At the end of September, priests and deacons from the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Pittsburgh gathered for a joint clergy conference. These three days of continuing education, prayer, and fellowship were held at the Antiochian Village, near Ligonier, PA, a beautiful Orthodox Church facility.
The conference presenter was the Rev. Christopher Martin of the Restoration Project. During his three sessions he shared a method of small group discipleship that focused on seven core practices including daily prayer, tithing, and serving the poor. The clergy also had an opportunity to break into small groups and share their own experiences with these seven core Christian practices.
Clergy came regularly throughout the day to pray the offices. Bishop Sean inspired us with his sermon on Saint Jerome at the closing Eucharist, which was held in the chapel that was filled with striking and beautiful icons. Above the altar, the Lord’s Prayer appears in calligraphy in both English and Arabic. Arabic is the native tongue of the Antiochene Orthodox community, which has roots in Syria and the Middle East. The facility’s extensive library contains numerous Arabic volumes dealing with a variety theological and cultural themes spanning centuries.
During an afternoon break, participants were able to walk around the campus, meet with a representative from the Widow’s Corporation (which helped sponsor this event), or visit the nearby Memorial for Flight 93. A variety of late night conversations addressed topics ranging from church growth to increased collaboration to reform theology to the likelihood of a Chicago Cubs World Series victory.
The Rev. Adam Trambley is the rector at St. John’s, Sharon.