Committee for Church and Society


The Committee for Church and Society will develop a process to determine both the propriety and the priority of advocacy by the Assembly of issues concerning Church, government and society that are relevant to the lives of the faithful in the Region (e.g., same-sex marriage, abortion, war, etc.).


Met. Savas (GOA) - Chairman
Bp. Anthony (AOCA) 
Bp. Maxim (Serbia)
Bp. Irinej (Serbia)

Committee Liaison

Fr. Nathanael Symeonides


Archdeacon Ryan Gzikowski-Facilitator
Fr. John Breck
Fr. Andrew Damick
Fr. Paul O'Callaghan
Fr. Peter Preble
Dn. John Chryssavgis
Dr. H. Tristam Engelhardt, Jr.
Fr. Alexander Webster

Terms of Reference

What is to be accomplished

  • Develop an initial list of issues (moral, social, cultural, ecological and political) that are of pressing importance for American society, about which it is incumbent for the Orthodox to present their soteriological view, for the sake both of educating the faithful and contributing to national policy debate
  • Organize the list of issues, prioritizing them according to order of importance for a creative encounter between the Church and society.
  • Draft a statement on each particular issue, for the review, emendation and acceptance by the Assembly, according to their relative priority
  • Develop a process whereby new issues can be added and addressed in turn by the Assembly
  • Facilitating the incarnation of the Mystery of Christ as the Fathers of the Church saw and explained it in the new forms and experiences of postmodern people, within the framework of their own culture.
  • Create a protocol whereby a published response can be prepared at short notice in the case of crises, for the approval of the Assembly or its designated agents

How it is to be accomplished

  • Solicit suggested issues from the members and the consultants of the committee
  • Make a list of issues and determine their priority
  • With the help of the consultants, who will be experts in their fields, draft a statement addressing each issue
  • Circulate the draft to the member bishops for their study and solicit their feedback
  • Present the draft to the Assembly at a plenary session for its approval
  • Publish approved statements
  • Make a list of consultants based on areas of expertise, who can help the Assembly address issues and draft statements at short notice and outside regular committee meetings

With whom it is to be accomplished

  • The consultants appointed by the chair, who are well-versed in their respective fields (ethics, law, public policy, etc.)
  • The consultants to the Office of Communications of the Secretariat, who can help determine to whom and how best a message is disseminated
  • The member Bishops of the Assembly

News and Events

Committee for Church and Society 2013 Report

Friday, December 20, 2013
The 2013 annual report of the Committee for Church and Society is now available online. read more »

Global Climate Change: A Moral and Spiritual Challenge

Friday, May 25, 2007
The following statement concentrates on conveying a theological understanding of the role of the human person and the environment, with particular emphasis on climate change. read more »

Crisis in Indonesia – March 19, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007
The Orthodox Christians in Indonesia have joined the list of those attacked by Muslim extremists. Father Methodios Sri Gunarjo, his family and other Orthodox were terrorized and threatened this past weekend. Although there are no reports of physical harm at this point, the verbal, psychological and other forms of abuse continue. At one point, a knife was put to the throat of Father Methodios, as his attackers demanded that he close the Churches in the Boyolali area of Central Java. It should be noted that there is a thriving ministry in this area. read more »

SCOBA Agency Prepares To launch a Second Internet Music Outreach

Thursday, March 01, 2007
OCN is preparing to launch an additional media option to reach out to the Orthodox faithful and religious seekers alike. In the next few weeks, OCN will add another 24 hour internet based media ministry to our growing media products. It will be called The Rudder! read more »

SCOBA Agency To Launch 24 Hour Internet Radio

Friday, January 12, 2007
Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is launching The Ark, a 24 hour a day internet radio outreach designed to be a listening alternative for you and your family. The Ark will be a fully functioning media resource for Orthodox Christians to provide positive, uplifting contemporary Orthodox Christian music and more. The Ark will also be a wonderful teaching resource to share with the growing internet media listeners the rich theology and beautiful worship of Orthodox Christianity. The Ark will launch its 24 hour ministry Sunday, January 21st, 2007 on This is also Share The Light Sunday all across the nation in all our Orthodox Christian parishes, a Sunday established by our Orthodox hierarchs to call the faithful to support the media ministry work of OCN. read more »

Come Receive the Light Adds New Cities and Gains Larger Potential Audience

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Come Receive the Light, the National Orthodox Christian Radio Program is pleased to announce they have reached a new milestone. The program is now ministering to listeners in over 150 cities throughout America. read more »

Medical Shipment To Albania Critical to Country's Declining Healthcare

Monday, November 13, 2006
With only one percent of the national budget spent on healthcare in Albania, and with 25% of the population living below the poverty level, IOCC’s recent shipment of medical supplies valued at over $435,000 is welcome aid indeed. read more »

Orthodox Bishops' Conference Statement Concerning Recent School Violence

Thursday, October 12, 2006
We express our sincere concern over the ever-increasing acts of violence that have been perpetrated in the schools of this nation. We call upon all civil and religious leaders to address this evil that has caused these tragic incidents. read more »

Orthodox Bishops' Conference urges the Media and the Entertainment Industry to Avoid the Misuse of Christian Symbols

Thursday, October 12, 2006
We urge all members of the entertainment industry to avoid the misuse of Christian symbols, especially of the Cross, through traditional media outlets such as, television, radio, film or print, but also through DVDs, the internet, computer games, iPods, and the like. read more »

Orthodox Hierarchs issue Communique Affirming need to Bear Witness Together on Spiritual and Moral Concerns

Friday, October 06, 2006
Christ has come for the life of the world; through the Cross joy has come into all the world. We have a responsibility to bear witness to this life in Christ and to this joy. read more »

Major Issues Dominate Proceedings of SCOBA

Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Several major issues were discussed at length yesterday during the meeting of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) being held in Chicago. These included: Issues in Coordinating and Establishing New and Mission Parishes, Sexual Misconduct in the Church, Keeping Young People Connected to the Church and the State of the Diaconate. read more »

Orthodox Christians to Mark 60th United Nations Anniversary

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations, the Joint Commission of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches (SCOOCH) will sponsor their fifth annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral (319 E. 74th St.) on Tuesday, October 11th, at 6:30pm. read more »

On an Apostolic Mission: The 2005 Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism

Tuesday, July 19, 2005
This year's Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism will feature one of the three recently consecrated bishops, and first convert bishop, of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese: His Grace Bishop Mark of Toledo and the Midwest. Joining His Grace will be Mother Christophora, abbess of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, and Fr. Peter Gillquist, director of the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism. The Conference will be at Antiochian Village, just outside Ligonier, Pennsylvania, from September 2-5, 2005 (Labor Day Weekend). read more »

A New Step for Orthodox Missions in the 21st Century

Monday, July 11, 2005
Presently there are 20 long-term OCMC Missionaries in the field and approximately 80 – 100 OCMC Mission Team volunteers ministering throughout the world each year. And this is only a part of the expanding Orthodox mission outreach. In addition to the missionaries being sent, the Mission Center (on behalf of all the Orthodox churches within SCOBA) supports 272 indigenous clergy in the mission field. Last year the Mission Center participated in the training of 157 future Church leaders, offering health care to over 9,500 people and training 450 people to do youth outreach. Think of the impact that these efforts represent in personal life changing experiences! read more »

Orthodox Pledge Greater Cooperation in Service to Poor

Friday, May 07, 2004
Participants in a conference co-sponsored by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) are calling for a more unified Orthodox response to the global challenges of war, poverty, injustice, HIV/AIDS, child abuse and environmental degradation. read more »

Hundreds Attend Third Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for UN Community

Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Hundreds of clergy and faithful from throughout the metropolitan New York City area joined hierarchs from the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA] and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches [SCOOCH] and dozens of representatives from the United Nations at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral here on Monday, October 6, 2003 for the third annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the UN Community. read more »

SCOBA Statement on Moral Crisis in Our Nation

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions such a union between persons of the same sex. read more »

SCOBA Hierarchs Issue Appeal for Prayer

Saturday, January 04, 2003
As heads of Orthodox Christian communities in North America we are compelled to call our pious clergy and faithful to pray for peace and for respect of the sanctity of all human persons. read more »