Skip to Navigation

2009 Spring Meeting Minutes

Opening Prayer - The meeting was opened at 10:30 a.m. with the Antiochian Women's prayer led by V. Rev. Edward Hughes and the singing of the Troparian of the Dormition led by Marilyn Robbat. There were 19 members present.

Roll Call -
Executive Board Present:  Advisor - V. Rev. Edward Hughes,  President - Nora Walker, Vice President - Delores George, Treasurer - Carol Swydan, Recording Secretary - Nancy Ghantous , Corresponding Secretary - Joan Hanna., Past President - Priscilla Goss

Coordinators Present: Website - Melissa Nassiff,  Public Relations - Pam Samara, Membership - Priscilla Goss,        Absent:  Humanitarian - Mary Ellen Mabardy, Religious -  Kh. Louise Ferguson

Parish Delegates:
St. Mary, Cambridge - 4
St. John, Dedham - 0
St. George, Lawrence - 0
St. George, Lowell - 0
St. George, Norwood - 0
St. George, W. Roxbury - 3
St. George, Worcester - 1
St. Mary, Pawtucket - 3
St. Michael, Cotuit - 0
All Saints Mission, S. Weymouth - 0
St. Elias Mission, Fall River - 0
Emmanuel, Warren - 0
St. Stephen, Springfield - 0

Secretary's Report - Nancy Ghantous
The Minutes of the Diocesan meeting at St. John of Damascus, Dedham,  MA on January 31st , 2009  were distributed for everyone to read.  A motion to accept the minutes was made by Joyce Hanna. The motion was carried after being seconded by Hellen Haddad.

Treasurer's Report - Carol Swydan
Our checking account balance was reported, as was the total in CD's.  Carol sent our 10% Tithe for the year ending 2008 to the IOCC and ear-marked it "Middle East Relief." Revenue and expenses from the 2009 Lenten Retreat were reported. The total amount collected for the 2009 Children with Special Needs Project was also reported. A motion to accept the report was made by Priscilla Goss. The motion was passed after being seconded by Sophia Halal.

Vice President - Project Report - Delores George
Vice President Delores George reported she had sent letters to each Chapter President asking that they send in the donations for the 2008-2009 Children with Special Needs Project, which they had collected during the year. She read her report of the amount received from each Chapter which so far totaled over $12,000.

NA.B. Report - Violet Robbat, Vice President/NABProject
Violet congratulated Pam Samara for representing our Chapter during the N.A.B. meeting in February at the Antiochian Village. METROPOLITAN PHILIP announced that the proceeds for Children with Special Needs Project will be given to the Al Kafaat organization in Beirut, Lebanon for this year only. The deadline for receiving funds is May 15th .  The new website coordinator, Diane O'Regan is recording a DVD featuring stories from the Sophia Newsletter about the lives of famous Orthodox women saints. The Antiochian Women send Christmas cards containing $25.00 gift cards to 33 Khourias (widowed wives of former clergy) each year. Kh. Barbara Bass has a project to keep in touch with the widows. Treasurer Carol Swydan suggested that we increase the amount of the gift cards.

Coordinators and Committee Reports:
Melissa Nassiff
The website has been updated with the Calendar, News and Events, and the Newsletter at the top of the list.  She encouraged everyone to look at the new improvements to the website.  Members can contact her with new information to put on the site by using her e-mail address:

Public RelationsPam Samara
Pam passed out copies of the newsletter for our Diocese of Worcester and New England. She reminded the officers that their biographies will be featured in the summer DIAKONIA. Each officer should submit a copy of their personal biography and a photograph of themselves. She has sent e-mails to each chapter with a colored copy of the newsletter attached. She asked that each Chapter send her the dates of their annual fund raisers. Anyone can send information for their club’s events to her by mail (304 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545) or e-mail .

ReligiousKh. Louise Ferguson
Since Louise was absent Carol Swydan gave a report on the 2009 Lenten Retreat held at St. George Church in Norwood, MA. on Saturday, March 7th .The guest speaker, Dr.Elizabeth H. Prodromou, Asst. Professor in the Department of International Relations at Boston University, gave a presentation on “Orthodox Christian Unity: What, Why, Why Not Yet?” Marilyn Robbat said it was one of the most successful retreats the Diocese has had due to the informative guest speaker and the large attendance of members of the Diocese of Worcester and New England.

