Official 19th AAC report books released

19 AAC

On Friday, June 15, 2018, the Preconciliar Commission released three official report books in preparation for the 19th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, slated to convene in Saint Louis, MO July 23-27, 2018.

The reports of the OCA officers and the Church’s departments and institutions together with the financial report are now available online.

“Article III, Section 5 of the OCA Statute requires that all reports to the All-American Council must be published and made available in written form at least thirty days prior to the opening of the AAC,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “The three report books offer a comprehensive review of the work of the Church since the last AAC.

“The Officers’ Report Book contains job descriptions and reports from the Chancellor, Secretary and Treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America,” Father Eric explained. “Included under each officer are reports on areas of responsibility, such as ORSMA/SMPAC and the Office of History and Archives. Also included is a report from the Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations.

“The Departments’ and Institutions’ Report Book includes reports from the OCA’s departments and related offices,” Father Eric continued. “Reports from the OCA’s institutions, including stavropegial monasteries, churches and seminaries; the at-large members of the Metropolitan Council; and the internal auditors are included. The Financial Report offers data on the OCA as well as her stavropegial institutions.”

Printed copies of the reports will not be available at the AAC, and delegates are reminded to download and print them and to bring them with them to the Council. Three-ring binders will be provided upon registration at the AAC site.

“Those responsible for submitting these reports will be presenting them at AAC plenary sessions and will be available to answer any and all questions during the AAC or individually,” Father Eric concluded.

Second hotel now available for 19th All-American Council

Saint Louis, MO’s historic Union Station Hotel, site of the 19th All-American Council [AAC] of the Orthodox Church in America July 23-27, 2018, has been fully booked as of Monday, June 11.

The Preconciliar Commission has made provisions for additional rooms at the Drury Inn Saint Louis at Union Station, conveniently located across the street from the station at 201 South 20 Street. A special room rate of $134.00 is available for AAC participants.

Reservations may be made online or by calling 1-800-325-0720. The group number for obtaining the special AAC rate is 2280876.

The Drury Inn’s amenities include a free hot breakfast and evening reception, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, fitness and business centers, and a pool.

June 11 deadline for 19th AAC exhibitors, vendors

Monday, June 11, 2018 is the deadline for exhibitors and vendors wishing to display and market their goods and services in the exhibition hall during the 19th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America.

The AAC will convene at the historic Saint Louis, MO Union Station Hotel July 23-27, 2018.

“The exhibition hall will be set up in the Midway, through which all delegates pass to attend plenary sessions,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “The highly visible location offers a great opportunity for the broadest exposure to AAC participants, and the exhibition hall will remain open daily for extended time periods to maximize contact with delegates and guests.”

Prospective vendors and exhibitors will find an introductory letter, prospectus, contracts and related information on the AAC web site. All fees should be sent to the 19th All-American Council, c/o Melanie Ringa, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Local Committee Exhibition Co-chairs, Ken Herman at kryanherman@gmail.com or Paul Reuschhoff at pdRueschhoff@sbcglobal.net.

19th AAC Forum themes announced

With the blessing of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, six forums will be offered during the 19th All-American Council, slated to be held in Saint Louis, MO July 23-27, 2018.

“These forums are based on of the document titled ‘Of What Life Do We Speak?: Four Pillars for the Fulfillment of the Apostolic Work of the Church,’ authored by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon,” according to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “This document will serve as the study guide for the 19th AAC and will be sent out to all parishes and institutions prior to the AAC. Parishes and Institutions can utilize this in preparation for the forums.”

The forums will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, July 24 and 25, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., thereby allowing delegates to participate in two of the six presentations.

Forum themes include the following.

  • Forum 1: Spiritual Life – How Can We Improve Our Personal Relationship With Christ
  • Forum 2: Spiritual Life: – How Can We Better Care for Our Clergy?
  • Forum 3: Stewardship – How Do We Properly Steward What God Has Entrusted to Us?
  • Forum 4: Relation With Others – How Can We More Effectively Communicate And Interact With The World, North America, Non-Orthodox Groups and The Community?
  • Forum 5: Evangelization – How Can We More Effectively Establish Missions And Revitalize Our Churches?
  • Forum 6: Evangelization – How Can We More Effectively Reach Our Parishioners?

