The theme for the 2018 Forum is "Equipping Small Parish Leaders for Discipleship and Change". Keynote speaker will be Archpriest Thomas Soroka, rector of St. Nicholas Church McKees Rocks PA. His topic- "Discipleship: A Perspective for Orthodox Christian Leaders" will set the tone for the conference.
Content for the 2018 Forum is not a repeat of past Forums. The emphasis will be on the importance of collaboration between clergy and lay leaders in any parish. This is especially critical in small parishes, where resources are modest and everyone needs to be "pulling in the same direction."
Specific themes to be explored include building skills to:
Reshape Parish Councils
Move beyond “firefighting” and “money” to fulfilling the overall parish mission.
"Find the center” in parish discussions; minimize polarization and bruised egos
Envision a Bright Future
Express purpose and direction; Act on priorities.
Put the parish's best foot forward to the community; share distinctive strengths through words and photos.
Replace begging and continual pleas with generosity and gratitude.
Build a thirst for outreach. Overcome insularity. BE the Church of Christ.”
2016 Parish Forum attendee shares hopes for the future of her parish with interested Forum attendees.
To address the unique qualities of small churches, the Small Parish Forum is unlike other events dealing with church ministry and revitalization. The Forum is NOT about telling small parishes of their necessity to grow. Nor does the Forum allow participants to dwell on the difficulties and limitations of small parishes. The Forum provides tools, insights and encouragement that enable small parishes to harness the intimacy and close relationships inherent in their modest size.
Actionable Ideas, Relevant Conversations and a Network of New Friends
Because the forum attracts attendees from many small parishes, Forum attendees are reminded they are not alone in the challenges faced in their parish. They share how other small Orthodox parishes are beginning to make progress on these challenges.