Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

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AEC Meets at Clergy Retreat

On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, the Archdiocese Executive Council held its monthly meeting at St. Mary’s Villa in Sloatsburg, New York, jointly with the members of the clergy in attendance at the three day clergy retreat of our Archdiocese.

His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim opened the meeting with a prayer asking the Almighty to bless those present, reaffirming that we all have been chosen to be stewards in the service of our Holy Church, and that this in itself is a true blessing.

After the opening prayer and blessing the Archbishop welcomed everyone and said this was the first time that the Council in its entirety, is joining the members of the clergy at their retreat for a combined session. His Eminence added that the peaceful and intimate setting of St. Mary’s Villa, the retreat venue, is conducive to an informal and relaxed working session between both groups.

Dr. Yamo Deniz, AEC President, thanked His Eminence and asked all the attendees to introduce themselves making sure everyone present knew who’s who in the room. He also took pride in introducing the two fellows, Luke Kurter and Alan Aydin, who will be attending future meetings getting familiar with the Work of the Archdiocese. His Eminence also took time to welcome the two upcoming young men, giving them a special acknowledgement, advising them to be attentive and patient as they get acclimated and begin learning from those who they will be working with. At this point His Eminence also announced that Jack Balji will be in charge of updating and maintaining the Archdiocese data base.

Sonia Adamo, Secretary, briefed everyone on the AEC’s all day semi-annual meeting which was held on February 18th. Elias Sarkar, Chair of the Public Relations and Communications Committee continued by giving an update on the upcoming issue of the Voice of the Archdiocese, our quarterly magazine. Sait Samuel, Chair of the Parish and Clergy Committee took the floor and spoke about clergy benefits, giving special attention to a proposed pension plan. He requested the clergy to complete necessary forms, which were on hand, in order for the review to be all inclusive. The chairman also spoke about an Archdiocese census, providing forms and asking for everyone’s cooperation in collecting this information. Jack Darakjy, reported that the comments on the amendments to the By-laws have been incorporated and soon will be distributed to the parishes for their review. The attorney reported that some of the feedback received from the parishes was incorporated in a final draft which will be presented to the upcoming convention for final approval. Ben Isik and Semir Sirazi reported on the New Archdiocesan Center project in Paramus, NJ, saying that final plan approvals are expected this month after which an Inbound and Outbound fund raising effort will commence. Mr. Isik asked that the clergy present to clarify to their respective parishes that the Midland Avenue Archdiocesan Center is intended for use by all the parishes of the Archdiocese. His Eminence added that this new center will provide our Archdiocese with a retreat facility for our youth, our Sunday school teachers, our deacons in training, summer camp for youngsters and serve the entire Archdiocese collectively.

At the conclusion of the meeting, His Eminence invited everyone to participate in the Sutoro (compline) prayers in the beautiful chapel of St. Mary’s Villa.

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