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The Three Challenges

Reader-Excellence Challenge, September 2019: 

The Reader-Excellence Challenge is the leading edge of the revitalization of Orthodoxy in Alaska and North America.

This hands-on, make-a-difference-in-your-parish-today challenge combines everything that has always been required of Readers with the most pressing realities of today’s parish.

You will:

  • Be thoroughly competent with all of the liturgical responsibilities of the Reader.
  • Be completely confident of your ability to voice your Reader responsibilities in ways that express your deep reverence for God and, at the same time, guide worshipers into a deeper experience of God.
  • Free-up your priest to do more of his unique responsibilities.
  • Be prepared –with the blessing of your Bishop/priest—to conduct Reader Services, including emergency funerals and baptisms.
  • Be a certified Participant-Facilitator of The Freedom Challenge which is a thoroughly Orthodox recovery ministry for all types of addictions (e.g., alcohol, food, pornography, cell phones, etc.). The Freedom Challenge (originally called The St. Dimitrie Program) has an 18-year track record or success in Romania and is led by its founder, Floyd Frantz.
  • Introduce and lead Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to your parish. This is a break-through, hands-on curriculum for children that is drawing children and families into the Church at a rate that has far exceeded our highest hopes.
  • Be a certified trainer of the Come-and-See Catechism (CASC). CASC employs your parish’s temple as a perfect learning environment. You will be able to guide interested members of your community and members of your parish through the heartbeat of Orthodoxy simply by walking them through your temple: the architecture, the icons, the difference between veneration and worship, candles, incense, etc.
  • Live with and work with a living and growing parish (Holy Resurrection Cathedral parish) as you study... no more learn-now-do-it-later.
  • Live and work with students from multiple cultures and life experiences and, therefore, overcome your blind spots and discover the value of people who are different from you.

Deacon-Excellence Challenge, 2021:

With the same hands-on approach, The Deacon-Excellence Challenge prepares the graduate of The Reader-Excellence Challenge to do everything that has always be required of Deacons plus further free-up your priest for his unique responsibilities. For example, in addition to complete competence in all of his liturgical responsibilities, the graduate will by the delegation of the priest:

  • Organize various services and the personnel for those services.
  • Recruit, organize, and lead teams for social, work-party, community service.
  • Delegate to and support leaders of teams.
  • Help the priest/the Parish Council assess strengths, weaknesses, and priorities of the parish, including the financial status and future and the needs of the community, etc.

Priest-Excellence Challenge, 2022:

Again, with the same hands-on approach, but with considerably more academic rigor and personal introspection, a graduate of The Deacon-Excellence Challenge who has also met The Priest-Excellence Challenge will, with the blessing of his Bishop, be:

  • Experienced in all the responsibilities of a priest.
  • An excellent “translator” of the groundings of the faith into the various “languages” of the parish.
  • An inspiring and prudent leader of meetings, including Parish Council meetings.
  • A competent assessor of the financial status of the parish.
  • A wise delegator of the many responsibilities of a parish.
  • A proactive manager of his personal health and well-being and (if married) that of his wife and family.
Mailing Address
Saint Herman Theological Seminary
414 Mission Rd
Kodiak, AK 99615

Email, Phone, and Fax
907-486-3524 (Phone)
907-486-5935 (Fax)

St. Herman Theological Seminary