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Downsizing our Diocesan Center for our Transition

Dear to God,
Christ is in our midst! Hopefully, the Monastery and the Diocese will formally divide the former St Tikhon’s Orphanage Property in the next few weeks, approximately 7 acres, adjacent to St. Tikhon’s Monastery property, and we will receive title to 1.93 acres of the land on which our Diocesan Center is located. The other land and buildings will be merged with the monastery and become their property. As initiated by Metropolitan Tikhon, when he was your Diocesan Bishop and discussed and approved at our Diocesan Assembly in January, our Diocesan Council will begin marketing the property to allow us to move our Diocesan Center closer to our parishes. Part of preparing the Diocesan Center for listing and marketing is to make it as presentable as possible. In doing so, we need to remove excess furnishings and simultaneously downsize for the transition to a new Diocesan Center which will likely be smaller.

Though, we intend to keep and use as much as we can, there may be some things we are simply unable to keep. If there is anything your parish or parishioners have donated that you would want back (if we choose to donate or liquidate it) please call the Diocesan Center to inquire about your specific item(s) no later than July 10th. Be as specific as possible and we will create a list of items not to be liquidated.

We ask your prayers as we seek to finalize the dissolution of the Orphanage Property (which has been closed for nearly 50 years) and begin the process of marketing the current Diocesan Center and search for an affordable and appropriate property to use as a Diocesan Center. Be assured, the Orphanage Board composed of His Beatitude; myself; Archimandrite Sergius, Abbott of St Tikhon’s monastery; Fr John Jillions, Chancellor of the OCA; Fr. Stephen Voytovich, Dean of the seminary; David Yeosock, Judge Ray Lanier, OCA legal counsel; attorney Greg Nescott, Fr Daniel Donlick and Fr John Perich have worked this solution out together. In the process Judge Ray Lanier represented the OCA; attorney John Krisa represented the Orphanage Board; attorney John Petorak represented the Monastery and Brett Woodburn represented the Diocese. The dissolution of the Orphanage Property between the two entities was submitted by all parties to the state of Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and has received the approval of the Assistant Attorney General, Mary Kinney.

Your unworthy father in Christ,

+ Mark, Archbishop of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania

As many of you know, for a number of years St. Stephen's Cathedral has been hosting a Diaconal Formation Program of St. Tikhon's Seminary.  We've been working on expanding this program to also allow for training of layity who are not planning to pursue Diaconal ordination but are active members of their parish and help out in various positions.  This program gives participants foundational knowledge of Orthodox Theology, Church History, Scriptural interpretation and Typical, so it can be especially important for those involved in Catechetical work, Sunday School (especially teen/high school level) and cantors/choir directors. More information HERE.

Attention all Diocesan Graduates!

It is time to submit your graduation photo and information for inclusion in this year's Alive in Christ Graduate issue! You can submit electronically or by mailing your information. For Directions on how to submit your information CLICK HERE.




Glory to Jesus Christ!!

14,122 Visits in May - SMASHING the previous record. The amount of traffic to this site is growing at an unbelievable rate. It took just about 3 years to get to the 10,000 visit plateau, and with each month that passes we grow even larger - is 20,000 visits in our future?  PEOPLE ARE VISITING! PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED! Is your parish represented fully here? Do you share your good news? Is your Facebook, Twitter and instagram getting 14,000 visits a month? SHARE YOUR GOOD NEWS! Share your photos WITH a story! People are looking on - where else can you reach 14,000 people in a month? Click here to find out how to submit your stories - please follow these guidelines!

Go and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishes

The first ever, national study on evangelization and outreach in Orthodox parishes in the United States has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA.
Download the report in various formats:
    •    Executive Summary (pdf)
    •    Full Report (pdf)
The report "Go and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishes" explores the practices and strategies developed by some Orthodox parishes that can be viewed as "exemplary" in their missionary and outreach efforts. Examples of what the readers will find in the report include:
    •    The "secrets" of being a parish that attracts and welcomes new members;
    •    Eight good practices of welcoming first-time visitors and inquirers about the Faith;
    •    How do "exemplary" parishes achieve a high degree of involvement of their members in parish life;
    •    Four distinct features of religious education in the "exemplary" parishes;
    •    Six "lessons" that Church leadership (bishops) can learn from the "exemplary" parishes.
Parishes of seven Orthodox jurisdictions participated in this study. The report was prepared by Alexei Krindatch, the Assembly's Research Coordinator in cooperation with Fr. Eric Tosi (OCA), Fr. John Parker (OCA) and Adam Roberts (Antiochian Archdiocese). The study was initiated and sponsored by the Committee for Agencies and Endorsed Organizations (Bishop Gregory of Nyssa, Chairman).

