2012 Annual Clergy Conference held on September 27, 2012 to September 29, 2012

The Annual Clergy Conference of the Northeast American Diocese was held from September 27 through 29, 2012 at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church - 50 Ludlow St Yonkers, NY. The newly constructed beautiful church (to be consecrated soon), close to the calm waters of the mighty Hudson River, prepared a stage for this unique meeting of the clergy of the Northeast American Diocese. Under the able leadership and guidance of the Diocesan Metropolitan, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, more than 77 persons including 47 priests, four deacons and two seminarians and 24 Kochammas attended the conference. Rev. Fr. Philip C. Abraham, the Clergy Association Secretary, hard work and planning found realization of this annual dream of the clergy of the Northeast American Diocese. Rev. Fr. Philip C. Abraham heartily welcomed all members to the conference. The canonical offices of prayer according to the Shimo were used throughout the conference.

The keynote speaker was Rev. Fr. Dr. O. Thomas, professor at the Orthodox Theological Seminary Kottayam, who spoke on "Pastoral Ministry Challenges in the Post-modern Era". The post-modern world that denies absolute truth or existence of "anything" has become a catalyst for the world to deny traditionally approved social, family, spiritual etc. values. This leads to utter confusion for the people as to what to believe and what to follow. The solution to this is found in our Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to Rev. Fr. O. Thomas, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos spoke on "Administrational and Canonical Issues" and Rev. Fr. Gheevarghese John spoke on "Leadership Challenges for the Clergy of the Younger Generation". All the topics generated enthusiastic discussion. Each day the regular office of prayer was held followed by devotional addresses by Very Rev. Fr. Paulose Adai Chor Episcopos , Rev. Fr. Andrew Daniel, Rev. Fr. Dr. George Koshy and Rev. Fr. Laby George Panackamattom.

The Conference pondered upon the issues facing the clergy in serving the first and second generation of people. It was decided to look into the need of establishing English speaking congregations in major cities to serve the first generation families.

A separate session was held for all Kochammas giving opportunity to share their spiritual experience and ideas.

Another session was held for the clergy in which a unit of the “Association of the Alumni and Friends of the Orthodox Theological Seminary” for the Northeast American Diocese was formed. Rev. Fr. Dr. George Koshy was elected as the Coordinator for the Association and Rev. Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, Rev. Fr. Paulose T. Peter and Rev. Fr. George (Dileep) Cherian were elected to the Committee of the Association. The Alumni and Friends will meet every year during the Clergy Conference. The Association aims at bringing awareness on the significance of the Seminaries of the Church and giving support to the Seminary by all means.

The clergy families sat around for the social hour sharing their funny experiences and jokes to the delight of all.

A large group of volunteers from the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church helped in serving excellent food for the attendees. The Metropolitan and Diocesan Secretary thanked the organizers and the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church for their tireless work to arrange all amenities for the conference participants including accommodation provided in the homes of the members of the parish. The entire parish deserves appreciation and thanks as they made the brand new church building and all its amenities available for the conference.

The Annual Clergy Conference for next year will be held from September 26 through 28, 2013.

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