as we can. But since we won't be in attendance for the entire gathering, and can't be everywhere at once, we're eager to consider using any images other convention attendees may be able to submit to us. (There will also be a professional photograph chronicling the convention.)

Convention Planners Release Information on Local Meal and Service Locations for Attendees

A 10 minute WALK from the hotel (plan your walk for the early morning or late evening) 
Directions:  follow the marked pedestrian walkway along the hotel entrance drive; cross Country Club Drive at the light; turn right following the sidewalk; turn left at the entrance to the Desert Springs Marketplace.

Ralph’s (supermarket) – open from 6 a.m. to midnight every day; provides an excellent Boar’s Head Deli with salads, hot meals for less than $10, sandwiches, soup bar, salad buffet, fresh fruit, juices, cold beverages, Coffee Bean kiosk, full bakery and much more.  For discount at check-out provide cashier with Ralph’s member number: 6617990131

Liturgy Reminder for Early Arrivals

Should you be arriving in Palm Desert a day earlier:  We will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 19, together with Father David Kruse, and the Palm Springs Antiochian Mission of St. Raphael and those who will be attending the Pre-Convention Youth Leadership Meetings.  Orthros will precede Liturgy, beginning at 9 a.m.  On Monday, July 20th, we will celebrate the Feast of St. Elias with Liturgy, beginning at 9:30 a.m.