The Servant Parish Project is a Doctor of Ministry research study concerned with strengthening our commitment as Orthodox Christians to compassionate ministry to the poor and suffering.

Father Alexander Schmemann provides the inspiration for this project.  In 1965, Father Alexander wrote about the need to replace the false ideal of “serving the parish” with the concept of “the parish as servant.”[1]  The two key research questions of this project grow from Father Alexander’s diagnosis:

  1. How should Orthodox Christians think about the commandment found throughout Holy Scripture to honor “justice” (Isaiah 1:17, Amos 5:24, Micah 6:8, Luke 18:1-8)?
  2. What strategies can Orthodox parishes pursue to create “servant parishes” actively engaged in ministry, in particular, to the poor and suffering?

In this study, we are hoping to learn from you. As an adult Orthodox Christian or Catechumen, what are your attitudes toward serving those in need? What are your experiences? What has influenced your views about compassionate ministry in the local community?


[1]   Alexander Schmemann, “”Problems of Orthodoxy in America: III. The Spiritual Problem,” Saint Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 9 (1965), p. 190.