After an intense week of both business and fellowship, the 2014 Diocese of the South Assembly drew to a close this morning. Thursday began with the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy by our beloved Locum Tenens, Archbishop Nikon. Vladyka spoke of the need for all of us to avoid gossip and slander, and to trust that Christ can turn all thing to be used for good. Following the Liturgy, the parishioners of St Seraphim's once again treated everyone to a delicious brunch before the Delegates split into two groups to listen to presentations by Mr Milos Konjevich on parish finance and building programs, and Archpriest Dimitri Cozby on some of the proposed statute revisions that will be presented at the 18th All-American Council next summer. Priest Justin Frederick of St Maximus the Confessor in Denton, TX then gave an inspiring overview of his recent pilgrimage to Serbia, Bulgaria, and Mount Athos, during which he was able to participate in the uncovering of the relics of St Justin Popovich.
At 2:30pm, Ms Cindy Davis, Coordinator of the OCA's Office for the Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (ORSMA), gave a long presentation on the process for dealing with sexual misconduct in parish settings. Her informative talk included a lengthy session during which participants were able to ask a multitude of questions, as well as give suggestions for further refining the current Policies, Standards, and Procedures. This important meeting helped further the critical work of keeping Christ's flock safe and secure within our church walls.
Priest Ambrose Arrington of Holy Apostles in Bixby, OK celebrated Vespers at the Cathedral, and spoke about how our beloved Archpastor of blessed memory, Archbishop Dmitri, influenced him in his priestly ministry. Afterwards, everyone returned to the Doubletree Hotel for the culminating reception and banquet, during which Archpriest John Maxwell of St John Mission in Ft Smith, AR gave a talk, "Priest, Parish, and Pastoral Care." Fr John's talk gave everyone insight into his decades of experience as a hospital chaplain. Afterwards, Vladyka Nikon delivered his closing remarks, noting that Diocese is uniquely poised to meet the challenges of the future.
On Friday morning, Priest Joseph Lucas of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Miami, FL celebrated Matins, followed by the celebration of a Molieben for travelers by Archimandrite Gerasim. After a relaxed breakfast, Ms Cindy Davis once again made herself available to answer questions about ORSMA and the PSPs, while a practicum for readers, subdeacons, and acolytes was conducted in the Cathedral itself. Many of the participants in the Assembly lingered in the parish hall to enjoy a few last moments of fellowship before heading back home.
Those remaining in the Dallas area over the weekend are invited to join the Cathedral community this evening at 5:00pm for the celebration of Vespers in Spanish, and again tomorrow morning for the Hours and Divine Liturgy at 9:00am, also in Spanish.
Please visit the Assembly page for the full listing of reports and minutes, as well as photo galleries!
May God bless all those who participated in the Assembly, especially the clergy and faithful of St Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral for all their hard work, and may He protect and guide everyone as they travel back home. Glory be to God!