By: Dn. Herman Garrison
St. Tikhon’s was recently the site for a thought-provoking conference, organized by STOTS professors Drs. David and Mary Ford that centered around today’s ethical and moral issues facing all the faithful in the Church. The “Speaking the Truth in Love” conference was a continuation of the conversation started at a similar conference held at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY this past March which the Fords also helped organize. The Jordanville conference was described as more “theoretical in nature”; however, the focus for the St. Tikhon’s conference was to be more practical. Dr. David said, “[the purpose] is for inspiring and helping our youth, especially to live in Christ with the joy and peace of purity in mind, heart, and body. We also hope this conference will help to equip our clergy and laity with the pastoral and apologetic tools necessary to deal resourcefully and effectively with the current societal challenges relating to sexuality.”
The conference was opened with a keynote address entitled “Trusting our Tradition in Facing Modern Challenges” from His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, rector of STOTS. The weekend continued with a collection of 15 speakers that encompassed STOTS faculty, STOTS alumni, monastics, medical professionals, bioethics experts, and more. The presentations ranged from the theological, apologetical, ethical, and medical. The diverse audience and presenters were able to interact during Q&A sessions where practical solutions were discussed concerning problems facing many Orthodox clergy, professionals, and young people. Attendees came from as far away as California and Idaho.
Co-organizer Dr. Mary Ford, summarizing the experience of the conference, stated, “There was a great sense of pastoral care and love expressed by all the speakers for those caught up in the moral confusion of our time – including those engaging in sexual behaviors contrary to the teachings of the Church. Many commented on what a great conference it was in terms of the balanced, caring approaches of the speakers, the large amount of helpful information given, and the excellent quality of the talks overall. We hope many people who could not come because of services for St. Michael’s Day in their parishes, or distance, or other commitments will listen to the talks on AFR to be better informed, strengthened in their faith, and inspired!”
Audio recordings of the conference are available in the Special Events section on Ancient Faith Radio. It is also planned that books based on the talks given at both conferences will be published in the next year or two. The book from the Jordanville conference is scheduled to appear next spring from Holy Trinity Monastery Press.