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SMALL PARISH FORUM 2015 June 18-20 Weirton WV

A subset of the over 50 attendees at the 2014 Forum in Byesville OH 2014 Forum
A subset of the over 50 attendees at the 2014 Forum in Byesville OH 2014 Forum
A subset of the over 50 attendees at the 2014 Forum in Byesville OH 2014 Forum

For clergy and lay leaders from Orthodox churches of fewer than 75 adults, the Small Parish Forum is a regional conference created to share helpful, hopeful ideas and tools for stabilizing and strengthening parish life.

Co-sponsored by the OCA’s Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania and the Diocese of the Midwest and with the blessings of Archbishop MELCHISEDEK and Archimandrite Paul Bishop Elect, the 2015 Forum will be held at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Weirton WV from 3:00 PM June18 to noon June 20. 

Help, Hope, Stability and Identity

The OCA's Midwest and Western PA Dioceses and other Dioceses and Orthodox jurisdictions have many small parishes. Some have always been small. Some were once large and for various reasons are now much smaller. They need support -- help and hope. They need to achieve stability –a positive self-image and a sense that small parishes can live a Life in Christ without necessarily becoming “big”. And, for those prepared to grow, they need fresh ideas that are adapted and relevant to the realities of small churches. That is what the Small Parish Forum tries to provide.

2015 Forum Registration

Under construction!

Space is limited to 70 attendees.

Registration is $100 per attendee --includes meals and materials.

Hotel accomodations are the responsibility of attendees.

Hotel links soon.

2015 Forum Agenda & Faculty

Forum agenda will include ample time for break out discussions
Forum agenda will include ample time for break out discussions
Forum agenda will include ample time for break out discussions

The 2015 Small Parish Forum will begin at 3:00 PM on Thursday June 18 and conclude approximately noon on Saturday June 20.

Agenda and speaker assignments for the 2015 Small parish Forum will be finalized approximately one month before the Forum.

As in past years sessions will include lectures, small group discussions, problem solving workshops, breakout groups and open social time --to meet others and exchange ideas on small parish challenges.

Topics

Topics for the 2015 Forum will include:

  • Case Study -- Waking Up a Small Parish
  • Practical Stewardship
  • Strengthening Worship in the Small Parish: Fixing Music Problems; Grooming Music Leaders
  • Choosing Change: Motivating Small Parishes to Adapt
  • Building Lay Leaders
  • Education and Formation in the Small Parish -- We still need to learn our faith!

Contributing Faculty and Administrators

  • Father Marc Vranes, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church Willimantic CT
  • Father Tom Soroka, St. Nicholas Church McKees Rocks PA
  • Father Stephen Frase, Christ the Savior Church, Byesville OH
  • Father Daniel Rentel, Pastor Emeritus, St Gregory of Nyssa Church, Columbus OH
  • David Drillock, Chair, Department of Liturgical Music OCA
  • Ann Marie Mecera, Orthodox Leader, Speaker and Author
  • John Fedorko, Parish Leader
  • Joseph Kormos, Parish Development Ministry, Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania
2014 Forum Resources

The first Small Parish Forum was held July 2014 at Christ the Savior Church in Byesville OH. Over fifty attendees representing six OCA Dioceses, other Orthodox jurisidictions and the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma participated in spirited sessions discussing revitalization success stories,worship, sharing your faith, charitable outreach all tailored to the unique issues of small parishes.

Fr Daniel Rentel offered keynote reflections on his years in ministry
Fr Daniel Rentel offered keynote reflections on his years in ministry
Fr Daniel Rentel offered keynote reflections on his years in ministry
Fr Jonathan Proctor shared the story of Holy Trinity Church St Paul MN
Fr Jonathan Proctor shared the story of Holy Trinity Church St Paul MN
Fr Jonathan Proctor shared the story of Holy Trinity Church St Paul MN
David Drillock offered sessions on worship and liturgical singing
David Drillock offered sessions on worship and liturgical singing
David Drillock offered sessions on worship and liturgical singing

2014 Forum Goals

The goals of the 2014 Small Parish Forum were to:

1. Stimulate Commitment
Stimulate small parishes to renew and fulfill their founding commitment to be a viable Orthodox community into perpetuity.

2. Offer Worship Tools
Offer tools that enrich and beautify worship as the expression of the best each parish can offer up.

3. Deliver Parish Tools
Provide clergy serving small communities with materials that promote stewardship, governance, education and outreach.

4. Encourage Community Contact
Explore ways that will allow each parish to become involved with the larger community so as to have that community become involved with the parish.

5. Establish Communication Networks
Establish lines of communication networks between parishes that will enable the exchange of useful information.

6. Reduce Stresses
Collaborate to explore stresses faced by small parishes in the hope of lessening and resolving them to the benefit of the parish.

Workshop Materials

Participants heard a variety of presentations geared to strengthening the parish, committing to long term viability, and developing reachable goals.
Participants heard a variety of presentations geared to strengthening the parish, committing to long term viability, and developing reachable goals.
Participants heard a variety of presentations geared to strengthening the parish, committing to long term viability, and developing reachable goals.

Use the following links toaccess materials from the 2014 Small Parish Forum

Introduction - Joe Kormos

Keynote Address - Fr. Daniel Rentel

Profiles in Revitalization - Fr. Jonathan Proctor

Worship I - David Drillock --Outline

Worship II David Drillock - Outline

Worship Music handouts

Evangelization - Sharing Your Faith in the 21 st Century Fr. Stephen Frase

Charitable Outreach - AnnMarie Mecera

Communicating Your Parish - Joe Kormos


Clergy Laity Letters

In one of the final sessions of the Small Parish Forum attendees were divided into separate groups of clergy and laity. Laity were asked to respectfully offer suggestions and insights to clergy about 'things' they should "stop", "start" and "continue". Clergy undertook a mirror image of the same assignment.

After about 60 minutes the groups reconvened and, with some trepidation, shared their suggestions with the other "side".

The laity group created a reasonable set of thoughts for clergy consideration -- but in actuality it seemed to be a rehash of common issues. 

The clergy group, on the other hand, created what all agreed was a thoughtful, helpful insightful letter.

Workshop -- Clergy letter to Laity -Stop, Start, Continue

Laity input to Clergy -Stop, Start, Continue

 

 
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