International Orthodox Christian News

Orthodox Church in America

CHICAGO, IL [Diocese of the Midwest/April 29, 2009] -- Sharing good ideas and practices can be an important step in enabling parish communities to become more vibrant and truly live a life in Christ. Good ideas and at least partial solutions are often available to be shared. Clergy and laity with in-depth experience in relevant areas are available to offer their perspective and insight.
In the past, however, travel costs and time often made it impossible to provide parish leaders -- clergy and laity alike -- effective access to persons with significant experience in areas important to parish life. Diocesan assemblies often have agendas filled with business topics, leaving little time to explore topics important to parish life and development. Fortunately today's collaboration technologies make it relatively easy to enable parish leaders to access the experience, knowledge and insight of subject matter thought leaders directly from their desktop.
The goal of the Diocese of the Midwest Webinar Initiative is to provide, at essentially no direct cost to parishes, insight, experience and information that will assist clergy and lay leaders to "sharpen the saw" and, in so doing, to strengthen their areas of ministry. The initiative will present a series of helpful, provocative, presentations by clergy and laity thought leaders. Topics will cover many areas -- from pastoral skills, administrative procedures, youth topics, and many more. Attendees need only have a computer with an internet connection and a telephone to participate in online meetings and broadcasts.
The next webinar, scheduled for Wednesday May 20, 2009, at 2:00 PM CDT, will feature Fr. Basil Aden, presenting on the topic "Recent Changes in the American Religious Landscape." This webinar will give an overview of the major trends in American society in two categories: 1) Demographics of religious affiliation; 2) Diversity of beliefs. In a series of graphics, it will show the profound changes in American religious affiliation and attitudes toward that affiliation as well as the ever-widening range of religious beliefs that Americans are entertaining.
The presentation will stress that the trends of American culture are already having an impact not only on our outreach to non-Orthodox Americans but also on our ministry to our own members and associates. The presentation will identify three sets of attitudes that shape the evolving American approach to and understanding of religion. It will suggest how Orthodox leaders can address these three sets of attitudes that are present among our members as well as pervasive among non-Orthodox Americans. The session will contain a lot of new information and stimulate much thought on the relationship of the Orthodox Church and its mission to the rapidly changing American society.
Father Basil Ross Aden, who serves Christ the Savior Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church, Rockford, IL and Associate Professor of Philosophy (Religious Studies) at Rock Valley College, is currently on sabbatical to write a textbook on current approaches to the study of religion.
For more information on the webinar initiative, or to register for the May 20 session, log on to


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