Report from the Diocese of Toledo Parish Life Conference
“How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
From June 27th thru July 1st, the clergy and laity of the Midwest gathered in Chicago for the 65th Annual Parish Life Conference of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, hosted by St. Mary Orthodox Church of Palos Heights, IL. His Grace Bishop Anthony was warmly welcomed to his very first PLC as Bishop of the Midwest by over 750 participants, eager to meet their new Bishop.
The fellowship, camaraderie, and positive spirit were apparent throughout the entire Conference. The beautifully designed chapel was filled to capacity for church services, the meetings and workshops were well attended, the Friday Night Dinner & Comedy Show and the Saturday Grand Banquet were sold out, and the long awaited Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festival did not disappoint: 24 Bible Bowl teams and 11 oratorical participants competed in two of the most anticipated PLC events, with avid supporters cheering on, with the help of drums and trumpets (literally!).
During the Conference, many teens participated in a service project at a Christian organization called “Feed My Starving Children”, where they packed over 10,000 meals. In addition, in lieu of party favors for the Grand Banquet, the Conference Committee made a donation to “Feed My Starving Children”, which will purchase enough food to feed 175 children for an entire month!
In the midst of the Bible studies, liturgical services, meetings, workshops, Bible Bowl, Oratorical Festival, luncheons, and social events, it was evident that the atmosphere of the Conference was vibrant, enjoyable, and gratifying. Although attendance was outstanding, the Conference did not focus on numbers, but rather, on prayer, fellowship, and education.
On the last day of the conference, His Grace Bishop Anthony celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy along with 26 clergy from the Diocese of the Midwest. At the end of Liturgy, His Grace inducted 10 new members into the Order of St. Ignatius. It was a glorious way to end what many are calling the most successful Parish Life Conference in years.