“These forums will be vital in charting the future of the Church,” Father Eric added. “They are invaluable as they will allow for an open discussion on a Church-wide level and offer the tools necessary to begin planning for the future.”

June 4 deadline for FOCA youth “Celebration of Faith” entries

June 4, 2018 is the deadline for entering the “Celebration of Faith” youth creative arts contest sponsored by the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA].

This year’s contest theme is “For the Life of the World,” which is also the theme of the Orthodox Church in America’s 19th All-American Council.

“Entrants, who need not be FOCA members, are invited to create and submit original artistic pieces in the areas of literature, musical composition, photography and the visual arts,” said FOCA President Marge Kovach. “Cash prizes totaling $500.00 will be awarded, and all entries will be on display throughout the FOCA’s 92nd annual National Convention July 20-23 and the All-American Council July 23-27.”

Both events will be held in Saint Louis, MO.

Entries should be sent to the FOCA Celebration of Faith, c/o Danielle Kovach, 8 Ginesi Drive, Clark, NJ 07066. Further information is available by contacting Danielle at dkovach517@aol.com. A detailed list of rules for each category and an entry form may be accessed on the FOCA web site.

19th AAC Handbook released, available online

In accordance with the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, Article 3, Section 5, the Delegate Handbook for the 19th All-American Council [AAC] is now available online.

As widely announced, the 19th AAC will be held in Saint Louis, MO July 23-27, 2018. The Council theme will be “For the Life of the World,” inspired by the classic book of the same name written by the late Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann.

“The Handbook, which according to the Statute must be issued 60 days prior to the opening of the AAC, includes the approved agenda, instructions, rules and arrangements for the AAC, as well as submitted and approved Statute amendments and resolutions for consideration by AAC delegates,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “The Handbook also provides procedures for submitting resolutions during the AAC.

“The Handbook has been blessed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and delegates are requested to read it in its entirety, download it and bring it with them to the AAC,” Father Eric added. “Hard copies will not be available at the Council. Upon registering, delegates will receive three-ring binders in which to place the Handbook.”

Reports on the OCA’s various offices, departments and institutions will be released online 30 days prior to the AAC’s opening, in accordance with Article 3, Section 5 of the Statute.

Questions or concerns may be addressed to the Preconciliar Commission at 19aac@oca.org.

19th AAC Youth Program agenda announced

With over 130 youth and 30 staff members already registered, the Youth Program slated to be held during the 19th All-American Council [AAC] of the Orthodox Church in America promises to provide a faith-filled week for children and teens.

As widely announced, the 19th AAC will be held in Saint Louis, MO July 23-27, 2018. The theme of the gathering is “For the Life of the World” — a theme that will be explored by the youth in a variety of workshops, outings and related activities. A detailed schedule of youth events is now available online.

“We will be visiting Saint Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch, Forest Park’s Science Center and Zoo, Six Flags, and the City Museum,” said Priest Benjamin Tucci, who is coordinating the program. “Youth will enjoy a brunch with the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops. They will explore the Divine Liturgy, Orthodox Christian chanting and singing, and what it means to be an Orthodox Christian during the week’s educational sessions and workshops.”

The youth also will offer a presentation to AAC delegates and observers at the closing plenary session.

Registration officially closes on May 15.

“We are anticipating a faith-and-fun-filled learning experience as we grow together in Christ,” Father Benjamin concluded.

Questions may be directed to Father Benjamin at 612-599-1125 or frbentucci@gmail.com.

The AAC Youth Program curriculum also is available online in PDF format.

Preconciliar Commission, Local Committee finalize plans for 19th AAC

Members of the Preconcilar Commission [PCC] and the Local Committee, both of which are charged with planning the 19th All-American Council [AAC] of the Orthodox Church in America, held their final meeting at the Saint Louis Union Station Hotel during the last week of April 2018.

The AAC will be held in Saint Louis, MO July 23-27, 2018. As widely announced, the theme of the 19th AAC — “For The Life Of The World” — is inspired by the classic book of the same name, written by the late Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, who for many years served as Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY.

“During the meetings in Saint Louis, members of the PCC and the Local Committee finalized plans for the AAC in line with decisions with regard to the Council’s structure and agenda, proposed resolutions, and proposed amendments to the OCA Statute blessed by the Holy Synod of Bishops during its Spring Session, held April 17-20,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “All outstanding issues and contracts also were reviewed and resolved.”

