Get to know our editorial board by reading the short biographies below.
Our Editorial Board
Nancy, a former Southern Baptist, was chrismated in 1982. Since becoming Orthodox, she has been active in parish life. She has served on the parish council of her home parish, St. Andrew Orthodox Church (Antiochian) in Lexington, Kentucky, and on a number of other committees. In addition, she has led retreats, given homilies, and conducted seminars on St. Gregory of Palamas and the Theotokos.
Nancy holds a Master's of Divinity from the Yale Divinity School, and she was the first woman to receive the Doctor of Ministry degree from St. Vladimir's Seminary. Her D.Min. dissertation was "Woman as God-Bearer: Maternity and the Mother of God," in which she examined five aspects of Mary's maternity: birthgiving, nurturing, relinquishing, sorrow, and joy, relating these to women's role in the church. She has developed and taught a course at Berea College entitled, "Christian Icons and Secular Images: Seeing is Believing," in which she addresses the power of images in today's culture and how they mold our views of reality, and compares these images to icons as mediators of reality in Orthodoxy.
"I am especially concerned about the vitality of Orthodoxy as it witnesses to our spirituality-starved American culture," Nancy comments. "The revitalization of the Church is integrally linked to the recognition, support and re-Spiriting of the gifts of all its member regardless of gender in order to live out the fullness of the Body of Christ. I believe the St. Nina Quarterly can contribute to this end and move the Church toward a more viable witness to those outside the Church who are in so much need of its life of healing and transformation."
Nancy is a campus minister at Berea College, a small nondenominational liberal arts college which primarily serves the Appalachian region. In addition to teaching she has given homilies on a variety of topics, including suffering and forgiveness, at Danforth Chapel at Berea College.
Dee has sung in her church choir since she was thirteen and is currently the chanter at St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church in Greenwood Village, Colorado. She edits and compiles Byzantine music in English for liturgical use. Her other parish activities have included teaching church school, offering adult education classes, and conducting Bible study, as well as preaching and leading retreats and workshops.
For eight years, Dee has been the Orthodox representative to the Colorado Council of Churches, the Capitol Hill United Ministers, and the Denver Area Interfaith Alliance. She was also a member of the Diocese Family Ministries Task Force in the diocese of Denver (GOA). She has also presented talks to various groups in the Denver area.
Dee has founded and been active in several Orthodox groups. She established Orthodox People Together, a grass-roots network of Orthodox Christians dedicated to united witness in North America across jurisdictional and geographic boundaries; the Rocky Mountain Orthodox Christian Fellowship, a local pan-Orthodox lay group; the Orthodox Christian Outreach Center (OCOC), a joint effort of fourteen Denver-area churches that provide food and clothing to the needy in inner-city Denver. More recently, she organized Women's Orthodox Ministries and Education Network (WOMEN), an international grass-roots network to support the ministry of Orthodox women to Christ and His Church. She also runs Macrina Publications, a mail-order catalogue of resources by, for, and about Orthodox women.
Dee is a member of several professional organizations, including the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion (OCMPR); the American Association of Pastoral Counselors; the American Academy of Religion; the American Clinical Pastoral Education; and the College of Chaplains. In addition to holding certificates in Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, and in Orthodox Studies from Holy Cross Seminary, Dee has a Master's in Divinity from the Iliff School in Denver.
"I see St. Nina as one of two products of the WOMEN's network, providing a print and electronic forum for consistent, open, and in-depth dialogue," says Dee. "WOMEN's second product is the promotion of conferences to achieve these same goals. I do it personally because, as National Coordinator for OPT for eight years, I repeatedly heard stories of isolation, frustration, and pain at the invisibility of women's contributions to the Church, and the need of women in Orthodox ministry for input from peers. Our goals are to promote and improve the service of women to the Church by providing encouragement and a sense of sisterhood for women in Orthodox ministry, to share resources and information, and to enhance the spiritual lives of ourselves and our communities."
Dee is also a wife and the mother of two teenagers. She works full-time as a hospice chaplain for PorterCare Hospice, Denver. Prior to her chaplaincy, Dee operated, along with an Orthodox priest, a pastoral counseling practice that offered counseling and spiritual direction, as well as consultation services for clergy. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Religious Studies Department, School for Professional Studies, Regis University, Denver.
Valerie Karras has always been interested in theology. After receiving a B.A. in Political Science from Washington University, she completed a Master's of Theological Studies at Holy Cross School of Theology and Th.D. in Greek patristics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She is currently a doctoral candidate in church history at the Catholic University of America, where she expects to complete her dissertation in December 1997. She has returned to two of her alma maters to teach courses in such areas as Byzantine history, Church history, and women's roles in ancient Greece and Rome, first as an adjunct lecturer at Washington University and then as an assistant professor at Holy Cross.
