Bishop John at parish council seminarBy Bishop John, Diocese of Worcester and New England
I was elected to serve on a parish council when I was 18 years old. I am indebted to those who served on that and subsequent parish councils for teaching me so much. Because of this early positive experience, I have paid special attention to parish councils and parish council experiences my whole adult life. I served on parish council and worked with it while studying business, theology, psychology and sociology, and I have reflected on the parish council experience from each of these perspectives. With 42 years of parish council experience, I have great love and respect for the parish council system of our Archdiocese and for those who are willing to serve. I do understand, though, what those who are reluctant to serve are talking about.
Parish councils are supposed to be made up of dedicated Orthodox Christians willing to serve the Church and her people in leadership roles. This service should be in harmony with the pastor and other council members, as well as with the leadership of the diocese and the Metropolitan. Christian leadership as described and modeled by Christ is always through service and love. Our Lord girded Himself and washed the feet of the disciples. People who serve are not paid for their service, and offer themselves generously, bring- ing invaluable business, military, civil service and professional know-how.