NEW YORK-- The 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will begin this Sunday, July 13, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Washington, DC. During the service, a special memorial service (Trisagion) will be offered on the fiftieth year of the passing of Archbishop Michael of North and South America.
More than 1500 delegates and participants from throughout the United States will gather in the nation's capital for the Congress, which will include meetings and activities of the committees, organizations, institutions and national ministries of the Archdiocese. The theme for the Congress is "Gather My People to My Home," which in the words of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, "recognizes the value of each and every person, created in the image and likeness of God for eternal life and communion with Him. God desires that His house be filled. He invites everyone to participate in the great feast of joy and life, and He has extended the invitation to all to come to His table, to His home."
Following the services on Sunday morning, the events of the Congress will continue during the week at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, which will also host the biennial convention of the National Philoptochos Society and meetings of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, the National Sisterhood of Presvyteres, the Retired Greek Orthodox Clergy of America, the Order of Saint Andrew - Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians. The National Young Adult (YAL) Convention will be held prior to the Congress, July 10-13.
The official opening ceremony will be held Monday morning at 9 am in the Marriott Ballroom. The Congress opening will include the keynote address of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America and the message of the Ecumenical Patriarch which will be offered by the Patriarchal Representative to the Congress, His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain. Master of ceremonies for the event will be Mr. George Tenet, former Director of Central Intelligence. Welcoming remarks will also be offered by Congress Chairman, Mr. Andrew Manatos, and by Mr. Michael Jaharis, Vice President of the Archdiocesan Council, Mrs. Georgia Skeadas, President of the National Philoptochos Society, Mr. Theodore Kassimis, Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, His Excellency Andreas Kakouris, Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States, and The Honorable John Sarbanes, United States Congressman. Following the opening ceremony and keynote address, the Metropolitans of the Eparchial Synod will conduct special sessions on the theme of the Congress.
Committee meetings and workshops will commence on Monday afternoon and will continue through Wednesday morning. The Congress will feature a full venue of quality educational sessions for many aspects of parish life and ministry. Sessions will focus on effective stewardship, religious education, family, youth ministry, Greek education, parish council service, parish development, missions, and interfaith marriage. The plenary sessions of the Congress will be conducted on Wednesday, July 16, and Thursday, July 17, and will include presentations of committee reports and opportunities for review and discussion by the Congress delegates.
Evening events for the week include the Philoptochos Banquet on Monday, a special Congress Cultural Event on Tuesday, and the Grand Banquet on Thursday. The Grand Banquet will feature a special video tribute highlighting the ministry of Archbishop Michael who led the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America from 1949 until 1958. Tickets for these events will be provided to all registered and paid delegates. Non-delegates may purchase tickets in the Registration Lobby.
The Congress will feature over 80 exhibitors from throughout the United States, Canada, Greece and Cyprus. The exhibit area will also include the Ministry Pavilion which will highlight the ministries and resources offered by the Departments of the Archdiocese. This special area will offer Congress participants the opportunity to review the latest resources and speak with staff of the National Ministries. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios will officially open the Exhibit Hall on Sunday, July 13 at 3:30 pm.
The Clergy-Laity Congress is convened biennially and is concerned with all matters, other than doctrinal or canonical, affecting the life, growth and unity of the Church in America, her institutions, her finances, her administration, educational and philanthropic concerns and her growing role in the religious life of the nation. Resources for the Congress, including the Program Guide, registration information, and articles are available on the Congress web site at www.clergylaity.org. News releases, photos, and daily issues of the Orthodox Observer will be posted on the site during the Congress and will also be made available through the Archdiocese web site at www.goarch.org .GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10075-0106
Tel: (212) 570-3530 Fax: (212) 774-0215
July 10, 2008
Contact: Stavros Papagermanos
Tel: (212) 570-3556; Fax: 212-774-0237