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UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
PRESS RELEASE

2008 UOL Convention Highlights
(By Dr. Natalie Bilynsky)

The 61st Annual Convention of the Ukrainian Orthodox League (UOL) of the USA was held at the Holiday Inn Arena in Binghamton, NY on July 30 - August 3, with the Senior and Junior UOL Chapters of St. John’s Church, Johnson City, serving as hosts.

After the Senior and Junior National Executive Boards held their pre-convention meetings, the convention program began on Wednesday, July 30 with Great Vespers by Fr. Zinoviy Zharskiy, convention Spiritual Advisor, in the Convention Chapel.  The iconostas and altar for the Chapel were beautifully constructed from wood by Phil Harendza, and the hope is that the iconostas will be donated to a mission parish.  After Vespers Senior UOL President Oleh Bilynsky (Philadelphia, PA) and Junior UOL President Patrick Scannell (Johnson City, NY) opened the business sessions with welcoming remarks, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine then offered inspirational words to set an appropriate tone for the 61st Convention.The Annual Convention Agenda included the establishment of a number of functioning committees which met to prepare suggested goals and objectives for the Senior and Junior Executive Boards to implement with the assistance of local chapters:  Vocations and Clergy Support, Nominating, Resolutions, Ways and Means, Christian Caregiving and Missions, Youth, Membership and Chapter Development, and Education.

After the individual committees met and discussed appropriate topics, each submitted a report to the convention body for final ratification.  Particular emphasis was placed on increasing the membership of the UOL, and along those lines all members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA are invited to join the UOL, and to form UOL chapters in those parishes which do not yet have a local UOL chapter.

During the convention the Business Sessions also included the approval of the 60th Annual Convention Minutes, review of the 2008 Annual Report and Audit Report, and review and approval of the 2007-2008 Financial Report, which also included the acceptance of the 2008-2009 budget.  During the sessions (on Thursday and Friday) preteen activities were made available and coordinated by Cathy Bucharew (Philadelphia, PA).  Wednesday evening concluded with the traditional Hospitality Night, with wine tasting hosted by the St. John’s Senior UOL chapter.

Thursday morning began with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy which was celebrated by His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine, who was assisted by His Eminence Archbishop Antony, His Grace Bishop Daniel and a number of clergy.  Afterwards the convention delegates and guests were treated to a delicious Breakfast Buffet followed by Thursday’s Business Sessions.

Thursday Business Sessions included inspirational remarks by His Eminence Archbishop Antony.  A presentation and update on “The UOL Fund to Furnish the Chapel at All Saints Camp” was made by Mrs. Irene Carman (Watertown, NY), who along with Pani Matka Mary Anne Nakonachny (Parma, OH) and Mrs. Diane Senedak (Youngstown, OH) chaired the committee to raise those funds.  Mrs. Carman reported that over $160,000.00 was raised by the UOL for the iconography and furnishings in the Chapel, and with the approval of the convention body any money remaining after the Chapel is fully furnished will be used for the upkeep and maintenance of the Chapel.

On Thursday a check for over $6,900.00 was presented to the St. Andrew’s Society for soup kitchens in Ukraine, the proceeds from the UOL’s “Souper Bowl Sunday” fund-raising project.  Following sessions on Thursday Night “A Taste of the Southern Tier” was held in the State Office Building (the tallest building in Binghamton), where Convention attendees were treated to Spiedies (the local delicacy), music and dancing and a trivia contest.  The night was topped off by a great view of the fireworks at the stadium for Binghamton’s minor league baseball team.

Friday’s business sessions included inspirational remarks by His Grace Bishop Daniel, and by keynote speaker Father David Smith, who spoke on the theme of the Convention, “The Light of Christ Illumines All.”  An enthusiastic presentation was made by Ginny Ulbricht and other members of the Senior and Junior UOL chapters from Youngstown, OH, for the 62nd UOL Convention which will be hosted by the Senior and Junior UOL chapters from Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Youngstown, OH and which will take place on July 22-26, 2009.

Friday night’s event was a “Rally with Friends, “ held in the hotel’s ballroom, and the band had everyone dancing until the very last song.  Afterwards the Youngstown, OH Senior and Junior UOL chapters (hosts of the 62nd UOL Convention) held a wonderful hospitality event.

Saturday’s activities included a workshop on “Ukrainian Torte Making” and a presentation on the Holodomor.  After Great Vespers the traditional Banquet and Ball was held, during which the old and new Senior and Junior Executive Boards were introduced, annual UOL awards were given out, and LSSK (Lynn Sawchuk-Sharon Kuzbyt) scholarships were presented to six worthy Junior UOL members.  The UOL also presented MJSF (Metropolitan John Scholarship Fund) grants totaling over $15,000.00 to St. Sophia’s Seminary on behalf of our five full-time seminarians.  Afterwards, the band once again had everyone dancing until the very last song, especially during the traditional and show-stopping “Kolomeyka.”

On Sunday the Senior and Junior UOL Presidents greeted the Hierarchs at St. John’s Church with thanks for their spiritual guidance during the Convention, and presented each with flowers.  Parish representatives also greeted the Hierarchs with the traditional bread and salt.

Following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, the St. John’s Senior and Junior UOL chapters sponsored a Farewell Luncheon at St. John’s Memorial Center.  The luncheon was especially memorable as St. John’s parishioners treated the Convention attendees to Ukrainian singing and dancing during the luncheon.  A very special “Thank You” is extended to all the Hierarchs, clergy, delegates and guests who attended this year’s Convention, and all are invited to attend next year’s Annual UOL Convention in Youngstown, OH, on July 22-26, 2009.


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Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
P.O. Box 495;
South Bound Brook, NJ 08880
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Metropolia Center
135 Davidson Avenue; Somerset, NJ 08873

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