September 21, 2014

Thoughts on the OCL Unity conference

The Road to Unity; From Vision to Action was the title of the conference that just wrapped up this evening in Ligonier, PA. You can see the topics discussed here, and read some of the day to day activity on Fr. Peter-Michael Preble’s website.

Presentations were very good. Many of the people who spoke were first timers to an event like this although they are very active in their fields but largely unknown in the larger Orthodox world. They represent the new leadership that is emerging and will carry Orthodoxy into American society as we move closer to unity. They include people such as Fr. Antonio Perdomo, Bryan Smith who is the headmaster of an Orthodox School, Sister Elizabeth Oftedehl who runs a home for unwed mothers, Fr. Justin Matthews, Executive Director of FOCUS, and more.

This is ground up work and very exciting and very encouraging to see. It gives you a clearer sense of what can be accomplished if we put out minds to it.

Met. Jonah, Bp. Nathaniel, Bp. Thomas (who has a great sense of humor), and Bp. Melchizedek were the hierarchs present. Met. Jonah in particular stressed that unity among the Orthodox in America is also a function of spiritual maturity.

Nick Katich, occasional contributor to AOI blog, gave a thoughtful and and nuanced summary of his take on the Chambesy Protocols. One thing he mentioned that stood out was that the movement towards Chambesy seems to have come out of nowhere. Asked what he thought might have started it, Nick said that no one really knows.

OCL particpants, many of them veterans of twenty years of action, report a renewed sense of hope and accomplishment at this conference. Some of them were desparing that anything might change. Here they saw new faces, some considerably younger and all accomplished who clearly take their Orthodox faith seriously and see what Orthodox Christianity can contribute to the larger culture and are working out ways to do so.

Two quick points. First, Antiochian Village, the site where the conference was held treated us superbly. The food was very good too. Great choice as a site. Second, conference organizers did a great job planning it.

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