The Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, in conjunction with the host parish of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church of Canonsburg, Pa., held its second Family Ministry Conference, “The Orthodox Family in a Changing World,” on September 20-23. The Center for Family Care and the Family Ministry Conferences are supported in part with grants from Leadership 100.
Sixty participants –including clergy, mental-health professionals, ministry leaders, and devoted laypersons– from across the Archdiocese and other Orthodox jurisdictions attended. The conference’ s overall objective was to offer perspectives that support family ministry geared to the needs of Orthodox families and communities.
Keynote addresses were delivered by His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh; Director of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Steven Christoforou; and Orthodox author, podcaster, and blogger, Elissa Eleatic. In addition, the conference featured numerous workshops led by clergy and lay leaders. The sessions highlighted some of the challenges families face within contemporary culture. FOCUS North America led a hands-on poverty simulation that helped participants imagine what a life of poverty might resemble and how love should be the response to those who live in such conditions.
Participants also worked in intensive sessions to reflect upon two short presentations, “Becoming a Healing Presence,” led by Dr. Albert Rossi, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and “Healing the Healer” by His Grace Bishop John Habdalah of the Diocese of Worcester and New England of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. Patrick Tutella, the founder and Director of Caring Connections in Corrections, also presented on the characteristics of a pastoral-care ministry team. Participants were able to engage the content with actual case scenarios within a small-group discussion.