Chairman Addresses Clergy-Laity Congress In Nashville

George S. Tsandikos addresses Plenary Session of 43rd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress.

In his remarks at the plenary session of the 43rd Biennial Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on July 7, George Tsandikos, Chairman of Leadership 100, announced that Leadership 100 had reached its long- standing goal of 1,000 members. He thanked His Eminence Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America for his inspiration and the great privilege Leadership 100 has been given to support the National Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America as part of a greater family of faith.

The Congress which convened at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee from July 2 to July 7, 2016, brought together a total of 1,197 registered participants under the theme, “You are the voice of Christ in a changing world.” 

In his keynote address at the official opening, His Eminence Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America expanded on the theme to include a call for evaluating current ministries of the Church as opportunities to become the voice of Christ through the ministries themselves as well as through families and outreach and evangelism.

“Many of us are blessed with the resources to provide assistance but we know full well from whom every good gift comes and acknowledge the grace that enables us to serve each other,” Tsandikos said.

Greetings were also offered by the Ambassador of Greece to the United States, Haris Lalakos, and the President of the National Philoptochos, Maria Logus.

Patriarchal representatives Metropolitan Damaskinos of Kydonia and Apokoronos and Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea offered warm and heartfelt greetings and appreciation during the work of the Congress.  Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, the host Metropolitan of the Congress, offered words of appreciation to the participants and to all “who toiled tirelessly for the success of the Congress.”

Paulette Poulos with actor/singer Jonathon Jackson who spoke and performed at Clergy-Laity Congress.

A video presentation on the 25 years of Patriarchal Ministry of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, produced by GoTelecom, was shown and received with great enthusiasm. Archbishop Demetrios in his response spoke about the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, which took place in Crete, Greece, only two weeks prior and said “it was a tremendous experience,” demonstrating the vision and the unity of the Orthodox Church, permeated by the presence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He added that the presence of the Holy Spirit was also guiding the faithful at the 43rd Clergy Laity Congress in their work. Additionally, His Eminence said that we should all be thankful to God for the good progress of the work in rebuilding Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center.

The day long plenary heard the presentation of the reports and the approval of the budgets for the next two years. The following ministries, departments and committees presented their reports: Stewardship- Outreach and Evangelism, Religious Education, Greek Education, Administration, Finance, Center for Family Care, Office of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations,       Leadership 100, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Communications, Hellenic College Holy Cross, Chaplaincy and National Philoptochos.

Tsandikos attended the Congress with Paulette Poulos, Leadership 100 Executive Director, who addressed the Clergy Breakfast. She expressed gratitude for the Clergy’s spiritual guidance in a variety of circumstances experienced by children, youth, young adults and families. Tsandikos also addressed the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, praising them for “their valuable contributions that bring great joy in our divine worship and community life”.  Leadership 100 has supported both groups with grants. In addition, Leadership 100 provided a gift of $30,000 to sponsor the Congress Exhibits.

The Congress, which included the National Philoptochos Convention, concluded with a festive

Grand Banquet on the evening of July 7.

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