College Conference East 2016 – Antiochian Village, Pennsylvania
Dates: December 27-30, 2016
Cost: $325.00 (partial scholarships available, see below)
College Conference 2016 Scholarships have been graciously offered by several participating Orthodox jurisdictions in different amounts and in limited quantities. Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) will review all scholarship applications on behalf of the jurisdictions and will notify applicants within two (2) weeks of registration if their request for assistance has been granted until all of the available scholarships have been distributed. Given the limited number of scholarships that have been made available by the jurisdictions, OCF encourages registrants to register and to apply early. If a registrant is unable to obtain a scholarship for College Conference 2016 and would like information on other possible avenues to pursue for financial assistance, please contact OCF National Programs Manager, Donna Levas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transportation: Available to/from the Pittsburgh International Airport and to/from the Johnstown, PA train station.
- Pittsburgh Airport Transportation – Participants must arrive on December 27th by 2:00PM to depart on the 3:00PM shuttle. Participants must book flights leaving Pittsburgh to depart after 4:00PM on December 30th, as the shuttle will leave Antiochian Village at 12:00PM.
- Johnstown Train Station Transportation – One shuttle pick-up option available on December 27th departing at 4:00PM. Participants must book trains leaving Johnstown to depart after 2:00PM on December 30th, as the shuttle will leave Antiochian Village at 12:00PM.
Keynote Speaker – Fr. Timothy Hojnicki
Born and raised Wilmington, DE. Graduated the University of Delaware with a B.S. in Family & Community Services in 2002, and a Masters in Divinity from St. Tikhon’s Seminary in 2005. Fr. Timothy married his wonderful wife Anastasia in July of 2004. Ordained Deacon in October of 2004, and a priest in January of 2005. He has been the rector of Holy Apostles Mission in Mechanicsburg, PA (OCA) since June of 2005, and where their building was just completed! Fr. Timothy has 4 beautiful children, Nicholas (10), Kyra (9), Elijah (5), and Joachim (10 weeks).
Why are you excited to speak to the Conference’s Theme of “Come and See” (John 1:39)?
I am excited to speak on the topic “Come and See” because it is with this greeting that we invite others to experience our faith. This critically important invitation is oftentimes neglected by our people for various reasons. I am looking forward to sharing our experiences of the last decade in inviting people to experience the rich depth our Holy Orthodox faith offers. I had such a wonderful time at the College Conference East in 2015, and am honored to be a part of this year’s event.
V. Rev. Fr. Antony Hughes – “The Nature of Prayer”
Workshop Description – The workshop will be interactive and focus on not just how to pray, but on how to become prayer. Prayer as life – what that means and how it looks in practice and what to expect along the way. It will include the key questions: what does it mean that the Holy Spirit is “everywhere present and filling all things” and Jesus’ teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you?
Speaker Biography – Fr. Antony has been the parish priest at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA for 23 years. He is also a prison volunteer chaplain at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Concord, MA and at the Northeastern Correctional Center in Concord, MA. He is also an Internal Family Systems trained therapist.
Rev. Fr. Nicholas Belcher – “The Journey of Salvation”
Workshop Description – This workshop will discuss the Orthodox Christian teaching on salvation with a look at competing theological visions of the topic that many students come across during their college years.
Speaker Biography – Father Nicholas Belcher serves as the Dean of Students at Hellenic College Holy Cross and as an attached priest at Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. Fr Nicholas is also a board member of the Theophany Orthodox Christian School in Needham, Massachusetts, helping to continue the work started there by his late wife, Sonia. He lives with his nine year-old son, Andrew.
