Doctor of Ministry Distance Learning Program Launches
January 29, 2013 • Faculty News • By Deborah Malacky Belonick
Priests, chaplains, and other professionals in ministry may now earn an accredited Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree online through a new program at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY. The hybrid program, which combines distance learning with one–week, on–campus intensives, is bridging a gap for students who cannot reside full time on campus. The program is accredited by The Association of Theological Schools, and will begin in fall 2013. Applications now are being accepted.
"Pastors today face immense challenges," emphasized The Rev. Dr. J. Sergius Halvorsen, assistant professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir's and the program's director. "The depth and intensity of suffering and spiritual darkness in the lives of the people we serve is startling. Facing such serious challenges, there has never been a greater need for excellence in pastoral ministry.
"My hope is that the D.Min. Program at St. Vladimir's would provide priests, chaplains, and other pastoral professionals with advanced knowledge and skills in order to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering," noted Fr. Sergius. "It is also my hope that the program would foster deep and lasting friendships among the students and contribute to authentic spiritual and pastoral renewal.
“All in all, the D.Min. Program will ‘build bridges’ in several ways: overcoming geographical distance for interested students; providing a pathway to a new level of pastoral training and academic research; and, best of all, connecting colleagues in ministry,” concluded Fr. Sergius.
St. Vladimir's is accepting applications for the first cohort of fifteen students, who will go through the program as a community of learners that support one another academically, spiritually, and personally. The cohort will serve as an essential support network for the students during the course of the program and will model a form of collegial ministry in which pastors lift up and inspire one another in the ongoing work of building up the Body of Christ.
The D.Min. Program will integrate doctoral level academic work with applied pastoral practice, and members of the St. Vladimir’s faculty, along with Orthodox scholars from other institutions, will teach the eight core courses: Advanced Preaching and Communications; Bioethics for Ministry; Counseling in the Parish; Ministry in a Secular Age; Ministry to the Sick and Dying; Missiology; Scripture: Exegesis for Preaching; and Youth Ministry. The final phase of the program will be a project that combines research at the doctoral level with the intentional application of pastoral theory in pastoral ministry.
Program applicants must have at least three years experience in ministry subsequent to their first theological degree; be currently serving in a position of ministry; and be capable of doing doctoral level academic work. Anyone interested in learning more about the program may contact Fr. Sergius at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (914) 961-8313, x367. Any one interested in applying to the program may contact Pdn. Joseph Matusiak, director of Admissions, email@example.com, or (914)961-8313 x328.