On Wednesday May 19th The Constitution Reconciliation Committee met in Englewood, NJ under the chairmanship of His Grace Bishop JOSEPH. The goal for this committee is to reconcile any remaining differences between the current Archdiocesan Constitution (approved by our General Assembly at a special meeting which was convened in Pittsburgh, PA in July 2004), and the Constitution that was approved by the Holy Synod of Antioch in October 2004. The Committee conducted a line-by-line “read-through” of a document that highlighted the differences between the two constitutions. The committee noted several areas where the changes introduced in the version approved by The Holy Synod of Antioch are acceptable, and should be recommended for inclusion in the Archdiocesan Constitution. The committee also noted several areas where the changes need to be clarified and perhaps modified in light of the Self-Rule status that was granted to this Archdiocese by a Resolution of the Holy Synod of Antioch on October 9th, 2003. The committee will meet again to finalize the recommended amendments.
The second committee, also under the chairmanship of His Grace Bishop JOSEPH, was chartered to study the current “Manual of Hierarchical Duties and Responsibilities” (originally approved by the Archdiocesan Synod on June 4, 2004, and amended on July 23, 2008), and this committee met on Thursday May 20th. The scope of the committee was expanded to include a review of the new Clergy Guide which is currently in draft form. A line-by-line “read-through” of The Manual of Hierarchical Duties and Responsibilities was conducted, and suggested changes were noted. The detailed review of the Clergy Guide was begun, but could not be completed in the available time. The committee will hold another meeting to complete this review.
The Archdiocesan Synod of Bishops convened for their regular Spring meeting in Englewood, New Jersey on Thursday May 20th in the evening, and continued on Friday May 21st in the morning. The hierarchs participated in a lengthy and thoughtful discussion regarding the North American Episcopal Assembly which is currently in session in New York City. Each of our hierarchs gave a report on important developments in his diocese since the last meeting, with a focus on the status of existing missions and the development of new missions. The hierarchs discussed the topic of financial transparency at the local parish and mission level. As a result of this discussion, the Synod gave a mandate to the Archdiocesan Department of Finance to develop a policy at the Archdiocesan level that will specify a standard set of procedures, processes and reporting which apply to parish and mission finances. In addition, it was decided that the monitoring of this policy will be implemented at the diocesan level with the details of the actual implementation left to the bishop in each diocese.
The Archdiocesan Board of Trustees convened for their regular Spring meeting on Friday May 21st in the evening, and continued on Saturday May 22nd in the morning. This meeting was held in the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The Board of Trustees approved the Archdiocese Financial Report for the fiscal year which ended on January 31, 2010, and the proposed budget for the fiscal year which will end on January 31, 2012. Both the Financial Report and the Proposed Budget will be sent to all of the parishes and missions for review, and for approval at the sessions of the Metropolitan’s Advisory Council which are convened during each Parish Life Conference in the years where there is no Archdiocesan Convention. In addition, the 2011 Archdiocesan Convention Committee gave a report on the planning for this Convention. The 2011 Convention is being hosted by the parish of St. George in Cicero Illinois and will be held in Chicago. The heads of the following departments also gave status reports:
- Antiochian Village Camp, Heritage and Learning Center, and Village Council
- Department of Statistics and Credentials
- Antiochian Women and The Fellowship of St. John The Divine
- Department of Youth Ministry
- The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch