D.Min. Cohort of 2019 with instructors, Fr. Joseph Purpura and Fr. Gregory Edwards (photo: Mary Honoré).
During fall 2016 semester, students in the newly formed “Doctor of Ministry Cohort, Class of 2019” met on the campus of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary here for their first onsite intensive. The eight students in the Cohort enthusiastically engaged in two core courses in their program: “Youth Ministry,” taught by Archpriest John Purpura, and “Missiology,” taught by Priest Gregory Edwards.
In addition to parish clergy, the Cohort includes a foreign missionary and a hospice chaplain. Students in the Cohort — representing six Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in the US, Canada, Albania, and Finland — favorably commented on their first-semester D.Min. experience, noting that the program exceeded their expectations and offered knowledge that could be practically applied in their given fields of ministry.
Priest Ian Shipley of Saints Cyril and Methodius Mission, Chico, CA, said the D.Min. program has provided him with the “unique opportunity to engage with top-notch professors and fellow students about topics that are of immediate concern to the work of ministry in today’s world.”
Hospice Chaplain Sarah Byrne-Martelli remarked, “The D.Min. has pushed me to think theologically about my work in new ways, and to reflect on how I hope to continue to serve the Church,” and added, “I am enjoying the peer interactions as well; it is very enriching to engage in dialogue with Orthodox colleagues from different jurisdictions and ministry backgrounds.”
Priest Teo Merras of Finland attested to the program’s intensity and depth, saying, “If you ask my colleagues [back home], you would probably get an answer that I wasn’t ‘present in this world’ because of my constant reading and thinking!”
Students in the D.Min. Cohort of 2019 will resume their on-line studies after Pascha 2017 in the summer term. They will be studying “Ministry in a Secular Age,” taught by Archpriest John Jillions, and “Liturgical Life and Pastoral Ministry,” taught by Dr. Grant White. They will be back on campus July 16–22 for the summer term onsite intensive.
Meanwhile, students in the D.Min. Cohort of 2017 — slated to earn their degrees in December 2017 — are working on their final projects, which will combine doctoral level research with critical reflection on the practice of ministry. The main objective of their final projects is to provide concrete resource material for others in ministry.
Details about their projects will be announced at the Doctor of Ministry Commencement, which will occur on the occasion of the Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Lecture in early 2018.
“I’m overjoyed by the work being done by both Cohorts — those just beginning their doctoral research and those involved in the highly creative process of their final projects,” said the Priest J. Sergius Halvorsen, Director of the D.Min. Program at Saint Vladimir’s.
“Every time I observe them interacting in the classroom and with each other, I have confidence that they will enrich parishes, chaplaincy settings, and the wider Church, through their newly gained knowledge and skills in applied pastoral practice.”
Learn more about the Doctor of Ministry Program and need-based scholarships funded by the Danilchick Family Endowment for Pastoral Studies.