National Philoptochos Biennial Convetion Report

Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos
2006 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention

Gaylord Opryland Hotel
Nashville, Tennessee
July 16-20, 2006


The 2006 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention was held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee from July 16-20, 2006. Representing the Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos were President Diane Miminos and First Vice-President, Tina Caramanis. Convention Chairmen were Maria Stavropoulos, Katherine Kotsis and Eleni Zaferes. Maria Logus served as Presiding Officer.

The Convention was called to order by National President Georgia Skeadas on Sunday, July 16, 2006. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios offered the invocation and addressed the delegates. In his remarks, Archbishop Demetrios referred to Philoptochos as “an army of women”. In welcoming the delegates, Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit stated that the parishes would be lost without Philoptochos.

President Skeadas reported on the activities of the organization during the past two years. During that time, several unprecedented natural disasters occurred and she praised the efforts of Philoptochos for coming to the aid of the victims of the hurricanes, earthquake and tsunami. Other achievements were the implementation of the Literacy Outreach program, the National Philoptochos newsletter, an enhanced website, and a successful Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon. It was announced that the next CMF Luncheon will be held in Orange County, California in 2007. President Skeadas informed us that well over $4.8 million was donated to National Commitments and special projects since her tenure began in 2002.

National Treasurer Aphrodite Skeadas presented the Treasurer’s report and reviewed donations to our commitments and special programs. The 2007-2008 Budged was also presented and adopted.

We heard reports from representatives of the many programs supported by Philoptochos, including RCA, National Sisterhood of Presbyteras, General Medical Fund, and Family and Society. Dr. Anthony Limberakis urged the delegates to contact their parishes and elected officials to encourage support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Rev. Fr. Constantine Sitaras presented the report on Saint Basil Academy and provided an insight into both the educational program and emotional support given to the Academy’s students.

Rev. Fr. Mark Leondis, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, indicated that the main goal is to keep our college students connected to the faith and ask for our support of the Connect Kit program. Representing IOCC, Rev. Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou thanked Philoptochos for the extraordinary support given to the hurricane and tsunami victims and for the wheelchairs sent to the Republic of Georgia. He reported that there are now 120 people in 15 nations working for IOCC. President Skeadas presented Fr. Triantafilou with a donation of $45,000.

Fr. Triantafilou also reported on Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology and said that the core curriculum has been updated at Hellenic College. Mr. Charles Kroll reviewed the financial report and highlighted the major capital improvements. It was also reported that there has been a significant increase in enrollment in both schools over the past five years.

During the Social Services presentation, a synopsis of the program and new website were explained. A Social Services Workbook and a check for $10,000 were distributed to each Metropolis President. These funds are to be used for the immediate physical needs of the elderly.

Four Resolutions were adopted at the Convention. These will go on to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios for approval before implementation. They are:

  • To support the efforts of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to stop the persecution of the Patriarchate and to authorize Archbishop Demetrios to transmit the resolution to President George W. Bush, the U.S. Congress and members of the Cabinet.
  • To transfer the funds held in the Saint Basil Academy Graduation Fund to the Sisterhood of Saint Basil Fund, discontinue the Graduation Fund, and use the Sisterhood funds for both the physical needs of the children and for all graduation costs.
  • To establish as a discretionary National Commitment, a National Philoptochos Emergency Fund to enable Philoptochos to immediately respond to those in need in times of national or international disasters.
  • To establish a National Philoptochos Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Founders Fund to support existing continuing care facilities and the establishment of similar facilities, through a yearly discretionary contribution.

Donations were made to the following commitments and programs: $75,000 to Saint Basil Academy; $10,000 to St. Photios Shrine; $35,000 to Archdiocesan Missions; $25,000 to Support a Mission Priest; $25,000 SAE (now Hellenicare). Distributions were made to hospitals in each Metropolis from the CMF, Cancer and Cardiac Funds. The Hellenic Cardiac Fund for Children at Children’s Hospital in Boston received $22,500.

Awards were presented to chapters in the categories of Growth and Expansion, 100% Participation in National Commitments, Best Practices, Best Outreach Project and Best Newsletter. Several chapters in our Metropolis received awards.

The chapters that participated in the Chapter Challenge that was established at the 2004 National Convention in New York presented the projects that were developed with their $100 seed monies. The Transfiguration/Lowell chapter participated from our Metropolis and designed a welcome tote for a women’s shelter and for guests at Philoxenia as their project. The Saint George/Springfield chapter was chosen to participate in the next chapter challenge and will report at the 2008 Convention.

During the course of the business meetings, Presiding Officer Maria Logus highlighted the activities of each of the Metropolises that provided an informative insight into the configuration as well as the programs in each of them.

Workshops and discussion groups were held on the Budget, Mock Elections, Bylaws, Membership, Project Bank and Social Services. A panel on aging discussion provided insights into the challenges of long-term care in the 21st century. An Officer’s Skills Forum included segments on Leadership, Promoting Philoptochos, Parliamentary Procedure, and the responsibilities of the Secretary and Treasurer. A Women’s Healthy Heart and Wellness Fair also provided valuable information for the delegates.

The Philoptochos Banquet, “Celebrating 75 Years of Philanthropy”, was an elegant evening honoring the philanthropic tradition of the Society. Addressing the gathering were Patriarchal representative Metropolitan Demetrios of Sebasteia, Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Nicholas. All offered their thanks and praises for the Philoptochos volunteer and the ministry of Philoptochos. One ministry from each Metropolis was highlighted at the banquet with the Philoxenia House chosen from our Metropolis. A video presentation showcasing the evolution of the Philoptochos Society over the years was enjoyed by all.

All Convention delegates were treated to a cultural evening at the Parthenon, a replica of the original in the heart of Nashville. We were shown true southern hospitality as we enjoyed the tour, a southern BBQ, the entertainment of both a country-western and Greek band, and a spectacular fireworks display. It afforded everyone an opportunity for relaxation and fellowship. Several delegates who arrived early also had the opportunity to attend the Grand Ole Opry, a legendary Nashville attraction.

Always a fitting end to the social aspect of all Conventions, the Grand Banquet once again provided the delegates an opportunity to experience the culture of the South. In addition to greetings from the host committee and local dignitaries, the Victory Choir, consisting of a group of about 20 talented young men and women, filled the room with their booming renditions of gospel music. It was truly a sight to see the delegates standing on their feet and clapping along with the choir.

It was once again a privilege to represent our Metropolis Philoptochos at the Convention, along with First Vice President, Tina Caramanis, and all other Philoptochos delegates from our Metropolis. For many, it was their first time experiencing a Convention and Nashville did not disappoint them. It was uplifting to sense their excitement and eagerness to learn more about the organization. The meetings were conducted with a sense of decorum, the workshops were informative, and the social settings provided all a glimpse of the infamous Southern hospitality. Old friendships were renewed and new ones were cultivated. All in all, a very successful Convention!

Respectfully,

Diane Miminos
Metropolis President and
2006 Convention Delegate