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Orthodox Institute 2015

Educate the adults and you won't need church schools!"

In Christian education circles, we have spoken of the need to educate adults for years with phrases like, "Christian education doesn't end with church school," "Total Parish Education," and most notably the name of our yearly event, "The Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith." Converts from fundamental churches are pleased to find that Orthodoxy offers a treasure chest of resources for growth in the faith, from the church mothers and fathers, to icons, to hymnography. Yet, in many churches the focus is on educating the children with perhaps only one class, taught by the priest, for adults.

In Adult Education: Building on the Foundation of Faith, our aim is to encourage parishes to change their thinking. Kevin Allen, will open the conference with the address: Adult Education is Crucial to the Parish. As adult education coordinator at Saint Barnabas Antiochian Orthodox Church, Costa Mesa, California, Kevin developed his own catechism module for inquirers, in addition to providing a substantial adult education program with notable speakers. Kevin was formerly the host of two popular interview programs on Ancient Faith Radio, "The Illumined Heart" and "Ancient Faith Today."

Our overview course, Basic Principles of Adult Education will be presented by Dr. Anton Vrame, and Robert Snyder. Dr. Vrame is the Director of the Department of Religious Education for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and Bob has been the Christian Education Coordinator for the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest for over 20 years. He is frequently requested for adult education workshops.

The Institute courses further our aim by presenting curricula and success stories. We will have sessions by authors on how to use their books as curricula, led by: Fr. Andrew Damick, Heterodoxy and Orthodoxy, An Introduction to God; Fr. Stephen Freeman, Everywhere Present, Christianity in a One-Storey Universe; and Fr. John Oliver, Introducing The Irenaea Course: a Practical Catechism of Orthodox Life (not yet published). In addition, books that have been used successfully as curricula for adult education will be on display, and a bibliography provided - participants are encouraged to email names of books they would recommend be included!

Equally important, is our second objective, to present workshops by those who have made adult education normative in their parishes. Gerry Clonaris, the Adult Religious Education Ministry Chairman at St. Nektarios Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and Metropolis Religious Education Chairman, will share his experience and success in Weaving Adult Education into Parish Life. Fr. Josiah Trenham, of St. Andrew Church, Riverside, California, has grown his ministry through the internet, and his parish through adult education. He will present the story of Patristic Nectar Publications in the course, Making Your Parish a Catechetical Powerhouse. Kevin Allen will also have a session, Here to Help for any who wish to discuss planning for adult education.

Finally, for those interested in personal educational opportunities, two workshops will be offered. Orthodox Academic Opportunities, covering the seminaries, colleges, and St. Stephen's course will be presented by His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic and Fr. Sergius Halvorsen, Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Orthodox Smart Phones and More, presented by Anestis Jordanoglou, of the Greek Orthodox Department of Religious Education, and Vasiliki Oldziey, Diocesan Coordinator for the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education will show you how to make your phone an Orthodox education device. Also featured will be the many Orthodox educational websites, YouTube channels, podcasts, and videocasts, and tips on how to set up bookmarks, favorites folders, and subscriptions.

As always, we will offer, in cooperation with the Orthodox Christian Education Commission, the Church School Director Seminar, and Advanced Teacher Training taught by the volunteer staff of the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education.

Book-signings, and wine-and-cheese receptions add to the wonderful weekend. Fellowship, worship, learning and sharing all come together in a beautiful setting. This year, for some of our sessions, we will have the company of those attending the first Pilgrimage of St. Raphael who will be arriving Friday night.

"Total Parish Education & Faithtree Ministries"

Total Parish Education is the goal of the pastoral ministry at St. Michael Church in Van Nuys, California. The success we have had with the youth educational program at St. Michael's is due in no small measure to the parents, grandparents, Godparents, and professionals within the community of our parish. Given the opportunity to engage with the students as the persons they are, and to learn with them, they recognized that education revitalizes their own faith. Fr. Timothy Baclig, Pastor of St. Michael Church will summarize his successes and failures in his attempt to revitalize the participation of his parishioners in the liturgical and family life of the church.

Michelle Moujaes, Executive Director of Faithtree, a ministry of St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Van Nuys, California will share how a parish ministry dedicated to speaking in the language of our day has greatly impacted the parish of St. Michael, as well as a national, cross-jurisdictional audience of churches. By engaging our audience in content and conversations that bring our faith to life, over 1000 Christians have participated in our programing in our inaugural year. Through the use of examples, lessons learned, and basic core values that this parish based ministry is committed to, Michelle will walk us through how cultural competency can change everything in ministry, and aid us as we seek to teach the Truth effectively for today's audience.


CONTINUING EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES has gone down a slightly different path since its inception. Fr. Sergius Halvorsen will give those looking into furthering their education, both formally and informally, a basic "how to" guide. He'll advise what qualities to look for in a program or institution and how to make a critical evaluation to find the right fit. Then Fr. Sergius and Bishop THOMAS will update you on the programs and institutions with which they are familiar. You'll also hear from others representing several other programs and colleges.


This year there will be no brochure, everything will be online.

Registration for the event is $65 and will be handled by the Department of Christian Education. Please download a registration form (coming soon!) and return it with the appropriate fee to the address on the form.

Registration for room and board varies according to how long you will stay and how many people will stay in a room. For example, three in a room for a three night stay, including lodging, meals, coffee service and snacks, will be $308.91 per person. Double and single occupancy will cost $343.56 and $447.51 per person, respectively. One and two night options are also available. Commuters are welcome to purchase meals for the day at $23 for lunch, $12 plus gratuity for breakfast and $23 plus gratuity for dinner. Reservations for your stay at Antiochian Village can be made online at


Kevin Allen

Gerry Clonaris Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick Fr. Stephen Freeman
 Fr. Sergius Halvorsen Fr. John Oliver Fr. Josiah Trenham Dr. Anton Vrame
2015 Orthodox Institute Poster (PDF)696.7 KB
2015 Orthodox Institute Schedule (PDF)39.59 KB
2015 Course Descriptions (PDF, Rev 10-8-15)64.27 KB
2015 Registration Form (PDF)56.11 KB