EDMONTON - Clergy and faithful from across the Canadian Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) gathered in July in Edmonton for the 2017 Assembly of the Archdiocese of Canada. Father Geoffrey Korz (clergy delegate) and Reader Sean Reid (lay delegate) were pleased to attend this tri-annual event on behalf of our parish.

Metropolitan Tikhon and Archbishop Irénée oversaw the four-day assembly, which included a Clergy Synaxis (a meeting for clergy only) on the first day, followed by the main assembly for the remainder of the event. The theme of the event was "Refreshment for the Journey", reflecting the aim of the organizing committee to provide an opportunity for educational enrichment and Christian encouragement to all in attendance.

Each day of the Assembly began with celebration of the Divine Liturgy and ended with Vespers. A Primatial liturgy, led by Metropolitan Tikhon, on Friday to mark the close of the event was a highlight of the Assembly. The service also marked the joyful celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Parish of St. Herman of Alaska, in Edmonton.

The Assembly included many stimulating speeches and presentations, including a presentation on mission fundraising from our own Father Geoffrey, as well as two talks from Father John Behr, of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Other presentation topics throughout the event included:

- "Spiritual Abuse and How to Prevent it"- "Giving Thanks through Clenched Teeth"- "Orthodox Funeral Practices - Ancient Traditions vs. Modern Practices"

The business portions of the Assembly included the tabling and presentation of reports from the regional deans of the Archdiocese, the Archdiocesan Treasurer, and various institutional and program leaders within the Archdiocese. It was an encouragement to many at the Assembly to read and hear about the growing mission work of the Church in Canada. The Assembly also elected a new Archdiocesan Council to oversee administration of the Archdiocese for the next three years.

The Assembly was not all business all the time. Attendees enjoyed a banquet together on Wednesday evening, at the Muttart Conservatory, and on Friday afternoon, many assembly participants took a tour of Alberta's "Holy Land" - visiting the numerous, beautiful Orthodox country parishes founded generations ago in Alberta's rural heartland.

As is often the case, the critical ingredient of success for the assembly was not really the agenda at all. Rather, what truly set this event apart was the opportunity to meet and reconnect with so many Orthodox clergy and faithful from across our country - united with our Metropolitan and our Archbishop in a common faith in Christ and a commitment to the mission of His Church in our land.

For more information about the Assembly, please do not hesitate to speak with Reader Sean Reid.

"Ours must be an orthodoxy of the heart, not just the mind."

-St.Tikhon of Zadonsk