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On Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, the Clergy Wives Advisory Group (CWAG) of the Office of Pastoral Life (OPL) will sponsor an online retreat for widows of clergy of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). The retreat is titled, “Finding Your Purpose as a Widowed Clergy Wife,” and Archpriest Ian MacKinnon will present the topic and engage in a question and answer period with participants.

To receive a link or call-in telephone number for the retreat, participants will need to click this link and register here. Participants will be able to take part in the retreat either by entering a Zoom chat room or by telephoning into the discussion. Any further questions regarding registration may be sent to Mka. Wendy Cwiklinski:

Father Ian was raised in both Utah and the San Francisco Bay area. He was born into a Mormon family on his mother’s side, but in adulthood he married Nina Vasiliev and was baptized into the Orthodox Church in 1974 by Father George Benigsen at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Saratoga, CA.  He and Mka. Nina are the parents of three children and the grandparents of six children.

Father Ian holds a degree in psychology from San Francisco State University, and following his graduation he acted as Counselor and Director of a community counseling and drop-in center in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as a Health and Behavior Counselor for a UC Davis Medical School heart attack prevention program. He subsequently attended St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary from 1976–79. After finishing his formal theological education and being ordained to the priesthood, he served at the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Santa Maria, CA, and at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco, but mainly, for thirty-five years, he acted as rector at the Elevation of the Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Sacramento, CA, where he is still attached as a priest. During his long tenure in the Diocese of the West, he also served as the Mission Dean for eight years, and as the Chancellor for thirteen years.

Since his retirement five years ago, he and his wife remain active in their parish, and they spend a lot of blessed time with their grandchildren. Father Ian also helps to coordinate an online group of retired clergy for the Diocese of the West, which meets in a Zoom chat room once a month.

Previous retreats for the benefit of widows of OCA clergy include:

  • April 2023: His Grace John Abdalah, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, “Grief Is Complicated”
  • September 2023: Mother Angelina, Holy Assumption Monastery, Calistoga, CA, “Navigating Parish Life as the Widow of a Priest”
  • November 2023: Mother Christophora, Abbess, Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA, “Illness and Aging”
  • February 2024: Father Sergius, Abbot, Monastery of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, South Canaan, PA, “On Prayer”

Following Father Ian’s retreat, links for all of the retreats will eventually be made available.