St Athanasius Seminary Diploma
Program in Orthodox Theology
Guidelines and Course Syllabus
Most Revd Dr Anthony Macfonse, CSB
The Seminary Course of Study in Orthodox Theology requires each student to complete three Directed Projects (one in each academic year) as a requirement for successful completion of the program. These Directed Projects should be viewed as transitional, in that they allow the student to take the academic material from course work, and apply it to a practical parish or community ministry. The topic of the Directed Project is left to the discretion of the student, in consultation with his/her directing pastor. It is expected that these projects will address concepts and practices that enhance the student’s skills as a designer and implementer of various Orthodox Christian ministries.
PLEASE NOTE: The student must give a copy of this document to the directing pastor to assist him in monitoring the student’s work and to clarify his role in this activity.
The Directed Project supports the overall St. Athanasius’s goal of developing leaders who will be significant resources in their Orthodox Christian communities. The structure allows the student to demonstrate his/her ability to share knowledge with the church community and to develop ministry programs with appropriate objectives, which focus on our growth as Orthodox Christians. The following are suggested projects that embrace the goals of the Seminary Course of Studies:
- An Adult Education Program that supports the weekly gospel lessons through a series of classes.
- The development of educational materials for use in the church school; for example a book, pamphlets, music, videos, or audio tapes etc.
- A lecture series or a series of homilies presented at church services on topics relevant to the church community.
- Work within an ecumenical framework that increases the knowledge of the learners of the history and scope of the Orthodox faith.
- A written document for publication that focuses on Orthodoxy and adds to the knowledge base of the faith.
- A series of videotapes for use in parishes for the instruction of adults in the church community.
- The development and implementation of an outreach ministry to the local community. This could include the homeless, hungry, prisoners, nursing home residents, or shut-ins.
These suggested activities are to be used as examples of the types of projects that can be chosen by the student but are not meant to limit the imagination of the student. Each student is encouraged to develop a Directed Project that incorporates his/her strengths and abilities as educators, theologians, community leaders and program developers.
The following items are required for successful completion of the Directed Study Projects covered by this syllabus:
- A Project Abstract must be submitted to the Coordinator, and the student must receive approval before the project begins. This submission must occur no later than Novenber 30th of the Seminary’s academic year. The abstract should include the goal of the project, the specific method of implementation, the method of evaluation, the selected audience, the duration of the project, a description of tangible materials that will result from the project, and how the project could be applied in future ministerial endeavors. It should also include the name of the directing pastor, and his signature which indicates his approval of the project, and his agreement to oversee it
- Each project duration must be significant and should be sufficient to allow coverage of the subject(s) being presented (project abstract should include this information when submitted for approval). For Church School the duration should be at least one full term, for seminar programs no less than six one-hour sessions, and at least two full days for retreat formats. Outreach ministries should be conducted at least monthly over at least a six month period.
- All materials for the completed Directed Project must be submitted to the Coordinator no later than July 1st of the Seminary’s academic year. The submission must include sufficient evidence of completion, and data to allow the Coordinator to understand the method of implementation, the information covered and the impact of the project on the target audience. The directing pastor’s evaluation must also be submitted at this time. This evaluation must include the pastor’s impression of the student’s effectiveness, and the impact that the project has had on the parish or community.
- For most communications with the Coordinator, email is the preferred mode. If regular mail must be used, please DO NOT require a signature for delivery as this will cause unnecessary delays.
As a result of the completion of these Directed Projects the student will:
- Plan, research, and implement parish or community ministerial programs with identified objectives and measurable results for the target audience
- Develop, plan and implement programs (such as retreats, seminars, discussions, workshops, outreach etc.) that focus on either the furthering of Orthodox awareness and education, or a witness to our Faith through community outreach.
- Demonstrate the ability to translate academic knowledge directly into practical parish or community ministries.
The projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Topic and the objectives of the ministerial program
- The relevancy of the project outcome to the target audience
- The effective planning and implementation of the project
- The involvement of the target audience in the project’s outcome
- The degree to which the target audience’s knowledge of the subject is increased
- The degree to which the project is reusable by others who wish to pursue similar programs
- The presentation (neatness, completeness, appearance and professionalism) of the project and its materials