Chicago, IL.- St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was the proud host of the bi-annual Metropolis of Chicago Clergy-Laity, Philoptochos, Choir Federation and Family Synaxis Assembly November 2nd – 6th. This year’s conference was historic as it was the first time these four ministries have met together at the same time and place. This essential Metropolis-wide assembly provides the forum for administrative actions to be discussed and voted on concerning all aspects of the Church’s Ministries.
The clergy from the fifty-nine Greek Orthodox parishes throughout the six-state Metropolis attended this important assembly and also met as a group in their Clergy Syndesmos. For the Assembly, each parish sends representatives, usually from the Parish Council to participate in the plenary sessions where general administrative portions of the Metropolis occur. To the excitement of everyone present, the general assembly voted unanimously to proceed with the purchase of a 2.3 million dollar property in Wisconsin to be developed for the entire Metropolis into a Family Retreat and Camp Center. A resolution passed to have the Center named in honor of His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, whose dream is now finally realized.
The Youth and Young Adult Ministries’ Director Chris Avramopoulos gave his report on all youth ministries in the Metropolis including: Athletics (Greek Orthodox Athletes League, Family Basketball Tournament, Junior Olympics), Young Adult Ministry, OFC Ministry, Winter Camps – Great Escape and New Frontiers, Fanari Summer Camp, Family Synaxis, the National Acolyte Pilgrimage to HC/HC & National Girls Retreat and St. John Chrysostom Oratorical and Fine Arts Festival. He also spoke of looking to the futures with expanding the OFC Ministry, having Youth Training Seminars, re-establishing the Folk Dance Festival and Hellenic Experience. He was also happy to report that the Youth Office Website will be up and running by the end of November.
Following in the format of previous assemblies, The Order of St. Andrew presented a fascinating lecture. This year’s speaker was Dr. Michael B. Cosmopoulos, archeologist at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. The topic: The History and Treasures of Mt. Sinai and the St. Catherine Monastery.
The official philanthropic organization of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Ladies Philoptochos Society, with over 25,000 members in 475 churches nationwide provides generous philanthropic aid on the local, Metropolis, national and international levels. It is one of the nation’s largest Christian woman’s philanthropic organizations and occupies a non-governmental seat at the United Nations. Delegates from the well run and efficient organization shared ideas and strategies to be used by their parishes to increase the amount of funds they are able to impart.
This year the Choir Federation, led by President Nick Paloumpis, joined the Clergy-Laity Conference for the first time. The Federation was established with twenty-three Greek Orthodox choirs in 1957 in Chicago and now has over fifty members. Family Synaxis, led by Father John Rallis, is the other ministry included for the first time this year. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America proclaimed 2005 “Year of the Family.” His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos and the Metropolis of Chicago have for many years embraced the essential belief in the family with its Family Synaxis programs. The Family Synaxis was held Saturday with a full day of activities and seminars for the whole family.
St. Nicholas Church hosted two beautiful events. The first was a Glendi following Vespers Friday; with four enormous tables holding a beautiful buffet with a large selection of hot and cold foods. In the main hall an eighteen piece swing band played standards while in a large tent in the courtyard Greek music played to the delight of all the dancers. Many people moved back and forth between the areas to enjoy both styles of music. Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy and Ordination, the community hosted another full house for a delicious luncheon. This luncheon was the finale of the Clergy Laity 2005.