St. Nicholas hosted a spectacular 2019 Archdiocese Convention!

It was a time for growing in our Faith, engaging fellowship, and having lots of fun!

Enjoy reading a few of the wonderful letters and emails that we received. Please know that the letters have not necessarily been reproduced in their entirety.

We’ll continue adding more letters as they are received!


August 20, 2019

Dear Fr. Michael, Kathy, Alan, Esteemed Members of the Parish Council and Convention Committee:

Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray you all had a blessed Dormition feast and are enjoying the remainder of the summer with your families.

It is with overwhelming thanks that I write you to commend you all on a great convention. It was successful on so many levels. Spiritually we grew, financially we succeeded, and in terms of bonding together, events like the talent show and the banquet brought us all closer as we honored the past and dreamed for the future. I must admit that I was a little skeptical when we decided to go to a smaller city four years ago, but now I am a great believer! I do not recall a convention that went so smoothly while, at the same time, thought outside the box to try new things. Everything was done with love and joy and there was no tension and for this reason it turned out so well.

We are grateful for your efforts under the leadership of Fr. Michael, Kathy, Alan and all who helped make the convention what it was. Over the decades St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids has offered the archdiocese talented clergy and lay leaders, many of which continue to serve today. This is a sign of a healthy and growing parish. Now that you return to “normal” parish life, I challenge you to keep working and not to let up for there is so much more to be done.

Wishing   you   all   a   blessed   beginning   of   the   new   ecclesiastical   year   on   September   1,   I remain,

Your Father in Christ,

Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America

cc: His Grace Bishop ANTHONY


I have preached more than a few homilies on the Ten Lepers over the years. Having done that, how could I not come back to say THANK YOU for the wonderful seminar last week. In the Gospel story, only one man turned back to give thanks to our Lord. “And he was a Samaritan!” I am sure that’s not the case here, and am confident that mine is only one of dozens of similar communications you have received from grateful clergy.

I’m going to tell you that – for no reasons other than my usual jet lagged, National Convention sluggishness – I walked into the meeting expecting to be somewhat . . . underwhelmed. A couple of clergy doing their best to rally the troops. A pen and blank legal pad waiting for me on the table next to the requisite glass of water and hard candy. And a few beleaguered tips and tidbits to help break up an otherwise long morning’s meeting. Maybe even a “You need to buy one of these memberships today!” Amway presentations. (We were, after all, meeting in the Amway Plaza!).

Instead, I was met with an extremely well put together seminar. Top notch from beginning to end! Highly professional and dedicated presenters with timely and thought provoking talks. A targeted workbook put together JUST FOR US – FOR THE ONE EVENT! Wow! A delicious, catered lunch. A free book from one of my favorite time / life / business management experts, Deacon Mike Hyatt. And the only payment we were asked to respond with was – “Please let us know how we can help you in your ministries. We are here for you.”

I was blown away!

So before telling you that I fully intend to take you up on your kind offer for further guidance (which I most definitely intend to do), I primarily want to say “THANK YOU” Thank you for organizing this event. Thanks to the speakers for taking the time to prepare such thoughtful presentations. Thanks to the party – or parties who so generously funded this event from beginning to end. Thank you to everyone. This was one of the most professional seminars of its kind that I have ever attended!

In His grateful appreciation, Father Thomas Zell, Saint James Orthodox Church, Modesto, CA


I wanted to congratulate you all on a wonderful convention. I have been attending conventions since my youth and, with the exception of the single moment of Bishop Antoun’s emotional farewell speech in Miami two years ago, I do not ever remember events that moved so many people to tears of joy and touched so many people’s hearts as the Broadway show and the gala on Saturday night commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Antiochian Village. Every aspect of the week was done with precision and went off smoothly and with class. The hard work and dedication in preparation for this amazing convention was evident as the week unfolded. I was proud to let everyone know I am from St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids!

Thanks to all of you for your hard work and, especially to Fr. Michael, Kathy and Alan for their tireless efforts in leading and chairing this convention. I look forward to seeing you all in Brooklyn in October.

In Christ, Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General and Dean


I wish to thank you, from my heart, for what you presented out of the goodness of your hard work and hearts hosting the 54th Biennial Antiochian Orthodox Convention. Unfortunately, due to family issues, I was only able to stay until Wednesday. Your hard work and meticulous presentation provided one of the best conventions in the history of this Archdiocese with the seminars, hospitality dinner, the diversity of the vendors and above all, the prayers led by our capable clergy and presided over by our Metropolitan JOSEPH, the Hierarchs, and the Byzantine chanting led by Deacon John El-Massih.

I pray the convention has inspired the clergy and laity to use this inspiration in service to their own communities for the glory of God and Orthodoxy. There is an Arabic proverb that says, ”Blessed are those who give without mentioning it and those who receive without forgetting” and I, along with the clergy and parishioners at the Basilica of St. Mary, will not forget your sense of generosity and Christian hospitality.

One more congratulations for the exceptional and fruitful ad book.

May the Lord shine His face upon the entire community of St. Nicholas, to those who gave 100% of their labor and those who came and received the blessing from that labor.

