MEET IN NEW YORK CITY
New York City, NY - The Serbian Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood of North and South America convened for the Annual Assembly at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City on Monday evening June 9 and Tuesday, June 10, 2008.
Brotherhood President and Dean of St Sava Cathedral, Protopresbyter Djokan Majstorovic welcomed the brothers-in-Christ in attendance. The priests and deacons came from far corners of the United States and included clergy with experience in South America.
The clergy in attendance were from the Dioceses of the Midwest Metropolitanate, Eastern America, Western America and New Gracanica.
The business portion of the Brotherhood Assembly was held on Monday evening. Protopresbyter Stavrofor Rastko was elected to preside at the Assembly. Father Srdjan Veselinovich was elected to be Secretary for the Assembly.
Prota Majstorovic spoke of the Brotherhood's concern for clergy widows, for clergy experiencing difficulty getting the proper United States government approvals necessary to work in the parish and to care for their families. He spoke of the Brotherhood's concern shown to families of clergy departed this life. Requests from clergy seeking financial aid for studies also received attention as did attention shown clergy at the time of ordination and retirement.
The Audit report submitted indicated the Brotherhood financial records were in proper order.
The Pension Plan report prepared by Protopresbyter Stavrofor Dragjoljub Malich was distributed. Prota Malich was recognized for the hard work he puts into Brotherhood pension interests.
Father Vladislav Radujkovic, the new second priest at St.Sava's Cathedral in New York was introduced as was Father Deacon Alex Pavichevich, a recent graduate of St.Vladimir's Seminary who will be going to Serbia for additional studies this summer.
At the request of Protopresbyter Alexandar Bugarin of Kansas City, the Brotherhood decided to include historical accounts about clergy serving the Serbian Orthodox Church in the geographic areas served by the Brotherhood.
On Tuesday, the Brotherhood assembled for the Divine Liturgy and parastos for departed members of the Brotherhood. Abbot Gerasim served with six additional priests and two deacons. Brother priests sang the responses.
The new Chancellor at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Very Reverend Dr. Chad Hatfield was the designated speaker for the second day o f the Brotherhood's Assembly. His topic was "Revitalizing Our Priestly Ministry in A Post Christian Culture."
Protopresbyter Hatfield spoke about the new curriculum at St.Vladimir's Seminary and the challenges of educating clergy. Bioethical issues are of primary concern. Technology and temptations are major issues. Chancellor Hatfield spoke about the ministry of presence, of raising the Cross in times of difficulty, of remembering wholeness and quiet, of holiness of life and Christ the Good Shepherd.
Father Hatfield said beat-up wheat carries more protein than perfectly grown wheat. Difficult times can be times of greater nourishment for the soul. People want God in the priests.
The clergy in attendance applauded Chancellor Hatfield for his talk and made extensive comments in addition to asking questions.
In bringing the Assembly to a conclusion, the Brotherhood adopted a new budget and elected new officers for the forthcoming year.
Discussion centered on the application process for clergy seeking financial help to further their studies. Also, a portion of the discussion included concrete steps to be taken to deal with the difficulties clergy face in getting necessary United States government approvals. Members of the
Executive Board and Audit Board serving during 2007-2008 were recognized and thanked for their contributions to the Brotherhood.
The Executive Board elected to serve for 2008-2009 includes President: Protopresbyter Djokan Majstorovic,; Vice President Father Dragan Zaric. Treasurer-Father Deacon Damjan Bozic; Secretary-Father Norman Kosanovich; Board Members: Abbot Gerasim, Protopresbyter Stavrofor Rastko Trbuhovich; Protopresbyter Dr. Rodney Torbic, Father Srdjan Veselinovich, Father Ljubisa Brnjos, Father Darko Spasojevic. Audit Board-Protopresbyter Aleksandar Vlajkovic, Father Dragan Petrovich, Father Michael Boyle; Father Deacon Aleksa Pavichevich was asked to assist with the
Clergy Brotherhood website.
Brotherhood members in attendance were very well received at St. Sava Cathedral. Brotherhood President Prota Djokan Majstorvic took steps to ensure the Brotherhood experienced fine hospitality in all aspects of the Assembly from overnight accommodations to providing for three meals and meeting facilities.
This was a very serious gathering of the Brotherhood intent on addressing issues facing priests at present and in the future.
Father Rodney Torbic