SMALL PARISH FORUM
Fourth Small Parish Forum to Be Held July 13-15 in New Kensington PA.
The Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the OCA’s Diocese of the Midwest, annually sponsors the Small Parish Forum. The fourth Small Parish Forum will be held just outside Pittsburgh at New Kensington’s St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church. Sessions will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 13 and conclude at noon on Saturday, July 15.
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.
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:
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. Joekormos1@gmail.com.