Our Metropolia’s last meeting in 2014 was a success and we’re looking forward to an even better one in 2016. Thanks to Fr Enoch for taking the lead in organizing this year’s conference! As this is our third meeting, here come this year’s questions!
What is the basic schedule of events?
(Dates following are New Style). Our general meeting will begin on October 28, continuing until the 30th. That said, the actual meetings and services will occur between those dates till the final Liturgy on Sunday: October 27th and October 30th are departure and arrival “set times”, to make it easier for guests to get acclimated or who want to spend extra time with the Metropolitan and clergy arriving earlier. We will actually have the first clergy conference meeting Friday (time TBA), and the second on Saturday. There will be an Eastern Liturgy at the Abbey and ordinations on Saturday, October 29, and a Western Liturgy on Sunday, October 30. There will be Vespers services on the evenings before liturgies.
Where will the services be celebrated?
All the services will be celebrated at the Abbey of the Holy Name, which can ably accommodate all of our clergy and people. Because of this, transportation and pick-ups will be considerably easier than in 2012.
What are the arrangements for the hotel?
We have once again gotten a rate with the Best Western Plus Regency House hotel at $79.99 a night (plus 15% tax) for the dates of October 28-30. (I was advised this could go up next Synod meeting, however.) While the rooms are the same size, we have simplified the group rate so that clergy can make their own arrangements (whether a share, a single, bringing family, et cetera). The hotel allows up to three children per room at no additional cost, so a clergyman can bring his wife and up to 3 children (call the hotel to make arrangements for families, etc.)
Can I schedule or pay for a room at the Regency House on my own?
Yes. For that matter, we suggest it. While we can do it on your behalf, we learned from past experience that the majority of clergy prefer to set up their own accommodations with the hotel directly. Just let them know it’s for the “2016 Clergy Conference” to get the discount. The registration form will only be for costs related to the convention. Their number is (973) 696-0900.
What will be done about transportation and other costs?
Our plan, as in previous years, is to include at least one, and two if needed, full size 20-passenger vans for transport to and from individual locales. Last meeting many people brought their cars. (More on that below.) Because of the cost of rental, we have set a basic cost of $35.00 per person to cover for transportation and incidentals. This does not include gas, and so we will have to figure that one out ourselves, and while we hope that can be convered through “incidentals” (see below), any donations will be heartily appreciated.
What if I have my own accommodations somewhere else?
Unless you live in the New York Metropolitan area, this is not suggested. In the first place, the Church has already negotiated a group rate, and it will likely cost a bit more elsewhere. Furthermore, separate accommodations invariably mean more group driving. The number of cars involved last time, while occasionally helpful, also created long, slow caravans which, in the Butler, NJ area, are entirely reproducible, and group parking is always difficult. If you choose to drive, leave the car at the hotel– Butler’s one of the safest places in New Jersey– and enjoy the peace and air-conditioned comfort of our van.
How do I register at the hotel?
Simply tell them you’re part of a group rate under the name “2016 Clergy Conference”. If there are any issues, the hotel manager, Marie Antoniello, will be able to help.
What about accommodations for children?
Because children are free with adult registration, the cost is substantially lower. In the case of children, the hotel allows two children to a room with two adults (their parents) which could be best organized by letting us know in advance who is coming. In short, children are covered by their parents’ accommodations. In the case of lunch and dinner, the cost is once again much lower at $22.00 per day. It has a lot of children’s favorites as well. (Although this will not fall during a fast period, Friday is still a Fast day, so I am keeping this from the original FAQ in 2012: “This does not mean that we are free to eat everything on the buffet table because it’s there. Nor do I wish to have a discussion on the canons related to travelling and fasting. Nor do I want to discuss Western and Eastern uses on the Dormition Fast. Please discuss with your spiritual father.”)
I see that the hotel provides breakfast– but what about lunch and dinner? Is there a restaurant?
The hotel provides a breakfast buffet from 6:30-9:30 AM. The price for an adult for lunch and dinner is $30 each day if you choose lunch from a prix fixe list; if you choose something else from the menu, you’ll have to make up the difference. We will be using both the hotel menus and a couple of restaurants. Lunch Buffet as arranged as a group will be at the all-new Flaming Grill and Supreme Buffet, which has its own dedicated meeting section. This is a new all-you-can-eat Asian buffet with a fresh sushi table and wide selection of seafood and vegetarian dishes as well as a hibachi grill. The hotel also includes a restaurant. The restaurant is connected to a lovely contemporary bar. While the bar looks tempting, be aware that clergy and bars canonically do not mix, and that we are representing the Church to every person we meet during our visit. Dinners will be pizza on Friday night and catered Saturday for meetings.
Will incidentals be charged as in 2014?
Yes, as we will once again make use of a conference room on both Friday and Saturday.
So how much is all of this going to cost in the end?
This year will be identical to the 2014 setup in that you pay for the days you choose. Some clergy can stay a bit longer (hence we’re starting on Thursday). Some will come for the weekend. Plus tax, the hotel room is $91.98 per night, and lunch and dinner are $30.00 per day (breakfast included at the hotel). So the total per adult, per day, is $121.98 for the room plus $25 for the van regardless of how long you are staying.
How do we pay for the trip?
There are three ways that can be used.
1) Check– If you are paying by check to have us route everything accordingly, checks should be made to the Abbey of the Holy Name and include a printed copy of the registration form.
2) Credit/Debit Card/Paypal — we will be setting up a Paypal button on the Synod’s “Meeting 2014? Page that will allow you to pay by credit or debit card or using Paypal.
3) Cash on arrival — please fill out the registration form and circle the cash option, so that we are able to calculate the number of people coming in advance of the meeting. NOTE: I am personally encouraging AGAINST this option.