We call AC2019 the Unconventional Convention. Our goal is to be affordable, accessible, and all-inclusive as you Experience Grand Rapids: You’ll love it here! Let’s start at the beginning with our hospitality:


Sunday July 21st – A light luncheon will be served following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas Church in our newly renovated Cultural Center. All are welcome to attend the luncheon and kick off the 54th Biennial Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese Convention in our cool city of Grand Rapids.

Monday July 22nd – Clergy Family and Board of Trustees Members are invited to attend a dinner at Saint Nicholas church following Vespers. The dinner will be a Mediterranean buffet and will be held in the Saint Nicholas Cultural Center. Be our guests!

Breakfast Cart – A Grab-n-Go breakfast station will be setup in the Devos Place Secchia Lobby Tuesday through Saturday. Coffee and other beverages and light breakfast food will be available for purchase as you make your way from morning services to your first event.  Pay with a credit card or charge to your room, but don’t go hungry!


Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 2:30 p.m. -Meyer May Frank Lloyd Wright House. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience a Prairie house exactly as Frank Lloyd Wright intended – join us for a tour of the Meyer May house. The house was designed in 1908, by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright for local businessman Meyer May. It is a fine example of Wright’s Prairie School era and is one of the most completely restored of Wright’s Prairie residences. It was renovated by the Steelcase company in 1986, and is fully furnished with a mixture of original pieces, reproductions of original pieces, and similar style items from the period.  Some highlights include art glass windows, carpets woven according to Wright’s designs and colors, and a Niedecken mural. The tour will include a 30-minute introductory film followed by a docent-led walk through the house. Meet in the Amway Hotel lobby, either at 2:15 p.m. to connect with a walking group, or at 2:30 p.m. to ride to the house. The Meyer May House is located in Grand Rapid’s historic Heritage Hill District, a 1.4 mile walk from the Amway Hotel. Heritage Hill is one of the largest urban historic districts in the United States.Its 1,300 homes date from 1843, and represent nearly every style of American nineteenth and early twentieth-century architecture. These were the homes of lumber barons, teachers, judges, and legislators who shaped the city’s future. Heritage Hill was designated by the American Planning Association as one of 2012’s Great Places in America. Transportation back to the hotel will leave the house at 4:30 p.m.

Cost: no charge for admission to the house; cost of transportation (TBD)

 Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 2:30 p.m.  – Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. An historical collection of the life and times of Gerald Ford, and resting place of the 38th President of the United States(1974–1977), and his wife Betty Ford. Your visit to Grand Rapids provides a unique opportunity to visit the presidential museum of this favorite som and experience a slice of American history from a unique perspective. Our country has very few presidential museums and this is one is only a block away from your hotel! Meet in the Amway Hotel lobby at 2:30 p.m. for a short (0.4 mile) walk across the Grand River to the museum. There your self-guided tour starts witha reflecting pool and fountain at the main entrance. The main floor of the museum includes a full-scale replica of the Oval Office furnished as it was during Ford’s presidency. Other exhibits enable visitors to travel by video with President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger to various hot-spots around the globe; take a holographic tour of the Ford White House; and experience a day in the Oval Office through a sound and light show. A Watergate gallery includes a six-minute, multi-screen history beginning with the June 1972 break-in and a display of the actual burglary tools. An interactive Cabinet Room allows visitors to take part in presidential decision-making. Visitors can see gifts presented by heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, as well as personal gifts to Ford from the American people. The award-winning film, “A Time To Heal,” is shown hourly in the museum auditorium.  A section of the Berlin Wall stands in the museum’s lobby.

