The Ministry of Administration
Ministry is a word that means "service." Administration is that service in the parish that makes other forms of ministry possible.
The administration of a parish is a complicated matter and takes place on different levels. It involves the clergy and the laity, employees of the parish and member volunteers. Below are explanations of our administrative structures and how you may become involved, or where to bring your concerns.
At the bottom of the page is a link to the Saint Demetrios Parish By-laws (.pdf format). These were last updated in 2010. They supplement the Archdiocesan Regulations that all Parishes are required to observe (these can be found at the Archdiocesan website at www.goarch.org).
The Pastor's Role
The Parish Priest is involved in every aspect of parish administration. Some administrative matters are his direct concern, especially in relation to the Metropolis of Chicago, registry issues for sacraments and ecclesiastical divorce. As the first minister of the parish, it is also his responsibility to ensure that the administration of the parish provides all that is necessary for the well-being of our community's many activities. In this, the Parish Priest is assisted by our Outreach Committee Coordinator along with our Outreach Ministry teams. They help him organize our ministries and facilitate the participation of our congregation.
Level One: The Parish Assembly
The Parish Assembly is the general policy-making and highest directing body of the parish. It is comprised of all members in good standing (meaning in good financial and canonical/spiritual standing with the parish and Church). The Parish Priest is a non-voting member of the Assembly.
Generally, the Parish Assembly is held twice each year, in May and in November. Special meetings of the Assembly may be called by the Parish Priest and/or Parish Council, or by petition of ten percent (10%) of the parishioner in good standing, to take up urgent matters or those that require a special meeting (such as purchasing property).
The Archdiocese Regulations (available at the Archdiocese website) and Parish By-laws (see link here or at bottom of page) have reserved certain privileges and rights for the Parish Assembly, but also certain restrictions.
At any Parish Assembly, the input and opinions of our parishioners are vital. The decisions of each assembly set the course for the future of our community. While the Parish Council (see below) or petitioning members set the agenda for new business, and the Parish Priest may offer an opinion or suggestions, the Chair of each assembly is chosen from among the attendees, and the decisions are up to the entire gathering. Furthermore, the decisions of the Parish Assembly are binding on the Parish Council. In some cases, the Parish Council requires the permission of the assembly (such as spending beyond the limit set by our parish by-laws), and in others it must comply with decisions made there. Overall, the Parish Council answers to and reports to the Parish Assembly except where it has specific powers/privileges set forth by Archdiocesan Regulations.
Generally, at its May meeting, the Parish Assembly will elect members of the Board of Elections (see below) as well as discuss reports on the other parish ministries, and take up any old or new business. At the November meeting, the primary business is the adoption of a financial budget for the forthcoming year. Likewise, elections for members of the Board of Auditors (see below) are held at this time.
Parishioners in good standing may request the minutes of the Parish Assemblies by contacting the Parish Office.
Board of Elections
Five parishioners in good standing serve on the Board of Elections (two are elected in even years, three on the odd years, for a term of two years). This Board oversees the election of the Parish Council in cooperation with the Parish Priest, counts the votes and announces the results as set forth in the Archdiocesan Regulations and Parish By-laws.
Board of Auditors
Three parishioners in good standing serve as the Board of Auditors (two elected in even years, one in the odd years, for a term of two years). This Board reviews the financial statements of the Parish as submitted by the Parish Council, as well as any outside accounting firms, bank records, and so forth, and is responsible to ensure the financial records are correct and accurate.
Level Two: The Parish Council
On a daily basis, the chief administrative body of the parish is the Parish Council, consisting of thirteen (13) parishioners elected by their peers, and the Parish Priest who is a non-voting member. Together with the Parish Priest, the Parish Council is responsible for the overall life of the Parish to the local hierarch (the Metropolitan of Chicago). With the Parish Priest, the council oversees our empoyees, manages our finances, develops and organizes parish events, is responsible for our physical facilities and grounds, and ensures that all our ministry activities can function. The current Parish Council is listed in the "About Us" page of our website.
There are fifteen members of our Parish Council in 2010. In 2011, there are thirteen, while in 2012 there will be eleven in accordance with changes to the Parish By-laws adopted in 2010.
