The size of one of the first churches to respond to a resolution in support of theological education, passed at the 16th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America in November 2011, may catch people by surprise, for it was neither a large cathedral, nor a long-established parish, that decided to give one percent of its annual income to support OCA seminaries. Rather, it was a small mission in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Saint Tikhon of Moscow Mission, under the leadership of its rector, Priest Daniel Talley, has been sending a monthly gift to Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in response to the following resolution, put forth by the Board of Trustees of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, and passed unanimously by the Council’s delegates:
“Whereas the Orthodox Church in America no longer supports the seminaries of the OCA through a special appeal or as a line item in the budget, and
“Whereas the three seminaries of the OCA are the primary institutions for the formation of future priests and centers for theological education for both clergy and lay leadership,
“Therefore be it resolved that this All-American Council encourages each OCA parish and mission to support the seminary of its choice through a sacrificial gift of a one percent minimum of its operating budget.”
Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Seminary Chancellor/CEO, commended the parish’s action, saying, “This is a small mission, with lots of dreams for its future, and lots of needs, yet it was one of the first to respond to the AAC’s resolution, with a gift of one percent of its operating budget.”
In July, Father Chad visited the mission, where he presented an all-day retreat titled “Orthodox Christian Basics,” and delivered the homily at the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy. He was warmly welcomed by Father Daniel, a recent alumnus of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary.