Dept. of Stewardship News


Do We Need to Rethink the Parish Council?

Bishop John at parish council seminarBishop 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.

2013 General Assembly Report of the Dept. of Stewardship

51st Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Convention
July 21-28, 2013 ... Houston, Texas

The Department of Stewardship has worked on the projects and initiatives detailed below since it last reported to the General Assembly during the 50th Archdiocese Convention in Chicago, Illinois in July, 2011. The Department expresses its continuing thanks and appreciation to Metropolitan Philip for his love, guidance, and leadership. We also wish to also express thanks to our Auxiliary Bishops for their support and for the encouragement they provide as we reach out to parishes throughout the Archdiocese. We pray God will grant our beloved hierarchs many years of good health as they shepherd our Antiochian Archdiocese.

Stewardship Interview: "Giving is Part of our Spiritual Life"

Ronald Nicola, Department of StewardshipRonald Nicola, Department of StewardshipThe Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Stewardship's Chair Ronald Nicola taught high school social studies and served as a vice-principal for many years. A California native, he grew up attending St. Nicholas Church in San Francisco. He and his family have been members of St. John the Evangelist Orthodox Church in Orinda, California since its founding in 1978.

Ron has been active in many ministries of the Archdiocese, from SOYO to parish council to a twenty-year period of service on the Board of Trustees. Through these experiences, he developed an interest in Christian stewardship and the Scriptural teachings that guide the faithful in their offerings of time, talents, and treasure. Recently, the Department of Stewardship added two substantial resources to the web: The Fifty-Two Week Parish Giving Campaign, and the Parish Council Guidebook. The department is also responsible for the upcoming Parish Council Symposium in November.

Antiochian.org spoke with Ron about the ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Department of Stewardship.

1. What is the Department of Stewardship—when was it founded, and why?

Metropolitan Philip established the Department of Stewardship in 1975 and he appointed the late Ernest Saykaly of Montreal, Quebec, as its first chairperson.  

Giving and Parish Council Resources Available from Department of Stewardship

The Department of Stewardship highlights two new online sections dedicated to strengthening our parish communities. 

52-Week Giving Campaign: The Campaign is a program led by the Parish Council, based on scriptural and church teachings, and not focused on the parish’s financial condition. Councils can study this Fifty-Two Week model, and then either implement the full program as outlined (a year-long teaching process) or adapt portions of the program to local parish realities. Includes a range of supporting articles.

Parish Council Guidebook: A guide to conducting the work of the Parish Council in a manner consistent with Orthodox Christian teachings and traditions. This manual is a resource for instructing Parish Councils on their lay ministry, and training new Parish Council Members. Includes supporting articles from Metropolitan Philip and Archbishop Joseph.

Updated Parish Council Guidebook Available

The Archdiocese Department of Stewardship has recently released a new revision of its Parish Council Guidebook (2012 Version, PDF).

Two Important Stewardship Documents

The department has just released online two very important documents for your parish to download, review, field test and comment on prior to official publication. (Some referenced articles and appendices are still to be released.) These pilot projects should prove vital to your local Stewardship efforts:

A Parish Council Guidebook (PDF)Conducting the work of the Parish Council in a manner consistent with Orthodox Christian teachings and traditions. This manual is a resource for:

  • Instructing Parish Councils on their lay ministry.
  • Training new Parish Council Members.

A Fifty-Two Week Parish Member Giving Campaign (PDF):  A program led by the Parish Council, based on scriptural and church teachings, and not focused on the parish’s financial condition.  Councils can study this Fifty-Two Week model, and then:

  • Implement the full program as outlined; a year-long teaching process.
  • Adapt portions of the program to local parish realities.