2015 Clergy Laity Assembly
The Metropolis of Boston biennial Clergy Laity Assembly convened this past Saturday, October 3rd at the St. Demetrios Parish in Weston, MA. About 250 Clergy and Parish Leaders gathered together to hear dynamic speakers present on topics pertaining to the future of our church and ways to engage faithful stewards in the life of the church.
The keynote address was given by Dr. Anton Vrame, the director of the Department of Religious Education. He proposed the question, “Does the Future have a Church?” He was followed by Theo Nicolakis, the director of the Information Technologies Department for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Fr. Robert Archon, who serves the Portsmouth, NH parish.
Nine workshops were offered after the keynote speakers. All of the participants were encouraged to attend a workshop. The workshops that were offered were targeted to different area of ministry and were filled with information that could be taken back to the parishes and could be used to enrich parish life.
1. Does the Future Have a Church? - Dr. Anton Vrame
The session will be devoted to deeper discussion of the keynote presentation, with a focus on strategies that parishes and their ministries might begin to implement to address the challenges and the opportunities of the future. For example, how to become a more welcoming parish to non-Greek but Orthodox parishioners, how to incorporate service learning in parish programs, how to take advantage of the renewed interest in local communities.
2. Technology Roadmap For Ministry - Theo Nicolakis
During this session participants are invited to sit down in a roundtable discussion with Theo Nicolakis, Chief Information Officer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, to discuss:
- The core digital communication tools every parish should be using with a special focus on the services provided by the Department of Internet Ministries
- The opportunities to engage parishioners with their faith on a daily and weekly basis
- Specific challenges parishes may be facing and how those challenges can be aided with digital tools
3. Not Your Parent's Offering Plate. "Creating Generous Stewards" - Rev. Fr. Robert Archon
Stewarding Disciples: This session will explore the following:
•What keeps us from giving generously to God?
•Why do we continue to be reluctant and generous givers?
•What are the issues that parishioners face prohibiting them from becoming
•Even if we are on Stewardship, why are majority of parishioners still giving as
if they are under the “dues” mentality?
•Understanding Biblical and Science of generous giving
•Developing generous Stewards in our parishes
•How we can support our parish ministries fully through Stewardship
•Creating Disciples who are generous in all they do
4. Youth Ministry, MBC and the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center
The break-out session will cover relationship building strategies used in youth ministry. Building these relationships is the foundation of youth work in many settings. We will also focus on making connections between MBC and parish youth ministry. The session will conclude with an open discussion on how MBC may effectively serve your parish.
5. Sunday School Teachers/DOXA: Strategies for Small Church Schools
“We have 12 kindergarteners, 2 second-graders, 9 fifth-graders … and 1 classroom. Help!” True story. Small parishes often need to combine age groups in their religious education programs. This workshop will present curriculum planning and teaching ideas for engaging students of different ages, with time to share your own challenges and tips.
6. Philoptochos Ministries - Metropolis Philoptochos Board
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc. is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America that has offered more than eighty years of philanthropy through a multitude of programs that make a difference in the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world. Its mission is to “help the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, those with disabilities and the victims of disasters through its National and Metropolis Boards and its 26,000 members and more than 400 active chapters, nationwide. During this session, we will discuss how the National, Metropolis and parish chapters work together for one common goal.
7. Federation of Greek Orthodox Musicians
This session will be an introduction to Byzantine Notation: Why is it different from Western Staff Notation? How does it work?
8. Finance - Parish Council Procedures and Administrative Practices
Join members of our Metropolis Finance Committee together with local Parish Council members where we will discuss and share best practices for Parish Council procedures, review the proper documentation and financial statements that should be presented at each meeting, as well as a brief discussion regarding the Archdiocesan Software Initiative Program.
9. Parish Bylaws Workshop - GOA Uniform Parish Regulations (UPR)
This breakout session will provide an overview of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Uniform Parish Regulations (UPR) and Metropolis of Boston Model Bylaws (Model Bylaws) in an effort to assist parishes with their work in the development of their own parish bylaws. Whether your parish is considering amending its existing bylaws in whole or in part, or drafting bylaws for the first time, this session will provide an opportunity to ask questions about the UPR, and to discuss the use of the Model Bylaws as a tool in crafting local bylaws.