Orthodox Church in America
DIOCESE OF THE MIDWEST
Office of the Archbishop
To the Venerable and Esteemed Clergy of the Diocese of the Midwest;
Reverend and Dear Fathers,
Glory to Jesus Christ!
In this first official communication of the New Year, please accept my best wishes that the year be filled with joy, peace, and spiritual edification for you, your loved ones, and those entrusted to your spiritual care.
The year 2009 promises to be an exciting one with new opportunities and ongoing challenges. In my 3 December Pastoral Letter following the All American Council I wrote:
My friends, in one of his messages, his Beatitude stated (and I paraphrase) that by this scandal we, the Orthodox Church in America, have been broken into little pieces, and it is now our job to put these pieces back together again, the result ofwhich will be even more beautiful than before. In once again setting aright the brokenness, we may also restore our Orthodox theology and the ecclesiology that it inspires to guide the Church now and in the future.
Dear brothers in Christ, now is the time that we in earnest set to put the pieces of our beloved Orthodox Church in America here in the Midwest back together again and there is no better forum that we as clergy have than the annual Clergy Convocation. And so by means of this letter I would like to remind you how important your presence is at this assembly of brothers. I realize that there are circumstances, such as secular employment, which could make participation difficult (although there are such things as vacations days, sickdays, etc.) There are other unforeseen legitimate reasons that could prevent participation. I have no difficulty in accepting absence "for a cause worthy of a blessing." I do have a problem with those who are absent for less than "honorable reasons." Participation in the Clergy Convocation is very important and must be taken seriously as a responsibility to one another — a responsibility undertaken with love and dedication, and often involving personal sacrifice. The Council of Presbyters, meeting during the Convocation, will determine the course of the Diocese during this year and into the future.
Again, every priest is expected to participate. Deacons are encouraged to attend. Any diocesan priest who will not attend must submit to me in writing by the end of January the reason that he cannot attend in order to receive a blessing. In some areas of diocesan life, there has been a lack of accountability. This includes the Clergy Convocation. This problems needs to be rectified.
Asking your prayers for my unworthiness, and with every good wish, I remain Faithfully yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Chicago and the Midwest