OCPM Convocation in Denver - 07/28/09The Very Rev. John Kowalczyk, Field Work Director at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, participated in the first Convocation of the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry gathering in Denver Colorado from July 28-30th.
The Convocation opened on Tuesday, July 28th with evening prayers at which Fr. John delivered a meditation. On Wednesday, July 29th, he delivered a presentation on the Field Education Program at St. Tikhon's Seminary and in particular the visitation program to SCI Waymart. The major thrust of the presentation was on the "Spiritual Care of the mentally disabled Prisoner." Fr. John has provided a clinical assessment for over eight thousand forensic inmates during the past 23 years and has served as a Forensic Chaplain at the institution.
The State Correction facility is only 5 miles from St. Tikhon's Seminary. St. Tikhon's Seminary and SCI Waymart have had formal affiliation for over 22 years. Hundreds of Seminarians have participated in this intense program, and several hundreds of prisoners have benefited from the visitation program and the Ministry of Sacred Presence by the Seminarians. The visitation program has been cited by ATS as a positive experience afforded to the Seminarians at St. Tikhon's and invaluable aspect of Priestly formation.
The Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary Fr. John Behr, who was in attendance at the convocation, stated that "St. Tikhon's Field Education Program in Prison Ministry is a model for other Seminaries to follow" and he commended the good work of Fr. John and St. Tikhon's Seminary for this high achievement.
On Tuesday evening at 4:30pm, Fr. John served the Vesper Service, and on Thursday, July 30th on the Feast Day of Holy Apostle Silas, the patron of Prison Ministry concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Father Duane Pederson, the leading Priest and Founder of this Prison Ministry, together with other clergy of S.C.O.B.A who are involved in prison work.
Fr. John is a member of the Board of Directors of O.C.P.M and looks forward to many more convocations representing St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary.