2018 CONFERENCE SPEAKERS
Fr. Stephen Freeman
Opening Keynote: "The Madness of Purpose" - GK Chesterton once wrote that modernity was “good gone mad.” Purpose can have a similar dynamic. It has a very profound place within the tradition of the Church, but it also has a place of madness in our contemporary culture. One version draws us ever deeper into madness - while the other saves us from it.
Closing Keynote: "The Music of the Soul: Finding the Missing Chord" - One of the richest images ever used in the tradition of the Church is the comparison of our lives and the universe to music. It is a way to think about the direction of our lives as well as our relationships with others. St. Gregory of Nyssa said, “Man is a musical composition.” We will look for the missing chord.
Fr. Stephen Freeman is an archpriest in the Orthodox Church in America and serves as pastor of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, TN. He was educated at Furman University, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, and Duke University. He is author of the popular blog, Glory to God for All Things, and of the weekly podcast, Glory to God, on Ancient Faith Radio. He also authored the book, Everywhere Present, and his work has been widely translated and published in Europe and Russia.
Fr. David and Mat. Rozanne Rucker
Breakout 1: "The Great Co-Mission or the Great O-Mission? The Purpose of Our Local Parish" - Most of our Orthodox life revolves around our local parish. If we asked everyone in your local parish, beginning with YOU, why do come here? Why are we Orthodox? What is our vision? What is our purpose in this parish? Do we have a clear mission? Would everyone agree? Would the parish council agree with the priest and bishop? A literal reading in the original language of Proverbs 29:18 can be: “Where there is no revelation of truth or purpose, the people will scatter.” This explains what has been happening for at least several generations in many local parishes in North America. So, let’s review our original vision, purpose and mission, given to us by Jesus Christ, Himself, and see how to apply and live it in our local parish. Yes, YOU can make a difference!
Breakout 2: "Vision, Purpose, Mission - Where Do I Fit In?" - While most of Orthodox life revolves around our local parish, the local parish can only be as strong as the “little churches” – each household, be they singles, couples or families—that are part of that local parish (Chrysostom). In this hour we will explore how the Gospel can become the greatest news I have ever heard in my life, providing a fresh vision of Who God is, and Who I am created to become, with practical daily life applications and a reason to live a life of adventure.
Fr. David Rucker was born in Danville, Kentucky, the third-generation son of Methodist ministers in the Bluegrass State. He attended Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries and Education. While attending college he participated as a summer volunteer missionary in Colombia, South America. There he met Rozanne, the daughter of missionaries to Brazil. A year after returning from Colombia, Fr. David and Rozanne were married, and after serving for a year as an associate pastor in the Methodist Church, they entered into career missionary service with an interdenominational Protestant mission organization which specialized in providing theological education around the world.
Their thirteen years of missionary service included travel to South America, (Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador), Central America, the Caribbean (Haiti, Panama), and Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines). During that time Fr. David also completed a Masters of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary (1986-1989), as well as three years of doctoral work in Missiology (ABD). It was while serving in Hong Kong and China that the Ruckers began to learn about the Orthodox Church.
The Ruckers returned to Kentucky from Hong Kong in 1993. Fr. David began doctoral studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and Rozanne finished a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Kentucky, and is currently a licensed therapist. They were Chrismated in the Evangelical Orthodox Church in 1996, and eventually received by Archbishop Dmitri into the Orthodox Church in America, through the Diocese of the South in February 2002. Following further mentoring and training, Fr. David was ordained to the Diaconate and Priesthood in June of that same year. The Ruckers continued serving the parish they helped to found, St. Athanasius Church, in Nicholasville, Kentucky until December 2006, when Fr. David was called to serve the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). Fr. David is also a member of the Department of Evangelism for the Orthodox Church in America and has served on the Board of Directors of OCMC. He and his wife have three children, Lauren, Ethan and Andrew.
Fr. Patrick Cardine
Breakout: "Freed From the 'Why': A Philosophy On How To Live" - Why do I exist? What is my purpose in life and how do I go about finding it? These are important questions, and yet if not properly processed can lead one down a circular path of dark, self-focused introspection instead of enlightened direction. The pursuit of our purpose can turn into egotism, in which case the whole venture leads nowhere.To truly find one’s purpose requires a flanking maneuver, not a direct approach. When we discover – with the help of St. Benedict – the secret of stability, equilibrium and contentment, we are freed from the egotistical and unsatisfying “why”. And here is the irony: it is by finding God in the banal, through stability and contentment, that we discover the transcendent purpose of our life. And we are shocked to learn that God did not make us for a reason – some functional purpose – but for something altogether more wonderful.
Fr. Patrick Cardine is pastor of St. Patrick Orthodox Church in Bealeton Virginia. He is also the creator and administrator of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate website, The Orthodox West.
Born in 1967 and raised in a devout Evangelical home, he began asking questions about historical Christianity in 1985. He serendipitously stumbled onto Orthodoxy through reading Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” and over the next 21 years continued his trajectory towards historical Christianity. During this time he pastored churches in Virginia, spent two years in a Benedictine Community, and traveled internationally as an evangelist. After a long preparation and gestation period, in 2006 he and a group of 43 souls (the foundation of St. Patrick's) were received into the Orthodox Church by Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Warrenton, Virginia.
