Over 100 men and women from across North America gathered at Saint Vladimir Seminary here on Wednesday, July 28 for a parish ministries conference sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Christian Witness and Service. The opening session featured welcoming remarks from John Erickson, Dean of St. Vladimir Seminary and Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America who brought the greetings and best wishes of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman to the conference participants.
Keynote speakers for the four-day conference are the Very Revs. Sergei Glagolev and George Gray, who will introduce the conference theme, “Faith in Action,” from a number of theological, pastoral and practical perspectives.
“The conference provides a unique opportunity for clergy and laity involved in active ministries to share ideas and to share the means and methods to strengthen existing ministries and initiate new ones,” according to Donna Karabin, Department Chairperson. “In addition to the keynote speakers, a number of panel discussions and over 20 workshops on a variety of topics are being made available to conference participants.”
Four broad areas are being explored during the conference: parish ministry, community outreach ministry, family ministry, and senior ministry.
For many years Father Glagolev, Director Emeritus of the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards, has been involved in numerous aspects of the Church’s life, including parish ministry. He brings to the conference years of experience and observation, as well as a personal enthusiasm for equipping the laity to engage in various ministries. Father Gray, rector of St. Nicholas Church, Portland, OR, also has a wealth of experience in lay, parish and youth ministry.
Saint Vladimir Seminary will also be the site of a conference sponsored by the OCA Department of Evangelization, “A Challenge to the Parish: For the Perfecting of the Saints, for the Work of the Ministry, for the Edifying of the Body of Christ,” August 30-September 1, 2004.
“The theme was selected in response to a similar conference held last year, at which participants identified various areas of parish and mission life that need to be addressed,” according to the Rev. Eric Tosi, Department Chairperson. “These areas include revitalization of parish life, ministry within inner city and ethnic parishes, healing divisions in parish communities, addressing the needs of parishes in declining demographic regions, outreach programs in mission-oriented parishes, and building community among parishioners of different backgrounds.”
Speakers include the Very Revs. Joseph Hirsch, Joseph Lickwar, John Pierce, and Matthew Tate and the Revs. Vladimir Alexeev, and Thomas Soroka. Evangelization Department members will also be present to offer presentations and lead discussions.
The conference is open to all clergy and faithful committed to the work of missions and evangelization.
Cost for the full program, which includes meals and seminary housing, is $200 [$250 after July 30]. For those not requiring housing, the cost including meals is $100 [$150 after July 30]. Off-campus housing with a special rate of $110 per night has been arranged at the Royal Regency Hotel, Yonkers, NY and the Holiday Inn Yonkers, both within minutes of the seminary campus.
Registrations forms, schedules, and other pertinent information may be downloaded from the OCA web site at 2004 Missions Conference. Completed registration forms should be mailed for faxed to the OCA Department of Evangelization, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791-0675; fax 516-922-0954.