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St. Tikhon’s Student Government recently hosted a screening of the film Poverty Inc. for the Seminary community. One of the film makers, Subdeacon Simon Scionka, was on hand to show the documentary and field various questions about the film and charity outreach in general.

The 94-minute documentary takes a respectful, but honest look at the state of international charities and their impact on the impoverished people whom they try to help. The consequences of this aid can lead to unexpected results. While the motivation to help may be heartfelt, the impact of these efforts is not always positive in the long run and can often lead to other unintended outcomes, such as suppressing local economic development. The film makers seek to generate robust conversation around the topic of our foreign aid and whether we can do things more effectively.

The Q&A session after the screening of film was both challenging and encouraging. Various audience members explored not only how we can do things more effectively, but what does this mean in an Orthodox context. Additionally, the audience had a productive conversation around short-term mission trips and how to undertake them more effectively. The evening ended with exploring ways to get more involved and how to approach global outreach as both an individual and a parish.

The Student Government and the community of St. Tikhon’s wish to thank Subdeacon Simon Scionka for his wonderful work and spending time with us. For more information about his project, check out

Article by Seminarian Herman Garrison