Committee for Church and Society 2013 Report


Summary Report to Assembly IV, September 2013

The Committee Members: Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Metropolis of Pittsburgh (Chair); Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America, Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, Diocese of Eastern America; Bishop Anthony, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. Consultants: Fr. John Breck; Fr. Paul O'Callaghan; Fr. Peter Preble; Dn. John Chryssavgis; Dr. H. Tristam Engelhardt. Liaison: Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides.

Facilitator: Archdeacon Ryan Gzikowski

Objective of the Committee: The Committee for Church and Society will develop a process to determine both the propriety and the priority of advocacy by the Assembly of issues concerning Church, government, and society that are relevant to the lives of the faithful in the Region.

Activities and Actions of the Committee, September 2012-August 2013:

The Committee had its first meeting via conference call on August 1, 2013. The Committee discussed the following: Reviewing and understanding the process of submitting final statements formed by the Committee to the Secretary of the Assembly; expanding the roster of consultants to the Committee by utilizing members of the former Social and Moral Issues Committee (SMIC) of SCOBA as well as other Orthodox scholars who specialize in areas related to the Committee; establishing an expanded list of present and future concerns to be addressed; and forming subcommittees.

A draft text concerning Same-Sex Marriage was discussed in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court DOMA decision. A second conference call took place on August 27, 2013, giving priority to producing a statement on the crisis in the Middle East. A draft was finalized and sent to the Secretary of the Assembly, and at the time of this report the Statement on the Middle East was being prepared for issuance to the public. A third conference call took place on September 10, 2013, to finalize the Statement on Same-Sex Marriage. The final text will be submitted to the Secretary of the Assembly on September 10, 2013.