Clergy and lay delegates from throughout the Diocese of the West gathered October 8-9 in Phoenix, Arizona for the annual Diocesan Assembly. Graciously hosted by Igumen Daniel (Brum) and the faithful of Ss. Peter and Paul Church, the two-day assembly discussed many matters of faith and administration, setting a course for 2015 and beyond. His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, welcomed His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, and the Treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America, Melanie Ringa, who were invited by His Eminence to join the proceedings and update us on the work of the OCA and the plans for the upcoming All-American Council, to be held in Atlanta, GA, in July of 2015. The highlight of the assembly was the Divine Liturgy concelbrated by both the Metropolitan and the Archbishop on Thursday, to commemorate St. Tikhon of Moscow, the patron saint of His Beatitude.
Members of the Diocesan Council arrived one day before the assembly to have the third quarter meeting and to finalize everything for the assembly itself. The assembly business was diverse and filled the whole day+ of the agenda. Although efforts have been made to completely move the diocese to proportional giving, it was determined that one more year of intense publicity, education, and comment were needed to facilitate a smooth transition. A balanced budget for 2015 was unanimously passed. A detailed update on the upcoming revisions to the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America was given by Igumen Daniel and Archpriest John Erickson, both members of the Statute Commission. In addition to the general work of the assembly, the clergy and lay delegates and observers from each deanery of the diocese had a chance to meet with their respective Dean.
Many thanks to the faithful of Ss. Peter and Paul Church, who provided a wonderful welcome and delicious meals. It is not easy to welcome over 100 people to a conference, keep things moving smoothly and feed everyone on time. They also provided the wonderful pictures from the assembly available with this report.