Carnegie, PA – July 25-29, 2007
The 60th Annual Convention of the Ukrainian Orthodox League of the USA was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Coraopolis, PA, just twelve miles from Carnegie, PA. The Senior and Junior UOL Chapters of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church hosted this year’s convention. The hotel amenities were surely an attraction to all participants: free airport transportation, full-cooked breakfast each morning, and a director’s social hour each afternoon.
Convention Registration commenced at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, July 25th and the convention program began immediately with two workshops: “Religious Education: from School Room to Class Room” by Phylis Meshel Onest; and “Liturgical Music: Learning to use Liturgical Music and the UOL Orthodox Hymn Books for multiple harmonies”. The Senior and Junior National Executive Boards held their pre-convention meetings, followed by dinner at the hotel. Following Evening Prayers by Fr. Steve Repa, Convention Spiritual Advisor, the evening concluded with the traditional Hospitality Night hosted by the Carnegie Chapter.
Fr. Repa and Michael Kapeluck created a most dramatic Convention Chapel with icons that were written for All Saints Camp Chapel. Michael is the iconographer for the camp chapel. Many UOL members who have donated icons for the chapel were given their first view of what will undoubtedly beautify the camp chapel. Thursday’s Hierarchical Liturgy was served by His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine (Pittsburgh, PA), assisted by His Eminence Archbishop Antony (South Bound Brook, NJ) and a number of clergy. Archbishop Vsevolod (Chicago, IL) had sent regrets for being unable to attend the convention because of a prior commitment to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of St. Andrew Parish in Los Angeles, CA.
Using the “fishers of men” theme, Pat Dorning, Chair of the Thursday Executive Breakfast Buffet, created an atmosphere that reflected on the disastrous flood suffered by Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Carnegie, PA by distributing gift bags with “fishy” items and decorating in a like manner.
UOL President, Melanie Nakonachny (Parma, OH) opened the business sessions at 12:00 Noon with comments about her three-year tenure as national president. The colors were presented by Anastasia and Gregory Markiw, both active in scouting programs, and both dressed in scouting uniforms for this special occasion. Metropolitan Constantine offered inspirational words to set a serious and exciting tone for the 60th Convention.
The Annual Convention Agenda included the establishment of a number of functioning committees which met to prepare suggested goals and objectives for the Executive Board to implement with the assistance of local chapters: Clergy Candidate, Nominating, Resolutions, Sobor, Christian Caregiving and Missions, Youth, Membership & Chapter Development and Education. After the individual committees met and discussed appropriate topics, each submitted a report to the convention body for final ratification. Business Sessions also included the approval of 59th Annual UOL Convention Minutes, review of the Annual Report-2007, Audit Report, and review and approval of Financial Report 2006-2007 that also included the acceptance of a 2007-2008 Budget.
A presentation and update on “The UOL Fund to Furnish the Chapel at All Saints Camp” was presented by Mrs. Irene Carman (Watertown, NY), Pani Matka Mary Anne Nakonachny (Parma, OH) and Mrs. Diane Senedak (Youngstown, OH). Their report indicated the status of the fund drive, and encouraged the continued financial support of the remaining icons and other aspects of completing the camp chapel.
“A Night of Ukraine” was held at nearby Crowne Plaza Hotel and consisted of a buffet dinner and dancing to the music of “DJ Carlton”, who also included a variety of Ukrainian dance music. During dinner, the “Ancestors”, a Ukrainian Singing Group from Cleveland, OH, provided Ukrainian folk songs for the enjoyment of all. The Kyiv Dance Ensemble directed by Natalie Kapeluck Nixon performed traditional Ukrainian Folk Dances to the great delight of delegates and guests. Sherri Walewski, Chair of the Thursday night social, added an amount of excitement with a basket raffle to generate additional funds for the UOL. Archbishop Antony was quite excited about winning a basket of stuffed animals.
Pre-Teen activities were made available and coordinated by Denise Spoganetz (Carteret, NJ), on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Friday Business Sessions included inspirational remarks by Archbishop Antony.
An enthusiastic presentation was made by Beth Harendza, with the assistance of husband Phil, and Co-Chair Alexis Oryhon, for the 61st UOL Convention to be held at St. John Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Johnson City, NY July 30 – August 3, 2008.
A very moving presentation of the UOL Mission Trip to the Puhachiv and Znamyanka Orphanages in Ukraine was made by Adam Kennedy (Philadelphia, PA). The PowerPoint pictures moved many to tears, as UOL members were seen caring for the children in the orphanages. Steve Sivulich commented to the convention delegation: “Written and verbal reports may be given on the experience by our mission participants, but there is no comparison to the impact the pictures have on the viewer.”
The Ukrainian Band, “Na Zdorov’Ya” provided music that had everyone dancing until the very final song. And there were the usual star performances to the traditional Ukrainian dance music.
Again, Wasyl Pysh created an excitement at the banquet when he presented a check in the amount of $10,000 to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA for the U.O.L. Teenage Conference. The entire gathering rose in unison with enthusiastic applause in thanks and appreciation for his continued philanthropic generosity.
Sts. Peter and Paul church school students greeted Metropolitan Constantine, Archbishop Antony and clergy at the rectory prior to the beginning of the Divine Liturgy. Then, the National Senior and Junior UOL Presidents greeted the hierarchs and presented each with flowers. Parish representatives also greeted the hierarchs with the traditional paska and salt.
Following the liturgy, a Farewell Luncheon, Chaired by Shirley Stasko, was served in the parish hall. The luncheon was sponsored by the Parish Kitchen Workers, with the St. Matrona Society providing home made desserts.
Members of the Carnegie UOL Chapter provided transportation to the airport, thus ending the 60th Annual UOL Convention – 2007. A very special “thank-you” is extended to Hierarchs, clergy, delegates and guests who attended this year’s convention.
Senior UOL Executive Board – 2007-2008
President- Oleh Bilynsky
Spiritual Advisor- Hieromonk Daniel (Zelinsky)
First VP- Daria Pishko Komichak
Second VP- Jared Burgan
Recording Secretary- Aleksandra Hucul
Corresponding Secretary- Shirley Skocypec
Treasurer- Martha Misko
Financial Secretary- PM Linda Oryhon
Auditor- Emil Skocypec
Editor, UOL BULLETIN- Natalie Bilynsky
Immediate Past President- Melanie Nakonachny
61st Convention Co-Chairs- Pam Scannell and Alexis Oryhon
UOL Archives- Denise Spoganetz
Junior UOL Executive Board – 2007-2008
President- Patrick Scannell
Spiritual Advisor- Fr. John Haluszczak
Jr. UOL Advisor- Melanie Nakonachny
Vice President- Nicholas Anderson
Recording Secretary- Emily Kominko
Corresponding Secretary- Natasha Walewski
Financial Secretary- David Koroczynsky
Treasurer- Michael Nemeth