Each Parish Council member (excepting the Parish Priest) is elected for a two (2) year term, with eight members elected in even years and seven in the odd years (this will be adjusted in 2011 to six in the even years and five in the odd).
Any parishioner in good standing over age 18 may serve on the Parish Council after nomination, attendance at the pre-election Parish Leadership Seminar with the Parish Priest, election, ratification by the Metropolis, and taking the Affirmation/Oath of Office. The Parish Council elects its officers following the swearing-in ceremony.
If you are interested in service to the Parish Council, it is a good idea to consult with the Parish Priest to learn of the specific responsibilities and requirements. Nominations are submitted in October on forms distributed to all Stewards.
Parishioners in good standing may request copies of the minutes of Parish Council and Parish Assembly meetings from the Parish Office.
Level Three: The Parish Office
The Parish Office is the day-to-day operations center of the parish. It is the administrative "hub." In 1999, the Parish Office was moved from its previous location in the main church facility to the former rectory (a small home)just south of the church.
It is currently staffed by one Office Manager who immediately reports to the Parish Priest. However, the duties of the Office Manager include working with the Parish Council for financial operations, receptionist duties, corresponding with parishioners, mailings and other communications. At times, there is a need for volunteers, so if you would like to help out on occasion, let us know!
The Parish Office is open to the public Monday through Friday (except holidays and certain Church Feasts), 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., although the hours of operation actually begin earlier and end later (the extra hour of the day is used to "catch up" and have undisturbed time).
Other Aspects of Parish Administration
The Parish is not an "island" nor independent of other parishes within our Greek Orthodox Church. Administratively, we are an extension of the Metropolis of Chicago, herself a subdivision of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The Clergy-Laity Congress and Metropolis Assembly
Clergy and members of the Parish Council attend the Metropolis Assembly each year (in practice, the Metropolis Assembly does not always meet annually). This event is technically an advisory body to our local hierarch, the Metropolitan of Chicago. Yet in practice, the assembly allows communication between parishes regarding standard operations and common interests, and participants have great input in the direction of ministries on a Metropolis level. In some matters, however, it is not "advisory" since it elects clergy and lay members of the Metropolis to the Metropolis Council and the Archdiocesan Council (see below).
The Clergy-Laity Congress of the Archdiocese occurs once every two years. It is the highest "legislative" body in our Archdiocesan administration under the auspices of the Eparchial Synod of Bishops. This body sets the "Uniform Parish Regulations" to which all parishes must adhere, sets financial policies of the Archdiocese and is concerned with the management of National ministries. The decisions of the Congress are ratified by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and then are binding on all parishes across our nation, regardless of their participation, so it is to our benefit to have input. Along with the Parish Priest, the parish is represented at the Congress by the President of the Parish Council and delegates selected by the Parish Assembly. Delegates are required to report back to our Parish Assembly. Our parish normally covers registration costs (but not travel or lodging) for attendance of our delegates, and the event is held at various locations throughout the country. If you are interested in serving as a delegate, let the Parish Priest or Parish Council President know.
The Metropolis Council
At the Metropolis Assembly, elections are held from among the clergy and lay delegates of our parishes for service on the Metropolis Council. There are also members of this body that are appointed by the Metropolitan. The council functions in many respects as does the Parish Council for the Metropolis, only its decisions are technically "advisory" (although in some matters the Metropolitan always abides by its decisions). It is concerned with the good order of all parishes, as well as ministry programs at the Metropolis level (Youth and Young Adult; Camping; Choir Federation; etc.).
The Metropolis of Chicago
Our parish is an extension of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago. Our local hierarch, the Metropolitan of Chicago, is the head of our local Church, and our Parish Priest is directly responsibile to him in administrative and ministerial matters. We relate to the national Church through the office of the Chancellor, and sacramental matters are registered with the Metropolis. In fact, all sacraments take place only with the permission of the Metropolis. All administrative decisions of the Parish Assembly are ratified by the Metropolis, as are Parish Council elections. Our financial reports are submitted to the Metropolis, which is also directly responsible (through a committee of the Metropolis Council and Chancellor) for determining our financial commitment to the Archdiocese in conjunction with policies set by the Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congresses and the Archdiocesan Council.
Saint Demetrios By-Laws (PDF)