28 September 2012 • Faculty News • Virginia Nieuwsma
The Department of Youth, Young, Adult, and Campus Ministries of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) recently announced its 2012 YouTube Challenge for high school and college students. "A new program of the department, the YouTube Challenge invites high school and college students to respond to scriptural questions with a short video," said Department Chair Andrew Boyd, SVOTS Class of '12 . "Videos may be submitted either by individuals or by groups, such as an OCF chapter or parish youth group."
Individual and team videos will be evaluated by a panel of four judges led by The Rev. Dr. J. Sergius Halvorsen , assistant professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir's Seminary and Class of '96. Two other Seminary alumni will serve on the panel: Fr. Theophan Whitfield (SVOTS '10) and Dn. Jason Ketz (SVOTS '12).
Fr. Sergius explained, "The YouTube Challenge carries the venerable tradition of Orthodox oratorical festivals into the digital age. High School and collegiate participants will post videos to YouTube reflecting their experience of Christian life in the twenty–first century. Orthodox Christian youth from all Orthodox jurisdictions have been invited to respond to one of two questions, and to be as creative as possible."
Added Fr. Sergius, "Young people today are fluent in online media in ways that were inconceivable ten or twenty years ago, and YouTube is a powerful influence in their lives. Why not teach our young people to use this remarkable resource as means for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ? God willing, the YouTube Challenge will help youth and young adults to discover their God–given voices as Christian witnesses."
Participation is welcome for the high school division (ages 14–18) and the college division (ages 18–28) by all Orthodox Christians in North America.
"The highest scoring individual submission will be offered a trip to the 2013 Festival of Young Preachers in Atlanta, GA from January 2–5, 2013," Department Chair Boyd noted. "We hope this challenge will encourage our youth and young adults to think seriously about their faith and how to articulate it in the online environment."
Those wishing to participate should contact the Department of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org  by October 20, 2012. All video entries are due by midnight on November 10. Additional information, including rules, guidelines, judging criteria, and challenge questions can be found here.