Your Graces, Fathers, MC Delegates, and Parish Council Officers,
I'm pleased to inform you that this Special Metropolitan Council held on February 9-10, 2008, in Clearwater, Florida, was very fruitful and constructive. The MC heard a number of reports and addressed a number of issues.
1. Constitution. The Constitutional Committee presented its report of its work since being formed in October 2007 to study and propose revisions to the Constitution of our Metropolis. Thus far it has critically established and published the authoritative Greek and English texts of the Metropolis Constitution in booklet form that was made available to the MC Delegates during the February 9 Council Meeting. The Committee also set forward a list and schedule of tasks that shall be published in a forth-coming bulletin of the MC. The MC was also presented with a summary of the emerging points of consensus regarding the Constitution:
a. To protect parish assets from liability;
b. To protect Metropolis assets from liability;
c. To create liability "Fire Walls" between each parish and between the parishes and the Metropolis;
d. To preserve interdependence between the Parishes and the Metropolis, where the Parishes and the Metropolis would be corporately distinct yet constitutionally interdependent.
The Constitution Committee will be soliciting feedback from the Parish Councils on the Amendment of the Constitution in the up-coming weeks.
2. Vision. MC Delegates discussed and articulated a vision for the Metropolitan Council and of where our Metropolis should be in ten years. The vision for the Metropolis articulate by the MC Delegates can be summarized in five points:
a. A strong sense of a nation-wide Metropolis community and identity;
b. A Metropolis with common projects and a common vision;
c. A body of faithful empowered through the sacramental life, patristic and ecclesiastical education, and the principles of hesychast monasticism and spirituality;
d. A missionary Metropolis systematically grown and cultivated, where geography is no longer a reason for people not to join in communion;
e. A Metropolis true to Holy Tradition, communicating and implementing the glad tidings of the Church consistently, and loyal to the catholicity of the Church and to her hierarchic charismata.
3. Projects and Initiatives. The MC recognized that to make these visions reality, a number of concrete objectives needed to be set and that the MC needs to show leadership in setting and meeting these objectives. The MC heard and considered three proposals:
a. A plan to begin investing ecclesiastical education in the Holy Metropolis and to support the establishment of the Holy Three Hierarchs Theological Seminary (Seminary profile attached);
b. A plan to begin investing funds into a Clergy Welfare Fund to improve the material of circumstances of the clergy and secure the financial stability of clerical families; specifically, the proposal focused on the establishment of the Flexible Spending Accounts for the clergy into which the clergy, parishes, and diocese would contribute.
c. A plan to begin investing funds into a Parish Development Fund that would make start-up, revitalization, and emergency relief grants to Parishes, Missions, and Monasteries.
4. Special Regulation of the Central Fund. The MC considered the text of the Special Regulation of the Central Fund/Holy Metropolis Endowment. The purpose of the Central Fund/Holy Metropolis Endowment is to facilitate the stability in the life of the Church, to provide for investing for the future of the Church, to ensure transparency in the management of Church assets.
The MC recognized the Central Fund/Holy Metropolis Endowment as an important element in the stability and growth of the Holy Metropolis in enabling the Metropolis to receive and invest the funds of the Holy Metropolis transparently, to use the interest income and principle of the funds for the needs and goals of the Metropolis, to make grants in support of the parishes, missions, and monasteries, and to fund educational and charitable programs and institutions.
The special role given to the Metropolitan Council by Special Regulation of the Central Fund/Holy Metropolis Endowment in ensuring transparency and parish rights was underscored as well as to the management structure, oversight structures, automatic budgeting requirements, fiduciary responsibilities, and restricted funds of the Special Regulation of the Central Fund.
5. Provisional Adoption of Special Regulation of Central Fund/Holy Metropolis Endowment. The MC unanimously adopted the Special Regulation of the Central Fund/Holy Metropolis Endowment with a time limit of one year, expiring February 10, 2009, to test its provisions and to further study the above questions, under two stipulations and exemptions:
a. That a Provisional Operating Fund be established following the schedule established in ?4.1(A)8 of the Provisional Special Regulation of the Holy Metropolis Endowment for the fiscal year 2008;
b. That the restricted funds schedule established in ?4.2 of the Provisional Special Regulation of the Holy Metropolis Endowment will not be put in effect; rather, in its stead the budget of revenues for 2008 will conform to the following schedule:
|Fund/Account||Minimum percentage of annual revenues to be budgeted|
|Provisional Operating Account||40%|
|Provisional Metropolis Savings Funds||10%|
c. That Provisional Metropolis Savings Funds for Ecclesiastical Education and Clergy Welfare be established;
d. That the 2008 Budget, which was proposed and adopted in October 2007, be revised to conform to the above requirements.
Further, the Provisional Board of Trustees for the Holy Metropolis Endowment was named:
a. Bishop PHOTIOS of Marathon (as Legate of the Acting Administrator of the Holy Metropolis, His Beatitude Archbishop CHRYSOSTOMOS)
b. Bishop CHRISTODOULOS of Theoupolis
c. Thomas Bezas
d. Fr. Theodore Giannakopoulos
e. Leonidas Pittos
f. John Avgoustis
g. Konstantinos Lagen
h. Nikolaos Votzakis
As well as the Board of Auditors, pending their acceptance:
a. Fr. Kleanthis Korkotas
b. Nick Tsoumpariotis
c. Nick Lagen
d. Gus Bezas
e. Stylianos Sevastos
f. Anna Hatzikostas
6. Expiration Date for Special Regulation of Metropolitan Council. The February 10, 2009, expiration date was extended to the Special Regulation of the Metropolitan Council?the document that governs the procedures of the MC. The MC will reconvene on November 15-16, 2008, to reconsider and renew both Special Regulations.
7. Budget Priorities. The MC established it budget priorities for 2008-2009. The establishment of an "Ecclesiastical Education Fund" and a "Clergy Welfare Fund" were recognized as the two highest budget priorities for the MC. Within the Operating Budget, priority was given to establishing a Metropolis Travel Fund as well as to the publication of Romiosyni.
8. Resolution on 2009 Clergy-Laity/Youth Conferences. The MC resolved that the 2009 CLC and Youth Conferences should be held in NYC and hosted by the Cathedral of St. Markella and the Parish of St. Isidoros, given Metropolitan PAVLOS' current state of health, in order to make his presence most convenient and comfortable.
9. 2008 Youth Conference. Consequent to this decision, the 2008 Youth Conference was unanimously moved to Chicago to be hosted by the Parishes of St. John the Forerunner and the Holy Unmercenaries in October 2008.
Diocesan Initiatives. As a first step to fulfilling its vision statements, the MC unanimously adopted the following Metropolis-wide initiatives:
1. To hold a Youth Camp/Youth Mission in the summer of 2008;
2. To encourage parents and parishes to participate in the G.O.C. Youth Camp in Greece;
3. To explore organizing a trip to the Holy Land, possibly in coordination with other G.O.C. Diocesan Pilgrimages from Greece;
4. To establish Sunday school/catechism program in each Parish;
5. To begin Catechist Seminars to train catechists across the Metropolis.
His Grace Bishop CHRISTODOULOS was asked to appoint a Director of Religious Education that would organize these initiatives.
These were the topics of the February 2008 Metropolitan Council. A Metropolitan Council Newsletter will be made available in the next couple of weeks for the benefit of the Parishioners and Parish Council Members.
Also, expect to receive copies of the Metropolis Constitution along with Feedback Workbooks that will be used to gather your Parish Council's feedback and suggestions for the amendment of the Constitution within the next couple of weeks. The Constitution Committee will use these to draft its recommendations to the Metropolitan Council.
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