Goals of the Orthodox Church in America — the Next Twenty Years

December 16, 2009

SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications/December 14, 2009] — The Strategic Planning Committee of the Orthodox Church in America met earlier this month at the OCA Chancery under the chairmanship of the Very Rev. Robert Arida. Also present for the meeting was His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah.

According to a statement issued after the meeting, the committee described its work in the following manner.

“God is Love. In God, this Love is manifest as the perfect Council of Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And yet, within this perfect Divine Love there is something that often seems strange to fallen human reasoning — among these three perfectly equal Persons, among Whom there is no subordination, there is at the same time, primacy and hierarchy — the Son accomplishes the Father’s will, the Spirit proceeds from the Father, the Son is begotten of the Father. The Church must manifest in and to the world this perfect Love and Life of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To image God’s life her own life must mirror this mystery of hierarchy and conciliarity in love. She has no ‘agenda’ separate from this mission.

“One third of the Metropolitan Council, a group of about 10 people, has been commissioned to act as facilitator to propose, for the Fall 2011 gathering of the OCA at the 16th All-American Council, a vision for the Church and aspects of its implementation. This work will require the Church to describe her mission and how it can be implemented in the present time in America including, as necessary, a reexamination of administrative structures and governing Statutes.

“To that end this group, called the Strategic Planning Committee, will begin with certain elements of a vision that have so far been articulated by Metropolitan Jonah and the Holy Synod, and will ensure development of this vision through a conciliar process that is intended to engage virtually all members of the Church. This means that very soon all the faithful of dioceses and parishes will be encouraged to know what concerns the bishops and teachers of the Church have expressed; to respond to these concerns; and to expand upon these concerns and ideas in order to refine and advance the Church’s mission.

“Concretely, among the specific areas that have been discussed, there is to date a unanimous desire to continue the struggle towards Orthodox unity, to cultivate the spiritual life of the faithful, and to more deeply understand the work of mission and manifestation of the Gospel life.

“The Planning Committee believes that advancement of this work has been stifled by a confusion of terms and goals among Orthodox themselves, and by an unfortunate and unnecessary conflict of two essential terms, which are of the essence of the life of the Holy Trinity, and therefore of the Church: the terms hierarchy and conciliarity. Through a concerted, intentional engagement of the whole Church, we hope to overcome such confusion and to render ourselves open to receiving God’s word for the Church’s life and work for our time.”

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee will be meeting again on December 18 and 19 to continue their discussion.

Source: http://www.oca.org/news/2029

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