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Archbishop Melchisedek and Bishop Paul with participants at 2017 Small Parish Forum

The team planning the Fifth Small Parish Forum, slated to be held at Saint George Cathedral, Rossford, recently announced that at least one $2000 “Small Parish Development Grant” will be made available to a parish participating in the gathering.

As previously announced, the Forum will be cosponsored by the Orthodox Church in America’s Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania, Diocese of the Midwest, and Bulgarian Diocese.  The Forum theme will be “Equipping Leaders and Parish Councils for Discipleship and Change.”

“At past Forums, attendees received important, useful information for strengthening life in their small parishes,” said Joseph Kormos, Forum Co-Chair and Parish Development Ministry Leader for the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh.  “Yet upon returning home. translating those insights into action and extended effort has often been challenging.  Obstacles include generating broad motivation on the part of the parish to undertake an important effort and securing the funds to pay for that effort.  This year we will help at least one participating parish gain traction for a new or expanded ministry idea by awarding a $2000 grant to a community with a good idea and a believable plan for an effort designed to build a brighter future for the parish.”

A portion of the Forum agenda will be devoted to helping attendees consider possible grant-worthy efforts that fit their parish situations and building an initial outline for the initiative, Mr. Kormos added.  Upon returning home from the Forum, participants will have two months to refine their ideas and submit them to the Small Parish Forum planning group for evaluation and selection.

“Grant-worthy topics might include new ministry efforts in leadership development, outreach, community building, evangelization, internal and external communication, education, exploring new visions for the parish community or any legitimate area of healthy parish life,” said Archpriest Daniel Rentel, Forum Co-Chair.  “We will offer at least one grant—perhaps even two if additional funds become available.  We expect the Small Parish Development Grant will be an important factor in creating an atmosphere of hopefulness and effort on the part of attending parishes.  It can also be important in the area of accountability and learning.  We will ask any parish receiving a grant to present an update at the 2019 Forum on what worked and what didn’t.”

Keynote speaker at this year’s Forum will be Archpriest Thomas Soroka, Rector of Saint Nicholas Church, McKees Rocks, PA.  His topic — “Discipleship: An Orthodox Christian Perspective for Leaders” — will set the tone for the Forum’s workshops, case studies and discussions.

Complete Forum details and registration and lodging information are available online.