"As an Orthodox woman, my spiritual and liturgical life in the Church is an important part - perhaps the most important part - of who I am," remarks Valerie. "And, as a church historian and theologian, the lives and experiences of generations of women in the Church are important to me. At Holy Cross, I taught a course on gender issues in the Orthodox Church. We looked at various historical, anthropological, and theological aspects of men and women, their relationships with each other, and their participation in the life of the church.
"Much of my research has been in gender studies. In my dissertation for the Aristotle University of Thessaloniski, I studied the Greek Fathers' interpretations of the creation of man and woman in Genesis and what that meant to them about the nature of sex and gender. I am currently working on my Catholic University dissertation, 'The Liturgical Participation of Women in the Byzantine Church,' in which I examine issues such as menstruation, childbirth, and the position and function of the deaconess."
Valerie's articles and translations have appeared in numerous journals, including the Greek Orthodox Theological Review, and in the book Holy Women of Byzantium: Ten Saints' Lives in English Translation. She has participated in several ecumenical conferences organized by the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches and is currently Assistant Director for Institutional Planning and Special Projects at Hellenic College and Holy Cross.
Music is Valerie's avocation. She has been active in church choirs since the age of fifteen, serving variously as singer, choir director, and organist. She was a member of the executive board of the Chicago Diocese Choir Federation and is involved in the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians. She studied chant with Eleftherios Georgiades, former second chanter at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, under whose tutelage she received a diploma in Byzantine music from the Ministry of Culture in Greece.
Chrismated in 1988, Karen has been active in youth ministry in her parish and throughout the Boston area. She has taught church school and has led a young adults' discussion group. She and her husband, Norman Redington, were among the founding members of FOCUS (Fellowship of Orthodox Christian University Students) which established and supported Orthodox Christian Fellowships (OCF) on six major campuses in the Boston area. Karen and Norman researched and designed a map of the Orthodox churches in Boston that is included in welcome packets distributed at the campus OCF meetings. Karen has been a member of her parish council, undertaking such tasks as auditor and treasurer.
Her theological education has been gained from adult education classes, from reading the Fathers and related books, and from translating patristic texts from Latin. She has translated the life of St. Rupert (Robert) of Salzburg and is working on the Apothegmata of St. Gildas the Wise and "The Formulae" by St. Eucherius of Lyons.
"When I first became Orthodox, I was struck by the discussion of power," Karen says. "Whoever is holy is powerful. And 'whoever' has no limitations: male, female, monastic, lay - even a priest can be. I would like to see more people in the Church act powerfully from the love they bear Christ and the Church. I feel that in the Church, as in the world, women's roles have been overlooked and certainly underappreciated! St. Nina is an expression of who women have been, who they are, and who they will become in the Church."
Karen is a freelance writer and, with Norman, the general editor of the ECOLE Initiative, an early Church encyclopedia on the Internet. She and Norman are also the co-creators of the St. Pachomius Library, and Internet resource for patristic texts.
Bonnie grew up in a small parish in rural Washington State that did not have a priest until she was in high school. Every Sunday the members of the parish had a reader's service, singing the Carpatho-Russian melodies that her grandmother had brought from the old country. Bonnie's grandmother had a profound influence on her life, especially in imparting her love for the Church. Bonnie stood by her side at the chanter's stand and learned to lead the congregation in singing. Later, she moved to Seattle and became a member of an OCA parish. She participated in the services as a reader in Church Slavonic and English and as a member of the choir.
After a number of years of working in business, she attended St. Vladimir's Seminary and received a certificate in liturgical music, after which she stayed an extra year to gain credits for the Master of Arts in Liturgical Music.
"I had always taken it for granted that women were to be active participants in the life of the Church," Bonnie comments. "But as I experienced more and more of the Orthodox world at large, I found that my assumptions did not always match the reality. I am particularly concerned with the influx of fundamentalist attitudes and approaches that attempt to limit the role of women and that present a distorted view of life in the Church. I am hoping that this publication will be able to address some of the concerns that I and many others have regarding the participation of women."
She recently completed a Master's degree in Music and Women's Studies and is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at Brandeis University. She is also working on a graduate certificate in Critical and Creative Thinking.
She works as a choir director at St. John of Damascus Church in Dedham, Mass.
Despina is the daughter of a Greek Orthodox priest and presbytera, both of whom felt that the education of their five daughters was one of their most important responsibilities. Her parents' emphasis on education, combined with her own formative spiritual experience in her parish and, especially at Ionian Village in Greece, led Despina to pursue a theological education. She has recently completed the courses for a doctorate in historical theology at the Catholic University of America, and received a Master's of Divinity from Holy Cross School of Theology. She has represented the Orthodox at several World Council of Churches conferences during the past four years, and, during this same time, has been active in working on the Apostolic Faith Study Guide and has presented papers at an international conference of Orthodox women. Her interest in ecumenism stems from her belief that we in the United States are blessed to have the opportunity to show others how different religions can coexist peacefully.
