Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry [D.Min.] Cohort, Class of 2017, met on campus June 19–25, 2016, for intensive study in two courses: “Ministry to the Sick and Dying” and “Ministry in a Secular Age.” Cohort members, who for the greater part of the academic year meet and study on-line, gather two times each year to engage in robust discussion with faculty and classmates about the day-to-day challenges of their pastoral ministries.
Daniel B. Hinshaw, M.D. and his wife Jane [Carnahan] Hinshaw, M.D., designed their course to address illness and dying in a way that helps students gain a deeper understanding of the kinds of suffering sick and dying people experience—physical, psychological, social, and spiritual—building on their students’ previous skills and experiences.
“Often, the subject matter we discuss is directly relevant to challenging situations within their parish ministries, and the give-and-take among us—faculty and classmates—may help identify more beneficial ways to help their parishioners,” they explained.
Teaching the course on ministering in a secular age, Archpriest John Jillions, D.Min, Ph.D., Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, noted that “students in this Cohort are already theologically trained and experienced pastors and Church workers, so my course is designed to be a laboratory for wrestling with the difficult, unresolved questions they have about the world in which they serve, as well as the cross-pressures we human beings experience as we seek to live out our faith in Christ.
“The D.Min. classroom functions as a protected space for full exploration of controversial topics,” he added. “I’m struck by the range of questions the students are investigating and their willingness to look at the difficult questions their own pastoral realities present.”
A video in which D.Min. students relate their experiences may be viewed on YouTube.