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.

3:10pm: The Assembly continued after lunch with reports from the Dept. of Internet Ministry; the Dept. of Stewardship; and the Dept. of Sacred Music. Chris Holwey of the Dept. of Sacred Music led the Assembly in singing the Pentecost Troparion as evidence of the beauty of having access to a common version of important liturgical music. The Dept. of Christian Education followed with an extensive report that included a recognition of this department's 10 year anniversary, as well with a heartfelt recognition of the need to better understand the new media-driven environment in which our children live, in order to better serve them.

1:15pm: Reports continued through the morning, with presentations from: the Dept. of Theological and Pastoral Education (followed by individual recognition of recent graduates); the Antiochian Village and Antiochian Village Council (followed by a presentation of a gift to Metropolitan PHILIP of an 11th century map of Damascus in recognition of his 50th anniversary to the priesthood, which His Eminence then donated to the Village Heritage and Learning Center); the Dept. of Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Faith Relations; the Western Rite Vicarite (before which Metropolitan PHILIP enthusiastically expressed his 100% support for the Western Rite within our Archdiocese); the Dept. of Liturgics; the Clergy Insurance Commission; the Dept. of Missions and Evangelism; and Conciliar Media Ministries. This final presentation before lunch concluded with a hearty round of applause honoring Fr. Thomas Zell, who is leaving Conciliar, for his decades of faithful service to that ministry.

11:40am: Departments and Commissions of the Archdiocese began presenting their reports to the Assembly, following a presentation by Myriam Shwayri on the Al-Kafaat Foundation of Lebanon. The first report delivered was for the Board of Trustees Nominating Committee by Fr. George Kevorkian, naming 10 candidates for 10 open positions. After the report was accepted and seconded, a motion was made from the floor by Tamara Northway of St. Stephen Church of Campbell, CA, to the effect that no individual with a criminal record be eligible to serve on the Board. The motion was approved by voice vote.

10:50am: Episcopal Assistant Fr. George Kevorkian announced that a quorum was present, through attendance and proxy of 827, and that the assembly could proceed. Metropolitan PHILIP continued with an introduction of new officers of the Archdiocese. He began with an acknowledgement of his acceptance of the resignation of previous chancellor Robert Koory and the introduction of new chancellor Deacon Emile Sayegh; continued with introductions of other officers and members of the Board of Trustees; and moved to an introduction of Mother Alexandra, the acting Mother Superior of the new St. Thekla's Convent at Antiochian Village. (See here for more on that story.)

Palm Desert, CA, 10:30am: 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. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP opened the assembly by leading the gathering in prayer.