The members of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh Philoptochos Assembly had a fruitful and beneficial 2 days of meetings.
The meeting opened with the Philoptochos prayer and brief introductions. Our Philoptochos women wear a lot of different hats within their parish and personal life.
Our guest speaker for the morning was Kate Alley from the LightHouse Center of Reading, a new facility for women and children experiencing homelessness. Our Reading Philoptochos chapter, as part of their National Philoptochos Chapter Challenge raised money to fund a room for a mother and her children within the shelter – the room will bear the name “The St. Xenia Philoptochos Room”. To support Kate in her mission to provide shelter for women and children in Reading, the Metropolis Philoptochos made a donation of $1,000 to the LightHouse Center.
After Kate’s presentation, committee reports were given for two of the main National Philoptochos initiatives: Feed the Hungry and Operation Classroom. Metropolis and National Commitments were discussed, as well as the process that chapters must follow in order for their elections to be ratified by the National office.
President Joyce Spanakis walked delegates through the National Philoptochos website and showed them the vast amount of information that can be found there. She shared the Metropolis Philoptochos Facebook page as well as the Metropolis of Pittsburgh website with the Philoptochos tab located under ministries. The women had just finished viewing the beautiful National Philoptochos video on the website called “Come Join Us”, when His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and His Eminence Metropolitan Savas appeared in the doorway eager to “join us”. The Philoptochos women were blessed to have both hierarchs in attendance and to hear the words of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros commending the work of the Philoptochos not only in our Metropolis, but world-wide.
The hierarchs visit was followed by a brief presentation from Rhea Ballas on Youth Safety.
Afterwards, President Spanakis shared a slide presentation on the various excuses women give for why they can’t join Philoptochos or common misconceptions they may have about Philoptochos. A wonderful and open discussion took place as the women tried to think of ways to counteract these excuses or misconceptions and to help people understand exactly what Philoptochos does.
After this, Metropolis Board Advisor and National Philoptochos treasurer, Barbara Pasalis shared a powerful presentation on the National Philoptochos Humanitarian Aid Worldwide. From January 2022 until now, the National Philoptochos with the assistance of its 438 chapters across the Archdiocese representing 25,000 women, as well as its nine Metropolis Philoptochoses donated $814, 178 in International Disbursements. These included money to IOCC for Ukraine, the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, the floods and fires in Greece as well as Hurricane Ian and the Maui fires.
After Barbara’s presentation, Metropolis Y2AM director, Alyssa Kyritsis, presented information on the YAL conference and their service project for Global Links. She also shared information on the cross-generational Weekend of Service held in conjunction with Philoptochos. Alyssa shared her experience of attending Holy Cross seminary and receiving her Master of Divinity degree and encouraged Philoptochos to share with any young woman or man who wants to work for the church but does not want to be ordained to consider attending Holy Cross. She explained that male seminarians are not the only ones who attend the seminary. The Philoptochos currently gives scholarships every year to seminarians attending HCHC. In the future, the Philoptochos will also include any young women from our Metropolis who are attending seminary. Alyssa was presented with a check for $500 toward the YAL Global Links service project.
The final portion of the meeting had to do with budget, fund balances and disbursements. This is where the Philoptochos takes the monies brought in through commitment payments and then disburses it right back out to the various entities. A check for $3,300 was presented to His Eminence Metropolitan Savas for his Good Samaritan Fund and a check for $3,300 will be mailed to the Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery. It was approved that the four Metropolis of Pittsburgh seminarians will each receive $3,000 for a total disbursement of $12,000.
In response to Archon Nick Tranto’s presentation about the Archon’s young adult pilgrimage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate pilot program, the Metropolis Philoptochos voted and approved to give $5,000 to the program earmarked for when a Metropolis of Pittsburgh young adult is in attendance. The check was presented to Archon Nick Loutsion.
As part of the budget for 2024, a decision was made regarding the division of Daffodil Luncheon proceeds. Since the balance in our Emergency Fund is low due to the increased number of natural disasters this past year, it was decided to designate 2/3 of the Daffodil Luncheon proceeds to the Emergency Fund and 1/3 to the Seminarian Our Future Fund. This division of funds will be revisited on a yearly basis and division of the proceeds will be determined by the fund balances available in the Emergency and Social Service Funds.
Delegates left the 2023 assembly honored to have had the opportunity to meet and interact with His Eminence Archbishop Elipidophoros of America, informed, energized and humbled to be a member of such an amazing organization and valuable ministry of the church.