College Conference

Thank you to everyone who made College Conference 2018 a tremendous success!

Pictures, videos, and audio recordings of CC 2018 are forthcoming. 

Each year during Christmas Break, OCF’s College Conference hosts hundreds of college students from across North America for four days of fellowship, education, and prayer.

Conference Theme

“Who Do You Say that I Am?” (This theme is taken from Matthew 16:15 when Jesus questions Peter, and Peter declares that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”)

Keynote Speakers

Midwest– Rev. Fr. Barnabas Powell

Biography – Fr. Barnabas (Charles) Powell is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. Having been raised in a small Pentecostal church as a boy, Barnabas grew to love the church, enjoy the music, and eventually came to be the youth pastor of his home church. Barnabas attended Toccoa Falls College, an Evangelical Protestant school in Northeast Georgia, and received his theology degree there in 1988. He then went on to establish a new church in the Atlanta area. While pastoring, Barnabas also was heavily involved with Evangelical Christian media. A reading program in Church History and Theology would eventually lead him to enter the  Orthodox Church, along with several of the families that had been with him during his pastorate in November of 2001. In 2007, Barnabas was given the blessing of Metropolitan ALEXIOS of Atlanta to enter Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. On November 8, 2009, Barnabas was ordained to the diaconate in his hometown of Atlanta, GA at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral by His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios and on Sunday, March 8, 2010, Barnabas was ordained to the holy priesthood at the same cathedral. He is now the proistamenos (senior pastor) of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene Greek Orthodox Church in Cumming, GA. Fr. Barnabas founded Faith Encouraged Ministries in 2014 and is the host of Faith Encouraged LIVE on Ancient Faith Radio. He also produces the Monday thru Friday Devotional called Faith Encouraged Daily. “A Journey to Fullness” is a video project he has released through the ministry to help parishes introduce the Faith to the average person. Fr. Barnabas is particularly motivated by the beauty and timelessness of our Orthodox Christian faith and strives to see this timeless faith put down deep roots here in America. The Orthodox Christian faith is uniquely suited to quench the spiritual thirst of Americans from all backgrounds with the depth and beauty of our Orthodox faith. Ultimately, Fr. Barnabas believes that Orthodoxy is the path to both spiritual renewal in our Orthodox homes and the path for all believers to spiritual maturity.

Why are you looking forward to speaking on the theme of the Conference, “Who Do You Say that I Am?” – The opportunity to share with anyone the deep and powerful and life-changing truth of the Identity of Jesus Christ is what we Christians are called to do with every breath we take! Because, it is the identity of Jesus Christ that teaches me who I am and what I was created to become. Knowing Jesus for Who He really is sets me free from every lie I’ve ever believed about who I am.

East – Rev. Fr. Dr. Silviu Bunta

Biography – Fr. Silviu is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America. He was born and grew up in Romania, where he also finished his seminary education. He and his family moved to the United States almost twenty years ago, so that he and his wife could pursue their studies further. Fr. Silviu was blessed to study ancient Jewish and Christian spirituality under (then) Archimandrite Alexander Golitzin, at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He now teaches at the University of Dayton, mostly ancient Jewish and Christian spirituality, the ancient Scripture, koine Greek, biblical Hebrew, and Orthodoxy. When his mentor Fr. Alexander was consecrated bishop in 2012, he ordained Fr. Silviu to the priesthood and he now serves in his diocese mostly as a supply priest.

Why are you looking forward to speaking on the theme of the Conference, “Who Do You Say that I Am?” – First of all, I am Transylvanian, I feed on young energy (read “blood”), this is why I also chose to work in academia. It seems to me that this particular theme is very important these days. I think much of the solution to our struggles–self-doubt, self-hatred, depression, despair–lies in the proper understanding of who Christ is and, implicitly, of how He sees us. A proper understanding of Christ ends always in a proper understanding of the self. It seems to me that our Church life is built on the conviction, expressed so beautifully by St. Paul, that our hope is Christ, that our well-doing and well-being are hidden in His infinite and unconditional love for us, for all people and all things. It is essential these days, arguably more than ever before, to see Christ for who He truly is and thus see Him when we look in the mirror. Here I am, teaching Scripture for a living, but I am not looking to offer learned insights into abstract historical realities of Scripture, of the New Testament. But rather, using the text as a living space (the space of our life, warts and all), I want to gain insight into our own struggles, hurts, failures. That is where our Lord is well-pleased to dwell.

Workshop Speakers

College Conference Midwest

    • Rev. Fr. Dimitrios Burikas (GOA), Priest of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois. Pres. Danielle Burikas (GOA), Teacher at Guardian Angel Orthodox Day School in Chicago, Illinois
    • Rev. Fr. Paul Jannakos (OCA), Priest of St. Luke the Evangelist Orthodox Church in Palos Hill, Illinois, Licensed Professional Counselor of the Ethos Counseling Group
    • Mother Gabriella (Romanian), Abbess of the Dormition Orthodox Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan

College Conference East

    • Rev. Fr. Radu Bordeianu (Romanian), Assistant priest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh, Associate professor at Duquesne University
    • Andrew Abboud (GOA), Student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Parish Leader of the Telos Project, Former SLB Member, Anna Abboud (GOA), Speech Language Pathologist at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, Former SLB Member
    • Rev. Fr. Turbo Qualls (Serbian), Case Worker and Assistant Program Manager at Reconciliation Services in Kansas City Missouri
    • Mother Magdalena (OCA), Nun of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, BA in Urban Human Services from Minnesota State University, Mother Seraphima (OCA), Nun of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, Graduate of Penn State University, Former OCF Student Advisory Board Member
    • Stacey Mason (GOA), Director of Operations for International Orthodox Christian Charities