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Reflection on the 2009 Archdiocese Convention

by Fr. William Olnhausen, pastor of St. Nicholas Church in Cedarburg, WI – the article was published in the Church’s Sept. 2009 newsletter:


It was 114 in Palm Desert California the day I arrived & well over 100 every day. Lord have mercy. But our delegate Mike Hubergot off the plane, breathed it in & said "I love it!"

Cheryl Haska also represented St. Nicholas. Our teens Nicole Haska, Abe Newhouse, Lydia Newhouse & Ana Treptow & coach Mary Beth Newhouse, our Midwest Bible winners, represented our Diocese at the national Bible Bowl - which didn't go as well as at the Midwest, but they are still one of the top teams in the Archdiocese. Be very proud of them! It was fun to have so many St. Nicholas people there.

Our Antiochian Archdiocese is doing well financially & spiritually: united, growing, enthusiastic, dynamic. Since 1988 this little Archdiocese has established over 125 new missions, most of which are now self-supporting churches. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP at age 78 is in fine form & delivered a brilliant keynote address. The worship services, more than 2 hours daily, were well attended and beautifully celebrated. (I am now accustomed to services with 3 metropolitans, 7 bishops, a congregation of 1,000 & a choir of 50!) The many departments of the Archdiocese are doing really good things. Our clergy are high quality.

Not long ago our Archdiocese achieved self-rule under the Patriarchate of Antioch, and our regions became dioceses. As we get accustomed to this, there has been some debate regarding the titles of our bishops and the division of responsibilities. Our Patriarch, Metropolitan & bishops have been working it out like gentlemen. But the internet gossip mongers have got hold of it, have taken it entirely out of context & to hear them you'd think our Archdiocese is on the rocks. Some even in the Archdiocese believe this garbage. It is total nonsense. There were a few minor controversies at Convention.

Orthodox do tend to get things out in the open & deal with them. But the Archdiocese is in good shape. (I warn you again to believe about 10% of what circulates on the internet & please do not pass on material you do not know to be true - whether rumors about people, politics or the Church. "Thou shalt not bear false witness.")

It was a joy to be with so many good people. His Grace Bishop ANTOUN sends his love, as does Fr. Peter Gillquist. Both are looking forward to being here for our 20th anniversary. Our Bishop MARK, bless his heart, has completely reworked his fall schedule so he can be here too. Fr. Matthew MacKay & Fr. Ignatius Valentine, 2 of our St. Nicholas "graduates", send their best. This Antiochian Archdiocese is a great place. I feel very blessed to be here.