Keynote Speaker - Fr. Damascene Christensen
Father Damascene is a hieromonk from St. Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California, under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America. He is an American who began his life as John Christensen, and was nominally introduced to Western Protestant Christianity as a child. By the time he began college, however, he believed that the highest spiritual reality was not a personal deity or God, but rather a transpersonal reality.
He considered himself a Buddhist, specifically, in the Zen tradition, and he had various experiences, which he writes, included darkness, infinite nothingness, existing outside of space and time, where everything is now, and time has no meaning. Despite these experiences, there was still something missing in the soul.
While in college at U.C. Santa Cruz, John Christensen met Eastern Orthodox Christian students through the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at UCSC and was invited by them to a lecture by an American priest and monk, who had also been a serious student of Eastern philosophy and Buddhism. It was through this lecture that Father Damascene met the man through whose influence his life would be radically altered.
This man was Father Seraphim Rose, spiritual seeker, Eastern Religious scholar, Orthodox monk and priest, and author of many books and articles on spirituality and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It was through this meeting, his ongoing studies, and many pilgrimages to the monastery Father Seraphim founded in the secluded woods of Northern California, that John Christensen came to discover that truth was not just an abstract idea, sought and known by the mind, but something personal, even a person, sought and loved by the heart.
John Christensen converted to Orthodoxy and joined St. Herman of Alaska Monastery where he has lived for over 25 years. Fr. Damascene is the author of Fr Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works and Christ the Eternal Tao
Dr. Sally K. Gallagher
Dr. Sally K. Gallagher is Professor of Sociology in the School of Public Policy at Oregon State University. She received her BA in Sociology, and in Biblical & Theological Studies from Gordon College, and her MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She writes and teaches in the areas of Sociology of Religion, Gender, Family and International Development.
She is an invited speaker on religion in contemporary America; gender, work and family; and families and social change in the Middle East. She and her husband, Subdeacon John (Edward) Gallagher live on a small farm in Philomath Oregon with extended family and multiple animals. They were received into the church in 2004.
Jonathan Jackson started his acting career twenty years ago on the soap opera "General Hospital". His heart-wrenching
performances helped him win a total of five daytime Emmy Awards. Jonathan has also performed in many feature films; most notably Columbia's "Deep End of the Ocean," Disney's "Tuck Everlasting," and Warner Brothers' "Insomnia"
Along with acting, Jonathan is also the frontman for the rock band Enation. Releasing their first album in 2004, they have been featured on the hit CW TV show "One Tree Hill," "Stephen King's Riding the Bullet," ABC's "General Hospital," and MTV.com.
Jonathan is currently one of the stars of the new ABC primetime drama, "Nashville." The show is centered on the inner workings of the Nashville music scene. Jonathan plays an up and coming singer/songwriter trying to find his way in Music City.
Ever since Jonathan was young he possessed a strong faith in God. In 2007 he was sent to Romania to shoot a film and had the opportunity to visit Rome, Italy as well. These experiences compelled him to begin studying the history of Christianity. Five years later he and his entire family were baptized into the Holy Orthodox Church. His journey to the Ancient Faith was filled with joy and many trails. He is currently writing a book about his journey to Orthodoxy, which also delves into themes about how one's faith impacts the arts.
Jonathan's passion for life and communication also compelled him to write a book of mystical poetry called 'Book of Solace and Madness' (available now at: www.EnationStore.com). He is also currently working on his first novel.
Jonathan resides between Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA where he loves spending time with his wife, Elisa, and his three children.
For More Visit: