The first point, and I said this in my sermon yesterday, the American Orthodox Church is on the cusp of greatness. I think we are standing in the door way of a new something (I can’t seem to find the right word) generation maybe, era perhaps, explosion… Not really sure. I say this because we have some great young leaders emerging in the church. People like Metropolitan Jonah, Fr. Justin Matthew’s of FOCUS North America and others are injecting new excitement and energy into the American Church. We are at the threshold of becoming a truly American Church and not just a small immigrant community. I am reminded of the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Boston. The signs used to read “Irish Need Not Apply” Then the church came into her own. The Roman Church under the leadership of visionaries like Richard Cushing of Boston. Cardinal Cushing had a vision for the American Church and built many of the School and Hospitals that the Church in Boston still uses to this day. Cushing was 44 years old when created bishop and was 49 when he became the 3rd Archbishop of Boston. He served the church in that roll for 26 years until his death in 1970. He had a vision to move the church for it’s immigrant roots to a major religious force in America.
I believe that Metr Jonah of the OCA is our Cardinal Richard Cushing. He has the vision to move this church from it’s Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, insert ethnicity here, local church to a power house for good in America. A house divided cannot stand scripture tells us. Our church is of one true faith but we are fractured. Imagine the good we could do if we had one department of evangelism and mission rather than 12! The Orthodox Christian Mission Center began as a department of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Now part of the entire church of America we have missionaries serving around the world and more in training. We can do amazing things together. IOCC, OCF, etc all done together!
So where do we go from here? We need patience and we need to be willing to sacrifice and let go of some things that maybe we hold dear. We cannot be afraid of moving in together so to speak and we need to make sure all of our bishops stay at the table and make this work. We need to avoid schism at all costs. As Metr Jonah said communion with the entire Orthodox Church is the most important thing. Nothing is more important that that!
More thoughts in another post.