The St. Phoebe Center for the Deaconess, which is dedicated to educating and prayerfully advocating for the revival of the ordained female diaconate in the Orthodox Church to meet the ministerial needs of the Church and the world today, is presenting three timely and much-needed webinars that will focus upon and illuminate the role of women in the Orthodox Church. These enlightening webinars will offer new perspectives, dispel misconceptions, and offer a bold new vision regarding the participation of women in the life of God’s Holy Church.

The first of these informative webinars, “Girls’ and Women’s Liturgical Service,” will demonstrate how the greater participation of girls and women in the liturgical assembly of the Orthodox Church benefits the entire community. This event, which is co-sponsored with Axia Women and Dr. Patricia Fann Boutneff, will offer the perspective of Orthodox women who have experienced these ministries as girl altar servers and tonsured readers or chanters. Topics explored will include how to encourage the expansion of these ministries and how they do, and do not, connect with the revival of the ordained order of deaconesses. This webinar will be held on Zoom on Sunday, June 25, 2023 from 7PM to 8:30PM ET. The moderator will be St. Phoebe Center Board Member Dr. Teva Regule. Register Here

The second webinar, “Myth-Busting: Addressing the Myths Around Ordaining Deaconesses,” will directly engage with concerns and incorrect teachings about the revival of the ordained order of deaconesses in the Orthodox Church. The webinar panelists will address such issues as the unfounded but widespread belief that women are not allowed in the altar, lingering and theologically indefensible connections between women’s bodies and impurity, and “slippery slope” concerns about deaconesses leading to women priests. Panelists will include Rev. Fr. Peter Baktis of Mother of God Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Los Angeles, California; Sister Vassa Larin, PhD of Coffee with Sister Vassa; and Carrie Frederick Frost, PhD, the Chair of St. Phoebe Center Board Chair and professor at Western Washington University. The moderator will be St. Phoebe Board Secretary Dr. Helen Creticos Theodoropoulos. This webinar will be held on Zoom on Wednesday, July 19, 2023 from Noon to 1PM ET. Register Here

Then on Sunday, September 3, 2023, from 7PM to 8:30PM ET, the St. Phoebe Center will present “Church of our Granddaughters by Carrie Frederick Frost: An Evening with the Author.” Dr. Frost will speak about her new book, Church of Our Granddaughters, a visionary work of theology and ethics that looks hopefully and lovingly two generations into the future, imagining the Orthodox Church’s practices and realities rightfully aligned with its core theological teachings and truths regarding women. This reverent but bold work offers the necessary insight and inspiration to create a community that welcomes all its members, our granddaughters as well as our grandsons, thus allowing the Orthodox Church to better incarnate its mission of service and transfiguration. Register Here

Founded in 2013, the St. Phoebe Center for the Deaconess has worked tirelessly to hold several conferences — including the first ever in the United States solely dedicated to the female diaconate. The St. Phoebe Center has also made presentations across the country, partners with respected Orthodox organizations, and maintains a website that includes what is likely to be the largest collection of scholarship and resources on the female diaconate in the world. Board members have contributed outstanding articles and papers that support the need for the Church to examine how the talents, gifts, and experiences of women — more than half of its people — can help build up the entire Church today.

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