Friday afternoon was given over to a panel of four women engaging in active service ministries.  Ann Campbell runs a St. Nektarios OCF house at the University of Oregon.  Over 60% of our youth leave the Orthodox Church when they go to college.  Her job, as she says, is to provide a committed faith-home for students, to be a “midwife for Christian adulthood,” helping students transition into a mature, adult faith. 

The afternoon (yesterday, I am a bit behind) was opened to comments.  Rather than summarize, I am simply going to post peoples (slightly edited and nameless) comments, some of which I found very surprising:

When I graduated from seminary, all of us, men and women, were given a cross as a sign of the Bishop’s blessing to teach.  While I preached before receiving the cross, I discovered that wearing the cross makes a difference, it is the indication of an official blessing from the bishop to serve, indicating reciprocity and responsibility.  It makes a difference.

I am grouping the next two talks into one post, partly due to time, but mostly because they are thematically related.  Dr. Kyriaki FitzGerald spoke on the connection between Eve, Mary and Us, emphasizing the blessedness of those who hear the word of God and keep it.  Dr.

It took until almost 3:00 pm for the word diaconate to even be mentioned. Sarah Byrne did it. God bless her and keep her.

In the my initial round of questions I noted a number of elements which struck me in the conference description: no use of the word “ordination” or “diaconate” (despite one of the female diaconate’s major proponents offering a plenary address), the consistent and careful pairing of “women” with “lay,” a workshop on the term “helper” in Gen.

Edit, June 16, 2011:  I wrote the post below before I knew I was attending.  It serves as a great introduction to my questions, but it is chronologically before all the other posts.  Thus the "WDL beta."  Yes, I am a tech geek as well as theology nerd.

St. Vladimir's Seminary is devoting its annual summer academic conference to the topic, "Women Disciples of the Lord." It is a fabulous topic and I am impressed that the seminary is making the participation of women in the ministry of the Church the focus of this popular annual conference. The conference looks fascinating, and I regret that I cannot attend except via Podcast (which I hope is made available!). As an academic and theologian who writes extensively on the participation of women in the church, my heart is deeply invested in honoring the gifts and abilities of women so that the church can more fully benefit from their service. I ) have some questions regarding the framing of the conference which I hope will be addressed, either the conference itself or the dialogue which I hope will follow.

Thomas Sunday.  So often referred to as Doubting Thomas, as if Thomas’s doubt was an unworthy failure of faith on his part.  Fortunately, today’s sermon steered clear of such shoddy interpretation.  Even better, some observations were made that I think should be repeated far more often than they are in Orthodox churches.

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