After months of ZOOM meetings, the Consistory Board of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA finally met in person. The months of isolation melted away as the members enjoyed being in the presence of their hierarchs and each other.
Having prayed for the Church, for the health of the faithful, and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, President of the Consistory, opened the meeting. The board discussed many aspects of the life of the Church.
The Board Members reviewed the national pandemic restrictions, discussing the current COVID-Delta statistics, and agreed that the strict measures must be enacted to keep the faithful and clergy safe. It is the duty of every true Christian to put the welfare of their neighbor before their own, and therefore, it is mandated that masks be worn to ensure nobody accidentally transmits the virus to another.
The agenda also covered the financial status of the Church. While the pandemic has negatively affected the bookstore sales at the Metropolia Center, the online sales have taken off. The clergy and faithful can purchase all manner of items safely online, from Service Books, Cross and icons, to apparel, books, masks, water bottles, Christening gowns, candles, and calendars. All these items and more can be found on the Church website – uocofusa.org under the “Store” tab.
The Youth Ministry Summer Camping Season has come to a successful conclusion. While participation was slightly lighter than usual due to the pandemic, nonetheless, the children (and parents) that attended were well pleased, having enjoyed their time spent in the green nature of the secluded valley. New friendships were forged over prayer, crafts, lessons, and games. These are more than summer friendships, but, will last a lifetime as the children grow into adulthood, knowing their extended camp family is there to support them through the milestones of life.
The Ukrainian History and Education Center, located on the Metropolia Center grounds, is working diligently fundraising to collect enough funds to complete the museum. In the meantime, they are holding exhibits inside the Library complex, as well as in various local establishments, like the local library. These exhibits bring Ukrainian Orthodoxy to life, and not only educate people, but, spark an interest and a desire to learn and see more.
The Board Members also reviewed the status of the parishes of the Church, reveling in the knowledge that the majority of the parishes are prospering and growing. Young families are bringing their children weekly to services, and nourishing the future members of the Church. School are reopening in the autumn to teach the youth about not only Orthodoxy, but, also about their Ukrainian heritage. Sisterhoods are once again meeting and working on various church projects and celebrations. Additionally, Mission parishes are flourishing with membership growing.
The Seminary Academic year will once again commence in September with a large full-time student body, and dozens of part-time pupils. Over the previous few months, several recent graduates were ordained to the Holy Deaconate, and to the Holy Priesthood of the Church. The seminary continues to be a bright point in the life of the Church, not only educating laity that is interested in a deeper understanding of Orthodoxy, but, in filling the need for those who have come to answer their calling by the Lord.
The Seminarians who have worked throughout the previous year to collect funds towards their scheduled Mission Trip to Ukraine, will be leaving in a week’s time to bring much needed love and joy to the orphans who are eagerly awaiting their arrival. The disabled orphans wait each year for the arrival of the Mission Team from the UOC of the USA, not because they bring them clothing, or purchase items for them, or take them on outings… but, they wait because they know that the Mission Team members give them attention, play with them, pray with them, and give them the love they so desperately need.
Before concluding the meeting, one final announcement was made, sharing the news that several individuals had bequeathed funds to the Church in their Final Wills. It is with great humility and gratitude that these moneys were accepted and earmarked for various Church needs. The donors will be remembered in the prayers of the Church, and may God remember them all fondly in His Kingdom.
The meeting concluded with a final prayer, as Metropolitan Antony, Ruling Hierarch of the Church, bestowed his blessings upon the board members, and prayed for God’s continued blessings upon the Church, her clergy, and faithful.
Members of the Consistory of the UOC of the USA, as elected by the SOBOR of the Church:
Very Rev. Fr. Taras Naumenko - Pastor of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Philadelphia, PA
Very Rev. Fr. Andrii Pokotylo - Pastor of the Nativity of the Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox Parish, New Britain, CT
Ms. Elizabeth Symonenko - Secretary of the Consistory
Protection of the Birth-Giver of God Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Southfield, MI
His Eminence Archbishop Daniel - President of the Consistory of the UOC of the USA
Very Rev. Fr. Victor Wronsky - Vice-President of the Consistory
Pastor of the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY
Archon Howard West - Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish, Carnegie, PA
Very Rev. Fr. Stepehen Hutnick - Treasurer of the Consistory
Pastor of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Parish, Wilmington, DE