Summer Leadership Institute

Aug 15 - 18, 2022 | Dallas, TX

Learn what it means to be an Orthodox leader in OCF, the Church, and the world.

Summer Leadership Institute is an in-person program that takes place over the summer with the goal of preparing and empowering faithful future leaders for the world, for the Church, and for OCF. A place to discover and discern your vocation as an Orthodox Christian. Christ calls each of us to be active members of his body, the Church. What does that look like for you? What qualities, priorities, and habits are foundational for you to succeed as a disciple of Christ?

The Sessions

We’ll explore a different leadership topics, presented by Orthodox Christian leaders.

OCF, the Church, and the World: Leadership for a Lifetime

Instructor: Jamil Malone

The foundation of our leadership must be Christ, the Head of the Body. In this session you’ll hear from Jamil Malone, President of the OCF Board of Directors, how he has learned to translate his leadership skills from college, to the Church, to the workplace. We’ll explore how do we keep Christ at the center of your leadership no matter the context and how to translate the skills you’re learning now to your future roles in life. We’ll also think about what it looks like to cultivate an attitude of servant leadership in all aspects of life.

The Kingdom Hidden in My Brother: Our Lives as Liturgy

Instructor: Fr. Vasile Tudora

Our own efforts to live life according to God’s commandments are, of course, foundational to our ability to answer His call to serve as leaders. In this session, we’ll dive deeply into living a life that’s oriented towards Christ in the other, using the Judgement Sunday gospel from Matthew 25 as the guide for our discussion. We’ll think about how to make daily, eucharistic offerings in how we encounter, serve, and love those around us, especially those who are most marginalized in our society.

Nine Ways to Lead (and Fail)

Instructor: Christian Gonzalez

As Christian leaders, both inner development and relationships are key to working on teams and leading others. Using the Enneagram as a tool, we will turn our attention inward through self-examination in order to cultivate our relationship with Christ, understand our relationships with others, and how all of this impacts leadership. Based on your previous exploration of the Enneagram with OCF, you will be placed in one of three levels:

  • Level 1: Discover Your Enneagram Type & What It Means for You as a Leader
  • Level 2: Leaving Your Number Behind for Wholeness & Health
  • Level 3: Spiritual Practices for Every Type

We Offer Unto You What Is Yours

Instructor: Peter Mansour

St. Paul reminds us that, “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). This session will reflect on how freely giving of ourselves is integral to our lives as Christians. We’ll think about the many ways we might give of our time, talent, and treasure today and in the future, and we’ll talk about strategies for maintaining an attitude of cheerfulness and avoiding resentful, compulsory giving even when we don’t feel fully equipped or “in the mood” to do what we have made up our minds to do.

Faith & Culture

Instructor: Christina Andresen

In the Orthodox Church in the US, college may be the first time a person encounters the diversity of Orthodox cultures and practices. This session will give us an opportunity to discuss our own experiences and understanding of pan-Orthodox ministry as well as create some guiding principles for our work as leaders.

The Ministry of Listening

Instructor: Katrina Bitar

Christians, especially Christian leaders, often feel the need to contribute something when they are with others: advice, opinions, or theological reflection. Unfortunately, many frequently forget that listening can be just as valuable (or even more valuable!) a ministry as speaking. In this session, Katrina Bitar will explore the unique role that listening plays in our own spiritual lives and in our relationships with others.

The Seeds of the Word

Instructor: Fr. Brendan Pelphrey

Every day, we encounter people who have a different worldview and religious take than we do. In this session, we’ll have a chance to learn how we should approach understanding other people’s religious and spiritual experiences and beliefs. We’ll work on building discernment around when to speak up and when to stay silent in religous conversations, and we’ll think hard about how we should proclaim the gospel today and invite others to meet Christ in His Church.

The Speakers

Jamil Malone

Jamil Malone

Senior Marketing and Business Analyst, Cargill

Jamil Malone hails from Wichita, KS where he works in category management and marketing for Cargill. In his daily work, he combs through mountains of data to find insights to drive growth for his customers. Outside of work, he enjoys climbing mountains and traveling. He’s active in his local Antiochian parish of St. George Cathedral. Jamil believes that we all have a duty to give back to the communities that have given so much to us. He sits on the board of directors for the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and is the chair of the board of directors for Orthdoxo Christian Fellowship. His introduction to OCF started in college when a friend asked him to go to a College Conference at the Antiochian Villiage. He later joined the Student Advisory Board (now SLB) as a regional rep and served three subsequent years as chair of the SAB. Jamil enjoys empowering individuals and teams to become the best versions of themselves.
Fr. Vasile Tudora

