We CAN Do All Things!

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” And he sure has given our community the strength to persevere the last four plus years as we organized, planned, strategized and made decisions for the Archdiocese Convention–AC 2019. Now all that is left is to execute. And we are ready!

Many thanks to everyone who supported us at the “Rally the Parish” event on Sunday.  We trust everyone is excited and pumped up to welcome our Orthodox friends from around the USA and Canada.

And now it is time to recognize many of the men and women that put so much of their “time, talents and treasures” into AC 2019.

First the Executive Team:

Fr. Michael, Mike Simon, Judy Karolle, and Jenny Khorey – thank you for all your support, the phone calls, the emails, the late-night conversations, and especially the caring, for church and faith.  You all assumed major roles in the planning of this convention, and it could not have been done without your efforts. Ex officio on this team is Andrea Mickel Abu-Akel, Chairlady of the 2017 Convention in Miami, Michael Srour, the Antiochian Events Coordinator, who many of us spoke to daily, and the Department of Convention and Conference Planning Chairs, Carol Jazzar and Raed Sweiss. Many thanks to Keith McAdams for keeping us organized and on task. 

Second the Leadership Team

These are the men and women that did the “heavy lifting” in the process of planning the convention. They had numerous parishioners that assisted them along the road.

Our outstanding, creative and late-night marketing team of Suzi and Rick Merpi.  The compliments keep piling up. The success of AC 2019 is due to your efforts in encouraging people to come to Grand Rapids. We appreciate the efforts of Gresham Olson, Scott Zahn, Spencer Merpi, John Barfuss.

Kaye Powell created a beautiful souvenir journal, with many memorable pages. You will receive one at registration. In addition to the journal, our fund-raising efforts were very strong, enabling us to put on an “unconventional convention”. Leading the efforts in obtaining sponsorships were Jerry Abraham, Roger David, Dan and Kathy Abraham.  Dan Abraham coordinated our efforts with the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, on which he serves. Through the efforts of Fr. Michael leading our education team, we are presenting 21 workshops/discussion groups. Assisting Fr. Michael are Deacon David Khorey, Dr. Charles Makhoul, Elizabeth Ayoub and Carolyn Rock. Our youth program, Kids’ Club, is led by Amy Amash, Deacon Justin and Melissa Adolphson. The theme, Knowing Christ Through Our Senses, will help the children expand their understanding of Christ. There will also be afternoons of fun activities around GR. The Teen program is led by Christiana Hultink, Joanna Abud and Ibhsam Matta. They will honor the 50th anniversary of NAC Teen SOYO with the Bible Bowl, an anniversary video and Teen Dance. A Humanitarian project, teen discussion and scavenger hunt are on the schedule. The Young Adult Ministry, or YAMS as they like to be called, have scheduled visits to Downtown Market, a brewery and planned a workshop on relationships. The YAM committee consists of Tori Rinvelt, Sonia Nicola, Brittany Abraham, Allison Assaly and Scott Storey. 

The Non-Ticketed Event Team is chaired by Mark Ansara and Lynn Simon. Their team is responsible for the Sunday Brunch at St. Nicholas (Marwan Karadsheh), The Clergy Family and Board of Trustees Dinner at St. Nicholas (David Steinmetz), FastBreak Breakfast Station (Linda Zimmerman and Vicki Nasser), Excursions and Tours (Marian Lambert and Monica Manica), Exhibits and Vendors (Jenny Khorey). Guests will have opportunity to visit the Meyer May House, Meijer Botanical Garden, the GRAM and Ford Presidential Museum. There will be 18 vendors selling books, icons, and liturgical items and ten ministry teams telling us about their missionary and charitable programs. 

Florin Stanescu-Bellu , Ryan Kaufman, and Brian La Franboise lead the Logistics team which supports many of our events and programs. Transportation (Steve Medich and Grant Medich), Holy Bread (Christine Elias), Choir (JoAnn Abraham and Donna Hattem), Registration (Janet Ansara and Yuri Kazarov) First Aid (Heidi La Franboise), Daily Convention Bulletin (Keith Mc Adams), Security (Greg Storey, Scott Storey and Mike Sirotko). Registration is a huge task and Janet’s volunteers spend almost the entire convention at the “desk”. The security team will monitor conventioneers as they enter events to ensure the guest has the appropriate credentials. 

In addition to being Convention Co-Chair, Kathy Abraham, leads the Ticketed Event Team. This group establishes all meal and social events. This group consists of The Order of St. Ignatius Dinner (Roger and Kima David), Antiochian Women Lunch (Julie Karrip), Anniversary Teen Dance (Teen Group), Riverwalk Family Street Fair (Beth Rinvelt, Tori Rinvelt, Jake Rinvelt, Zach and Samantha Rinvelt), From Broadway to Grand Rapids Musical Program (JoAnn Abraham, Donna Hattem, Regina Roum – Director from California), Hafli (Sophia Soukar, Sarab Hajjar), and Light the Night Gala Dinner Dance (Carol Assaly, Diane Coleman, Mimi Amash). If you have not thought about going to one of the social events, I encourage you to do so.  Much thought and time and creative energies have flowed into the planning of these events. Whichever one or two or all you select, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.  


Third the Volunteers

Each group listed above has volunteers working to support the convention. We sincerely appreciate each of your efforts in helping St. Nicholas deliver a convention week In Grand Rapids like no other. You work in multiple roles and help in numerous areas.  Thank you. You are the reason our guests “will love it here.”

There are over sixty names listed here, and if we missed anyone, we apologize. The parish has come together, worked hard, and now is the time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. After the convention, we will announce a few wrap-up meetings, as well as an evening to celebrate our success.  Thank you all. Have fun at Convention 2019. You deserve it!

Kathy Abraham           Alan Abraham

Co-Chair                       Co-chair