Rev. Dr. Bogdan Bucur – ““How to Read Scripture as Orthodox”
Workshop Description – If we are readers of the Bible (usually not a given among Orthodox), we are not the first ones and certainly not the best ones. As a matter of fact, the sad reality of biblical illiteracy among so many Orthodox pales in comparison to the tragedy of reading Scripture in a way that worships a sinister concept in the place of Christ, turns our faith into religious ideology, and molds Christians into self-righteous, obnoxious, hyper-zealous Jesus-propagandists. This workshop will be an introduction to the principles of Scripture interpretation as laid out by two great teachers of the Church– Saint Gregory of Nyssa and Saint Isaac the Syrian. Fair warning: Reading the Bible with these Fathers might challenge many of the misconceptions we hold about God, ourselves and our salvation.
Speaker Biography – Bogdan Gabriel Bucur, is a native of Romania who came to the US in 2000 to pursue graduate studies in Theology at Marquette University. After earning his PhD in Early Christian Thought (The Theology of the Fathers), he moved to Pittsburgh, where he has been teaching at Duquesne University since 2007. He is the pastor of St. Anthony’s Orthodox Church in Butler, PA.
Jason Catanese – “Laying It All Out For Others: Being Laypeople for Christ”
Workshop Description – As young people, we can easily feel the pressures of our parents and society to view our lifetime as a set schedule of milestones – high school graduation, college graduation, getting hired right after college graduation with the perfect high-paying job, getting married by twenty-five, and so much more, all because that’s what we are “supposed” to do. Instead of fulfilling a check-list of society’s pressures, our lives must be centered around serving others. By serving others and putting our trust in God, so much good can be done if we realize our talents are gifts by God to love others completely. Countless hours worrying about what we “need to do next” in life according to others can instead be spent living each day with the simple goal of allowing others to see Orthodox Christianity through our actions. By spending our time focused on loving others, God will take care of the rest!
Speaker Biography – Jason holds a B.A. in political science and international studies from Northwestern University and an M.Ed. in secondary education from Arizona State University. He moved to Phoenix in 2011 with the Teach For America Program and has taught 6th-8th grade math over the last six years. During his tenure, Jason‘s students have become advocates for their own education and have become the largest and highest performing Algebra and Geometry program in Phoenix. In collaboration with many of his Orthodox friends, they created a camp, Camp Catanese, based off of the Antiochian Village to help high school students from underprivileged areas gain access to college. Jason’s students have been recognized by the 2014 Golden Bell Award, and Jason himself received the 2015 Teach for America Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and was a finalist for the 2016 TNTP Fishman Prize. Jason is an active member of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ.
Rev. Fr. Paul Abernathy – “Living the Sacramental Life in a Troubled World”
Workshop Description – It may be very easy for many of us to underestimate the brokenness and isolation experienced outside of a sacramental life in the Holy Orthodox Church. This session will explore how living a sacramental life leads to an experience of healing mercy. In this context Orthodox Christians may reflect on how encountering the Heavenly Physician of our souls and bodies, our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, in the sacramental life of the Orthodox Church yields an experience of healing mercy that our wounded world so desperately needs.
Speaker Biography – Father Paul Abernathy is an Orthodox Christian priest and the Director of FOCUS Pittsburgh, an Orthodox Christian non-profit focused on human development in the Hill District, Pittsburgh Pa. He has B.A. in International Studies from Wheeling Jesuit University, and holds a Master in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a Master of Divinity from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Since its inception in 2011, FOCUS Pittsburgh has distributed over a million dollars in food, clothing, furniture, transportation assistance, Identification, and emergency relief to the Greater Pittsburgh Community which includes a Back Pack Feeding Program that distributes food to 2,500 children every weekend during the school year. Father Paul is also the CEO of the FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center which offers free primary, behavioral health, and dental care to Pittsburgh’s uninsured and underinsured with an initiative currently underway to address Community Trauma called Trauma Informed Community Development. A former Non-Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army, Father Paul is a combat veteran of the Iraq War and has received community awards to include the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 2013 Fab 40 award, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, and Wheeling Jesuit University’s Fr. Pedro Arrupe Distinguished Alumni Award. Fr. Paul is the pastor of St. Moses the Black Orthodox Christian Mission also located in the Hill District.