Despina joined the editorial board because she "realized that the time was long past due for a forum where members of our Church, maybe more specifically women, could address their interests and concerns. I remember one evening when I met a recent convert to Orthodoxy who asked why there was no collection of writings by Orthodox women for other women to read. She said she owned an anthology of writings by Roman Catholic women and felt we should have the same type of collection for and by Orthodox women. My response was my usual: 'You must do it!' But I realized as a recent convert she was searching and growing. This is why a publication like St. Nina is so important and so timely."
When she is not writing papers or translating, she is employed as a registered nurse, specializing in Gerontology.
Teva was raised in the Orthodox Church and has been an active member for most of her life. For many years she was involved in the work of youth ministries in the Church, serving as summer camp counselor and teacher as well as working with the American Romanian Orthodox Youth (AROY). She was involved with AROY on the national level for ten years, two as the National President. In the course of her work she traveled to churches across the country helping to set up local chapters and organizing retreats and workshops. She also served as National Conference Chair and Editor of the AROY newsletter.
Teva participated in inter-Orthodox youth work with the Youth Department of the Orthodox Church in America and helped to organize Orthodox Christian Youth Fellowships on college campuses. In addition, she worked with Syndesmos, the worldwide fellowship of Orthodox youth.
She actively participates in her current parish as a member of the choir and as a reader, but says that the limits placed on women in regard to the liturgical life of the Church has always been a point of frustration for her. After much study and prayer, she has come to believe firmly that there are no theological reasons for these limitations. "I feel that this situation is not only hurtful to women who want to offer their gifts, but impedes the work of the Holy Spirit within the entire Church. It is my hope that the journal will be a place where we can look at these issues honestly and that it will serve as a vehicle for renewal in the Church. I fully believe that any practices that are honest reflections of the Truth will stand up to critical examination."
Teva works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as Computer Networks Manager in the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. She holds a Master's degree in music from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Master of Science degree in computer science from Boston University.
Christina, the daughter of a priest, was nurtured in several parishes of the Antiochian Archdiocese of America. She taught and helped to run Sunday schools, held several offices in SOYO (Syrian Orthodox Youth Organization), sang in choirs, and served as a chanter. Her successful participation in oratorical festivals and Bible bowls inspired her love of preaching. She has since given numerous sermons in various parishes.
Christina received her B.A. in education from Hellenic College where she served as chapel chairperson. She went on to obtain a Master's degree in theology from St. Vladimir's Seminary and then a Master's degree in education and a certificate in drug and alcohol counseling from the University of Massachusetts. While working on her degrees, Christina served at Antiochian Village in various capacities.
While pursuing a career as a special needs educator and substance abuse counselor, Christina has led retreats and given talks at a number of churches. She also recently spoke on the ministry of Orthodox women at a Conference of the World Council of Churches.
"My desire to work on this journal stems from my gifts of teaching and counseling, as well as from my gift of writing," remarks Christina. "I want to encourage other women and men to use their gifts to the glory of God and to learn more about our faith so we can better witness to Christ and serve His Church in our often fragmented society."
Christina chants and sings at St. Nicholas Church in Los Angeles, where her husband serves as the second priest. She is chaplain to the Ladies' Society of her parish and she is active in offering pastoral ministry to others. Christina has a special interest in Orthodox pastoral ministry about which she is currently writing.
Helen's parents were among the founding fathers and mothers of Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, Ill., which she has attended since she was a little girl, and where she currently worships with her family. Her studies at Holy Cross School of Theology encouraged the growth of her participation in her home parish, where she has taught Bible study for young adults and began the first Church Summer Vacation Program for children. She has led retreats in her parish and in the diocese, and has also lectured about the Orthodox Church to both Orthodox and non-Orthodox groups. She frequently reads at services and has occasionally preached sermons.
After receiving her Master's of Theological Studies degree from Holy Cross Seminary, she went to the University of Chicago Divinity School where she obtained her M.A. in Divinity and Ph.D. in Theology - concentrating in Patristic Theology, a topic which encompasses Orthodox theology, Christian mystical and ascetic theology, and ethics. For one year she taught Orthodox Studies at Loyola University, during which time she also served as the campus' Orthodox Chaplain.
"I have two main reasons," Helen notes, "for participating in the work of this journal. First, I believe that Orthodox women have many gifts and ministries that have not in the past been given an adequate forum for their expression. I hope that this journal will be helpful in providing that forum (at least in part, for this is only a beginning) and in promoting the efforts of women as they participate in various aspects of Church life. Second, I believe strongly that the study of our Orthodox theology and faith is necessary for Orthodox Christians, and that the more we learn about our faith, the more we will see its beauty and truth and will fall in love with it, truly committing ourselves to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope this journal will aid in this process of study and growth."
Helen is a busy stay-at-home mother with three children. She is also an adjunct professor at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (an Episcopalian Seminary) in Evanston, Ill. where she teaches courses in Patristic Theology and Christian mystical and ascetic theology. In addition, she writes for the Greek Orthodox Theological Review.