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Joe Kormos
Diocese of Midwest, Orthodox Church in America


Tuesday July 26, 2011 at 9:00 AM EDT
Wednesday July 27, 2011 at 3:00 PM EDT

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St. Gregory of Nyssa Orthodox Church
2219 Summit Street
Columbus, OH 43201

Driving Directions 


University Plaza LogoGO TO HOTEL WEBSITE

Hotel Room

  • Minutes from St. Gregory of Nyssa Parish, site of the Summit
  • Easily accessible from Rt 71/Rt 315
  • Newly decorated rooms
  • $89 room rate, king or double, includes a hot buffet breakfast 
  • Call 614-267-7461 for reservations (Ask for "Diocese of the Midwest -Urban Summit" special rate)

University Plaza Photo

DRAFT Agenda
The agenda is under development. It's subject to change.

Welcome Reception
University Plaza Hotel, Presidential Suite

8:30 AM Registration & Coffee
9 AM  Prayer - Introduction; Opening Remarks by His Grace, Matthias, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest, Orthodox Church in America
9:30 AM   Stories of Urban Breakthrough I
10:15 AM  Questions & Discussion
11 AM Break
11:15 AM Stories of Urban Breakthrough II
12:00 noon  Questions & Discussion
12:30 PM  Lunch & Photo
1:30 PM  Urban Issues I: Myths & Realities
2:15 PM   Q & A
2:45 PM  Break
3:00 PM Urban Issues II -- Beyond Food Clothing & Shelter
3;45 PM  Questions & Discussion
4:30  Vespers
5:30  Fellowship
6:30  "Dinner-in-the-City"
8:00   Optional evening event TBD

8:00 AM  Coffee & Rolls
8:30 AM   Prayer & Summary of Day One
8:45 AM   Urban Ministry Definition Workshop --
10:45 AM Needs and Problems of Urban Parishes - Discussion
11:30 AM  Breakout Sessions: Ideas, Possible Solutions, Answers
12:15 PM Lunch
1:00PM  Report Back
2:15 PM  Proposals;  Call to Action
3:00 PM Summation
Departure for Airport - Transportation provided.

Archpriest Daniel Rentel, retiring rector of Saint Gregory of Nyssa Church, has helped his parish discern its role in an urban setting since its establishment some 30 years ago.  He will share the vision that led the parish to reach out to those in need in its immediate neighborhood and beyond.

Daria Mueller, Senior Policy Analyst for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, will discuss "Urban Life Myth and Realities" She will highlight misconceptions regarding people who live in the inner city and help attendees separate stereotypes from reality.
Julia Demaree, Director of the Orthodox ministry  “Emmaus House” in Harlem, will offer practical insights for parishes of all sizes and locations in discerning and addressing ways to "make a difference."  In particular, she will focus on ministry ideas that go beyond the basics of food, clothing and shelter.

Archpriest Thomas Mueller will share practical insights based on his experience as rector of Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Milwaukee, WI, a multi-cultural urban parish with a variety of outreach ministries.  Using video interviews, he will tell the compelling story of a Lutheran pastor who was sent to close a parish, but instead revived it through new ministry to the neighborhood.



"Urban Ministry: Challenge AND Opportunity?"

Early Bird deadline for Conference and Hotel is July 4!

JULY 26 - 27, 2011.COLUMBUS, OHIO

In a Nutshell
The "Urban Ministry Summit", will be held at St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, Columbus, OH on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 26-27, 2011. The theme for this important conference is" Urban Ministry: Challenge and Opportunity?" The modest registration fee of $50 per person ($75 after July 1) will cover materials and meals.


 For Orthodox parishes –urban and suburban -- looking to begin or expand their outreach ministries to their urban neighbors, the Urban Ministry Summit is a two day interactive conference that delivers practical insight on urban issues and what parishes can do to act –either as an individual parish or in collaboration with others.
Unlike any other Orthodox  conference or learning event  this session provides an opportunity to interact with and learn from Orthodox Christians who have taken creative steps, (sometimes baby steps) to shine the Light of Christ to the world.

The summit is open to all clergy and laity--regardless of diocese or Orthodox jurisdiction--interested in learning more about effective urban ministry and outreach.    

The Challenge
The profile of the Orthodox urban parish has dramatically shifted over the past 100 years.

  • Many parishioners have embraced a suburban lifestyle and no longer live in homes surrounding their urban parish.
  • Often located in economically-changed and ethnically-diverse neighborhoods, many urban parishes are ill-equipped to understand the people now living in their parish neighborhood--and their own unique struggles.
  • Large and aging parish buildings are costly to support, and drain the parish of resources that could be used for parish life and ministries.  


The Opportunity
Yet these parishes established roots in these neighborhoods. God called the parish to these locations to serve His people.  As a result, many questions arise.

  • Do opportunities still remain to carry out His work?
  • Could this work encompass a broader range of His people rather than just the parishioners of those churches?
  • What are appropropriate ministries for parishes in these settings?
  • What background and skills are necessary?
  • How can a parish comprised of an aging membership serve others and still support its own needs and obligations?Kovach Urban summit

Summit Content

The agenda for this 2-day event will be filled with opportunities to address these issues and explore possible solutions for urban parishes and sister suburan and rural parishes. With an agenda comprised of presenters, roundtable sessions, fellowship opportunities and relevant workshops, participants will be valuable contributors to this conference, but are sure to take home valuable insights, content for further exploration, and possible solutions to share with their parish councils and congregation.
The summit agenda includes presentations & workshops to explore urban ministry.  Food and fellowship will build connectedness among attendees.

The Summit builds upon the 2009 Urban Summit attended by over 60 clergy and laity  held in Cleveland. See summary here.

“There is no other way to be saved, except through our neighbor...  This is purity of heart: when you see the sinful or the sick, to feel compassion for them and to be tenderhearted toward them.”     

St. Macarius the Great

10 Important Learning Opportunities
Join us at the Urban Ministry Conference to learn and experience…
    1. How to separate the stereotypes from the realities when it comes to our understanding our urban neighbors
    2. Learn why those in need are not to blame, the problem is not too big, and the problem is not beyond our control.Wagner
    3. Understand  how homelessness, (particularly among youth), poverty, violence against women and prostitution can be intertwined
    4. Acquire an increased ability to resist the temptation to distance ourselves from urban challenges.  
    5. Understand new ways you can get involved in your local community.
    6. Define a ministry action plan for your parish –or a collection of collaborating parishes – with the guidance of experienced ministry leaders and subject matter experts.
    7. Experience an urban parish first-hand and learn from the challenges it has had to overcome.
    8. Immerse yourself  in Urban Ministry in action. An adapted version of St Gregory’s Saturday Lunch Program will be held during the conference.
    9. Learn tips and tactics to overcome resistance, fear and biases from your parish regarding urban outreach.
    10. Meet other Orthodox Christians with interest in expanding their parish’s capability for urban outreach – build a network for future discussion and interaction

Travel Grants for Midwest Diocese Parishes

Parishes in the OCA Diocese of the Midwest desiring to receive partial finacial subsidy for their travel expenses for the Summit can submit the travel form found here.