Metropolis of Boston Parish Leadership Conference Approves New Method of Support for National Ministries

November 17, 2006 

On Saturday, November 11, 2006, Priests and Parishioners from throughout New England attended the Parish Leadership Conference held at the Cathedral Center in Brookline, MA. They heard from the Archdiocese Finance Committee which was charged by the 2004 Clergy-laity Congress to: Propose a Realistic Budget; Propose a Fair and Equitable funding Method for support of the National Ministries and to propose an Adequate Funding Method for the Metropolises. Such a program was voted on and accepted at the Clergy-Laity Congress in Nashville this past summer.

Metropolitan Methodios, opened the meeting with a Prayer. His Eminence’s comments reverberated throughout the hearts and minds of all. He spoke powerfully from his heart, expressing his vision for the Metropolis.

Excerpts from Metropolitan Methodios’ remarks:

“Every Sunday, I visit one of the 62 parishes in our Metropolis---from Burlington, VT, to Bangor, ME, all the way south to Connecticut. Everywhere I go, I thank God for our dedicated priests and laymen who work harmoniously for the projection of our Orthodox Faith. I take great pride in the progress of our parishes, and the witness they provide in the American community at large. I am also grateful for the support all of you have so generously offered to our Metropolis. We can all be thankful to God for our Philoxenia House and our Camp Ministry at the Faith and Heritage Center. Fr. Philippe Mousis who is standing at the back of the hall today, is to be highly commended for the great ministry he has offered. As you may know, he has more than 100 college age young adults who volunteer their time to our most successful camp program.

Someone asked me about what has disappointed me in my archpastoral ministry. Well, it has something to do with finances (since today’s Parish Leadership Conference deals with financial matters) but it really deals with our faith commitment to the Church. I cannot understand why most of our laymen do not generously support the ministries of our parishes. People continue contributing one dollar to the collection tray---and with a trembling hand at that! Why? How can stewards pledge three or four hundred dollars to their community and feel they have fulfilled their obligation to the Church? They love their Church so much that they contribute less than a dollar a day to keep the doors of their community open!

Just think: How many of us have cable or satellite television service? Almost everyone! And we happily pay $90 to $100 per month for our entertainment. But we won’t contribute $100 per month to our Parish. If every steward in our parishes contributed $1,000-$1,200 yearly, our communities, our Metropolis, and our Archdiocese would easily fund their ministries. Another example: I have started going to the gym. My membership fees are $92.00 per month. Can’t I at least provide to my church for my spiritual health as well? How many of us stop to get a coffee at Starbucks or another coffee company? What does it cost? Yet, do we contribute the cost of a cup of coffee every day to our parishes? The Bible says, “For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12, 34). The sad truth is that our Faith Commitment is missing.

When I am asked about what disappoints me, I think of the many ministries that are needed to better serve the spiritual needs of the Faithful. Yet, there are no funds available. If I could, I would assign at least two priests to dedicate their priesthood as college Campus Ministers. I would want them to do nothing other than to minister to our young adults on our campuses during this critically important time in their lives. I’d like to assign at least one priest to dedicate his life to hospital ministry. If the Metropolis had the necessary funding we could do so much more to improve our catechetical ministry. Our people don’t know the basic tenets of our Faith. How many of you have heard parishioners telling their priests that they learned more about the Faith from listening to the homily directed at the Sunday School children than they did from the weekly sermon? What does that tell us? If I could, I would establish a number of Parochial schools and high schools throughout New England which would educate and mentor our children to grow in the image and likeness of God.

We need to take an honest look at ourselves. We are not growing as a Faith in America. Why? Because we’ve lost our missionary zeal. How many times must I hear, “we have 200 stewards but we have 500 on our mailing list!” We must go out into our communities to embrace those who for one reason or another are not sacramentally active in the Church. And we must also share the treasures of Orthodoxy with those not baptized in the Faith who seek to quench their thirsts at the well of Orthodoxy.

If we do not grow, we will die. There is a lot of work that needs to be done---work that begins after we leave today’s Leadership Conference to return to our parishes. We must exercise our responsibilities to reach out and share our Faith and help the stewards in our parishes understand Stewardship Ministry---Stewardship of time and talents.”

The consensus of the combined Parish Leadership was that we will support the National Ministries with this new program that is no longer based on income, but on expenses. In this way a Parish may receive as much income as possible and use it for ministerial purposes. Under the new system there will be expenditure and hardship exclusions. All agreed that we should provide equity for all the Parishes across the nation.

