Parish Pulse

A Newsletter for Orthodox Parish Leaders

Parish Development Ministry

Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania

Orthodox Church in America

May 2022

Stewardship * Leadership * Communication * Evangelization* Administration * Planning

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Welcome to Parish Pulse.

This newsletter is written for clergy and lay leaders in the Orthodox Church in America's Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania as well as those from Orthodox parishes throughout North America. We focus on topics of importance in parish life such as stewardship, discipleship, leadership development, communication, parish vision and outreach.

 Most of this month’s newsletter deals with the upcoming Parish Development Forum to be held Online on June 17.

Please use the unsubscribe button if you do not wish to receive this publication. Likewise if you've been forwarded this newsletter and would like to subscribe see the subscribe link at bottom.

In Christ,

Joseph Kormos

Parish Development Ministry Leader, Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania

Quick Links

Quick access to resources available on the Archdiocesan webpage or in a few cases the Midwest Diocese website.


1. Total Stewardship  

2. Good parish Stewardship Practices

3. Intro to Pledging and All member Canvasses

4. Common Stewardship Q&A 

5. How Much Should I Give?

6. Relevant Scriptural verses re: Stewardship


1. Orthodox Evangelization Principles

2. Survey of Orthodox Converts

3. How Visitors Experience Your Parish -Mystery Worshiper Reports

4. Common Q/A: Orthodox Inquirers

5. "Sharing the Hope" Course

6. Which Parish would YOU Choose?

7. Communicating Our Faith Fr Stephen Frase

8. How Visitors Define 'Friendly' 9.Video: Parish Welcoming and Hospitality

Parish Finance Articles

1.Parish Financial Audit Guidelines  

2. Best Practices & Principles for Parish Financial Accountability

 3. Your Parish Budget: What Does It Convey?

 4. Replacement Reserve Accounts

5. Endowment Pros & Cons

Growth & Vision

1. Toolbox for Vision Casting

2. What kind of parish do we envision?

3. Orthodox parishes and neighborhood identity

4. What priest's want?

 5. Discovering Parish Core values

6. Approaching Change Fr T Soroka (PPT)

7. Change Workshop Kormos -- Small Parish Forum (PPT)


1. Ministry of the Parish Council 

2. Empowering Your Parish by Granting Permission

3. Learning to Delegate

4. Eight Good Parish Council Practices

4 Nine PC meeting time savers

5.Better preaching 

Parish Renewal

1. The Orthodox Parish in N. America - Fr. T. Hopko from Orlando AAC

2. Five Qualities of Successful Orthodox Parishes - A. Krindatch study

3. Attitudes that Enable the Church to Grow --Fr John Matusiak

4. Decline in your parish

 5. Diversity among growing parishes

6.Commonality among growing parishes

7. Wake Up a Sleeping Church

8. Revit'liz't'n Thumbnail 1 

9. Revit. Thumbnail #2

10. Triple Digit Anniversaries -- Face Forward

11. Describing Parish membership

12. When Parishes Close Themselves

13. Local Mission Teams

14 Diet & Exercise on our terms

15 Video:J Kormos Talk on Vibrant Parishes for Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

Parish Ministry & Education

1.Reorganizing Parish Ministries

2. The Blank calendar

3.Love Thy Neighbor

Communicating Your Parish

1. Website Webinar slides

2. Taking Parish Photographs

3. Toward Better Parish Websites (I)

4. Better Websites (II)

5. Improving Bulletin Content

6. Improving Bulletin Format 


1. Establishing a Solid Parish Youth Effort

2. Souls in Transition

3. Soccer vs. Church 


1. Parish Revitalization Series #1 Building Urgency and Hope 2013 

2. #2 Characteristics of Vibrant 21st Century Orthodox Parishes. 2013 

3. #3 Driving Life in Your Parish. 2013

4. Profiles in Parish Revitalization (June 2014)

5. Communicating Your Parish - Yellow Pages Is Not Enough

6. Waking Up Your Parish with College Ministry

7. Fostering Generosity & Practical Stewardship

8.Parish Council Practices 

Broken Links? Let us Know.

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Registration Opens for Parish Development Forum

Friday June 17 Online

Registration is now open for the 2022 Parish Development Forum. Now in its ninth year, the Parish Development Forum will be held online on Friday June 17.


Open to clergy and laity from all Orthodox jurisdictions, the Forum theme will be “Parishes as Vessels of Ministry: Increasing Our Capacity for Ministry”.

Forum Goal

In exploring this theme the 2022 Forum will seek to heighten awareness of and interest in ministry as a critical, not optional, element of parish life and mission.

Key questions and topics:

  • Why is ministry—often under emphasized in the past—“suddenly" of critical importance to our parish?
  • Can we do a better job of connecting personal talents and gifts with effective ministry opportunities?
  • How to overcome ministry resistance?
  • How can we enliven new ministries? 

