Archdiocese of Pittsburgh
and Western Pennsylvania
Orthodox Church in America
Home > Parish Development Ministry > Small Parish Forum

Registration Available for 2017 Small Parish Forum


NEW! Draft Agenda

Registration is now open for the 2017 Small Parish Forum to be held from 3:00 PM Thursday July 13 to 12:30 Saturday July 15 at St John the Baptist Church New Kensington PA


The Small Parish Forum is a conference that offers presentations, discussions, workshops, small group sessions and individual conversations tuned to the challenges faced by small Orthodox churches. Clergy, parish council members, music leaders, Christian educators and concerned laity from many OCA Dioceses and Orthodox jurisdictions attend to become good stewards of their parish future and help them recognize and harness what is good and beautiful in small Christian communities.

We Have Mostly Small Parishes -- And Small Parishes Are Different

The need for the Small Parish Forum is clear. Only a handful of parishes in the Archdiocese have more than 75 adult members. Some have always been small. Some were once large and for various reasons are now much smaller.

However, just as a clinic is not a large metropolitan hospital with fewer beds, small churches are not malnourished, immature, versions of larger parishes. Small parishes think, feel and actdifferent. They have different resources and social structures and need different practices and ministries.  Yet small churches can bring people to Christ in intimate and exciting ways. Small parishes can worship well, care for one another, teach, serve their neighbor and share Christ’s love with others.  In many cases they do these things better than larger churches.


Becoming a Community of Engagement

The fourth Small Parish Forum will help attendees to bring back tools and good practices to build strength in their parishes. The Forum will focus on four aspects of “engagement” that are critical to smaller parishes.

Engage In Worship – Enliven your church’s worship cycle for everyone.

Engage with Neighbors – Break insularity from the world by reaching out in service to your neighbors

Engage Across Generations – Harness the gifts, experiences & mentoring across multiple generations to build a community of love.

Engage with Your Future – Hope in a bright future requires leadership, an understanding of your identity as a Christian community and shared, lived values.

2017 Small Parish Forum Speakers and Topics

Download Flyer

Register Here

2016 Parish Forum attendee shares hopes for the future of her parish with interested Forum attendees.
2016 Parish Forum attendee shares hopes for the future of her parish with interested Forum attendees.
2016 Parish Forum attendee shares hopes for the future of her parish with interested Forum attendees.
The Small Parish Forum is Unique

To address the unique qualities of small churches, the Small Parish Forum is also unique. Unlike other events dealing with church ministry and revitalization, the Forum is NOT about telling small parishes of their necessity to grow. Nor does the Forum allow participants to dwell on the difficulties and limitations of small parishes. The Forum provides tools, insights and encouragement that enable small parishes to harness the intimacy and close relationships inherent in their modest size.

Actionable Ideas, Relevant Conversations and a Network of New Friends

Because the forum attracts attendees from many small parishes, Forum attendees are reminded they are not alone in the challenges faced in their parish. They share how other small Orthodox parishes are beginning to make progress on these challenges.

Previous forums held in Byesville OH, Weirton WV and Canton OH were successful because clergy and lay leaders left with actionable ideas, tips, good practices and a network of new friends in similar parishes.

At the 2017 Forum case studies, topical discussions and plenty of free time conversation can help you and others from your parish learn how to:

  • Understand the unique talents, gifts and strengths of your parish community.
  • Engage your neighborhood and offer ministry to those on or near your doorsteps
  • Appreciate the role that active singing and liturgical participation can have in enlivening the entire parish.
  • Confidently bring the light and beauty of the Orthodox faith to our surrounding communities.
  • Bring hope and a fresh identity to parishes stuck in the mindset of decades long past.
  • Avoid using your modest size as an excuse for inactivity and mediocrity.
  • Break out of ruts and begin focusing on one or two new efforts to breathe new life into a sleeping parish.
  • Entrust a healthy, vital Christ-centered parish to future generations.

Scholarships and Travel Grants Available to Archdiocesan Attendees

Registration for the Forum will open in early May. A $100 per person registration fee covers meals, breaks, a hospitality reception and forum materials. However, parishes from the Archdiocese that send clergy and laity teams of three attendees or more will have their registration fees rebated. Also, parishes in the Archdiocese that are more than a 40 minute drive from the New Kensington site are eligible for travel grants to cover hotel costs.

If you have questions about the Small Parish Forum please contact Joseph Kormos, Parish Development Ministry leader for the Archdiocese.

Attendees at 2016 Small Parish Forum Canton OH
Attendees at 2016 Small Parish Forum Canton OH
Attendees at 2016 Small Parish Forum Canton OH
Past Forums
2016 Forum Materials
To view materials and photos from 2016 Forum click here.

2015 Forum Materials

To view photos and materials from the 2015 Small Parish Forum -- click here.

2014 Materials

To View Photos and materials from 2014 Small parish Forum Click Here.