[ARCHIVED NEWS] Monday, December 13, 2004


Youngstown, OH - In 1987, Metropolitan (then Bishop) +Christopher, who was bishop of the Eastern American diocese at the time, wanting to monitor the growth and progress of Christian Education in the parishes of the diocese, began an annual tradition of holding Christian Education Meetings for each deanery, where borth clergy and teachers could exchange information and ideas. For those thirty years the Cleveland Deanery meetings were held in Youngstown, Ohio.

When His Grace Bishop +Mitrophan became diocesan hierarch he expanded the meetings to include designated parish priests as speakers in addition to the Bishop and respective Dean and varied the locations in which they were to be held.

This year's Christian Education Meeting for the Cleveland Deanery, which was held Saturday December 11, 2004, was hosted once again by Holy Trinity Serbian Church in Youngstown. The meeting began at 10:00 am with the warm welcome of both parish priest and Dean of the Cleveland Deanery, V. Rev. Stavrophor Janko Rajlic, welcoming first and foremost the diocesan hierarch His Grace Bishop +Mitrophan. Despite the bishop's busy schedule and hectic travel itinerary he has always made it a top priority to be present at these meetings. This year's meeting was attended by all priests from the deanery, which includes parishes in: Cleveland, Lorain, Akron, Canton, Columbus, Youngstown, Hermitage, Pa and Lackawanna, NY.
Fr. Deacon Milan Medakovic was the designated speaker at this year's meeting.  The deacon spoke eloquently on the theme of Christian educational tools, focusing on prayer as the greatest tool that we can use and how our liturgical prayers can be of educational benefit to us.  A discussion followed the lecture.

An oral report was given from each parish on the present status of their Church School Program, listing their accomplishments and long term goals.  According to the submitted reports there is a total of 359 children enrolled in the Church School with 64 teachers.  Besides educational programs for the children some parishes have very active adult classes.  After giving their reports each presenter answered questions from the clergy and teachers.

Finally, after listening to the morning's lecture and all the submitted reports, His Grace Bishop Mitrophan offered his thoughts on the various subjects that were brought up, such as poor attendance, the question of which language should be used in the services and how we are to keep Orthodoxy alive in our youth.  The bishop's words proved to be beneficial to each participant, enabling them to go back to their parishes and continue with all the more intensity to work with the future of our church - our youth.

An exceptional lenten lunch, served by the hard working women of the parish's Kola Sestara, ended the day's fruitful gathering.