Fr. Vasile Tudora

Priest, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver

Fr. Vasile Tudora moved to Texas in 2001 where he pursued first a career in medicine. Later, he pursued theological studies and joined the ranks of Orthodox clergy. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate in February 2004 and Holy Priesthood in November 2005, being first assigned at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Colleyville, TX under the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America (ROEA). In July 2007, he entered the Greek Archdiocese of America and is currently assigned as Proistamenos at the Church of St. John the Baptist in Euless, Texas. Due to his dual background, Fr. Vasile has a strong interest in Christian Bioethics and writes articles on contemporary moral issues. He is married with Presvytera Mirela Tudora and they enjoy every minute of the time they spend with their five children. Besides the Church and his family, Fr. Vasile also longs for the great outdoors, enjoys bicycle riding and experiments with digital photography.
Katrina Bitar

Katrina Bitar

Director, Youth Equipped to Serve

Katrina has been the YES Program Director since May of 2009, following her graduation from St. Vladimir’s Seminary. She has been involved in youth ministry for almost 20 years. She served as a full-time parish youth director for 6 years, St. Nicholas Camping Program Director from 2003-2021, OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) College Conference Advisor for 5 years, and has been involved with the YES Program since 2004. Katrina feels incredibly blessed to be part of a program that changed her own perspective on homelessness, poverty, and youth ministry. She is grateful to be able to create opportunities for YES participants and those in need to be known and filled through encounters with each other.
Peter Mansour

Peter Mansour

Ministry Coordinator, OCF

Peter joined the OCF team in July 2021 and is passionate about making Orthodoxy accessible to young people. As a college student, he was an active member of his OCF chapter at the University of Maryland. He previously served as the Director for Youth & Young Adults at the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of New York & New England as well as the Director of Student & Young Adult Ministries at Sts. Barnabas & Susanna Coptic Orthodox Church in Baltimore, MD. He is the co-founder of SupportMyService, a nonprofit that seeks to fund various ministry projects in the Church. Currently, he resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Sandra, where he volunteers as a Resident Minister at Georgetown University.
Christina Andresen

Christina Andresen

Director of Ministries, OCF

While at Texas A&M, Christina served as president of her OCF chapter all four years and as a Regional Student Leader for two years. She attended three college conferences, serving once on the CC West planning committee. She participated in Real Break twice as a student, to Guatemala and to Constantinople—and in Guatemala she met her husband, Daniel, whom she married September 2010. She also co-hosted the OCF Podcast for two years. She has been a part of the OCF staff since August 2011, and working to strengthen OCF chapters and student leaders is something about which Christina is passionate.
Fr. Brendan Pelphrey

Fr. Brendan Pelphrey

Priest, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta

Fr. Brendan Pelphrey is a retired priest currently under the omophorion of Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta. Fr. Brendan has published four books and approximately a hundred articles, book chapters, reviews, and monographs on Christian theology, prayer, mission, world religions, and medieval studies. Before entering the Orthodox Church, Fr. Brendan was a Lutheran pastor for 20 years and served with his wife as a missionary for ten years in Hong Kong. He has also been a drug counselor; worked in ministry to street gangs in Great Britain, the United States, and Hong Kong; and directed college campus ministries in Texas and Louisiana. He is currently an Adjunct Lecturer in Philosophy and Honors at Louisiana Tech University.
Christian Gonzalez

Christian Gonzalez

Director of Ministry, Orthodox Youth Ministry

Christian Gonzalez is the Director of Ministry for Orthodox Youth Ministries. He is graduate of Wheaton College, Azusa Pacific University, and Luther Seminary and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Christian is committed to the upbuilding of the Church as the Family of God that facilitates the formation of young people into the likeness of Christ. He lives with his beautiful wife and three darling daughters in Phoenix, where he drinks hot coffee even in the summer.

Dates: Aug 15 – 18, 2022
Cost: $400

Amount covers meals, lodging, and program costs. Participants will provide their own travel expenses, and are expected to arrive to Dallas (preferably Love Field) by 6 PM on August 15th, and plan to depart after 3 PM on August 18th.

Location: Dallas, TX | Catholic Conference and Retreat Center

Are you an incoming chapter president? There may be scholarship money available for you! Email Peter Mansour at


Registration for SLI 2022 is now closed.

Hear what SLI 2020 participants have to say about their experience!

“It opened my mind to a new way of thinking and to become a leader in life and in the church.”

“It was so incredible- the speakers, the content, the discussion and community were top notch!”

“I feel so fortunate to have been able to participate in SLI virtually. I was still able to meet people, really grow my leadership skills, and gain a deeper understanding of my faith. I hadn’t planned on participating in SLI this summer and I felt very fortunate to have been able to add it to my summer!”

“I learned so much […] I met so many people and became better friends with the people I did know. The break out groups and Sunday small groups were awesome!”


“I learned a good deal of valuable information and had the opportunity to meet and speak with wonderful people.”