Sincerely Yours, Fr. George Shalhoub


From the 21st to the 28th of July, 2019, clergy and faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese from all over North America convened in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the 54th Biennial Archdiocesan Convention which was graciously organized and hosted by St. Nicholas Church, Grand Rapids, MI. Fr. Michael Nasser, host pastor and his team put together a thoughtful schedule and a creative program that helped our Archdiocese not only conduct its business but also worship, learn, share and have fun.

11 delegates from St. Elias Cathedral, Ottawa participated in the convention. We believe that any Diocesan or Archdiocesan General gatherings don’t only relate to officials and delegates but to all the parishioners of our Church and thus I wanted to share with you some highlights from the convention.

Right off the bat, our brothers and sisters in Grand Rapids showed their hospitality by hosting a complimentary dinner on Monday evening in their beautiful parish hall in which they offered delicious Middle Eastern food served by the parishioners. To continue reading click [Fr. Nektarios Najjar, Assistant Pastor, St. Elias Cathedral].


Our family has been talking about our recent experience at the Convention in Grand Rapids and so has everyone else we know who attended!  We cannot Thank you enough for your gracious hospitality which we felt each day at each event. We know how many years it takes to think about and organize a convention of this magnitude and we are grateful to each of you for all of your energy and efforts.  It was evident that the Love of Christ permeated your parish as you cam together to serve the Archdiocese and your fellow Orthodox.  This will be a convention for the ages!

May God continue to bless your parish and each one of you who worked so tirelessly. Please extend our Thanks to all those who helped at this incredible Convention.

With Love In Christ,

Fred and Tanya Milkie, Dominick,Alek, and Elisa


Just a short note to tell you how much we appreciated your convention.  It takes a whole parish to run a convention, and yours was fabulous.  What attention to detail.  I can’t tell you how many times in the week that someone from your Parish asked if they could help us with anything,  What hospitality.

God Bless your Parish.  “Well done good and faithful servants”

Ray and Georgianne Rishwain


Confetti from the parties is swept up.  Trash has been carried out.  His Eminence has gone home.  but the glow in our hearts created by the Lord’s work in your lives as you gave us a great Convention continues!  May He continue His blessings upon you as you move to the next great adventure in your kingdom journey.

Dn. Demetrius and Dns. Tabitha Hallock


On behalf of our parish community of St. George Terre Haute, I wanted to offer my thanks for your great efforts as you recently hosted our Archdiocesan family gathering, the National Convention.  We greatly enjoyed the workshops, prayer services, and various activities/events – and appreciate your hard work and dedication in preparation and during the time spent together.  It was such a blessing to be with your parish community, as well as the clergy and laity from across our beloved Archdiocese.

May God reward you for such efforts and service to His Holy Church!

In our Lord,

Rev. Fr. Paul Fuller, Pastor of St. George Orthodox Church



I wanted to thank you, Vicky, your whole family and of course Kathy and Alan and your entire AC 2019 team and all the faithful of St. Nicholas for a truly amazing and wonderful convention.

Your care, planning, attention to detail and most of all LOVE and HOSPITALITY were evident from the moment we got to Vespers and that beautiful dinner, and didn’t stop!

God bless you all and thank you all so much for everything that was planned and carried out for all of us.

The bar is way high for all who follow. It’s very St. Pauline, correct? “outdo one another in showing love and honor to each other” (I think that’s it- makin’ my husband proud always…)

Thank you for showering all that love on us good people of St. Nicholas!  WE DID LOVE IT THERE!

Laila & Fr. Michael Ellias



Dear Fr. Michael and St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Parishioners,

Thank you for hosting the recent Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Convention.  Every aspect of the week’s events were well conceived, thoroughly planned, and presented with joy by the people of your parish.  It was clear that your community rallied around the opportunity to host fellow Orthodox Christians from throughout the Archdiocese.  You committed yourselves to make the experience memorable fro a spiritual and a fellowship perspective.   This kind of thorough , careful, and informed planning reflects the genuine desire of your parish leaders to find ways to utilize the talents of all St. Nicholas parishioners in ways that would fit the needs of convention programs and convention attendees.   Every person from St. Nicholas I encountered during the convention was friendly, helpful, and dedicated to the enjoyment of all those who traveled to Grand Rapids.  Your parish has a long history of excellence and commitment to our Orthodox faith and to building parish life based on scripitural teachings.  May God continue to guide and bless your wonderful parish.  My wife, Nancy, joins me in wishing Fr. Michael, his family, and all of the families of St. Nicholas God’s blessings.


Ron Nicola




On behalf of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West Teen SOYO Board we would like to extend our thanks for  an incredible Convention!  Your organization and planning was especially enjoyed by all of the youth! From Leadership training to the Beach Day and everything in between, your forethought allowed the youth to grow in our Faith and ans an Archdiocese.  we thank you for providing us the opportunity to pray and enjoy the fellowship of one another.  God Bless you for your labor of love!

Yours in Christ,

Dominick Milkie and the 2019-2020 Diocese of Los Angeles and the West Teen SOYO