OrthoNews - November 5, 1997

Parish Preparations for 1998 Clergy-Laity Congress

[ November 2, 1997 ]

Subject: Parish Preparations for 1998 Clergy-Laity Congress

Mr. David Holland
Parish Council President
Ascension Cathedral
4700 Lincoln Ave.
Oakland, CA 94602

Re: December Parish Assembly Agenda

Dear Dave:

Because our archdiocese is currently facing the biggest crisis in its 75 year history, the upcoming clergy-laity congress scheduled for July, 1998, in Orlando, Florida, will be the most important one ever. It will be our first opportunity to speak with one voice regarding the many critical issues facing us as a Church in America. In fact, unless we do make our voices heard, it could be our last such opportunity.

Under the Special Regulations of the Archdiocese, there are several steps necessary to properly prepare for the clergy-laity congress. I am writing to request that two of those steps be placed on the agenda for the December parish assembly meeting for consideration.

First, under chapter I, article I, section 2, of the Special Regulations, each parish is entitled to four delegates, including the priest, the parish council president, and two members of the parish elected by the parish assembly. In recent years, we have typically sent fewer delegates. However, this year, because Archbishop Spyridon has packed the Archdiocesan Council with illegal appointees, it is imperative that each parish send its full complement of delegates in order to keep those illegal appointees from controlling the congress.

Therefore, I hereby request that the Parish Council place on the agenda for the December parish assembly meeting the election of two of our delegates to the clergy-laity congress.

The second issue is the formulation of proposed resolutions for the congress. The process starts at the parish level, then moves to the diocesan assembly (if it meets at the time it is supposed to, which in recent years it has not), then to the national congress. If the diocesan assembly meets when it is supposed to, it would have to meet no later than February, 1998, in order to meet the 120 day advance time limit for submitting resolutions to the archdiocese under chapter I, article I, section 7 of the Special Regulations. Under chapter I, article III, section 4 of the Special Regulations, if the diocesan assembly does not meet in time, the parish may submit the resolutions directly to the archdiocese, presumably still within that 120 day time limit.

Accordingly, in order to properly consider such resolutions, the process must begin immediately. Under our parish by laws, specifically the by law appended as section 12 to chapter II, part one, article VI of the Uniform Parish Regulations, the parish assembly may from time to time establish task forces which shall address the specific issues referred by the parish assembly In light of the current crisis, a task force could be the appropriate vehicle for such a task. Accordingly, I hereby request that the issue of establishment of a task force to formulate proposed resolutions for the 1998 clergy-laity congress be placed on the December parish assembly agenda.

As we have discussed, I am willing to serve on such a task force. In fact, if you wish, I am willing to chair it. In any event, whoever may be appointed to such a task force, it should include Fr. Tom, all potential candidates for next year's parish council presidency, and the two delegates to the clergy-laity congress elected by the parish assembly as described above. That way, all four of our ultimate delegates will be included on the task force, so that it can formulate resolutions which truly will reflect the voice of the parish as a whole.

For this reason, it is essential that the two parish assembly delegates be elected now, at the December 1997 meeting, and that issue not be delayed until the June, 1998 meeting, so that they can serve on the task force. In that vein, I also hereby volunteer to serve as one of the two parish assembly elected delegates to the Orlando clergy-laity congress, if the parish assembly so desires. Because of my extensive personal involvement in and knowledge of the issues in this crisis at the local as well as the national levels, as well as my knowledge of the Special Regulations and Uniform Parish Regulations and our local by laws, as well as my status as a past president, I believe I am qualified to serve in this role. In any event, regardless of who may be selected, these two matters need to be placed on the December agenda so we can properly prepare for the national clergy laity congress next July.

To summarize, I hereby request that two issues be placed on the December, 1997 parish assembly agenda:
1. Election of two delegates to the July, 1998 clergy-laity congress.
2. Establishment of a task force to formulate resolutions for the 1998 clergy-laity congress, the membership to include Fr. Tom, all candidates for the 1998 parish council presidency, and the two delegates to the 1998 clergy-laity congress elected by the parish Assembly.

Thank you again for all of your past efforts to address these important issues, and for the consideration I know you and the other members of the parish council will give to my requests.

Yours in Christ,
Stephen P. Angelides

[ OrthoNews (Sokolov) - November 5, 1997 ]