Register Now

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Workshops, presentations and discussion topics will be divided into an all attendee general session and three parallel content tracks:

General Sessions

  • Keynote: Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; Locum Tenens, Diocese of the Midwest; Christian Life, Discipleship and Ministry
  • What is Ministry
  • Exploring a Case Study

Track A: Living Active Ministry—Personal, Internal, External

  • Being a Ministry of Presence to the Grieving
  • External Ministry: Creating Opportunities to See and Serve Our Parish Neighbors
  • Internal Ministry: Incorporating Every Generation in Your Parish’s “In-Reach” Efforts 

Track B: Rethinking Education as Ministry—Adults and Youth

  • Re-envisioning Education in the Parish
  • Education as Ministry and Service
  • Effective Youth Education

Track C: Leading and Coordinating Ministry

  • Practices for Managing Ministry
  • Thoughts and Tools to Kick start your Ministry Mix
  • Making Ministry Happen: Obstacles and Pathways to Ministry

You Have Ten Seconds

'What is Ministry'' Video Clips

One important question to be addressed in the Forum is simple yet confusing to many: "What is Ministry?"

We had a bit of fun with the related question “What are some Myths, Misconception and Obstacles to Ministry?”. We asked friends -- and friends of friends -- to contribute some of their favorites. Here are a few: ten second teasers.

They say humor requires a certain amount of truth!

We will explore these -- and many other ministry obstacles at the Forum.

Useful content from many past Forum topics can be found here.

Register Now.  You must register to attend.

Download Forum Flyer

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Mechanisms of Change --& the Parish Forum

The practical value of the Forum is retooling, renewing and reshaping parish life to better conform to the Gospel and our calling as Christians. In other words: change. Instilling a desire to be “made well.”

Of course leading change is hard. It is context sensitive.

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Secular Sources

There are many excellent secular sources for understanding change.

We have always found Leading Change by John Kotter to be one of the best. (See a brief video by Kotter on Hearts and Minds of change here.) 

In a church setting, Choosing Change: Motivating Churches to face the Future by Peter Coutts has many useful ideas and methods.

Church Change Mechanisms

What exactly are the ‘mechanisms’ (inner forces) of change in Orthodox parishes? Here is a partial list of mechanisms we've seen as parishes confronted the possibilities of “a brighter future”.

1) Exposure to "Something Better"

Leaders (somehow) get a glimpse of new results – results that fit so powerfully its inward sense of mission as to disturb old comforts and make the status quo untenable. Someone raises a key topic of discussion -- for example: 'What is Our Future Vision?'

2) People Shuffle

Somebody quits or leaves. Or, new parishioners arrive bringing new ideas from a previous parish. Likewise the arrival of a new priest brings a fresh set of eyes. Even the planning for retirement or transfer of the current priest often promotes thinking about where thing are headed.

3) Worship Change

A change in some aspect of worship-- start times, blending new music styles etc. are things seen by all. Something feels different. This can then be linked to other changes –new ministry perhaps.

4) Impending Decline

Too often we hide bad news. Facing facts can be a great motivator for change. As has been said: “The view of the gallows clarifies the mind”.

5) Somebody Steps Up

Sure change needs more than one person. But one or two persons –serious about change – can be the leaven that leavens the whole lump. (“I’m not gonna take it anymore”)

6) External Change -- Neighborhood?

Sometimes a change in the parish context –perhaps changes to the local neighborhood cause people to think seriously about ‘what our job is here.’

7) Catalytic Event

Critical event/catastrophe –followed by exemplary faith demonstrating behavior.

to be continued...

Participating in the Parish Development Forum can jump start many of the above.

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Announcement Pastoral Life: June Synaxis.

We received the following announcement from the OCA's Office of Pastoral Life...we're happy to pass it on...


The primary goal of the Office of Pastoral Life is to focus on the joy of ministry. 

The Synaxis Program is a series of quarterly Zoom meetings in which priests and deacons join with like-minded peers and recall, rekindle, and celebrate their joys experienced in Christ’s ministry. Recently, a small research team was organized to query the challenges, wants, and needs faced by the Orthodox Church in America parish clergy. A national sample of 19 volunteers was interviewed and information was summarized and consolidated using a thematic analysis. We invite clergy to come and learn more about the findings from this research into the needs of the OCA clergy at our next Synaxis event on June 21st from 2-4pm EST. Discover if the findings will match your experience. What initiatives or systemic programs do you think the findings suggest? How can we, as active clergy, contribute to efforts that will bolster the ongoing development and formation of all OCA clergy?


Synaxis sessions are held as Zoom meetings for clergy across the OCA. Email for registration information. 

Thank you for your time.

Let us know your feedback. 513.518.5878

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