Telos Project seeks “pilot parishes” to explore young adults’ religious lives

The Telos Project, a five-year initiative at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology [HCHC] exploring the religious lives of young adults ages 23-29, is seeking 14 parishes belonging to the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America to pilot new forms of young adult ministry. For more information click HERE.

Appeal to help Fr. John and Matushka Kyra Nightingale

His Eminence, Archbishop MARK has sent out an appeal to the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania to aid Fr. John and Matushka Kyra Nightingale. Fr. John experienced a tragic fall last year, and is continuing to recover, with great expenses. Please read the letter from His Eminence, and as the Great Lent approaches consider making a donation of money or time, and kee[ the Nightengales in your prayers.


Beyond the Plateau: Leading the Church through Needed Change

We all know the story, or have heard versions of it.  A new priest is assigned to a parish.  Upon his arrival there, the priest discovers or discerns that the parish is in decline, or is struggling with serious issues of Church growth and health, and resolves to do something about it.  He may be a priest with not only good ideas but inspiring vision, energy and talent, yet, at virtually every step of the way, he finds himself fighting resistance to even the concept of new ideas and different ways of doing things, ways that challenge conventional parish thinking and possibly even the very parishioners responsible for that thinking.  After a while, especially with no backup or support from fellow clergy, including his own bishop, he gives up and goes on with parish life as it has been.  And the declines only continue. CONTINUE READING

Proposed Templates for Parish By-Laws / Constitutions *UPDATED DECEMBER 2016!


Christ is in our midst!

Here you will find two recently revised "Proposed Templates" for parishes desiring to adopt a set of By-Laws or Constitutions where there are none or update them in cases where the old By-Laws are incongruent with the Revised Statutes of the Orthodox Church in America or simply out of date. We welcome feedback on these "Proposed Parish By-Laws."  According to Federal Law regulating Non-Profit Organizations, every Non-Profit must have a set of By-Laws and follow them.  Those who do not endanger their tax exempt status as well as leave their parish council members open to personal liability.  The same could also be said of parishes that have bylaws but do not follow them..  

By Laws            Constitution

+ Mark, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania

Updated Guidelines for Clergy Compensation

Updated guidelines for Clergy Compensation have been posted and can be accessed HERE.

New Websites Abound Across the Diocese

Recently many parishes in the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania have updated their presence on the World Wide Web - too many, in fact, to give each their own separate news story. A website is your parish’s “store front” to the world -  statistics show that when searching for a church, the first place most people go is to the internet. Does your parish have a website? Is it updated at least weekly? Is your parish using social media? In the 21st Century these tools are used by many who are searching, and can reach millions.
Congratulations to the parishes below who have made their place on the internet extra special, for taking the time to ensure their message is being clearly and neatly presented. Did we miss your parish? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

Holy Annunciation Berwick

New website featuring parish news and events

Holy Apostles Mechanicsburg

New website featuring news and events and new building fund

St. John the Baptist Edwardsville

New website featuring news, events, parish calendar

St. Michaels Old Forge

New website featuring 360 degree tour, news and events

Holy Cross Williamsport

New website featuring 360 degree virtual tour, news and events

St. Michael's Jermyn

New website featuring 4 part welcome and 360 degree tour

St. Mary's Coaldale

New website featuring 360 degree virtual tour, news and events

Christ the Saviour Harrisburg

New website featuring news, photos, calendar and more.

The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

The Mission of the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry is to bring the love of Christ to those who are in prison by providing encouragement, material support, transition and reintegration guidance, Christian education, spiritual guidance and the sacramental life of the Church. How can you help?

Toward the Great and Holy Council: Retrieving a Culture of Conciliarity and Communion

A presentation on Ancient Faith Radio you can listen to HERE.

Important Message Regarding Diocesan Insurance

His Eminence, Archbishop MARK, has released a message regarding an upcoming change with Diocesan Insurance which will require parishes to abide by the new carrier's sexual misconduct policies. Please review these policies.which can be found HERE.

Revised OCA Statutes

The revised statutes for the Orthodox Church in America are now available. The Revised Statutes are the governing document for the Orthodox Church in America, its' Dioceses, and Parishes. Please review the Revised OCA Statutes HERE.

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