Interfaith Conference on The Woman in Religion.
Leadership 100 has supported The Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in recent years with two major grants. A two-year grant of $180,000 for the Ecumenical Enhancement Project over 2013-2014 and a one-year grant of $150,000 for the Church-World Initiative in March of 2014.
The Ecumenical Enhancement Project was designed to enable the Archdiocese to forge new partnerships with other faith-based communities, thereby presenting to them a strong witness of Orthodoxy.
The Very Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Nathanael Symeonides, Director of the Department has described the challenge of his ministry as “discovering ways of expanding the reach and presence of the Greek Orthodox Church in innovative ways.” He observes that measuring results, however, is quite a challenge.
He cites results that are tangible and easily measurable, such as in success of a public health initiative to lower obesity rates in society. In this case, success could be determined by comparing the obesity rates before and after the onset of the program. Unlike initiatives that produce quantifiable results, the primary mission of the Church—the salvation of souls—is difficult to measure.
“How can anyone determine whether someone has helped save the soul of his or her neighbor?” he asks. “Nonetheless, the Church, as the presence of Christ in the world, has developed her pastoral ministries in an effort to bring people to the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2).”
Through its ministries and departments, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has persevered over the generations in its commitment to sharing the Holy Gospel with the world, Fr. Nathanael says, “inviting all people to come and see and to taste and see how good the Lord is.”
Fr. Nathanael gives some concrete examples of just how to measure the success of the Ecumenical Enhancement Project, implemented through the two-year Leadership 100 grant, as follows:
· Sponsorship of the 8th Academic Consultation between Judaism and Orthodoxy
· Participation in the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) Faith & Order Meeting
· Participation in the World Council of Churches (WCC) General Assembly
· Co-sponsorship (with the Vatican, USCCB, and Santa Clara University) of TheoCom 2014, an ecumenical conference on digital communications and faith
· Sponsorship of the official international dialogue between the Orthodox and Anglican Churches
· Co-sponsorship (with Peace Islands Institute) of an interfaith conference on The Woman in Religion
The mission of the Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations will continue with new initiatives under the new grant, whose purpose is “to develop the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s presence in familiar and new spaces of the public square and to allow it to consolidate its leadership role in the overall organization and development of Orthodoxy in the U.S.A.”