Archdiocesan Council Holds Spring Meeting in New York City
May 18, 2005
New York - The Spring Meeting of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was held at the Marriott East Side in New York City on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, 2005. The Council Meeting was preceded by the Executive Committee Meeting on Thursday, May 12.
The Archdiocesan Council Meeting began with a Trisagion Service for Archbishop Iakovos, who fell asleep in the Lord on April 10, 2005. Following the Trisagion Service, Archbishop Demetrios offered his Opening Address to the body of the Council, reviewing a number of recent significant events that affected our Archdiocese of America, including the deaths of Archbishop Iakovos and Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco, the election and enthronement of Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco and the productive testimony before the Helsinki Commission in Washington, DC regarding the treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Turkish government.
Following Archbishop Demetrios' comments, the Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Council, Michael Jaharis, commented on a new initiative by the Archdiocese to review and evaluate the ministries and programs of the Archdiocese in order to facilitate a smoother and more efficient national outreach.
Following a presentation on this new initiative, the Friday session of the Council was recessed to allow the Standing Committees of the Council to meet and discuss future goals and recent progress of the institutions and ministries of the Archdiocese.
On Saturday, the Council re-convened to receive and approve the reports and the recommendations of the Standing Committees, including Finance & Stewardship. Presenting the Financial Statements of the Archdiocese and explaining the reported debt of $10 million, the Archdiocese Finance & Stewardship Committee highlighted some components of the debt. It was reported that more than half of the debt is attributable to legal fees and legal settlements over the last five years. The remaining components of the debt were $1.2 Million remaining from the over $6 Million debt from 1999 and prior, an additional $1 Million in equipment leases and insurance premiums and slightly over $2 Million in other operating deficits over the last five years. The Finance Committee also reported that while revenue from the Total Commitment program was increasing, if the communities had submitted their Total Commitment obligations to the Archdiocese in full and on time, the debt would have decreased significantly over the last 5 years. The Finance Committee offered a number of recommendations to reduce expenses as well as increase revenue to the Archdiocese, which were approved by the Council.
The Administration Committee offered a report highlighting the new Archdiocesan Regulations and the distribution and communications plan for the Regulations. The new Regulations will be distributed to the Metropolises and Parishes within the next few weeks and will be available online by the end of May at www.goarch.org. The Administration Committee will also be working on the creation of new statements of Disclosure, Real Estate Guidelines and Dispute Resolution Procedures that were not completed before the last Clergy Laity Congress.
All Archdiocesan Standing Committees reported on the work and progress that has been achieved in the ministries and institutions since the last Archdiocesan Council Meeting and Clergy Laity Congress. The Standing Committees meet between Archdiocesan Council meetings to monitor progress of the ministries and assist with future planning and development.
At the conclusion of the two-day meeting, Archbishop Demetrios commented on the effective work of the Council, noting that the ministry committees continue to work diligently to further the progress of the Archdiocese. He closed his comments by stating that the Archdiocese must not look to decrease the work of the ministries, but to have, as its goal, increasing the work and the progress of the Archdiocese and its ministries. He urged the Council to keep in mind that the Archdiocese must be focused on its central mission which is the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. Christ is the center of the focus and around Him, and in concentric, enlarging circles should be the various ministries and activities of the Archdiocese. He stated "Let us work always with this concentric, focusing structure, which will keep us offering the best and most of what we can."