January 18, 2013

At Saint Vladimir’s Seminary

This will be a short entry today. The Board meeting at Saint Vladimir’s ended after 9:30 last night, starts up again at 8:30 this morning and won’t end until after Dr Peter Brown’s Alexander Schmemann lecture tonight. But I do need to take a few minutes to say something about the work of all our seminaries.

SVS students
SVS students at breakfast

I have the privilege, as Chancellor, of being on the boards of all three OCA Seminaries: Saint Herman’s, Saint Tikhon’s and Saint Vladimir’s. They each have their unique specific history and vocation. They are each contribute to the building up of the church by sending trained “laborers” into the vineyard of Christ. They each attract students from diverse backgrounds who are willing to make sacrifices to come to seminary in order to prepare themselves for a life of service in the name of Christ (Last night at supper I sat with four first year students: two Antiochians—one from Mexico City—and two Copts. They admitted that the academic program is very demanding, but the sense of brotherhood in the student body, the Christian faith and commitment they encounter in the school is a life-changing inspiration.)

But one of the things these schools all share is the perpetual necessity of cutting costs and raising funds every year to meet budgets—while being upbeat about the future and the work they are all doing. This is hard in today’s tough economic environment. They need more support from our parishes.

The All-American Council in 2011 passed a resolution urging parishes to devote 1% of their income every year to support of seminaries. I urge you to do what you can to make this happen in your parish. Talk to your parish council. Raise the issue at parish and diocesan meetings. “Bear one another’s burdens,” join your brothers and sisters at the seminaries (students and their families, staff, teachers) and take action together in your parish to make this commitment of 1%.