For the Seventy-Second time in history of the Ukrainian Orthodox League of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, delegates from various chapters of parish families from across the country gathered for the first time at All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Camp in Emlenton, PA for their annual Convention.
About 150 delegates (including clergy) represented chapters of our UOC of USA’s oldest central organization and participated in this year’s convention. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel actively took part in daily sessions of the Convention.
The convention began on a spiritual note with the prayer offered before the first business session was called to order at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 1st. Following the Invocation offered by His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA flag, the singing of the USA National Anthem, opening remarks and greetings were expressed by Senior and Junior UOL National Executive Board Presidents John Holowko and Alexis Naumenko. Convention Spiritual Advisor and Sr. Convention Committee chairperson welcomed the guests to All Saints Camp and offered the full services and assistance on behalf of the entire organizing committee.
The first formal session of the day concluded with the approval of formal Agenda, Minutes, Financial Records and Audit Reports.
The second day of this year’s Convention began with the Divine Liturgy that with the blessing of Metropolitan Antony was served by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, Very Rev. Fr. Taras Naumenko, Rev. Fr. Mark Swindle, Rev. Fr. Philip Harendza, Rev. Fr. John Charest, Rev. Fr. Ivan Tchopko, Protodeacon Ihor Mahlay and Deacon Paul Cherkas. Following the Liturgy, Archbishop Daniel offered a spiritual reflection, calling upon the delegates of the Church to immerse themselves into the spiritually rich and uplifting treasury of Christ’s presence in our lives.
Splitting into several groups of participants, the delegates spent the afternoon reflecting and setting goals for the projects of the Organization that will address the need for a quality Christian Leadership and Charitable Outreach “Caring for One Another”.
St. Andrew Society, the second largest Central Organization of the Church became a recipient of this year’s “Souper Bowl Sunday” that was presented by the President of Sr. UOL John Holowko to Protodeacon Ihor Mahlay, President of St. Andrew Society. Accepting the donation, Protodeacon Ihor spoke of the common ministry of both organizations and the great part that UOL has played in helping St. Andrew’s Society to raise and distribute about $1,300.000.00 for charitable projects in the past 25 years of St. Andrew Society’s ministry.
Very Rev. Fr. John Haluszczak, chairperson of All Saints Camp Committee addressed the delegates of the Convention, sharing with them the successes of this year’s Camping Ministry and asking the general UOL membership to be the moving spiritual force behind the spiritual and physical improvements at the Camp.
Senior National UOL Board presented the UOL Essay Contest Awards on behalf of UOL Executive Board to this year’s winners and participants, many of whom are the members of Jr. UOL chapters and parishes across the country.
The last day of the 72nd UOL Convention at All Saints Camp in Emlenton, PA began with the early morning Akathist Service in front of the icon of Pochaiv Mother of God. The chanters from various parishes and chapters joined in singing the uplifting praises to the Mother of God during the liturgical service served by Rev. Fr. Ivan Tchopko.
Upon the conclusion of the service, Vladyka Daniel addressed the delegates of the Convention. The morning service concluded with the veneration of the icon of Pochaiv Mother of God, while the Camp singers chanted prayerful hymns to the Birth-Giver of God.
Several Committee reports were presented, discussed and adopted. It was determined that 2020 Annual UOL Convention will be hosted by Sr. and Jr. UOL Chapters of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA.
In the late hours of the morning sessions both Senior and Junior UOL Convention bodies elected their Executive Boards:
Senior UOL: President – Karen Ferraro of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Philadelphia, PA; 1st Vice President – Oleh Bilinsky of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Philadelphia, PA; 2nd Vice President – Patricia Walton of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox parish of Troy, NY; Corresponding Secretary – Lisa Ryan of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Parma, OH; Recording Secretary – Anna Anderson of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Youngstown, OH; Financial Secretary – Jack Roditski of Holy Ascension Ukrainian Orthodox parish of Maplewood, NJ; Treasurer – Daria Pishko Komichak of Holy Ascension Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Maplewood, NJ; Auditor – Joseph Goodge of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox parish of Sharon, PA; Immediate Past President – John Holowko of Holy Ascension Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Maplewood, NJ; Bulleting Editor - Natalie Bilynsky and 73rdUOL Convention Chair – Andrea Swan of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Philadelphia, PA.
Junior UOL: President – Alexis Naumenko of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA; Vice President – Madeline Zetick of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA; Treasurer – Hrystyna Petrylo of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Pittsburgh, PA; Financial Secretary – Rachel Harendza of Holy Archangel Michael Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Scranton, PA; Recording/Corresponding Secretary – Natalia Hrytsay of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Pittsburgh, PA.
After a few other announcements, the 72nd Annual Ukrainian Orthodox League Convention was adjourned and the delegates began their preparations for the Vespers.
The day concluded with a formal banquet. The traditional awards were presented, as the final official acts during the Convention, by the Jr. and Sr. UOL Presidents and Seminarian Scholarships were announced. Seminarians of the Church were awarded scholarships from the Metropolitan John Scholarship Fund.
The Annual UOL Convention came to a formal conclusion on Sunday, August 4, 2019, as the delegates gathered at the main Dining pavilion of the Camp and processed with the hierarchs of the Church for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.
As the procession of clergy and hierarchs to the Camp Chapel of Holy Apostle Thomas took place, the Senior UOL President John Holovko and Junior UOL President Alexis Naumenko presented the hierarchs with the traditional Ukrainian Bread and Salt. The clergy of the chapel sincerely offered words of prayerful welcome to Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel, asking them to pray for the success of numerous ministries of the Church’s central organization.
As the Liturgy progressed, over two hundred people approached the Chalice and received the Holy Eucharist at the Divine Liturgy. Parishioners from the local Ukrainian Orthodox communities as well as from other Orthodox jurisdictions participated in the services of the day.
At the conclusion of the service, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel called upon the newly elected executive boards of the Senior and Junior UOL to come forward in order to be presented to the His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Prime Hierarch of the UOC of the USA for a formal induction into their service in the life of the organization and the Church. Holding candles in their hands, the officers of the organization made a solemn promise to work for the Glory of God and the fulfillment of the mission of the organization: "Dedicated to the Church; Devoted to Her Youth!”
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Antony presented Centennial Awards to the members of All Saints Committee in attendance: Michael Nanonachny, Stephen Sheptak, Eric Senedak, Chris Mills and Rob Prokopchak.
Finally, before departure, everyone was treated to a farewell brunch prepared by the local OH-PA UOL chapters and parish congregations. Departing the sacred grounds of All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Camp (Emlenton, PA), Archbishop Daniel blessed every vehicle for a safe and blessed trip home.
Photos by Seminarian Yaroslav Bilohan