Missiology & Evangelism Workshop Provides a Road Map to Spread Gospel
7–8 June 2011 • On-campus Event
The first of our summer 2011 programs—"Missiology & Evangelism—was designed in response to many requests to offer a "road map" for more effective outreach to peoples of Hispanic cultures and Americans of African descent. Workshop leaders Fr. Antonio Perdomo, rector of St. George Church, Pharr, Texas and Fr. Moses Berry, rector of Theotokos “Unexpected Joy” Church and director of the Ozarks Afro-American Museum in Ash Grove, Missouri, provided participants with such a road map, in sessions that gave the participants a historical foundation, important sociological information, practical evangelistic methods, and unique theological insights.
The Rt. Rev. Michael, bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, participated fully in the workshop, which clearly signaled the high priority that His Grace is giving to missiology and evangelism in his diocese. Our seminary Chancellor, Archpriest Chad Hatfield, observed: “It was personally inspiring to see a diocesan bishop taking the time to use what he saw as an asset to help reach goals that he is setting for expanding his diocese.”
Bernard Johnson, a newly chrismated member of St. Luke’s Church, Abilene, Texas found the experience to be not only educational but spiritually uplifting and visionary. "What an opportunity," he said, "for the Church to reach a community that has yet to be touched! As an African-American, I feel it is important to demonstrate active unity. Without it, how do we teach others that Orthodoxy is indeed the fulness of God's faith?"
Mr. Johnson not only encouraged "harmony" and an "undivided body" between Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, but also the founding of an Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) chapter "on the campus of a Historically Black University (HBU)." "I pray," he said, "that jurisdictions come together and support such a chapter; therefore, making sure it does not fall by the wayside."
Fr. Chad concluded, "Few priests in American Orthodoxy have the expertise to address the missiological and pastoral concerns related to reaching these two growing American population groups. A proposed next step is the development of fieldwork experienced for our seminarians who have an interest in future ministries serving these two ethnic groups, which remain largely unexposed to Orthodoxy."
View a photo gallery of the workshop.