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The third Plenary Session of the 20th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America convened today in Baltimore. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon first offered a statement on the amendment to the Statute regarding the Pension Board which failed to obtain a two-thirds majority, even though the majority of votes were expressed in its favor. Metropolitan Tikhon emphasized the urgency of addressing issues with the Pension as the Church is asking for changes for the long-term sustainability of the Plan.
A second amendment to the Statute was presented for deliberation, which would codify the new structure of the Chancery. Under this arrangement, the Chancellor would be the primary contact between the Metropolitan and his Chancery staff. The amendment passed by a large majority.
The Chancellor’s Report of Archpriest Alexander Rentel focused on the effect of the pandemic on the Chancery’s operations. Moving first to a virtual workspace enabled the Chancery to transition to a hybrid virtual/in-person model in 2021. He then outlined the process of the physical relocation of the Chancery to the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. At present, the Metropolitan and the Secretary have moved, and the Chancery offices and staff will finish relocating shortly after the All American Council. Father Rentel yielded the remainder of his time to Ray Steeb, co-chair of the Relocation Committee, who explained the current disposition of the Westwood property where the Chancery was previously located. It remains on the market, and it is projected to sell by 2025.
Other reports presented include the Secretary’s Report, the Treasurer’s Report, and the Audit Report. Of note was the success of the fundraiser for Ukrainian refugees, which exceeded $720,000. Treasurer Andrew Smith then brought forward a funding resolution in continuity with the resolution adopted at the 19th All-American Council. The new resolution would require Canada and Alaska to remit a financial obligation to the Orthodox Church in America equal to 10% in 2023 through 2025. The funding resolution passed nearly unanimously.
Archimandrite Sergius (Bowyer) presented the Stavropegial Monastery Report, focusing on two new endeavors at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery in South Canaan, PA. The first is an iconography school, which will be housed in a dedicated building once completed. The second is a school to train choir directors for parishes. Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery is the oldest and largest monastery in the Orthodox Church in America, and remains a hub for the spiritual life of Orthodoxy throughout North America.