31 October–4 November 2011 • 16th All-American Council
The delegation from St. Vladimir's Seminary to the recent 16th All-American Council (AAC) of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) displayed a strong and active presence at its proceedings and venues. Eighteen faculty and staff members, including our Dean and Chancellor, as well as two official seminarian representatives attended the national church gathering, which convenes every three years and which met this year for five days in Bellevue, Washington.
Archpriest Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO of the seminary, made two impressive marks on the council: first, he was elected as an at-large member of the Metropolitan Council ; and second, the resolution he put forth encouraging parishes to support OCA seminaries financially passed with unanimous assent (read the resolution here ). The Metropolitan Council is a permanent body of the central Church, which exists for the purpose of implementing the decisions of the AAC and continuing its work between national gatherings.
Also highly visible and hard at work was Melanie Ringa, chief financial officer at the seminary, who concurrently holds the position of Treasurer of the OCA. Ms. Ringa presented the official Treasurer's Report, which included a review of the Church's finances for the three years since the last AAC. Included in her presentation was a report from Rob Taylor, audit partner at Lambrides, Lamos & Taylor, LLP, who indicated that with the 2010 Audit Report the OCA had received its first "unqualified" audit opinion since 1998. Following Mr. Taylor's report, the OCA Finance Committee, chaired by Priest Gleb McFatter, presented the 2012 budget and alternatives at three assessment levels. The Treasurer's presentation concluded with a question and answer period during which many delegates asked questions covering all aspects of the Church's financial activities.
Additionally, one of our recent alumni, Priest John Vitko, coordinated the Strategic Planning workshops for nearly 400 of the delegates, and presented the draft Strategic Plan to the full council at a plenary session. Now, Fr. John will transition to an implementation phase, using volunteers from the AAC workshops as his core teams and recruiting other volunteers from the wider Church, as the 10 goals of the Strategic Plan are defined, refined, and developed.
St. Vladimir's alumni enjoyed socializing at an evening gathering organized by Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, director of Alumni Relations and Recruitment. As a special gift to alumni, Fr. Benedict Churchill, Director of St. Vladimir's Press, and Dn. Gregory Hatrak, Marketing Manager of St. Vladimir's Press and Bookstore, presented each alumnus/a with a volume of The Epistle of St. James , authored by the recently departed Archbishop Dmitri (Royster); the volume also was distributed to alumni of our sister school, St. Tikhon's Seminary.