The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America convened its eighth annual meeting Tuesday, October 3 in Garfield, NJ with about 40 hierarchs in attendance. The day began with a celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St George Orthodox Church in Clifton, NJ at which the hierarchs in attendance shared in the Holy and Sacred Chalice – the Holy Mystery of Eucharist. Following the Liturgy, a Memorial Service was served for the newly reposed Bishop Antoun of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
Both hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel actively participate in the working sessions of the Assembly.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly, opened the meeting with an address, calling upon the brother hierarchs to be the lights of Truth of a path of life of the faithful of the Holy Orthodox Church in the 21st century, with its problems and uncertainties. Metropolitan Evangelos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey also offered words of welcome on behalf of the hosting Metropolis.
General business followed, including acceptance of the minutes from Assembly VII, a financial report from the Assembly’s treasurer, Archbishop Michael, and a brief report from the Secretary of the Assembly, Bishop Gregory, etc.
Later in the day, Dr. Richard Flory of University of South California offered a presentation and discussion followed on the topic of ‘Youth and American Culture”, addressing the issues of pastoral work with the youth and young adults of the Church.
Dr. Flory informed the hierarchs of the Church about the National Study of Youth and Religion, stating that the purpose of the NSYR is to research the shape and influence of religion and spirituality in the lives of American youth; to identify effective practices in the religious, moral, and social formation of the lives of youth; to describe the extent and perceived effectiveness of the programs and opportunities that religious communities are offering to their youth; and to foster an informed national discussion about the influence of religion in youth's lives, in order to encourage sustained reflection about and rethinking of our cultural and institutional practices with regard to youth and religion.
In addition to the regular Agenda of the Assembly that addresses logistical issues, the hierarchs are scheduled to participate in various presentation and discussions during the next two days of plenary meetings. Among the proposed topics are “Fundamentals for Emerging Leadership: Key Questions to Frame a Hopeful Future”, presentation by Dr. Ann Bezzerides; information about the ministry of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship; presentation on the topic of Canonical Regional Planning; information about the work of the International Orthodox Christian Charities, etc.
A formal Press Release and Statement following the conclusion of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America will be issued upon the conclusion of the business sessions on Thursday, October 5, 2017.