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The 20th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America concluded today with the fifth Plenary Session. The morning began with a performance by the youth. After preparing throughout the week with the youth program leaders, they sang liturgical hymns in two-part harmony for the delegation. The youth program for the All-American Council brought together 103 children from across the Orthodox Church in America for five days of education and activities.

A resolution was brought to the floor that advises ways to improve communication between the Pension Board and Metropolitan Council. Among the points the resolution recommends include regular and in-depth reporting on the OCA Pension Plan, and professional pension training for Pension Board and Metropolitan Council members. The resolution passed by majority.

In lieu of the report on military and veteran chaplaincy, Archpriest Peter Dubinin and Priest James Parnell offered presentations on the work of chaplains and the need for more candidates to pursue this path. Archpriest Steven Voytovich then outlined the work of institutional chaplains in his report. He emphasized that this vocation is not limited to ordained clergy, but can also be a career opportunity for lay men and women.

The delegation viewed two short videos produced by ELEOS Poland, the charitable organization of the Polish Orthodox Church, which outlined the work undertaken for Ukrainian refugees. Earlier this year, ELEOS Poland received more than $720,000 from the Orthodox Church in America to further their care for those affected by the war in Ukraine. This donation is the result of the largest single charitable collection ever taken up by the Orthodox Church in America.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon offered his closing remarks, connecting today’s feast of Saint Mary Magdalene with the theme of the Council, “Becoming Vessels of Grace.” Just as Saint Mary proclaimed her experience of the Resurrection to others, he remarked all the members of the delegation should take what they have experienced over the past week and “offer it to God’s people.

The 20th All American Council closed with the installation of the new members for the Metropolitan Council and the Pension Board, led by His Beatitude.

Minutes, videos, and photos will be forthcoming.