SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] — OCA clergy and faithful gathered at the end of June 2008 for three more in a series of 15 Town Hall meetings that are taking place across the US and Canada.
The first of the meetings took place at Saint Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX, on Tuesday, June 24, during the annual Assembly of the Diocese of the South. About 70 people joined His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South and Meeting facilitator, OCA chancellor, Archpriest Alexander Garklavs. Most of those in attendance were delegates at the Assembly, though a number of people came only for the Town Hall meeting itself.
The second meeting took place on Thursday, June 26, during the Assembly of the Diocese of the West at Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco, CA. His Grace, Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West took part in the meeting, which was facilitated by Preconciliar Commission member Michelle Jannakos. Most of the 47 participants were from the Bay area, but some participants drove several hours to take part in the meeting. There were also five people who offered input via e-mail. Two of the participants at the San Francisco Town Hall were also members of the Special Investigating Committee that is wrapping up its work of examining acts of financial mismanagement at the OCA Chancery in recent years.
The third meeting took place in Washington, DC, on Saturday, June 28, at Saint Nicholas Cathedral. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, took part in the meeting and Fr. Alexander Garklavs was the facilitator. Over 60 faithful from the DC area gathered for the meeting.
Frank discussions about the current state of the Church were witnessed at all three meetings. Faithful shared their experiences of frustration and pain as a result of the financial scandal and at each meeting, there was a call for a reevaluation of the OCA central administration and for changes in Church leadership to help the OCA move forward. At the Dallas meeting,there was a strong emphasis on the independence of the diocese from central Church authority. Participants in San Francisco expressed a desire for a more clear delineation of responsibility between the central Church administration and the dioceses. In Washington, the rebuilding of trust between the faithful and Church leadership was identified as a priority goal for the upcoming All-American Council in November.
A highlight of all three meetings was the spirit of candor and openness in which dialogue was conducted.
Notes from these and other Town Hall meetings are available on the 15th All-American Council blog.
The next Town Hall Meeting will take place on Thursday, July 3, at St. Herman Sobor, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.