Seminary hosts OCA’s Thriving in Ministry program

19 November 2019 • Yonkers, NY

The board of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA)'s Thriving in Ministry program (TIM) held an all-day meeting at St. Vladimir's Seminary on Tuesday, November 19. 

Through TIM, the OCA seeks to establish pan-Orthodox learning groups for priests and their wives throughout the United States and Canada.

Tuesday’s work included reviewing current and emerging groups, planning for the 2020 workshop for group facilitators in Jacksonville, FL, and creating a set of guidelines for hybrid groups that need to meet both in person and online.  

TIM’s board members include St. Vladimir’s Alumni Priests Nikodhim Preston (M.Div., '07) and TIM program administrator Theophan Whitfield (M.Div., ’10; D.Min. Cohort of 2017); faculty member and Alumnus Archpriest Nicholas Solak (M.Div., ’02; D.Min., ’08); longtime St. Vladimir’s Seminary Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Dr. Albert Rossi; Presbytera Kerry Pappas; and Archpriest Stephen Vernak. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and OCA Chancellor and Seminary Professor Archpriest Alexander Rentel, both ex officio, extended their prayers and support for Tuesday’s gathering.

About the Thriving in Ministry Program

Meeting quarterly for the day and guided by trained facilitators, TIM groups allow participants to gather, share wisdom, and build relationships based on trust, joy, and accountability. Pastoral ministry is hard, but it is also full of priceless insights into the ceaseless work of Christ in our midst. Too often isolation and stress prevent priests from celebrating and protecting their sacred call to serving the Lord, and too often these same challenges keep clergy wives from doing the same. The TIM program offers the chance to learn and to rest, to build skills and explore challenges, and to be gathered by Christ and to be sent out by Him once again for harvest (Mark 3:14).

Sponsored by the OCA’s Department of Pastoral Life and funded by the Lilly Endowment through a generous five-year grant of $470,000, the TIM program is surpassing its goals in 2019. Already, there are eight active clergy groups with members in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Canada and an established group of clergy wives in eastern Pennsylvania. A new clergy group is being formed in Boston, and two new peer groups for wives are forming in Chicago and Connecticut.  Early work has also started in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and the Carolinas. And in 2020, the TIM program is ready to move out even more broadly into Orthodox North America.  

Visit the Thriving in Ministry program’s website or contact program administrator Fr. Theophan Whitfield to learn more.