Cost: $8 per person

Thursday, July 25, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. A 158-acre botanical garden and outdoor sculpture park.  It has been named one of the top “30 Must-See Museums” in the world, one of the most comprehensive collections of outdoor sculpture in the world and a worldwide cultural destination. The distinctive signature of the park and gardens, which emphasizes the equally important entities of sculpture and horticulture, unites the visual art of humankind with the visual art of nature.  At Meijer Gardens you will find a tropical conservatory, three indoor theme gardens, an 8-acre Japanese Garden, nature trails and a boardwalk, one of the largest children’s gardens in the country, sculpture galleries  featuring more than 200 pieces by world-renowned artists. You won’t want to miss visiting Meijer Gardens when you come to Grand Rapids.Our tour will leave the Amway Hotel at 1:00 p.m. driving to the Gardens by motor coach. We will start with a tram tour of the outdoor sculpture gardens followed by a docent-led walking tour of the Japanese Gardens. We will depart from the Gardens at 4:00 p.m. returning by bus to the Amway Hotel.

Also Saturday, July 27, 2019, 1:00 p.m.

Cost: $15 per person plus the cost of the bus (TBD)

Friday, July 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – Grand Rapids Art Museum and ArtPrize Afterglow. Meet in the Amway Hotel lobby at 1:00 p.m. for a two block walk (0.2 mile) to the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). There we will be taken on a 60-minute docent-led tour focusing on Michigan artists, including exceptional furniture pieces made from area lumber and the wonders of the Great Lakes. Following the GRAM tour, we will move outside for a 60-minute walking tour of ArtPrize entries.  ArtPrize is an international art competition that has been held in Grand Rapids every fall for the past ten years. Artists from all over the world have entered their creations hoping to win hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes. This one hour tour will show us more than 25 past-competition entries that permanently reside in Grand Rapids and will reveal the stories behind them.

Cost: $22 per person

Friday, July 26, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – Lake Michigan Adventure. You cannot come to West Michigan without experiencing our greatest natural resource, the magnificent Lake Michigan. Unsalted. Shark-free. That’s what we call the Great Lake with the longest freshwater shoreline anywhere in the world. You’re in for a day of great fun in the sun on the sandy beaches of Pure Lake Michigan. We’ll have a beach towel ready for you. Surf’s up! Meet in the Amway Hotel Lobby at 11:00 a.m. and let the adventure begin.

Cost: $30 per person

40th Anniversary of Antiochian Village

2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the first campers at the Antiochian Village. Through those years, thousands of campers have passed under the arch. Come to AC2019 to REUNITE, REMINISCE, and RELIVE the days of old. In honor of this historic year, the convention will pay tribute to the Village and the impact it has had on the lives of so many Orthodox Christians. During the St. Ignatius Dinner Tuesday night, participants will “Remember When” in a sharing of memories; late Thursday, Villagers will Wine Down with former Camp Director, Fr. Michael Nasser; Friday at a restaurant, campers will Reorganize for wine and cheese, and then be entertained by a Salute to the Antiochian Village at the Spotlight Show, ‘From Broadway to Grand Rapids;’ finally, Saturday evening’s ‘Light the Night’ Gala will be dedicated to former and current campers in a special video testimony from Villagers across the Archdiocese and with a candlelight ceremony. You will not want to miss one event as we recall these last 40 years on the mountain.

50th Anniversary NAC TEEN SOYO

In 1969, Metropolitan Philip brought together the various regions of Teen SOYO to form a national organization, the North American Council of Teen SOYO, more commonly known as NAC SOYO. Wednesday during the convention is NAC SOYO Day. Teens will chant the Liturgy and Vespers, read the Epistle, and give a homily. The evening will feature a convention favorite, the North American Bible Bowl. After that, the Teen Dance to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NAC SOYO. With the purchase of a teen ticket package, the dance is complimentary. Otherwise, individual tickets are $30.


AC2019 is dedicated to generations of Orthodox Teenagers. Besides observing the 50th Anniversary of the formation of NAC TEEN SOYO by his Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP and 40th Anniversary of the ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE, teens from our seven dioceses will take part in a Leadership Training program led by Fr. Joseph Purpura, Head of the Archdiocese Dept. of Youth. At the SOYO Leadership Conference, they will engage in three days and nights of intense programming including a Teen Workshop Retreat.