Those participating were:
Andover – Fr. Chris Makiej, John Hagigeorges and Brian Lynch
Arlington - Fr. Nick Kastanas, Emmanuel Meimaris, Paul Tsitsopoulos, Tony Kounelas and Kostas Kapetanakis
Bangor – Fr. Adam Metropoulos
Boston Cathedral – Fr. George Daskalakis, Marica Arvanites, Penelope Zougros
Boston St. John – Fr. George Dragas and Leonidas Moulis
Braintree – Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas, Arthur Sakellaris, Nick Verenis, Dimitri Sermetis and John Demesticas
Brockton – Fr. John Kiramarios and Christine Karavites
Burlington – Fr. Robert Athas, Greg Lambesis and Deb Rorris
Cambridge – No one
Centerville –Fr. Panagiotis Giannakopoulos and Gregory Racheotis
Chicopee Falls – Priest ill unable to attend
Clinton – No one
Cohasset – Fr. John Maheras
Concord – Fr. Demetrios Tonias
Cranston – Fr. Andrew George, Nicholas Tanionos and Cynthia Driscoll
Danielson – No one
Dover – Fr. Constantine Newman, Dennis Kostis and Sharon Lampros
Dracut – Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis and Nikitas Flaris
E. Longmeadow –Jim Bologa, Bee Syner and Irwin Henault
Enfield – Fr. Peter Chrisafideis, Helen Nikolis, Aristidis Zacharis and Nick Lefakis
Fall River – Fr. Evangelos Georgiadis, Anthony Koutsogiannis and Angelo Giotis
Fitchburg – Fr. Harry Providakis and Star Regopoulos
Haverhill – Fr. Makarios Niakaros, George Mavropoulos, Soterios Asprogiannis and Angelo Lazarakis
Holyoke – Fr. Harry Vulopas, Robert Roy, Maria Bolivar and Kenneth Konstantinidis
Ipswich – Fr. John Govostes, Paula and Lou Roumeliotis
Keene - Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos, Bill Ellis and Jo Truman
Laconia – No one
Lewiston – Fr. Ted Toppses, Peter Robinson and Christine Sirlois
Lexington – Fr. Agathonikos Wilson, Helen Pliantis, John Rodakis and Stephanie Wilson
Lowell – Holy Trinity – Fr. Cleopas Strongylis and Stephen Themelis
Lowell – St. George – Fr. Ernest Coulouras and Nick Doulamis
Lowell – Trans – Fr. Chris Foustoukos, Margo DiBenedetto, Jim Murphy, Chris Salvaggio and John Zaralidis
Lynn – Fr. George Tsoukalas, Charles Lempeses and Peter Katsios
Manch – Assumption – Athan. Fr. Nenes, Alex Demos, Peter Xintaras, Martha Galanis and Arthur Bacolos
Manch – St. George – Fr. Andrew Mahalares and John Mokas
Manch – St. Nicholas – Fr. Tom Fitzgerald, Nicholl Marshall, Bob Leuchs and John Stergiou
Mansfield – Fr. Michael Bierd, John Rouskas, George Dimitrios and Steve Drougas
Marlboro – Fr. Andrew Markopoulos, Janine Liatsos and Alex Demos
Nashua – Fr. Tom Chininis, Nicholas Kallan and Cosmas Marandos
New Bedford – No one
Newburyport – Arthur Housianites & Louis Andriotakis
New London – Fr. Dean Panagos, Harry Colonis, Alex Papathanasiou and James Maistros
Newport, RI – Fr. Anthony Evangelatos, Steve Mellekas and Theodore Zaimes
Newport, NH – Fr. Konstantopoulos, John Gioldassis and Dimitri Tslepidakes
Norwich – Fr. Paul Pantelis, Milan Koukicy, Stacy Bellas and John Trantelis
Pawtucket – Fr. George Economou, Stacy Susset and Peter Pagonis
Peabody – Fr. Costin Popescu, Spero Venios and Sophia Nanis
Pittsfield – Fr. Constantine Cambas, Hope Amadis, Cindy Gianaris and Christine Gianaris
Portland – Fr. Constantine Sarantides, Greg Tselikis and Helen Blewett
Portsmouth – Fr. Angelo Pappas, John Jack and Dr. Aris Damianos
Roslindale – Fr. Vassilios Bebis and Haralambos Nicholides
Rutland – No one
Saco – Fr. Basil Arabatsis and John Maragus
Somersworth – No one
Somerville – Fr. Vasilios Flionis, Philip Dress and Paul Lougranis
Southbridge – Kyriakos Konstantakis and Peter Kikolla
Springfield – Fr. Chris Stamas, John Moutafis, Evangelyn Gourouny, Anthony Lalikos and Nick Papadoulias
Watertown – Fr. Ted Barbas, Francine Kollias, Ernie Anastis, Frances Levas, Nick Avtges and Andrew Kolivos
Webster – Fr. Luke Veronis and Arthur Vogel
Weston – Fr. Nicholas Krommydas, Fr. Demetri Costarakis, Georgia Gefteas, Gina Pagonis, Peter John Condakes and Chris Pappas
Woburn – Fr. Peter Rizos
Worcester – Fr. Dean Paleologos, Fr. Greg Christakos and Dino Stamoulis