The annual Fall Delegates Meeting was held on Oct. 20-22, 2006, hosted by St. Michael Orthodox Church in Whittier, California.
The weekend began with Vespers on Friday evening, followed by a light supper and fellowship hour at the church. We had the chance to meet new people and renew old friendships. Delegates representing The Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Teen SOYO and the Antiochian Women, plus several local clergy, were on hand to partake of this wonderful time together.
Saturday morning began with breakfast and morning prayers at the church. Then we were shuttled across the street to Rio Hondo College, where meeting rooms were set up for the organizations to meet and conduct their individual agendas for upcoming events and activities. These rooms gave us plenty of space to hold our meetings, while freeing up the hall and patio area at the church so that meals could be prepared and served on time.
Lunch was served back at the church, and it was another time for fellowship. We all anticipated the arrival of His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH. When he arrived in the general assembly room, all the delegates, numbering about 100 by this time, were standing and singing 'God Grant You Many Years'. This is the first time he has been out since his surgery, and we were thankful to see him looking so well. Sayidna addressed us on several issues that can enhance our Diocese, and then he answered some questions. Sayidna then left to return home to rest. Reports were given by the presidents of the three organizations, and by the chairman of the CCPC. The committee from Portland gave their report on the upcoming conference in June, and information was handed out so that we could approve their plans and have the details to make our travel plans.
We returned to the church to enjoy a wine and cheese reception outside in the beautiful courtyard of the church. With the business behind us, we could truly relax and enjoy one another's company. On the other side of the fence, dinner was cooking, a wonderful BBQ that promised to be the highlight of the evening.
After Vespers in the Church, the Teens went out to dinner and bowling, a wonderful time for them to bond and be together. The rest of us were treated to a candlelight dinner in the church hall, complete with linens, china, candles and outdoor lights. It was a beautiful evening and a wonderful meal. The fountain outside, with the Archangel Michael hovering above it, was lit and running, making a beautiful scene for us to enjoy. It is always good to be with everyone and have the chance to visit and catch up on on how people's lives are going.
Sunday morning, we attended Matins and Western Rite Liturgy. Father Brendan Allen, who comes in about twice a month from out of town to assist the parish, preached a wonderful homily. At the end of the service, a 4-year Trisagion Service was said in memory of Kh. Nancy Lee Downing, who was the only Khouriyeh for a long time at St. Michael Church.
Lunch was served after church, and the sad time of everyone leaving to return to their homes began. Time and space cannot separate the love of Orthodoxy that we all share, and we anticipate being together again at our Parish Life Conference in June.
The Organizations of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West thanks our host parish for all of their efforts to make this a comfortable and enjoyable weekend for everyone. Special thanks to Father Stephen Herney, Assistant Pastor, Kh. Joy Herney, Chairman of the weekend, and to all of their committees. We ask you to keep in your prayers their Pastor, Rt. Rev. Michael Trigg, who is in the hospital awaiting neck surgery, and was unable to be with us. We pray for his full and complete recovery. God bless our faithful in Whittier.