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Report from the Diocese of Miami Parish Life Conference

The Twentieth Annual Parish Life Conference (PLC) of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, hosted by St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church of Davie, Florida was held from June 13-17, 2012 at the Ocean Sky Resort and Hotel at Fort Lauderdale’s famous beaches. Just under 300 people registered at the Conference, and considering the present state of the economy, the PLC turned out to be a resounding success.

His Grace Bishop Antoun presided over the Conference, joined by the Keynote speaker, His Grace Bishop Anthony, Bishop of Toledo and the Midwest. The Very Reverend Father Elia Shalhoub, Dean of the Clergy in our Deanery, was the Host Pastor, and the Conference was chaired by Deborah Khoury and co-chaired by Diane Perez.

The theme of the conference came from St. John of Damascus, one of the great theologians of the Church who stated: “The Bible Fills us with Eternal Joy”. The theme resounded in every event during the Conference from the homilies during vespers and the Divine Liturgy to creative arts exhibition and Teen SOYO outing. During the conference numerous Diocesan organizations held meetings to discuss important issues of each organization. Several workshops were held for both teens and adults and touched upon topics like Christian education, marriage and family. Though many important and serious businesses were accomplished for the different organizations, the conference was not without its share of fun. The Bible Bowl competition for which both teens and adults studied relentlessly throughout the year took place on Thursday night, cheered on by the enthusiastic audience. Fourteen teams participated from 30 different Churches. St. Stephen of Hiram, GA took first place in the teen category and St. George from Jacksonville took first place from the adult category. The Oratorical contest, yet another long-awaited part of the conference, took place on Saturday morning. Fourteen teens participated from
the participating churches in the Diocese, with St. Elias of Georgia, taking first place in the junior category, and Thomas Ghebrezghi from St. Philip of Davie, FL taking first place in the senior category. The winning teen Bible Bowl Team and the Senior Oratorical Winner will
represent The Diocese of Miami and the Southeast at the national level at the NAC meeting, taking place at the Antiochian Village July 21st, 2012.

The Friday Night Buffet, Dinner and Dance was well attended by all, whether kids or adults. Earlier the same day Teen SOYO traveled to Boca Raton to feed the hungry at the Boca Helping Hands, an organization dedicated to helping those who are in need.

Finally, all dressed up to attend the Grand Banquet on Saturday night, where His Grace Bishop Anthony dazzled the audience with his keynote address, coining the phrase “Can I say that again?”.

On Sunday morning the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy was presided over by His Grace Bishop Antoun and Bishop Anthony, assisted by fifteen priests from the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast . Over two hundred people attended the service especially from our sister churches and mission from Miami, Boca and West Palm Beach, joining together in prayer and fellowship. As we all travel to our homes after the Conference we take with us the spirit of fellowship and peace that we obtained while here and wait to meet again a year from now in New Orleans, Louisiana. The PLC is more than just a conference; it is our Diocese’s Orthodox Family Reunion.

Yours in Christ,

Salim T. Khoury, P. Eng.
Chairman, Parish Council of Host Parish, Davie, FL