Primate’s Message Delivered at Biennial Parish Council Symposium
By Metropolitan Philip
From The Word, December 1994
Esteemed members of Parish Councils:
On behalf of the entire Archdiocese, I would like first and foremost, to welcome you to the Antiochian Village and especially to the Heritage and Learning Center. While here, I am sure that you will have the opportunity to see our camping facilities where your children spend some of their summer. You will also see our library which now houses more than twenty-five thousand volumes. Moreover, you will see our museum and School of Iconography, our beautiful dining room and the rest of our fine facilities. Surely, without your cooperation, the Heritage and Learning Center would never have existed. I am most thankful to you.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Christ is in our midst!
I would like to thank all of you for the holy ministry you are performing in your parishes. May God reward you abundantly.
Let me talk to you as children, friends, parishioners and Parish Council members. I would like to take the opportunity to share with you some thoughts on the ministry of the Parish Council in the life of the Church. When I say ministry, I am not saying this to “spiritualize” an otherwise secular job. A Parish Council member, through the acclamation of the community in which the Holy Spirit resides, has a charism, a special gift and responsibility to represent and serve the community. This ministry comes forth from God, who is the center of all things. This is why Council meetings are held in the Church, begin and end with prayer, and always are conducted with the priest present.
Like organs in a body, each Parish Council member has a special function. All of you have different talents and skills that you bring together to form a single body. The Council meeting is not an arena in which we do battle with others. We do not seek to defeat our enemies and compete with others. Each vital organ of the body works together for a common goal, and so Parish Council members must support one another. The aim is to speak with one voice.