Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania
Orthodox Church in America
/ Ministries / Parish Development
Parish Development Ministry

The mission of the Parish Development Ministry is to help parishes to become healthy, hopeful, vibrant Orthodox communities that grow in their commitment to living a life in Christ, share the Gospel with all in their own locale and are prepared to do the work of Christ in the world.

To fulfill this mission this ministry seeks to:

Stimulate dialogue about life in good Orthodox Christian parishes in America

Connect parishes to establish supportive relationships, share strengths, good ideas, practices and resources and offer mutual encouragement.

Build assessment, planning and administrative tools to address common parish needs.

Parish Development Services
The Parish Development Ministry offers tools, encouragement, information, and assistance in various forms.


Individual parishes can schedule workshops and discussion forums on parish development topics such as: parish health and renewal, discovering shared values, parish leadership, revamping parish councils, stewardship, and evangelization.


Webinars are online sessions in which speakers present training material via the internet. They will be scheduled from time to time for general audiences as well as for individual parishes.


Parish development conferences bring together leaders from many parishes to discuss common issues and obstacles. They are scheduled regularly and include our popular Small Parish Forum, which is held annually. 


An electronic newsletter called the Parish Pulse will be e-mailed to subscribed parish leaders several times per year.  Click to subscribe or access our archives for previous issues.


Articles are available on a variety of parish development topics. More will be added based upon need.

Tools and Templates

Handbooks and templates for dealing with various parish development concerns will be shared among parishes via this website.

Consulting and Coaching

Individualized assistance is available to clergy and lay leaders on as needed basis via telephone, email, collaborative web-based sessions, and Skype. Contact us for more information or to request consultations!

The Latest Parish Development Events
Memory Eternal -- Matushka Eloise Lesko - 11/24/2020

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Word was received earlier this morning that +Matushka Eloise Lesko, wife of Archpriest David Lesko, reposed in the Lord earlier this week. Matushka’s obituary is attached for your information. Please keep +Matushka Eloise, as well as her grieving family, in your liturgical and private prayers. We extend our prayers and condolences to all members of the Lesko family during this time of loss. MEMORY ETERNAL! 

Fr. Bill

Archpriest William Evansky, Chancellor

Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania


Memory Eternal -- Archpriest John Horosky - 11/23/2020

Glory to Jesus Christ!

It is with much personal sorrow (yet trusting in our Lord’s mercy) that I announce the loss of my good friend of many, many decades - +Archpriest John Horosky - who reposed in the Lord last night at his home. Fr. John, now retired, was a priest-son of the St. John the Baptist Church (Canonsburg) where he was also ordained. He was also formerly the parish priest at the Saints Peter and Paul Church (Moundsville, WV), St. John the Divine Church (Monessen, PA), and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist Church (Philipsburg) - laboring diligently and with love (along with his departed wife +Matushka Judy) while at each parish assignment for the glory of His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Due to the current COVID situation, the family has made a request to Archbishop MELCHISEDEK that Fr. John’s funeral be conducted privately at the Canonsburg parish - His Eminence has granted that request. Please keep the newly departed +Archpriest John in your private and liturgical prayers.



Fr. Bill

Updated COVID-19 Protocol - 11/23/2020

TO: Clergy and Laity of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania (OCA)

Please be aware of the following directives issued 11.19.2020 by His Eminence, Archbishop MELCHISEDEK to all members of his Archdiocese:

1. After reviewing the data regarding the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases within the diocesan boundaries of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, we are, until further notice, requiring masks or shields while in the church itself and all other parish property when gathering together for services, meetings, education, and other events. This includes facilities owned by the parish but not attached to the church building itself.

2. Clergy are exempt from this requirement only while serving the Divine Services. Singers and chanters should maintain a safe distance from one another and position themselves either in the front, or elsewhere, safely apart from the faithful, taking care to also maintain safe distancing among themselves. This may require an alteration from the “usual” singing and directing positioning or a reduction in the number of people usually involved.

