Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - April 22, 1999
A response to Gus Pappas
and an invitation to the GOAL Corporation to "cut to the chase"
In the April 14, 1999 issue of the Hellenic Chronicle, there appeared a response by Gus Pappas, a GOAL Corporation director, to an article first appearing on the Greek Orthodox Stewards' website and reprinted in the same April 14, 1999 Hellenic Chronicle edition. The Stewards' article and Mr. Pappas' response dealt with a December 28, 1998 GOAL Corporation meeting in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. One portion of the Stewards' article that Mr. Pappas attacked in his response read, in pertinent, as follows: "During the course of the meeting, a hodge podge of church related issues were discussed. Toward the end of the meeting, one of the attendees asked the GOAL director what GOAL's vision for the Church was. The director stated that the vision was two part. He said that part one was the creation of an autocephalous church in the United States. He then said that part two of the vision, which would happen after authocephaly, was the creation of an 'American' Orthodox Church. He said that this was the vision of 'most' of GOAL's board of directors." The director being referred to in the quote is Mr. Pappas.
I read with amazement Mr. Pappas' recitation of events at the December 28, 1998 meeting in which he attempted to contradict the above quoted portion of the Stewards' article as well as other portions of it. The recounting of events in the Stewards' article was based on notes of the meeting that I made within 45 minutes of the meeting's conclusion. Can Mr. Pappas say the same? With that said, it would serve no purpose to get into an extended debate with him about who said what at the meeting. He has his view and I have mine. We should respectfully agree to disagree.
What is extraordinary about Mr. Pappas' response is what it does not say. Mr. Pappas does not deny that the two part vision for the Church which is described above is in fact a vision that is shared by "most" of the GOAL Corporation directors. He argues GOAL Corporation never passed a formal resolution on this point. I never said GOAL Corporation did. He is answering a charge I never made. Mr. Pappas is changing the subject in an apparent effort to divert attention from the real issue, which is whether in fact "most" of GOAL Corporation's directors embrace a two part vision for the Church. Either they do or they do not. Instead of "beating around the bush", Mr. Pappas and the other GOAL Corporation directors should cut to the chase on this issue. Therefore, the Stewards respectfully request that the GOAL Corporation directors pass a roll call resolution in which they unambiguously state, one way or another, whether they are against or support the concepts of (1) an autocephalous Church and (2) an American Orthodox Church. In this way, the faithful will come to know whether or not "most" of GOAL Corporation's directors embrace the vision for the Church described above. No reason exists why such a resolution should not be acted upon by the GOAL Corporation directors, especially given the important nature of the issue. Disclosure and honesty is the best policy. GOAL Corporation owes this courtesy to the faithful, the clergy, the Bishops, the Metropolitans, His Emenence Archbishop Spyridon, the Holy Synod in Constantinople and His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew.
Unfortunately, Mr. Pappas drags the debate down to a personal level. He injects his parents, wife, children, the rest of his family and the Greek American community into the debate, claiming I insulted them by twisting his comments into an "Anti-Hellenic position by the Board of Directors of GOAL." This is not true. I only recited my recollection of events based upon notes made shortly after the meeting. The fact of the matter is that at the December 28 meeting, it was Mr. Pappas' spouse who questioned why we would want to say Christos Anesti at Easter. Who is being anti-Hellenic? Again, as with the authocepalous/American Orthodox Church issue, for the sake of candor GOAL should cut to the chase on the Hellenism issue.
Mr. Pappas then attempts to impugn my motives for starting the Stewards. What is there to understand? I am fed up with the GOAL Corporation. Plenty of others are as well. He accuses me of being a relative newcomer to church affairs. That is true, but so what. Is he saying that only those who are part of the "old boy" network can be involved in church affairs? Who is Gus Pappas to imply this? What has he ever done for the Church? The first time I heard of Mr. Pappas was when he put a full page ad in the Hellenic Chronicle. That is not a license to run the Church. Mr. Pappas and the other GOAL people have to realize that the "old boy" network of the old regime is dead. Once they accept that fact, the Church will be a better place.
In his response, Mr. Pappas says that I have not read the Archdiocese Charter or the Uniform Parish Regulations. How does he know? The fact of the matter is that I keep copies of those documents in a brief case that I carry with me almost every day to and from work that contains only Church related materials. I have read both documents numerous times over the last year. How many times has he read them? Does he even have copies of them?
I will say that I am not surprised by the Pappas response. GOAL Corporation's modus operandi is to intimidate and personally attack and thereby silence the opposition. The Corporation talks about free speech, but it is the one that attempts to force silence through intimidation. One only has to look at the ferocious response to Father Alexson's article. The only conclusion that can be drawn from that multi-pronged attack of Father Alexson is that his article must really have struck a soft spot. Unfortunately, that attack no doubt also will make others less likely to challenge the GOAL Corporation for fear of being the subject of its pen and tongue.
In closing, let me say that the Stewards look forward to the GOAL Corporation resolution that we all know will be forthcoming. And just remember one thing Mr. Pappas - I bear no personal animosity toward you and the other GOAL Corporation directors. When this is all over, regardless of how it turns out, we should do lunch. I would enjoy getting to know a fellow Orthodox brother.
Very truly yours,
George C. Rockas
Editor of the Stewards' Website
[ Greek Orthodox Stewards of America
April 22, 1999 ]