Hello, my name is Danielle Hines! I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (the Johnstown area to be specific). I’m here to talk to you all about SLI, and my experience there this past August!
How did you hear about SLI, and how you decide to come?
I heard about SLI from college conference 2017 and further from Caroline Mellekas (SLB Chairman). I was interested in going, but when summer came around I went to camp at the Antiochian Village for PLC, I was still on the fence about it. I was nervous that I wouldn’t know anyone there. Luckily, I met Peter Karos (College Confrence Midwest Leader), and he and Caroline, convinced me to attend saying I would love it and I would have an amazing time.
What did you want to get out of SLI, did you end up getting that?
I wanted to learn to be a better Orthodox leader and to learn more about my faith in a different way then I have before. Yes, I did get these things out of SLI and even more. I learned that working alone is sometimes the most difficult thing to do, and it’s ok to ask for help. I learned so much about praying and got a different perspective on generosity in the church.
What was your favorite session, what did you learn, and why did you like it?
My favorite session from SLI was Fr Stephen Vernak’s (SLI Spiritual Advisor) on Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom. I learned a new perspective on being still and prayer isn’t a big gesture we need to do all the time, and praying can be as simple as just crossing ourselves or saying morning prayers. One of his quotes that stuck with me and was, “We should try live in such a way that if the Gospels were lost, they could rewritten by looking us.” Another point from the book he focused on was our relationship with the Lord starts with each other. He also gave us two Bible verses on stillness. Those were Exodus 14:13 and Psalm 45:11. The biggest thing I took from this talk was to find your stillness and keep calm with prayers. The reason I liked this session was it help me in an area I was really struggling as a Orthodox Christian.
Describe your favorite moment from the institute.
My favorite moment of the institute was sitting at night and talking to everyone. At one point after dinner I noticed we were all sitting, talking to each other scattered all around the retreat center, some people upstairs some people down stairs and some cooking marshmallows by the fire that was outside. And at one point, we all looked at each other and said, “Let’s go up stairs and dance!” So we danced to Arabic music, Greek music, and even learned some Russian dances as well. We all had come together, and no matter what jurisdiction we were, we all came together that night.
My second favorite moment is from the first night, when all the participants had arrived we all went into the the chapel and chanted Paraklesis after evening prayers in celebration of the Dormition of the Theotokos. It was the most beautiful thing I had heard and seen in a long time. All the students and jurisdictions worshiping together, singing the service.
What are the things that you are going to take with you as an Orthodox Leader?
The things i’m going to take with me as an Orthodox Leader is to show others the teachings of the Church through my actions, guided by my love for God. Every person is different, and might not understand them one way or the other. I’m also going to take with me being a better listener and listening to people’s thoughts and problems making sure I listen before I react.
This is my reflection on SLI I hope this gives your a perspective of what SLI is and about I hope many of you come and participate. I will definitely be coming back next year to SLI and I hope you’ll join me!
Thanks to the incredible generosity of one of our donors, any student who would like to attend the Summer Leadership Institute August 15-18 is now eligible for a full scholarship. Scholarships will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students may fill out the form below to receive a scholarship.
BROOKLINE, MA — With its annual Summer Leadership Institute, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF)—the official college ministry for all twelve (12) jurisdictions of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops—continues its mission to develop Orthodox leaders to serve their local communities and the Church at large. OCF is pleased to announce that registration is now open for this year’s conference, which will be held from August 15-18, 2018 at St. Iakovos Retreat Center in Kansasville, WI. Details and registration information can be found at www.ocf.net/sli.
Made possible in part by a generous grant from Leadership 100, the Summer Leadership Institute is a four-day training program focused on developing in students the knowledge, skills, and practices of good Orthodox leaders. Students will participate in workshops led by OCF staff and student leaders as well as experts in Orthodox theology, spirituality, and pastoral ministry to help prepare them to be Christ-centered servant leaders.
Parishes and OCF advisors are encouraged to promote this program and to sponsor a student to attend the 2018 Summer Leadership Institute, helping to cultivate a new generation of leaders for local campuses, parishes, and the greater Church. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions regarding the Summer Leadership Institute.
OCF encourages you to learn more and to support the ongoing work of this vital ministry by visiting its website or emailing the OCF National Office (email@example.com).
In an effort to help develop more young Orthodox leaders both for OCF and for the Church at large, OCF is pleased to announce that the annual OCF Summer Leadership Institute will now be open to all interested college students.
Summer Leadership Institute is a four-day training institute focused on developing in students the knowledge, skills, and practices of good Orthodox leaders. The program has in past years been open only to Student Leadership Board members, and OCF’s hope is that by opening it to more Orthodox college students, we can create a stronger network of chapter, district, and other young leaders to further strengthen Christ’s ministry on campus and the Orthodox Church of the next generation.
Students will participate in workshops led by OCF staff and student leaders as well as experts in Orthodox theology, spirituality, and pastoral ministry to help prepare them to be Christ-centered servant leaders. We encourage parishes and OCF advisors to consider sponsoring their students to attend the 2017 Summer Leadership Institute to help OCF form and train a new generation of leaders for our Church and for our world.
The 2017 Summer Leadership Institute will be held from August 16-19 at St. Iakovos Reteat Center in Kansasville, WI. Details and registration information can be found here. For further questions and inquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Emma and I’m a conference junkie.
Marathoning from workshop to workshop sustained only by mediocre conference center coffee, equipped with legal pads and a really nice pen, surrounded by people nerding out over the same thing you love so much – there’s no bigger rush.
The only way conferences are better are when they’re grounded in Christ. When you take the conference atmosphere of education on topics that are cool and interesting to you and fellowship with people who also think those topics are cool and interesting and add in that extra level of faith and service, that is my ideal world.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship Summer Leadership Institute is the Christmas of conferences. During SLI, you grow as an Orthodox Christian not only by learning about your faith in the theological or doctrinal sense, but by harnessing essential life skills like public speaking, servant leadership, organization and planning, and conflict resolution – and giving them back to the Church. This comes with the added bonus surrounding yourself in prayer and fellowship with quality OCFers from across the US and Canada who are guaranteed to inspire and encourage you in ways that you won’t be able to repay.
Even if you’re not a conference junkie like I am, SLI is the only place which provides you with the tools and training you need to develop as an Orthodox Christian leader. One day (if not right now), we will be the priests, deacons, clergy wives, parish council presidents, church school teachers, youth department ministers, and parish members of the Church and together we all play our part to make up the body of Christ. As it says in the book of Romans:
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. —Romans 12:4 – 8
Come to SLI to gird yourself with your God-given strengths and weaknesses and become a warrior of Christ. Come to SLI to find your unique calling of God’s will. Come to SLI to pray, to learn, to grow, and to lead.
Even if you’re not a conference junkie like myself, you’re sure to come away from SLI a changed person. I leave you with another verse from Pauls’ letter to the Romans:
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. –Romans 1:11-12
REGISTRATION FOR 2017 SUMMER LEADERSHIP OPENS FEB 20th!
WHERE: ST. IAKOVOS RETREAT CENTER, Kansasville, WI
WHEN: AUGUST 16 – 19
WHO: OCFers (age 18 – 25)