NEWS AND EVENTS - Tuesday, September 5, 2017
DIOCESAN DAYS 2017
September 1-3, 2017 - Saint Steven’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Alhambra, California
THE CHURCH AS FAMILY & THE FAMILY AS CHURCH
“You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but are fellow citizens with the saints
and members of the household of God..” –Ephesians 2:19
“A blessed beginning and conclusion,“ said His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America, surrounded by the concelebrating diocesan clergy clad in an array of fesively colored vestments at the end of the Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy Saturday morning. The liturgy and prayer of the Invocation of the Holy Spirit marked not only the beginning of the second day of Diocesan Days but also the Diocesan Annual Assembly which began immediately after a continental breakfast. Bishop Maxim expressed his joy in the eucharistic celebration, congratulating also Deacon Vladan and his wife Dejana Radovanovic on the baptism of their baby boy Maxim, wishing them and their kum, Deacon Branislav Kedzic many blessings from God.
Diocesan Days are not only a time when we share in liturgy and fellowship, dance and song, it's also a time we discuss our everyday parish business, the concerns and challenges we each face on a parish level and can be addressed at a diocesan level at the annual assembly. Led by the bishop and with the participation of all diocesan clergy, parish delegates and observers, this year's assembly was both fruitful and informative. Reports were presented by, among others, His Grace Bishop Maxim, the diocesan treasurer, auditing board, etc. Among the decisions rendered at this year's assembly it was decided that next year's Diocesan Days be held in Jackson. Also, per the recommendation and invitation of Protopresbyter Predrag Bojovic the Diocesan Days celebration in 2019, the year our church will mark the 800th Anniversary of the Autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church, will be hosted by St. Sava Church in San Gabriel.
Fr. Timothy Pavlatos delivered a talk after lunch entitled, Living a Christian Life in the Midtst of the World. In his talk he spoke of the many things we are called to do as Christians such as read Scripture, observe the fast, take confession and communion, etc. However, he noted, if these things do not transform us then they most certainly are for naught. Not only are they meant to transform us but that transformation is the manner in which we are all called to bring others to the Faith. That is, not through scholarly and intellectual means but through our actions, through our lives. The Christian virtues of love, forgiveness, humility and so on – which we are meant to acquire by following the church's disciple - are our sermons to those around us. In citing two examples from the Gospels, the stoning of the woman caught in the act of adultery and the Samaritan woman, Fr. Timothy pointed to the methods used by our Lord which are to be used by us as well – our relationships with one another. Our relationships transform people just as Christ transformed the people He encounterd through His relationship with them.
This talk was followed by a number of activities and workshops throughout the campus: The Women's Conference and KSS Meeting, A Meeting of parish Treasurers: What Every Orthodox Treasurer Should Know, Children and Youth Activities, a Workshop for Sunday School Teachers: Enhancing Teaching Styles and Stewardship Question and Answers.
Following Vespers Protinica Rada Bojovic presented the newest selections just released from Sebastian Press which included the revised and expanded classic Prologue of Ohrid by St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich; the sermons of Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory entitled Life According to the Gospel and the The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija in Serbian. There were special performances during dinner by the angelic sounds of Breze of Phoenix and the Dunav folklore ensemble from Irvine, California.
Live music, dancing and fellowship lasted late into the evening.