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Report: Diocese of Los Angeles and the West's 2017 Parish Life Conference

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The Diocese of Los Angeles and the West held their Parish Life Conference at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel from July 5-9, 2017. The PLC was well attended with 823 registrants. It was hosted by St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church of the San Fernando Valley.

A beautiful chapel that was the focal point of the Conference worship services highlighted our theme: "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Mark 11:17). This year three keynote speakers addressed the conference theme: Fr. Joseph Copeland, pastor of Holy Cross Church in Yakima, Washington spoke on "God's house as a house of prayer, an icon of His Kingdom, and place of the Sacraments." Father Alban West, pastor of St. George Church in Portland, Oregon, spoke on "What we must do to properly prepare in entering God's House and receiving the Sacraments," and Fr. Calinic Berger, assistant pastor of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, spoke about "God's House as the place where we pray '...for all nations' and as the universal home of the members of His Kingdom."

One of our goals in planning the Parish Life Conference was to offer spiritually uplifting and informative meetings, workshops, and lectures. On Wednesday the Clergy and Clergy Wives gathered in fellowship at a brunch with Sayidna Joseph followed by their meeting with him.  On Wednesday evening there was a viewing of an Archdiocese documentary preview: "Becoming Truly Human,with a discussion led by Subdeacon Adam Roberts. It was very well received.

Thursday was a day of meetings and workshops that included Carole Buleza, Chair of the Department of Christian Education, Michelle Moujaes, Executive Director of Faithtree Resources spoke on, "Intentional parenting in a Reckless World," and Fr. Joseph Purpura led a discussion on: "Our Identity as Orthodox Christians in the world of Social Media."
 
On Friday, while the Antiochian Women held their brunch and meeting with Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Timothy Baclig led a workshop for men entitled "The Pursuit of Priorities - Learning how to identify temptations and put them into proper perspective."  The teens engaged in a discussion on current topics with Metropolitan Joseph. Together with the regular schedule of Conference events, the young adults socialized and planned additional activities and meetings.
 
The PLC Kid’s Club was a fun and an educational experience to help our children and their parents to get the most from the PLC.  It was a great opportunity for the children to make new friends and to understand the meaning of our Conference theme. Each day a priest was assigned speak with the children on various topics relating to the church.
 
Under the direction of our very creative event chairs, our social events drew large crowds each evening.  A Thursday Hospitality Night, "Hurray for Hollywood!" took us back in time to a classic Hollywood nightclub featuring our own local talented comedians.  It was a fun filled night of comedy, food, and beverages. A live band and DJ filled the room with “classic” Hollywood nightclub music.
 
On Friday evening following a very competitive Bible Bowl, we “cooled off” at a Friday Night Social. It was a carnival atmosphere, with a strolling magician and a clown balloon artist! Everyone enjoyed fresh sorbets, soft pretzels, Cracker Jacks, jellybeans, peanuts, lemonade, and other refreshments.  Kids young and old had a great time.  During the Carnival, the teens held an evening dance.

Saturday morning, immediately after the Divine Liturgy, the Award’s Brunch took place with Metropolitan Joseph. The brunch was held to honor the children of our parishes for their work on Creative Arts, Photography, Poetry, and Writing Contests. The winners in each category were presented with their award from Metropolitan Joseph.
 
On Saturday evening the Conference festivities continued into the night with our Luau. The fun began the minute you walked in the door to experience a “California Beach Luau.”  Guests were dressed in their favorite Aloha shirts and muu muus! Everyone enjoyed a delightful sitdown dinner while watching a show with Hawaiian dancers. Guests participated in a limbo and hula contest, and we all enjoyed dancing the night away with a lot of "Aloha!"