Teens from parishes across North America will compete in their respective diocese for an opportunity to represent at the Archdiocese level when Wednesday evening brings you the hotly contested, awe inspiring BIBLE BOWL 2019. Teams have been preparing for an entire year, studying St. Paul’s Letters to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. Guaranteed to amaze. Grab dinner with your friends and come cheer your diocesan team on to victory.

On Thursday, the youth will work on a Humanitarian Project bagging meals for Kids’ Food Basket. Friday, they’re off to the beaches of Lake Michigan.

Saturday morning, is the traditional Oratorical Festival where once again, the best of the best from across the Archdiocese are showcased delivering their message “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” These teenagers will touch your heart with their faith. Following the Oratorical, the teens disperse on a Scavenger Hunt around downtown Grand Rapids. So much to do. So many new friends to do it all with.


During Vespers, Tuesday through Friday, Paul Karos will be our featured speaker. Mr. Karos had a successful 35 + year career on Wall Street. He ran hedge fund portfolios for 13 years, at his own firm Aplos Advisors, Whitebox Advisors, and Millennium Partners.  He was President of Piper Jaffray’s Investment Banking and Equities Division where he led the firm to become a national investment banking player. Earlier in his career, he was Managing Director of CS First Boston, where he was named the number one-ranked airline analyst in the world for five straight years.

As of June 2018, Mr. Karos founded Matrona Ministries, a lay Orthodox Christian ministry which performs coaching one-on-one, parish retreats, and Orthodox Christian life assessments. He’s been involved in a variety of ministries in the Orthodox Church: Retreat Leader for several men’s, youth, and family camp retreats across the country; a bible study leader for the Minnesota Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Team; pre-marital counselling with and on behalf of priests as a trained ‘Prepare and Enrich’ counselor. Mr. Karos earned his Master of Arts in Applied Orthodox Theology through the University of Balamand, Lebanon, and a BS of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota. He gives numerous motivational presentations to business and school groups as well.

Mr. Karos is married to Cindy and has three children. He has been legally blind since his teen years, and is now 98% blind.

Late Night Chat With Sayidna and Ask Abouna

Late in the evening, from Monday through Saturday, you have opportunities to get to know the Hierarchs of our Antiochian Archdiocese. You can Chat with Sayidna Tuesday through Friday night, and Ask Abouna whatever you want, Monday through Saturday, at 11:30pm. Our Bishops and Priests will take turns sitting with you in an informal setting so you can bring them questions you always wondered about. Wonder no more. You will find answers.


For the first time ever at an Antiochian Archdiocese Convention there will be a workshop for priests. Every member of our clergy is invited to attend this event Wednesday at 11am. Provided by Faithtree Resources, our priests will learn the steps for ‘Building an Effective Parish Ministry Team.’ The priests will become equipped to identify parishioners who can serve as co-laborers in collaborative ministry to help their churches thrive in community.

Several other workshops for conventioneers are planned for Wednesday.

–THE CASE FOR ORTHODOXY IN OUR CULTURE: With a PowerPoint Presentation, Fathers Edward Hughes, John Fenton, and Patrick Cardine will defend Christianity as an historic element of society, of Western Civilization, and argue against attempts to root out its meaning from our culture.

–SOCIAL MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY SAFETY PRACTICES FOR THE FAMILY: Presented by Deacon Christian Manasseh, adults and children will learn the effects of excessive use of social media on the young. You will be given ways to control screen time and social media interaction. You will also be taught the safe and healthy ways to use technology and how to communicate that to children of all ages. You may bring tablets or laptops with you.

–GETTING YOUR CHURCH ONLINE: Presented by Deacon Christian Manasseh, this step-by-step approach focuses on Technology, Process, People. It will help Clergy and Laity involved in church technology or communication to set up a website, choose systems for bookkeeping, donor/member management, eBulletin, etc. You may bring tablets or laptops with you.

–MARRIAGE: A SOCIAL IMPERATIVE WITHIN AN ORTHODOX CONTEXT: Kh. Dr. Maggie Hock will have an informal interactive presentation and discussion with handouts. 

