SOUTH CANAAN, PA [OCA Communications]—Today’s unique challenges to the priestly ministry were the focus of 118 clergy who attended the Orthodox Church in America’s third pastoral conference at Saint Tikhon Monastery and Seminary here June 2-4, 2004.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, delivered the keynote address, during which he reflected on two essential aspects of pastoral ministry: calling the flock to Christ and giving rest to the flock.
“It is my hope that by looking at these two complementary aspects of pastoral ministry we will begin to understand that these words of Jesus have a dynamism that requires those who have been called to the pastoral ministry to come to an awareness that leads him to growth in the Christian life,” Metropolitan Herman said. “It is this awareness or inner awakening that enables the pastor to see that his unique vocation as an ordained minister of Christ’s Holy Church establishes him as both father and servant of a community that he has been called to lead into the Kingdom of God. It is this unique awareness that compels the pastor—even during the inevitable times of personal or pastoral challenge—to remain faithful to the ministry with which he has been entrusted.”
Other speakers during the three-day gathering included His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of South Canaan, who spoke on spiritual fatherhood; the Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, who explored ecumenical issues and pastoral life; the Very Rev. Andrew Morbey, who reflected on the role of the pastor as confessor; and the Rev. Stephen Freeman, who spoke on the missionary aspects of pastoral ministry. Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, offered closing reflections, together with the Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs, who chairs the OCA Department of Pastoral Ministry.
“The conference provided an excellent opportunity for our clergy to pray, study, reflect, and engage in fellowship,” said Father Kondratick. “With clergy facing new challenges every day—and challenges that had rarely been faced in years past—the conference offered participants a much-needed occasion to ‘recommit’ themselves to their vocations and the faithful they have been called to serve.”
Texts of conference talks may be found at Keynote address and Presentations.”