A scan of the Metropolitan's January 19, 2012 letter may be viewed here.
Additionally, the Metropolitan's follow-up letter, dated January 20, 2012 may be viewed here.
This letter is an appropriate response to both.
You are recently in receipt of two letters regarding the upcoming Special General Assembly to be held Sunday, January 29, 2012 in the Memorial Hall at Holy Trinity Cathedral. The first letter was sent announcing the meeting and its sole purpose: To nominate candidates to run for the Parish Council of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Salt Lake.
The second letter, dated January 19, 2012 from Metropolitan Isaiah, cites four different UPR Articles to make a case against the January 29 assembly. The letter is either wrong or deceptive on all four counts.
- Article 31, Section 2 does indeed say an “agenda shall be prepared by the Priest and Parish Council.” However, we do not have a legal Parish Council to prepare them.
- Article 31, Section 6 says that we are to convene in Regular Parish Assemblies at least twice a year. We have not had such an assembly since 2010, thus our clergy and leaders are already out of compliance of the very UPR's they are citing.
- Article 31, Section 7 specifies that the Priest and Parish council can call a “Special General Assembly” when they deem it necessary. One would think that a financially suffering parish with no accountability for two years is reason enough to “deem it necessary” to conduct a Special General Assembly. The meeting on the 29th is a “Special General Assembly” – legally called for by our membership in the exact manner called for in the UPR's.
- Article 31, Sections 2 and 7 describe how 10% of the members of the Parish can submit a petition requesting a “Special Assembly” to the Priests and Parish Council. The request was made with over 20% of our members signing the petition. But nothing happened. Why? For the same reason cited in number one, above.
From the first meeting of the Unity Group in 2010 to current—including the petition to the Eparchial Synod—the Unity Group has religiously followed Church protocol and procedure. The meeting this Sunday represents just one more time we will gather to assert and to affirm our very basic intent: To hold a fair and honest Assembly and to elect, not appoint, to the Parish Council 15 persons who will help us return to the core values of Orthodox Christianity that has vacated our community under the current leadership.
At the same time we are meeting to consider candidates who want to serve on the Parish Council, Metropolitan Isaiah has also directed our priests to assemble a slate of names, for his approval, to comprise an interim Parish Council. This newly appointed Parish Council, essentially of short term, will be used to call for an assembly to nominate persons to run for the Parish Council, when the community is ready for elections. We feel that there is no reason to wait. Our community is ready for immediate elections.
With so much tension and distrust, persons from both churches have told the priests they will not participate. And why are they asking people specifically that regularly attend one Church or the other? We are still one community. It should not matter which Church one goes to if they are serving to represent our entire community. If they cannot find willing participants, they are back to square one. Therefore, it’s of double importance to attend on Sunday to assure that our members are not denied their rights and their voice. One way or another we will have a new and productive Parish Council.
Finally, a word to the persons who are yet to align with the Unity Group and have said they will not come to the Assembly: You should attend because you could be next to take a fall.
Among the reasons the Unity Group remains strong is that we cannot abide by the non-Christian slander that has fallen on some of our communities finest families, and which continues, apparently with the aide or blessing of certain past and present community leaders or clergy. Witness what happened when the UPR salesman from Houston used his Power Point message to attack Nick Bapis and others—that information was fed to him. If it can happen to families like Bapis or Skedros or Sargetakis or Kastanis, to name only a few, it is not wise to think it will not happen to your family too.
As many of us have already found out, it’s only a matter of time.
The sooner we elect a new Parish Council, the sooner our community can start healing; and the sooner we can know our financial situation, the sooner we can reach out to our community for funds to make sure we can pay all of our obligations.
We encourage all of you to attend the Special General Assembly on January 29, 2012
Holy Trinity Cathedral Memorial Building
279 West 300 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
2:00 o’clock p.m.