According to Father Eric, the 19th AAC Handbook is scheduled for general release on May 23 — 60 days prior to the Council — and is in the final stages of editing. The Handbook will include instructions for delegates, the AAC agenda, submitted and approved Statute amendments and resolutions, and related information. Delegates are encouraged to download a copy of the Handbook and bring it to the AAC. A three ring binder and other information will be provided upon check-in at the Council.

The PCC has confirmed the attendance of His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Finland and His Eminence, Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe, as invited guests. Other dignitaries that will be present include the Honorable Lyda Krewson, Mayor of Saint Louis, and John W. Haydon Jr., Chief of the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department, in addition to other guests.

Delegates to the Council should arrive on Monday, July 23, in time for the first Plenary Session. The AAC will conclude on Friday, July 27, at 1:00 PM. A general schedule for planning purposes is as follows:

  • The 92nd National Convention of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America will begin on Friday, July 20 and conclude on Monday, July 23. Great Vespers will be celebrated on Saturday, July 21 at 5:00 p.m., while the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Sunday, July 22 at 9:00 a.m. in the hotel Grand Ballroom. Everyone is invited to attend the services. The FOCA will hold its dinner/dance on Sunday, July 22 at 6:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom. Contact the FOCA for more information.
  • The Albanian Archdiocese, the Diocese of the South, the Diocese of the West and the Archdiocese of Washington will hold their meetings on Monday, July 23 at 1:00 p.m. at the hotel. Assembly delegates should contact their respective dioceses for additional information.
  • The first AAC plenary session will be held on Monday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. During this session, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon will deliver his Address to the Church.
  • The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6:00 a.m., followed by Akathists at 7:30 a.m. honoring the Sitka Icon of the Mother of God, the Icon of Saint Anne, and the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God. Daily Vespers and other liturgical services will be celebrated throughout the week. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday morning plenary sessions will be followed by a variety of Forums. There will be one plenary session on Thursday. Friday’s plenary session will bring the AAC to a close.
  • Receptions hosted by Saint Tikhon’s Seminary and Saint Vladimir’s Seminary will be held on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday evening, all participants will be welcomed at a reception hosted by the Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America [SOCA].
  • The AAC Formal Dinner will be held on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. and will feature guest speakers. Tickets are available at the delegate registration site for those interested in attending the dinner alone.
  • The Youth Program, which has received an excellent response, will run throughout the week. The youth will attend the opening session. At the closing plenary session, the youth will make a presentation to the AAC delegates.

Travel to and from the AAC may be arranged through various sites, such as FOS Tours and Travel. Ala​ska Airlines is offering a special discount for those using its services — use the code ECMZ509 to receive the discount. Travel to and from the airport can be made by Metrolink, which connects the airport to the Union Station stop, or by taxi (approximately $45.00 for a one way trip).

The AAC’s proceedings will be podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, with daily updates available on the OCA web site.

A list of all displays and vendors will be available upon registration.

Additional information on the AAC will be released as it becomes available.

Deadlines for AAC resolutions, amendments, program book and vendors approaching

The deadline for submitting resolutions and amendments to the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America for consideration at the 19th All-American Council [AAC] is rapidly approaching.

As widely reported, the AAC will be held at the historic Saint Louis, MO Union Station Hotel July 23-27, 2018.

The deadline for submitting proposed resolutions is April 25. Detailed information outlining the process by which resolutions are to be submitted is available online. Proposed resolutions may be sent to resolutions.19aac@oca.org or by mail to the Resolutions Committee, 19th All-American Council, c/o the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791.

April 25 is also the deadline for submitting proposed amendments to the OCA Statute. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the Commission on Statutes and Canons at least 90 days prior to the AAC’s opening date. Statute proposals should be sent to statute.19aac@oca.org or by mail to the Statute Commission, 19th All-American Council, c/o Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791.

Two additional deadlines are also on the horizon.

