Orthros and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy - 10/16/2005San Dimas, California
Carrying out the work of our Lord Jesus was the only goal in mind of the attendees of the Annual Delegates Meeting. More than 150 people from across the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West gathered in San Dimas, California for the purpose of growing the lay ministries in our parishes throughout the Diocese. His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH presided over the weekend’s activities, which brought together participants of the three Diocesan organizations: Antiochian Women, Fellowship of St. John the Divine and Teen SOYO. Reverend Joseph Corrigan and the parish of St. Peter the Apostle served as our gracious hosts.
His Grace visited each of the three meetings on Saturday, where he noticed a strong spirit of unity and cooperation amongst all the delegates. The organizations updated the progress of their many ministries and their intentions to grow them. To name a few, Antiochian Women have taken on the task of raising funds to enhance the Antiochian Archdiocese Clergy Retirement Fund; the Fellowship has planned a series of events and retreats for outreach to the young adults in order to enhance their ministries and support in the local parishes; the Teens are developing their projects, especially the Youth Workers Fund, in support of those who work to guide them in the Orthodox Faith.
All three organizations then came together for the General Assembly to conduct business of the Diocese at-large. Of high importance was the presentation made by the Conference Planning and Coordination Committee (CPCC), which notified where the Diocese would be gathering for its future Parish Life Conferences. St. George Church of San Diego, California will host the 51st Annual PLC on May 24-28, 2006. These Conferences serve as the means to grow the strength and unity of the Diocese through their fellowship, services and workshops, enhancing the education of the clergy and faithful.
The Diocesan clergy made a special presentation to Bishop JOSEPH on the occasion of his tenth anniversary as the spiritual shepherd on the West Coast. As a gift of love and appreciation, Sayidna will be receiving brand new sets of episcopal vestments. Saturday was the actual date of His Grace’s first Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles (October 15, 1995).
Sayidna addressed the delegates by first thanking the clergy for the new vestments. He also reassured them that he is here in the West to lead us as a father; to minister to and serve all of us as a faithful servant; and to keep reminding all of us of our salvation by showing us the way of the Kingdom of God. His Grace also thanked the participants for making the sacrifice to gather for the Delegates Meeting and for all of their Godly works in their home parishes.
The Fellowship and Teen SOYO immediately resumed their ministry following the General Assembly. They put together packages for elementary school children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Complete with crayons, pencils, rulers, construction paper and other school supplies, the organizations will be submitting them to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for their distribution in the devastated area.
The weekend culminated on Sunday with a festive Hierarchal Divine Liturgy in celebration of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. These holy Fathers restored icons to the Church, proclaiming that these holy images are worthy for veneration by the faithful. St. Peter the Apostle Church was overfilled for worship.
This year’s Delegates Meeting, which Sayidna called the most successful one that he had ever attended, was filled with a spirit of Orthodox Christian love and fellowship. We pray that almighty God enables us to take this spirit back to our parishes to share with our brothers and sisters.
By Subdeacon Peter Samore