HumanitarianMary Ellen Mabardy
Mary Ellen was absent. Mary Ellen has sent flyers with a list of articles for donation to our 2009 Humanitarian project “Women’s Lunch Place” to each Chapter. Donations are to be given to her at the Parish Life Conference meeting in June 2009. A thank you card was received from the N.A.B. “Scholarships for Women” fund chairman. Marilyn Robbat will create a roll up display of our diocese to be used for public relations at each meeting.

MembershipPriscilla Goss
Priscilla reported the Spring Fling trip to the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA on Saturday, April 4, 2009 was enjoyed by all of the members who attended. Her nominating committee needs candidates for the positions of Treasurer and Recording Secretary. Officers will be voted on during the meeting at the Parish Life Conference in Lawrence, MA, on Thursday, June 25th 2009.

Corresponding Secretary – Joan Hanna
Joan Hanna had to leave the meeting early. Nancy Ghantous a letter from the boy that the Antiochian Women sponsor through the Children’s Relief Fund.

President’s RemarksPres. Nora Walker
President Nora referred to her article in the Spring 2009 Newsletter of Antiochian Women in which she reminds us all to be considerate of others.  We usually think of someone with special needs such as Down syndrome, blindness, deafness, or paralyzed in some way. We show not only show tolerance and acceptance to the mentally and physically impaired, but we should also be sensitive to the special needs of everyone. Well meaning remarks can be hurtful and cause someone to feel inadequate, unintelligent and unacceptable.

Spiritual Advisor’s RemarksFr. Edward Hughes
Father Hughes’ spiritual message was about the feast of the myrrh bearing women who helped to prepare Jesus’s body for burial after he was crucified. They were seven: Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Cleopas (Joseph’s brother), Joanna, Salome (Joseph’s youngest daughter), Susanna, Mary of Bethany, and Martha of Bethany. Mary and Martha were the sisters of Lazarus who traveled a lot and became Bishop of Cypress and was buried there.

Joanna, the wife of Chouza, who was the steward of King Herod, rescued the head of John the Baptist when he was martyred and buried it on the Mount of Olives. Joanna followed Jesus from Gallilee and supported the disciples along with Suzanna, Mary Magdalene and the other myrrh bearing women.  

After being healed by Jesus, Mary Magdalen became one of the disciples. She was the first sent by the Lord himself to announce his resurrection. Salome (Joseph’s daughter by his first wife, Salome, who died) was Jesus’s step-sister. Paul, James and Simon were Jesus’s step-brothers and became his apostles.

These women were eye witnesses to Jesus praying, healing and teaching the crowds of people who followed him. They were very involved in founding the church traditions. Women have always taken care of the needs of the church. They have raised and contributed funds to build churches through the centuries. Men have been united by their mothers, grandmothers and wives who pass on the faith through prayer and communion. 

Old Business
Fr. Hughes passed out brochures for the 2009 Parish Life Conference in Lawrence, MA, Thursday, June 25th - Sunday June 28th. The Antiochian Women’s meeting will be Thursday, June 25th from 11:30 – 1:30 p.m. followed by the Luncheon.

New Business
Joyce Hanna made the motion that we reimburse Pam Samara for her total travel expenses when she represented the Antiochian Women at the February 2009 N.A.B. conference in the Antiochian Village. The motion was passed after Carol Swydan seconded it.

The Constitution Committee will meet to decide on recommendations to update the bi-laws. Each chapter will be able to discuss the changes to the bi-laws before voting to accept them at the next meeting.

Nora asked for suggestions of how can we attract our Clergy to attend and be more involved in our meetings. Marilyn Robbat said it is more important that the Clergy give more support to the women in the Churches rather than just being at the meetings.

A Motion to Adjourn was made at 12:00 by Nora Walker and was passed after being seconded by Nancy Ghantous.

Next meeting:
Thursday, June 25, 2009
St. George Orthodox Church
Lawrence, MA

Respectfully Submitted,

Nancy Ghantous, Secretary