–WHAT’S UP WITH HOMESCHOOLING? Fr. Noah Bushelli will address the changing landscape in education and the opportunities available to families seeking a way to educate their children within the life of the Church. Additionally, he will discuss how to support and encourage the homeschooling families in your local parish.

–CONFRONTING DIFFICULT TOPICS: Dn. Adam Lowell Roberts will present some questioning protocols to help when talking with someone, whether Orthodox or not, about a difficult topic. At a minimum, these topics will be covered: same-sex marriage, abortion, political ideology (left and right). At the beginning of the workshop, participants will be given the list of topics and be allowed to write down any additional topics they want discussed. After Dn. Adam presents a Biblical and practical approach to the first three difficult topics, the group will take on the additional topics.

–EXPERIENCING HEALING IN A TERMINAL ILLNESS: Lessons from the life of Fr. Roman Braga, Dr. Daniel Hinshaw will share an understanding of holistic care in the last days and hours of life.

–SMALL GROUP MINISTRY FOR PARISH REVITALIZATION AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH: Dn. Andrew Short will talk about the role small groups play in the life and vitality of a church. He will also address the impact community outreach has on parishioners and their faith.


A tradition of our convention is to begin each day with Bible Study. From morning until night, we will have Matins, Divine Liturgy, Vespers, and Compline as we worship together as one body. Throughout the week, Choirs and Chanters will rehearse for these Services.


Children age 4-12, join us for a week of fun in the Kids’ Club! We’ll spend our mornings doing games, lessons, and activities to learn how we as Orthodox Christians experience Christ in worship using our five senses…through iconography, chanting, baking Holy Bread, making prayer bracelets, and doing a service project. After lunch, we’ll head out on the town to visit the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, to explore the interactive toy exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, go for ice cream at Kilwins, and more!


Young Adults love to get together, try new things, go off to new places. AC2019 will give them plenty of opportunity to do just that.

Wednesday, July 24, 1:00PM-4:00PM: Downtown Market Hangout – come and enjoy each other’s company while indulging in some delicious food from various Grand Rapids hot spots.

Thursday, July 25,1:00PM-4:00PM: Afternoon @ New Holland Brewery– let’s get together for lunch, a beer and catch up with old friends while exploring one of downtown Grand Rapids largest breweries.

Friday, July 26, 11:00AM – 5:00PM:  Beach Day – join the rest of the convention to travel to Lake Michigan for the afternoon to relax, play, and swim. Beach towels will be waiting.

Saturday, July 27, 10:30AM-11:30AM: YAM Seminar – “Coffee Meets Bagel” – a discussion on relationships and being an Orthodox Christian in today’s society. Father Nicholas Belcher, Hierarchical Assistant at the Antiochian Archdiocese will be leading the discussion.

Saturday, July 27, 1:00PM-4:00PM: Fellowship @ Founders and Grand Rapids Brewing Co.a central place for YAMs to connect, eat, enjoy a beer at two of Grand Rapids most famous breweries and be together before heading back home the next day. Grand Rapids is known as ‘Beer City USA’ so you can’t leave Grand Rapids without a taste of our home-grown brew.


Tuesday, July 23, 7:00 p.m. Amway Ambassador Ballroom East – This dinner is open to all St. Ignatius members as well as inquirers. As the philanthropic arm of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, the Order of St. Ignatius will be celebrating the Spirit of Giving throughout North America. It will be ‘An Evening of Remembering When’ sharing memories of the Antiochian Village and SOYO.

Cost: $100 per person


Wednesday, July 24, 10:30 a.m. Pantlind Ballroom – 45 years ago, the North American Board of Women in the Antiochian Archdiocese was founded. To mark this milestone, past and current presidents of NAB Women will be recognized at a lunch in their honor. Every woman from every church in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese is invited to attend this brunch. For 45 years, women of the parishes in North America have been working together to build a thriving and welcoming community in their home churches and across the Archdiocese. We Salute Them.

Cost:  $50 per person