Over the Christmas recess, Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric The Rev. Dr. Sergius Halvorsen and third-year M.Div. seminarian Tristan Gall traveled to Dallas, TX, to participate in the National Festival of Young Preachers. Sponsored by the Academy of Preachers, the National Festival attracted more than one hundred young preachers along with their mentors and evaluators. This is the fifth year faculty and seminarians from St. Vladimir’s have attended the festival. (Read about 2012, 2013, and 2014.)
During the three-day event held on the campus of Southern Methodist University at the Perkins School of Theology, each young preacher delivered a sermon on one of several biblical texts that followed the festival theme “Tell me a Story.” In addition to delivering their sermons, young preachers also received valuable feedback from evaluators, who often hailed from a Christian tradition different from that of the preacher.
Father Sergius, who served as a mentor, commented, “As a teacher of homiletics, I find it extremely helpful to interact with preachers who come from different Christian traditions. It enables me to understand how people from various backgrounds hear preaching, what they look for, and what they expect. This enriches my work at St. Vladimir’s tremendously, as we seek to engage the world with Orthodox Christianity.”
Two St. Vladimir’s Seminary alumni also attended the festival. Andrew Boyd, chairperson of the OCA Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry, preached, and Archimandrite Gerasim, rector of St. Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral (Orthodox Church in America) in Dallas, attended several of the sessions. Mr. Boyd’s article on his participation in the festival was prominently featured in the program book. Catherine Golitzin, a senior at Pepperdine University and prospective student of St. Vladimir’s, also participated.
“It never ceases to amaze me how much interest there is in the Orthodox Church among the participants,” reflected Fr. Sergius. “There is hardly a moment that we were not speaking with someone who has questions about the Orthodox Church. Our participation in these events is a wonderful opportunity for our students, and I’m deeply grateful to the Academy for their ongoing support.”
On Sunday morning after the festival had concluded, Fr. Sergius served and preached at the St. Seraphim Cathedral. “We were received with warm and enthusiastic hospitality,” he said.