(OCA-DOS) - Over 100 Clergy and Lay Delegates and Observers gathered in St Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral for the First Plenary Session on the first full day of the 2014 Diocese of the South Assembly. The day began at 8:00am with Matins served by Priest John Mikita, then continued with a relaxed breakfast in the Cathedral's parish hall. At 10:00am, His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon addressed the Clergy Delegates on matters of mutual interest, while Archpriest Eric G Tosi, Secretary of the OCA, gave a talk on evangelism - the lifeblood of the Diocese of the South - to the Lay Delegates and Observers. At noon, Vladyka Nikon treated the Matushki to an Italian meal, while the clergy met with their respective Deaneries for lunch at area restaurants.
After lunch, the business began in earnest with the First Plenary Session beginning at 2:00pm with a Molieben to St Seraphim, then continued with the Report of our Locum Tenens, with the long-awaited news that a Special Episcopal Nomination Assembly will be called in conjunction with 2015 Pastoral Conference in February 2015. After the opening remarks from His Eminence, the minutes of the 2013 Diocesan Assembly were approved unanimously with two friendly amendments. Archpriest Marcus C Burch, Chancellor of the Diocese of the South, presented his report, and was followed by Mr Milos Konjevich, Treasurer of the Diocese of the South. By all accounts, the financial status of the Diocese was inspiring, and the Assembly unanimously passed a bold budget for 2015 that will continue to strengthen our ability to grow the Diocese through our missionary outreach, particularly on the local level. After Mr Rudy Ruebelhuber presented the Audit Committee Report, the Assembly adjourned until tomorrow morning.
At 5:00pm, Priest Mark Christian celebrated Vespers, which was followed by a delicious barbeque meal hosted by the parish. Following this time of food and fellowship, Dr Mark Cherry, Professor of Philosophy at St Edward's University in Austin, TX, presented an engaging talk, "Sustaining the Christian Family in a Post-Christian World: The Challenges and Temptations of Secular Morality." After a long question and answer session, everyone retired to their hotels for the evening.