Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The 2011 annual report for the Committee for Pastoral Practice is available here. This committee is charged with the important tasks of identifying the different answers the various jurisdictions have given to sacramental and pastoral problems, and for figuring out a way to provide a single answer for all of the Orthodox churches in North America. This includes such issues as how the Church handles marriages, divorces, and the reception of converts. This committee will try to find a resolution that is in accord with the Church's theology and her canonical practice. Ultimately, however, this committee will not make any decisions. Its proposals will be presented to all the bishops of the Assembly, who can then determine the best approach. Of course, some of these issues can only be settled by the Mother Churches, and it is this committee's responsibility to help the Assembly develop recommendations for the expected Great and Holy Synod which will include all Orthodox bishops throughout the world.
In addition, the Committee for Legal Affairs, which is chaired by Bishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, held its initial meeting by conference call on April 25, 2012. The work of the Committee is being facilitated by seventeen judges and lawyers who currently act as consultants. The Committee is scheduled to hold a face to face meeting in Atlanta on July 10, 2012.