Online Registration for the 2021 Parish Development Forum, to be held from 10:00 AM EDT to 5:15 PM on Friday July 16, is now open. The Forum is co-sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America’s Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania, the Diocese of the Midwest and the Bulgarian Diocese.
“We have reconfigured the highly successful Parish Development Forum, from an in-person conference to a one day online session again this year,” said Joseph Kormos, Forum co-chairperson and Parish Development Ministry Leader for the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh. “For the past seven years this conference has attracted persons from virtually every OCA Diocese and many other Orthodox jurisdictions. The online venue makes this opportunity available to an even wider group of potential attendees.”
The Orthodox Parish: Awakening to Opportunity
Archpriest Stephen Frase, co-chairperson for the Forum noted, “The 2021 Forum theme is ‘The Orthodox Parish: Awakening to Opportunity’. Our goal is to help clergy and lay leaders realize that the hiatus of the pandemic, while highly frustrating, has resulted in an opportunity for parishes. As parish life starts getting back to “normal”, we need to rethink, revamp and enliven. Are we coming back to before? Or, are we coming back to better? Can we inspire something more impactful than the status quo? Can we digest lessons from the past year to reach out as more resilient, more forward-looking and less insular parish communities enlivened with new initiatives, new energy and engaged laity?”
Three Content Tracks
“The 2021 Forum will include three parallel content tracks exploring important aspects of ‘Awakening to Opportunity’,” said Kormos. Attendees will choose one of the three tracks – ‘Personal Spiritual Resiliency’, ‘The Back-To-Better Parish’ and ‘Becoming Fishers of Men’. Each track will contain important dialogue and skill building sessions facilitated by subject matter leaders.”
Archpriest Frase added, “In providing three tracks parishes will hopefully encourage participation by multiple parish leaders to participate and report back on content in the each track.”
The three content tracks will be enhanced by two feature speakers, presented in “all attendee” sessions. Archpriest Dr. John A. Jillions, former Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America and Associate Professor of Religion and author of Divine Guidance: Lessons for Today from the World of Early Christianity (Oxford, 2020), will explore what the New Testament can teach us about understanding and engaging the challenges and opportunities presented by the secular culture.
Dr. Nathan Jacobs, an artist turned scholar turned filmmaker is best known to Orthodox audiences as the creator of the feature documentary Becoming Truly Human. Dr. Jacobs will speak on “Understanding and Engaging Spiritual-But-Not Religious (Or “Nones”).
Registration is open to clergy and laity from any Orthodox jurisdiction. Forum registration includes various budget friendly free will pricing options—including free. Attendees can select the option that best fits their personal situation. Income after administrative expenses and speaker stipends will be used for Parish Development Grants and for donations to Orthodox charities.
Questions and enquiries may be directed to Mr. Kormos at firstname.lastname@example.org.