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SMALL PARISH FORUM

A subset of the over 50 attendees at the 2014 Forum in Byesville OH 2014 Forum
A subset of the over 50 attendees at the 2014 Forum in Byesville OH 2014 Forum
A subset of the over 50 attendees at the 2014 Forum in Byesville OH 2014 Forum

For clergy and lay leaders from Orthodox churches of fewer than 75 adults, the Small Parish Forum is a regional conference created to share helpful, hopeful ideas and tools for stabilizing and strengthening parish life.

Co-sponsored by the OCA’s Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania and the Diocese of the Midwest and with the blessings of Archbishop MELCHISEDEK and Bishop ALEXANDER, the 2014 Forum was held at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Byesville OH on July 10-12. 

Help, Hope, Stability and Identity

The OCA's Midwest and Western PA Dioceses have many small parishes. Some have always been small. Some were once large and for various reasons are now much smaller. They need support -- help and hope. They need to achieve stability –a positive self-image and a sense that small parishes can live a Life in Christ without necessarily becoming “big”. And, for those prepared to grow, they need fresh ideas that are adapted and relevant to the realities of small churches. That is what the Small Parish Forum tries to provide.

Fr Daniel Rentel offered keynote reflections on his years in ministry
Fr Daniel Rentel offered keynote reflections on his years in ministry
Fr Daniel Rentel offered keynote reflections on his years in ministry
Fr Jonathan Proctor shared the story of Holy Trinity Church St Paul MN
Fr Jonathan Proctor shared the story of Holy Trinity Church St Paul MN
Fr Jonathan Proctor shared the story of Holy Trinity Church St Paul MN
David Drillock offered sessions on worship and liturgical singing
David Drillock offered sessions on worship and liturgical singing
David Drillock offered sessions on worship and liturgical singing

2014 Forum Goals

The goals of the 2014 Small Parish Forum were to:

1. Stimulate Commitment
Stimulate small parishes to renew and fulfill their founding commitment to be a viable Orthodox community into perpetuity.

2. Offer Worship Tools
Offer tools that enrich and beautify worship as the expression of the best each parish can offer up.

3. Deliver Parish Tools
Provide clergy serving small communities with materials that promote stewardship, governance, education and outreach.

4. Encourage Community Contact
Explore ways that will allow each parish to become involved with the larger community so as to have that community become involved with the parish.

5. Establish Communication Networks
Establish lines of communication networks between parishes that will enable the exchange of useful information.

6. Reduce Stresses
Collaborate to explore stresses faced by small parishes in the hope of lessening and resolving them to the benefit of the parish.

Workshop Materials

Participants heard a variety of presentations geared to strengthening the parish, committing to long term viability, and developing reachable goals.
Participants heard a variety of presentations geared to strengthening the parish, committing to long term viability, and developing reachable goals.
Participants heard a variety of presentations geared to strengthening the parish, committing to long term viability, and developing reachable goals.

Use the following links toaccess materials from the 2014 Small Parish Forum

Introduction - Joe Kormos

Keynote Address - Fr. Daniel Rentel

Profiles in Revitalization - Fr. Jonathan Proctor

Worship I - David Drillock --Outline

Worship II David Drillock - Outline

Worship Music handouts

Evangelization - Sharing Your Faith in the 21 st Century Fr. Stephen Frase

Charitable Outreach - AnnMarie Mecera

Communicating Your Parish - Joe Kormos


Clergy Laity Letters

In one of the final sessions of the Small Parish Forum attendees were divided into separate groups of clergy and laity. Laity were asked to respectfully offer suggestions and insights to clergy about 'things' they should "stop", "start" and "continue". Clergy undertook a mirror image of the same assignment.

After about 60 minutes the groups reconvened and, with some trepidation, shared their suggestions with the other "side".

The laity group created a reasonable set of thoughts for clergy consideration -- but in actuality it seemed to be a rehash of common issues. 

The clergy group, on the other hand, created what all agreed was a thoughtful, helpful insightful letter.

Workshop -- Clergy letter to Laity -Stop, Start, Continue

Laity input to Clergy -Stop, Start, Continue

 

 
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