Brookline, MA- The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College presented its first annual Women Leaders of the Church Lecture on Thursday, March 26. It is no surprise that the OVM selected Paulette Poulos to give the inaugural address. Before a standing-room only crowd, Ms. Poulos shared her experience of service to the Church, starting in 1964 at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and culminating in her current position at Leadership 100.
Paulette stated that it was her experiences with Archbishop Iakovos that had the greatest impact on her work for the Church: "He was a visionary and innovator, really ahead of his time. Who would ever dream that my life would revolve around the Church the way that it has? This was the Archbishop's gift to me and to many others privileged to serve him and the Church, especially the women of our Church."
Ms. Poulos has been associated with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese throughout her working career. She joined the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in 1964 and has served in various capacities of increasing responsibilities, including Director of LOGOS and Associate Director for Stewardship Ministry. From 1984 to 1996, she served as Archbishop Iakovos' administrator and remained with him until his passing. She was the driving force in raising the necessary funds to complete the Archbishop Iakovos Library and Research Center on the campus of Hellenic College and Holy Cross.
The OVM will sponsor the Women Leaders of the Church Lecture annually. The OVM was established in 2003 when Hellenic College became one of 88 accredited colleges and universities in the United States to receive prestigious grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. for "the theological exploration of vocation." The Lilly Endowment, one of the largest philanthropic foundations in America and Europe, believes that vital religious communities are essential for a flourishing and humane society, and targeted a key need with their initiative: to keep these communities strong and vibrant, the next generation of talented leadership, both ordained and lay, must be cultivated.
To this end, OVM sponsors vocational exploration programs for high school and college students both at Hellenic College and across the nation. On the campus of Hellenic College and Holy Cross the OVM runs: CrossRoad, a summer institute for high school students; Hellenic College Student Vocation Programs, including seven leadership development programs for Hellenic College undergraduates; and the Orthodox Scholars' Initiative, grant opportunities and symposia for Hellenic College faculty and Orthodox faculty nationally. In addition, OVM programs have national scope through close ties with the North American Office of Orthodox Christian Fellowship, an inter-Orthodox effort that aims at keeping college students connected to the Church during their years on campus.
Through this three-pronged approach of focusing on Orthodox high school students, college students, and faculty at Hellenic College and across the nation, the OVM is meeting a deep need in the Orthodox Church to increase the number of young people who choose full-time Christian ministry and ethically-informed careers. The OVM programs target students at a critical juncture in their lives, offering unprecedented resources for them to explore their vocations.