NEW YORK – The 43rd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will convene in Nashville, Tennessee, July 3-8, 2016, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
Concurrently with the Clergy-Laity Congress, the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society will convene its Biennial National Convention in the same venue.
The theme of the Congress, You are the voice of Christ in a changing world, is based on the directive of the Lord from the Gospel of St. John, As the Father has sent me, so I send you (John 20:21)
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, reflecting on the theme of the Congress, writes in an article:
You are the voice of Christ in a changing world. This theme affirms our vital mission in this world, as we have been sent by Christ to proclaim the Gospel, to share truth in love, to be His voice… As we prepare for our Clergy-Laity Congress and consider the implications of our Lord’s commission for our work throughout this Holy Archdiocese, it is important that we reflect prayerfully on this theme… Our focus is on the importance of knowing Christ in order to be the voice of Christ. If we are to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth, if we are to speak a message of hope into lives filled with despair, if we are to proclaim salvation and victory over sin and death in a constantly changing world, we must know Christ.
The Clergy-Laity Congress is convened biennially and is concerned with all matters, other than doctrinal or canonical, affecting the life, growth and unity of the Church, the church institutions, finances, administration, educational and philanthropic concerns and her growing role in the religious life of the nation.
The 43rd Clergy-Laity Congress will place this year in the Metropolis of Detroit under the spiritual leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas, and is co-chaired by Mr. and Mrs. George and Leann Anderson of the Greek Orthodox Church of Holy Trinity in Nashville, Tennessee.
In addition to the 2016 National Ladies Philoptochos Convention, other organizations are also holding meetings during the Congress. They include, the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, the National Sisterhood of Presbyteres, the Retired Greek Orthodox Clergy of America, the Order of Saint Andrew - Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians.
On Sunday, July 3, the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at the Grand Ole Opry House, which is within walking distance from the hotel. Later in the afternoon the blessing and opening of the Exhibit area will take place. The National Philoptochos will hold a delegate orientation and their general assembly. Additionally, that evening, the Church Musicians and the Archons will host their respective receptions.
On Monday, July 4, the official Congress Opening with the Archbishop’s Keynote Address will take place in the morning, followed by Hierarchical Sessions on the Congress Theme and Educational Ministry Workshops. In the evening the delegates will participate in Nashville’ s Independence Day festivities and will have the opportunity to watch the fireworks aboard the General Jackson Showboat.
The work of the Congress will continue on Tuesday, July 5, and will include a meeting of clergy and hierarchs, educational and ministry forums, the Hellenic College Holy Cross reception and the Clergy and Presvyteres Family night.
On Wednesday, July 6, there will be two additional Educational Ministry Workshop sessions during the day. In the evening there will be a Congress cultural and fellowship gathering at Nashville’s Parthenon and surrounding park.
On Thursday, July 7, the Plenary Session of the Clergy Laity Congress will be held during the day and the Congress will conclude with the Grand Banquet.
A more detailed schedule will be made available at a later time and will be published in the Orthodox Observer, the Archdiocese web-site www.goarch.org and at www.clergylaity.org