3. Masks or shields are now required when OUTSIDE on church property (unless you are alone) due to the revised PA Health Department guidelines issued November 17, 2020. (Please see the PA Dept. of Health web site for complete information - Parishes of the Archdiocese located in Ohio or West Virginia are required to follow the mandates of their respective state governors and health departments concerning current COVID precautions since their guidelines have also recently been updated.

4. Parishes should continue to follow previously issued guidelines regarding capacity for worship while physical distancing from non-family members - generally 50% capacity or a number determined by assessing 6-8 feet circumference spacing between non-family attendees, whichever results in safe-distancing compliance. Consult your local county or municipality for additional guidelines that may have been issued.

5. Local parish priests, in consultation with their parish councils, will continue to best decide the amount of services being done, especially during this season of the Nativity Fast and approaching Nativity holy day. The faithful must view participation in the Church's liturgical life as essential to their well-being - AS they remain vigilant, using proper health safeguards concerning this COVID danger.

6. Those who are actively ill, or who are caring for those with COVID-19, should maintain quarantine but are encouraged to participate in the services through live video streaming available locally or through various quality Orthodox sources on the internet.

7. Parish clergy should make themselves available to bring the Holy Mysteries (Confession and Communion) to those who are unable to attend, using all prudence and reasonable precautions. 

8. Residents in the Commonwealth of PA should be mindful of the new travel restrictions now in effect for those entering PA - or - for PA residents traveling to other states and then returning to PA. (Again - please see the web site listed above for details. This is especially important during the upcoming holiday travel seasons.)

9. The faithful are encouraged to continue to please generously support their parish and other church-related ministries through their attendance and/or prayerful financial support if not attending in-person.

These mandates will be in effect until further notice within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western PA (OCA). Also, previously announced COVID-19 guidelines also remain in effect if not discussed here. It is expected that the clergy and laity of this Archdiocese WILL follow these guidelines issued by their hierarch.

Archpriest William J. Evansky


Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western PA


Archdiocesan Assembly Revised Date - 10/29/2020

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Please be aware of this important official announcement:

His Eminence, Archbishop MELCHISEDEK is hereby informing his Archdiocese that the Annual Archdiocesan Assembly scheduled to be held at the St. Nicholas Church, DuBois, on November 7, 2020, has been POSTPONED. Still planned to take place in DuBois, the REVISED DATE for the Assembly is FEBRUARY 6, 2021. It is His Eminence’s hope that we can plan to conduct a full Assembly on this revised date with each other “in-person” since that seemed an unlikely (and more complicated) prospect on the original date, now only a few weeks away.

Individuals responsible for composing reports to review at this annual event should now submit that material to me on/before January 5, 2021. I will archive the reports already submitted, but the writers are welcome to submit a new or revised report if so desired.

Please contact me should you have any questions.

Thank you.

In Christ,

Fr. Bill

Archpriest William J. Evansky, Chancellor

Archdiocese of PGH and W PA (OCA)

Build Healthy and Vibrant Parishes

Parish Development Resources

Tools, slides, templates, guidebooks, and articles on topics of importance to building healthy, hopeful Orthodox Christian parishes in America:

Evangelization - Preparing your parish to spread the Gospel and to cultivate a welcoming environment.

Communications - Presenting your parish to others through websites, social media, photos, and press releases; improving parish internal communication through bulletins, newsletters, and email lists.

Stewardship: Time, Talent, and Treasure - How and why to build a community of generous and dedicated people.

Christian Formation & Education - Youth educational and social organizations; adult education; lay catechists.

Vision, Mission, and Values - Establishing & expressing gospel-centered vision, mission, and values for the future of your parish.

Leadership & Parish Council - Developing an effective parish council; organizing new parish ministries; leading the way

Parish Financial Practices - Conducting audits, implementing healthy financial practices, and vision-oriented budgeting

Parish Renewal and Revitalization - Qualities of healthy Orthodox parishes, including the Parish Health Inventory; action items for change; how to become a vibrant Orthodox Christian parish.