FOCA President addresses 88th Annual Convention

OCA – 2/8/14

As the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America convened during the last weekend of July 2014 in Gettysburg, PA for its 88th Annual National Convention, they were joined by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon; His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania; and His Grace, Bishop Mark of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.

A weekend filled with fellowship, communion, and spirited discussion culminated with the event’s much anticipated Blue and Gray Banquet and Ball on Sunday evening, July 27, at which FOCA President Becky Tesar addressed the organization as a whole.

“Four score and eight years ago, our fathers brought forth to this country a new organization, conceived in brotherhood and dedicated to the proposition that Orthodox Christians should gather together in fellowship and service,” President Tesar began, echoing the tone of President Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” “Now, we are engaged in a great decline of membership, testing whether this organization or any organization, so beset by the distractions of what has become ‘everyday life’ can long endure. We have met today, not on a great battlefield, but at this 88th Convention. We have come to rededicate ourselves as the bedrock of this organization, in remembrance of those who with foresight, strength of conviction and love for the Orthodox Church originally founded the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But in a larger sense, it is not enough that we pledge dedication to our organization,” she continued. “The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what we do, each and every day, to proclaim, share and reveal our Orthodox Christian Faith through service, fellowship and example. It is for us, the living, to be dedicated to the unfinished work of those who came before us. It is for us to be here, dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that we not bemoan our decline in membership, but rather reunite ourselves, refocus ourselves, and rejuvenate ourselves—that we here highly resolve that the work of those who came before us not be in vain, that this organization, this Fellowship, shall have a new birth through prayer, study, toil and temperance, and that all for one and one for all, it shall not perish from the earth.”

The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America is an official organization of the Orthodox Church in America with a mission to proclaim, share, and reveal our Orthodox Christian Faith through service, fellowship, and example. We are a strong network and look to promote unity among all Orthodox Christians. Visit the FOCA web site at

A convention photo gallery is available on the OCA web site and Facebook page.