New Training Programs Further Distinguish St. Nersess Seminary
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary will be offering continuing education programs to clergy serving within our dioceses in the coming months. Beginning this fall, St. Nersess will roll out an Acculturation Program for priests who will be serving in our diocese but are trained abroad. Additional programs that will be offered to parish priests will include: Preaching, Bereavement Counseling, Marriage Counseling, and Parish Administration. The Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean of St. Nersess, presented the new Acculturation Program to members of the St. Nersess Board of Directors in May, where it was received enthusiastically. “When someone asks what St. Nersess offers to our Armenian community, we can now add to our list of degrees, lectures, seminars, deacons’ training, and summer conferences… that person’s parish priest can receive further training on relevant topics,” remarked Fr. Mardiros.
St. Nersess has traditionally offered a Master of Divinity Degree and Armenian Church Studies Diploma in conjunction with St. Vladimir’s Seminary to its students. Now its expanded programming will allow clergy to continue their education. For priests who will be serving in our diocese but are trained abroad, they will have the opportunity to partake in a new Acculturation program. This program will further prepare foreign born clergy in American culture and traditions, sacramental and pastoral practices, ecumenical and inter-church relations, youth ministry, and administrative practices within our diocesan parishes. The program has already received positive feedback from clergy who are from Armenia serving in our diocese.
Furthermore, clergy who have faithfully served our parishes for many years will now have the opportunity to take continuing education classes in areas of greatest concern to parishioners. In the Preaching Program, instruction will be given to clergy to create a framework for more meaningful preaching and connectivity to their congregation by rethinking the process of writing and presenting a weekly sermon. This workshop is intended for all levels of clergy – from the most experienced to the relatively new. For those with years of experience, it will serve to reinforce skills they already have and offer a new perspective on preaching. For new clergy, it will help them develop and practice a skill that often times is the “first impression” left on their congregants.
In the Parish Administration Program, clergy will further develop their organizational and management skills. They will also receive support in fundraising ideas and efforts and communicative skills with parishioners. The Bereavement and Marriage Counseling Programs are still under development but will assist clergy in relating to present day issues found in our families and communities. All programs will be administered by professionals in their respective fields.
St. Nersess remains the only Armenian seminary that not only prepares men as priests but also lay leaders for administrative roles within the Armenian Church. Over the past year, construction has continued on the new St. Nersess campus in Armonk, NY, which when completed will offer state of the art learning and living facilities for current St. Nersess seminarians, as well as new programming, support, and training for local clergy and Armenian priests from abroad. Opportunities are available to donate towards St. Nersess mission and expansion programs by visiting our website, www.stnersess.edu.