Fr. Patrick is also a master blacksmith and owns a very active nationally recognized Architectural Metal Studio which employs around 18 people. The tension between his artistic business and priestly ministry has been a major factor in shaping not only his own Christian life but also the way in which he pastors those in his care, especially his approach to discipling young adults. Fr. Patrick and his wife have five daughters and one son. He intends to be buried, God willing, in the cemetery at St. Patrick’s.
Dr. Stephen Muse
Relationship Intensive: "Getting Real: The Journey from Virtual to Reality in Search of Love" - This interactive and engaging session will focus on the Orthodox Christian contribution to creating healthy and deep relationships rooted in authenticity, love and dia-Logos in contrast to the isolation, polarization, and self focus that are inherent to the monologue. He will touch on the characterological armor that helps us survive but limits our potential later, rendering us more vulnerable to addiction.
Rev. Dn. Stephen Muse, Ph.D. directs Counselor Training and the Clergy-in-Kairos program for the Pastoral Institute, Inc. in Columbus, Georgia. He has served as PT faculty with Columbus State University and as adjunct faculty with Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Illinois; Union Graduate Institute in Ohio and with the Antiochian House of Studies graduate program in pastoral theology. He taught and supervised in the U.S. Army Family Life Chaplain Training program at Fort Benning for 21 years and has worked extensively with veterans on spiritual and psychological issues related to returning home after combat.
Stephen has lectured and led workshops throughout the U.S. and Internationally in the civilian sector and for the U.S. Army and was invited to speak at the Pentagon on combat related trauma, moral injury and spiritual pain. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Davidson College, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary; and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Loyola University of Maryland in counseling psychology with pastoral emphasis. He is Diplomate certified by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors; in Professional Psychotherapy with the International Academy of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy and Diplomate Board certified with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and Board certified in clinical hypnotherapy. He is Level II trained in EMDR, is an AAMFT Approved supervisor and state licensed in Georgia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist. He has been published in numerous books and academic journals, and his work has been translated into Serbian, Russian, Greek, Swedish and Romanian. He and his wife Claudia have been married for 36 years and have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Breakout: "Technology Which Unites and Divides" - Seeking Authentic Relationship:Do social media, mobile apps, and the many digital tools always ready at hand create a more connected world, as we are led to believe? Or does this technology actually create barriers and prevent us from experiencing authentic relationship? In this workshop, we will explore the opportunities and challenges that technology offers when it comes to developing healthy relationships with and attaining knowledge of God, our neighbor, and self.
Jamil Samara is the Director of the Department of Internet Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He is an active member of St. Mary Orthodox Church of Cambridge, MA as a chanter and choir member and the coordinator of the parish's young adult ministry.
Jamil holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Boston College and an M. Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. His primary investigative area of interest is the convergence of technology and faith and its implications on our relationships with God and one another.
Breakout: "Why Are You Here? Becoming an Engaged Disciple of Christ" - Can we create within ourselves and our communities engaged disciples of Christ, stewards of The Church and lovers of God? St. Diadochos said, “True theology isn’t information about God, but an experience of God.” So how do we experience God in a deeper, more meaningful way and thus become lovers of God? The good news is that we have 2000 years of Christian experience to draw from, the fullness of the tools that The Church gives us…we just have to pick up those tools and use them. Here’s how…
Scott Davenport is an Atlanta native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He spent 25 years in the music industry with Island Def Jam and Geffen Records where he worked with artists such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Nirvana, Guns and Roses, Mariah Carey, Bon Jovi and many more.
Scott converted to Orthodoxy after meeting his future wife in Charlotte, NC. He describes his next 16 years in the Church as “Orthodoxy through osmosis; more audience member than participant”. It wasn’t until a conversation, with the priest who would become his spiritual Father, concerning the fullness of the Church that Scott began his true journey. Now a passionate lover of God and His Church, Scott devotes his time and energy to teaching others how to deepen their experience in the Church through understanding our true purpose, how we can participate fully in being Christians and how broadening our knowledge of what the Church offers allows us all to become true Apostles of Christ.
Breakout: “Embracing the Grace of Forgiveness” - Forgiveness strengthens our mind, giving us the gifts of clarity and awareness in living our lives as God’s beloved children. Are you weary and exhausted in your pattern of negative self-talk? Have you forgiven yourself for past mistakes or are they stealing from you even today? Are you able to truly forgive others? Do you know what forgiveness is and the freedom it holds? We often keep ourselves in bondage with unforgiveness, all while holding blessings from God and the key to our joy. In this interactive session, we’ll explore the concept of forgiveness (what it is and what it is not) and learn about its healing power so we’re more able to live with purpose the lives God created for us.
Paula Marchman, MA, LPC, is the managing director of Family Life Ministry (FLM) for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta. She practices Christian Psychotherapy in a private Counseling Office in Atlanta. Paula received her Baccalaureate degree in biology/chemistry from Georgia State University and her masters degree in professional counseling from Richmont University. She is a Level 2 Gottman certified couple therapist and trained facilitator. Paula also enjoys working on Family Insights, a podcast found on The Orthodox Christian Network & FLM. She is a member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Paula and her husband Tom Lekas enjoy spending time with their eight grandchildren.