On the first day of Autumn, September 22, having served Divine Liturgy commemorating Righteous Joachim and Anna, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, President of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, called to order the meeting of the Consistory Board via ZOOM.
While many topics were reviewed, not surprisingly COVID-19 and the impacts of the pandemic took the forefront. While a few parishes have once again closed their doors for public worship, due to a spike in infections, the vast majority are regularly serving Divine Liturgy, and making the Most Holy Eucharist available to the faithful. Many parish schools have reopened, and events are being held, while honoring safety concerns and maintaining social distancing.
In these difficult times, it was refreshing to hear accounts of several parishes who saw a need within their communities and filled it. St. Vladimir Cathedral in Philadelphia holds food distributions monthly, providing bags of food to individuals in need. Saints Peter & Paul parish in Carnegie, PA, provided take-home meals a few weeks ago, and plan to hold a larger scale Thanksgiving food drive, preparing and delivering meals to the elderly and those in need.
In addition to reviewing current situation surrounding the pandemic, the board members reviewed the many opportunities, challenges, and ministries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, including the St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary which boasts of 8 fulltime resident students, and a full roster of 28 Distance Learning students. The fact that the student body is robust, and individuals are eagerly attending classes is a positive sign not only for the UOCofUSA, but, for the Orthodox World.
While opportunities abound, there are also challenges that need to be met. The property is large, and many buildings are aging and are in need of repairs. With many employees furloughed due to the pandemic, various projects have not been completed, however, with hope that things will soon turn around the Consistory Board is confident that the future will see things being completed in due time.
Even though many people remain isolated, and do not attend services in person, the Seminary, and the UOCofUSA have been LIVE-streaming Morning and Evening Prayers, as well as Divine Liturgy on feast days, and Sunday services. The live broadcasts have strengthened the flock, bringing everyone together at the appointed hour, to stand in their own icon corners, lighting their candles, and joining their shepherds, clergy, and their brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer… for where two or three are gathered, there is Christ, and throughout the pandemic, nobody has been left alone.
The board meeting concluded with plans being made for various fundraisers to help those in need in local communities, and in our homeland of Ukraine. A Church that troubles itself with those in need, has a bright future ahead. The Board Members advise everyone to keep abreast of all the latest news via email (which they can request via the Church Webpage UOCofUSA.org), through social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or via quarterly mailed circulars and informative posters and flyers sent to their home parishes. In these challenging times, the Church has chosen to step up and meet the challenges, turning them into opportunities to do the work of Christ in the world.
Members of the Consistory of the UOC of the USA with His Eminence Metropolitan Antony:
His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, President
V. Rev. Victor WRONSKYJ - Vice-President
V. Rev. Stephen HUTNICK - Treasurer
Ms. Elizabeth SYMONENKO - Secretary
V. Rev. Taras NAUMENKO - Member
V. Rev. Andriy POKOTYLO - Member
Mr. Howard WEST - Member