    • Vendors and exhibitors. An extensive exhibit hall will be available to vendors wishing to display and market their goods and services at the AAC. An introductory letter, prospectus, contract forms and related information are available online. The deadline for reserving vendor/exhibit space is May 25. All fees must be sent to the 19th All-American Council, c/o Melanie Ringa, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791. Final payment for display space is due by June 15. Questions and requests for additional information may be directed to the Local Committee Exhibition Co-chairs, Ken Herman at kryanherman@gmail.com or Paul Reuschhoff at pdrueschhoff@sbcglobal.net.
    • Commemorative Program Book. Ads and listings in the commemorative book to be published in conjunction with the AAC and the 92nd National Convention of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA] will be accepted through June 1. Several options, ranging in price from $150.00 for a full page ad to $20.00 for a one-line patron listing, are available. Ads should be submitted as PDFs or Word files to focabook@gmail.com. Checks payable to the OCA should be mailed to Donna Tesar, 5068 West Sixth Street, Brooklyn Heights, OH 44131.

Register now for 92nd National FOCA Convention July 20-23

Now is the time to make plans to attend the 92nd National Convention of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA] at Saint Louis, MO’s Union Station Hotel July 20-23, 2018.

“This year’s convention will be held in conjunction with the 19th All-American Council [AAC] of the Orthodox Church in America, which opens July 23 and concludes July 27,” says Deacon Peter Ilchuk. “The last national convention was held in Saint Louis 32 years ago, and much has changed since then, providing many reasons to return.”

According to Deacon Peter, the MetroLink Red Line provides regular service from Lambert International Airport to downtown Saint Louis. The Union Station stop is located a few blocks from the hotel. The next station on the MetroLink line stops at the new Busch Stadium, with its spectacular Ballpark Village entertainment and dinining complex and the multi-floor Saint Louis Cardinals’ Baseball Hall of Fame. The line extends to the “must see” landmark Gateway Arch and Lacledes Landing.

Many of the city’s “classic” tourist sites, including the Budweiser Brewery and Biergarten, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the 90 acre Saint Louis Zoo with its 18,000 animals from 700 species, have been upgraded over the years. Other nearby attractions providing outstanding family experiences include Six Flags Saint Louis, the Missouri Botanical Garden — the oldest in the US — and the City Museum.

Saint Louis loves its sports teams, Deacon Peter adds, as evidenced by the sellout crowds for hockey at the nearby Scottrade Center and Cardinals baseball at Busch Stadium. While the Cardinals will not be home during the convention and AAC, ballpark tours, which include the press box, luxury clubs, field and dugout, are available four times daily. The stadium boasts many interesting statues, including one of Stan Musial.

Other convention tips offered by the FOCA include the following.

    • Transportation. Saint Louis is easily accessible by air, Amtrak train or auto. American, Southwest, Delta, United and Frontier airlines provide frequent and, in many cases, direct service from major metropolitan areas. While Amtrak no longer serves historic Union Station, it maintains platforms at nearby Gateway Station. Amtrak service from Chicago can be quite reasonable, with fares as low as $27.00 each way with an advance purchase for the five hour plus trip.
    • Lodging. The Union Station Hotel, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, boasts an outdoor pool and a fitness center. The station — a national historic landmark built in the late 1890s — was once the world’s largest and busiest. The special convention/AAC room rate is $134.00 plus tax. Please mention/reference the Orthodox Church in America when making reservations online or by calling 314-231-1234. The hotel registration deadline is Friday, June 29.
    • Schedule. The 92nd National Convention will follow the usual Friday-Monday schedule with various events, plenary sessions, liturgical services and activities. Friday morning will open with a golf tournament, in which FOCA and AAC attendees and guests are invited to participate. That evening, a Saint Louis-themed open house will be held. Plenary sessions will dominate Saturday’s schedule. The celebration of Great Vespers and an evening dinner event “under the stars” at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium will bring the day to a close. Sunday will open with the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and, in the evening, a grand banquet and dance. The final plenary session will be held on Monday. Special events include a Saturday trolley tour of Saint Louis, which includes a stop at the Gateway Arch. Children and teens will enjoy participating in their own fun-filled Convention program coordinated by the OCA’s Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry in partnership with the FOCA.
    • Commemorative Program Book. Ads and listings in the Convention/AAC commemorative book are now being accepted. Several options, ranging in price from $150.00 for a full page ad to $20.00 for a one-line patron listing, are available. Ads should be submitted as PDFs or Word files to focabook@gmail.com. Checks payable to the OCA should be mailed to Donna Tesar, 5068 West Sixth Street, Brooklyn Heights, OH 44131 before the June 1 deadline.