Update on SCOBA Conference

October 5, 2006

CHICAGO, IL -  Several major issues were discussed at length yesterday during the meeting of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) being held in Chicago. These included: Issues in Coordinating and Establishing New and Mission Parishes, Sexual Misconduct in the Church, Keeping Young People Connected to the Church and the State of the Diaconate.

Two papers on the Diaconate, Remembering and Reclaiming Diakonia of Deacon Dr. John Chryssavgis and Toward a Complete Expression of the Diaconate: Discerning the Ministry Women Deacons of Dr. Kyriaki Karidoyannes FitzGerald, presented a thorough insight and understanding of the diaconate in the historical Church and its significance today.

The presentation on Sexual Abuse and Misconduct by Father Alexander Karlgut informed the hierarchs of the practical aspects of dealing with sexual abuse and misconduct and stressed their ability to lower the risk of misconduct through preventative measures. Also, he said that SCOBA has a unique role to play in coordinating a unified educational approach on sexual abuse and misconduct-workshops in seminaries and for the clergy throughout North America.

Father Jonathan Ivanoff presented the report on Issues in Coordinating and Establishing New and Mission Parishes, which looked at the challenges of establishing a viable and healthy North American mission field. Keeping Young People Connected in the Church was presented by Fathers Mark Leondis, Jonathon Tobias and Kevin Sherer and Natalie Kapeluck. A major program in this effort will be a Summit of Youth in the Church scheduled for 2008.

The Conference will conclude Friday morning with a Divine Liturgy at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, 8035 W. Serbian Road, followed by a plenary session and adoption of an official Communiqué. A news conference will be held at the Cathedral at 12 Noon to issue the Communiqué.