Clergy-Laity 2012 Messages and Addresses

Bearing Fruit Through Our Witness of Christ

Over the past four months we have been preparing for our 41st Clergy-Laity Congress by reflecting on the Congress theme and its implications for our mission, service, and planning. Our theme, “Chosen and Appointed by God to Go and Bear Fruit,” affirms so much about our relationship with God, our identity as Orthodox Christians, and our calling to offer a witness of Christ.

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Patriarchal Message to the 41st Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress

Patriarchal Message of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the 41st Clergy-Laity Congress in Pheonix, AZ in 2012.

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Bearing Fruit Through Reconnection

Our reflections on the theme for our 41st Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress, “Chosen and appointed by God to go and bear fruit,” lead us to consider how we fulfill the commission we have received from Him. He has chosen and appointed us (John 15:16) to go to all who need the saving and transforming presence of Christ and to bear fruit by offering a witness of divine grace, by strengthening faith, and by guiding others into a sustained and growing relationship with Him. To accomplish this sacred work, it is essential that we recognize those who need to connect or reconnect with God. In the previous article we examined our calling to go to those who are searching for God and seeking answers in the midst of the questions and challenges of life. In this article we address our ministry to people who have had some connection with the Orthodox Church in the past, but currently, they are not active participants in a parish.

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Chosen and appointed by God to go and bear fruit

As we begin this new year and our preparations for the upcoming 41st Clergy-Laity Congress of our Holy Archdiocese, I offer an initial reflection on our theme for this blessed gathering: “Chosen and appointed by God to go and bear fruit.” This theme is based on the words of our Lord to His disciples in John 15:16, as He taught them the meaning of the relationships they shared and assured them of the great work that God would accomplish through their faithful service. Jesus said, You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit (John 15:16). In this first of a series of articles on our Congress theme, we contemplate the meaning of this biblical passage and the insight it offers for our lives and service as Orthodox Christians and for the vital offering of love and ministry of our Church in America.

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Clergy-Laity 2012