Here at the Preachers Institute, we wish to offer our congratulations to our brother in the Lord, Barnabas Powell, who today received the laying on of hands to the Holy Diaconate!
Fr. Dcn. Barnabas is not only a friend, he is one of us – a member of the Preachers Institute, and student at Holy Cross Theological School in Brookline, MA. At the recent Art of Speaking Workshop (you can see the Review here), he was one of the four presenters.
Fr. Dcn. Barnabas (Charles) Powell is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. Having been raised in a small Pentecostal church as a boy, Fr. Dcn. Barnabas grew to love the church, enjoy the music, and eventually came to be the youth pastor of his home church.
Fr. Dcn. Barnabas attended Toccoa Falls College, an Evangelical Protestant school in North East Georgia, and received his theology degree there in 1988. He then went on to establish a new church in the Atlanta area that was an Evangelical congregation with Charismatic distinctives. While pastoring, Barnabas also was heavily involved with Evangelical Christian media.
He served Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries as Promotions and Public Relations coordinator, and also served as the Affiliates manager for Leading The Way Ministries with Dr. Michael Youssef.
He pastored for several years and saw the congregation grow from two families to over 200 in the space of a few years. During this time, Barnabas became interested in the history of the Church, and began a reading program that would eventually lead him to enter the Orthodox Christian Church. Several of the families that had been with him during his pastorate entered the Orthodox Christian Church together with Barnabas in November of 2001.
Fr. Dcn. Barnabas joined the staff of Orthodox Christian Network, the producers of Come Receive The Light, in April of 2003, and now serves the media outreach as the director of development. Orthodox Christian Network is the SCOBA Agency commissioned to create and sustain a national media outreach for the Orthodox Christian Churches in the U.S.
In 2007 Fr. Barnabas was given the blessing of Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta to enter Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and he and his wife and daughter moved to Boston to pursue his Master of Divinity in preparation for ordained ministry in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, if God wills. He is currently in his senior year at Holy Cross and is also an adjunct professor for Public Speaking/Communications at Hellenic College and also assists in the graduate school in teaching the Preaching course for senior seminarians.
Fr. Dcn. Barnabas is married to Connie (Demas) Powell and they have one daughter, Alexandra.
As I wrote in my review of the Art of Speaking Workshop, he’s a southern gentleman with a fire in his belly for the Gospel, and a clear vision of the future of the Orthodox Church in the USA.
He also writes the blog, Sober Joy. The article below is taken from his blog, and is a small example of his excellent work.
Axios! Fr. Barnabas! Congratulations, and many, blessed years to you.
I Believe vs. I Know
Have you ever thought about the difference between “I believe” and “I know?”
Many today prefer “I know” to “I believe.” They want to know beyond a doubt that something is “true” and they will discount any opinion that may not be able to be “proven” to their satisfaction.
But faith isn’t like that. Faith says “I believe,” and its belief isn’t dependent on empirical proof. Faith doesn’t require proof; it requires love and trust. It is like a father asking a son to jump into his arms. At that moment the son decides what he believes about his father. Will my father catch me or let me fall? If there is love and trust, the son jumps.
That’s why so many arguments about the truthfulness of the Christian faith leave me a little hollow. It seems many even within the Christian community have accepted the notion that “I know” is more powerful than “I believe.” Books have been written about how this fact proves Christianity and that fact proves Christianity. They even offer some “evidence that demands a verdict” to show beyond a doubt that Christ rose from the dead. Right now there is a team of explorers planning another trip to Mt. Ararat in Turkey to “find” Noah’s Ark. And these so-called proofs of the faith simply create more opportunities for folks to disagree over the interpretation of these same “facts.”
Do I discount the importance of this evidence? No, not at all. But while it is encouraging to see these facts brought to light, even if this “evidence” didn’t exist, I would still believe. I believe because I love and know God. In fact, much to the chagrin of many modern day “thinkers,” the ancient path to understanding and true knowledge is to believe so that I might understand.
I know this attitude toward belief and faith frustrates some who feel more comfortable with indisputable facts, but how many truly indisputable facts do you really know?
The truth is that all of us “look through a glass darkly” and much of the things we think we know are really strongly held beliefs. That’s OK. It doesn’t diminish the truth or power of those beliefs at all. It is only when we believers capitulate to the spirit of the age – “unless I can see it I won’t believe it” – that we give up the most powerful proof of all, our faith.
It was in the arena where the martyrs for our faith proved to the world that what they believed was more important than their own comfort and safety – that their hope of eternity took priority over the beasts they could see and feel.
What is our belief based on? What is the foundation of our belief?
Is it the Scriptures, perhaps? Maybe, but what about the myriad of interpretations about the meaning of the Scriptures? Is it tradition? That would be fine, but which tradition?
No, our faith is based not on ideas, like the other world religions, but on a Person Who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” Our faith is centered on and focused on Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
That’s why the Creed we recite each week at Liturgy is called “The Symbol of Faith.” The Creed accurately reflects the Face of Jesus Christ back to us. The Creed (the word itself means “I believe”) is the embodiment of what we hold to be true and what we declare as the foundation of our lives and our actions. This Creed helps us make visible what we believe about Jesus Christ and His Church.+