Sunday, October 28, 2012

St. Vlad's opens up new distance education doctoral program

(SVOTS) - St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) is very pleased to announce a new, accredited Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program. Priests, chaplains and professionals in ministry from across the US, Canada, and from throughout the English speaking world, now have an opportunity to earn a Doctor of Ministry from an Orthodox Christian seminary in this new hybrid program, which uses distance learning and one–week, on–campus intensives.

"Pastors today face immense challenges," emphasized The Rev. Dr. J. Sergius Halvorsen (SVOTS Class of '96), assistant professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric, and the program's director. "The depth and intensity of suffering and spiritual darkness in the lives of the people we serve is startling. Facing such serious challenges, there has never been a greater need for excellence in pastoral ministry."

In November 2012, St. Vladimir's will begin accepting applications for the first cohort of fifteen students who will begin their studies in the fall of 2013. The cohort will go through the program as a community of learners who support one another academically, spiritually, and personally. The cohort will serve as an essential support network for the students during the course of the program and will model a form of collegial ministry in which pastors lift up and inspire one another in the ongoing work of building up the Body of Christ.

The D.Min. will strengthen pastoral ministry by integrating doctoral level academic work with applied pastoral praxis. Members of the SVOTS faculty, along with Orthodox scholars from other institutions, will teach the eight core courses:
  • Ministry in a Secular Age
  • Ministry to the Sick and Dying
  • Advanced Preaching and Communications
  • Counseling in the Parish
  • Missiology
  • Scripture: Exegesis for Preaching
  • Youth Ministry
  • Bioethics for Ministry
Each academic term, students will do preparatory work via distance learning, and then will come together on the SVOTS campus for one–week intensives to work with their colleagues and professors. Throughout the program students will integrate their academic work with their pastoral ministry, thus gaining valuable feedback from the faculty, their peers, and the people they serve. The final phase of the program will be a project which combines research at the doctoral level, with the intentional application of pastoral theory in pastoral ministry.

Students will gain deeper knowledge about the practice of serving others in Christian love as they grow in spiritual maturity as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The program intentionally combines Orthodox Christian scholarship with advanced communication skills in order to make pastors more effective in sharing the love of Christ with others. From pastoral counseling to preaching, and from scholarship to social media, students in the D.Min. program will strengthen and refine their God–given talents and abilities.

"My hope is that the D.Min. program at St. Vladimir's will provide priests, chaplains, and other pastoral professionals with advanced knowledge and skills in order to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering," noted Fr. Sergius. "It is also my hope that the program would foster deep and lasting friendships among the students and contribute to authentic spiritual and pastoral renewal."

Anyone interested in learning more about the program may contact Fr. Sergius Halvorsen, at, or (914) 961-8313, x367.

Read more about the distance learning D.Min. program here.

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