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Four Parishes Attend Historic Strategic Planning Retreat as Part of the Thriving Congregations Initiative

Boston, MA - From April 28 to April 30, 2023, four Orthodox Christian parishes from the Metropolis of Boston participated in a transformative Strategic Planning Retreat, led by renowned consultant Bill Marianes from Orthodox Ministry Services and Stewardship Calling. The retreat, held at the beautiful Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, NH, aimed to empower the parishes with valuable insights and strategies to enhance their growth and impact within their respective communities.

Over the course of three rigorous days, participants from Saint Luke's in East Longmeadow, MA; Holy Dormition in Somerville, MA; Holy Trinity in Concord, NH; and Saint Nicholas in Lexington, MA, dedicated long hours to the retreat, working tirelessly for the benefit of their parishes. The retreat schedule was designed to maximize productivity and engagement, ensuring that every moment was utilized effectively. On behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, the participants were warmly hosted by Father Theodore Barbas, Chancellor of the Metropolis, and the staff of the Metropolis of Boston Camp.

The primary objective of the retreat was to enable the parishes to begin developing comprehensive strategic plans tailored to their unique strengths, weaknesses, missions, and values. Participants engaged in fruitful discussions regarding their current challenges, opportunities, and long-term goals. They explored innovative ways to enhance their ministries, outreach efforts, and overall effectiveness. The parish representatives spent the weekend in intensive discussions and collaborative sessions and had opportunities to interact informally and build new personal connections. The center's serene surroundings and rich cultural heritage provided an ideal setting for introspection and meaningful engagement.

Under the guidance of Bill Marianes, the retreat also included the expertise of three additional facilitators. Don Khouri, a professional coach and parishioner within the Metropolis, Panos Coufos, Youth and Young Adult Director and leader of the TCI program for the Metropolis of Boston, and Alex Cooley, an Operations professional also with Orthodox Ministry Services, all provided valuable expertise,
insights, and guidance to the participants, and will continue to work with the parishes through the next stages of Strategic Planning. The retreat proved to be a powerful and eye-opening experience for the participants. One attendee described it as a "truly transformative experience," highlighting the profound impact it had on his views of parish mission and values. Another participant mentioned that the retreat was "life-saving for our parishes" emphasizing the significant positive changes it would bring to the future of these communities.

The retreat was the latest offering of the Thriving Congregations Initiative of the Metropolis of Boston, supported by the Lilly Foundation. This initiative aims to provide resources and support for Orthodox Christian parishes in the Metropolis of Boston to thrive and flourish. The Strategic Planning Retreat was a key component of this initiative, empowering the parishes with strategic tools and insights to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the present day. The success of this rigorous and demanding Strategic Planning Retreat signifies the determination of the Orthodox Christian parishes in the Metropolis of Boston to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing landscape of religious ministry. By equipping themselves with tools for strategic plans and leveraging the transformative experience of the retreat, these parishes are well-positioned to make a positive impact in their communities and continue spreading the Gospel message in New England.


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