What the OCA 17th All-American Council Taught Me

1)  God hears our prayers.:  For a good long time I always wondered if God heard our prayers.  At the All-American Council I saw that He hears every one.  We prayed two akathists during the Council while ballots were being tallied.  People prayed before the Council for God to reveal His will.  People prayed individually during the Council with their faces to the floor clutching their prayer ropes while the Holy Synod wrote their choice on a piece of paper and put it into a Chalice.

2)  God revealed His Perfect will.:  That His Perfect will was revealed was shown in the results of both the first and second ballots.  The Bishop He wanted rose to the top.  In my heart, this assured me that God hears our prayers AND answers them with His Perfect will.

3)  God did not interfere with man’s will; aka His Permissive will.:  The OCA Statutes indicate on a second vote, the two names with the most votes are taken by the Synod when they retire behind the iconostas. There they deliberated and wrote their choice on a piece of paper which was then placed in a Chalice.  The point being “their choice”.  In my opinion, had they been sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit, they would have said to one another, “Bishop X received the most votes. No deliberation is necessary.  We put forth Bishop X to the laity.”  

4)  Man continues to reject God’s Perfect will.:  Rather, the Synod wrote their choice on slips of paper and put them in a Chalice.  Their choice resulted in the election of the now Met. Tikhon.  His Beatitude is a good, loving, pious, and kind man.  Having seen him in action, my experience shows him as indecisive, doesn’t return emails or phone calls in a timely manner, if at all.  In response to a letterby me regarding a bequest, I received acknowledgment a year after sending my letter.  Does this mean he will be a poor metropolitan?  I don’t know.  What I do know is, God revealed His Perfect will.  Man rejected it.

5)  I really love the Holy Orthodox Church.:  My reaction to the Council was disappointment.  My heart felt heavy.  I felt kind of out of it.  I was puzzled by my reaction. After all, it really wasn’t that big a deal and truthfully wouldn’t affect my worship experiences.  When I returned to my hotel room, the story turned different than I expected.  I just started to sob!  I’m still not sure why.  All I know is the love I felt in my heart for God and the Orthodox Church burst out.  

6)  Any respect I had for the Holy Synod, as a whole, is gone.:  It is difficult to really expand on this.  It is what it is.

7)  Despite this lack of respect for the Holy Synod as a whole, I love and respect the Office of Bishops.  No matter the hand that holds the Chalice, whether good or evil, that which is contained in the Chalice is Pure and Divine.  I will receive in peace.

9)  God can do all things.  He can make the imperfect, perfect; the weak can be made strong.:  This is where my heart landed after the Council.  Seven hours in the car provides ample time for prayer and thinking.  Despite my personal experience with Met. Tikhon when he was Bishop, he needs my (and our) prayers in order to lead our Church.  May God provide good and honest administrative support to His Beatitude.  May God grant His Beatitude strength and wisdom in all the decisions he must make in the coming days.  May God grant His Beatitude a long rule, one that is filled with peace, and the ability to lead the Orthodox Church in America to a point of honesty, stability and growth.

Overall, it was a very good experience for me – despite how hard it was.  I won’t go to another one, that’s for sure.  Probably because Met. Tikhon who is ten years younger than I will live a long life!

Again, these are my thoughts and reflections on my experience at the All American Council.  If there are readers out there who attended and have different thoughts, I would be happy to entertain them.

 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mimi
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 22:31:43

    This is well-written. I had the opportunity to meet the new Metropolitan last year, and I have very high hopes.
    Lord have Mercy and so glad you were there. Your sobs caught me by surprise, in a good way. Love to you!

  2. DebD
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 21:46:14

    another one here who likes the way the Copts choose. But, I realize it isn’t in the “statutes” of the OCA.

    Totally agree with you on # 6 AND 7. It’s hard sometimes to have those two together, but it’s also necessary.

    Hugs to you… I’m glad you went…and I appreciate your sharing here.

  3. Athanasia
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 00:32:00

    James,

    I followed the election of the new Coptic “Pope” and wish we did the same. That does, however, require a lot of faith and TRUST

  4. jamesthethickheaded
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 00:20:23

    Been looking for some feedback on the event. Interesting feedback to be sure. Thank you!

    We were hoping the folks would follow the will of the Holy Spirit… not by majority vote, but pick three names like the Copts, and let a blindfolded child make the “pick”. Virtue is that this forces folks to pick the very strongest candidates no matter what… just in case. And then the Holy Spirit guides the hand of the child.

    At least, that’s my thought. Let us hope a new page turns.

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