Today, the Theological Institute Philadelphia (TIP) simultaneously announced in Philadelphia and Kiev the launch of a Foundation whose goal is to educate, enlighten and engage society in the Pan-Orthodox faith and theology by providing the means and tools to clergy, chaplains, professors, scholars and students. TIP is an American organization founded in Philadelphia and plans to open an office in Kiev. TIP received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status on June 15, 2018. Founder and President, Ms. Susan Guz, said, “TIP’s core values --- service, compassion, and charity-- are values rooted in the Bible.”
TIP traces its genesis to December 2017 when Ms. Guz learned that the oldest institution of higher education in Eastern Europe, the Theological Academy of Kiev, surprisingly did not have computers on their campus. The technology was needed not only for academic purposes but to move the Academy into the 21st Century. In the spirit of the holiday season, Ms. Guz purchased six new laptops and other computer necessities that were immediately shipped to Ukraine. This initial donation gave birth to the Theological Institute Philadelphia. Ms. Guz remembers: “At the time, I was reminded of a Native American proverb: one finger cannot lift a pebble.”
In April 2018, Ms. Guz was visiting Kiev and was approached by the Synodal Administration for Chaplaincies in Ukraine whose special needs and goals of their chaplains, from simple prayer cards to the more ambitious possibility of a mobile church to minister in areas of conflict, were made known. Soon after her return to Philadelphia, Ms. Guz was driving along I-95 and saw a sign, “Used Army Trucks For Sale”. “What a perfect initial project for TIP,” thought Ms. Guz. “One person alone could not do this, but a group contributing funds through TIP could realistically purchase and send a truck to Ukraine to be refurbished as a mobile church for the chaplains.”
Vetting projects with measurable outcomes, TIP will be managed from Philadelphia and will work diligently to minister to the citizens of Ukraine and other countries. TIP’s efforts will overlap with diplomacy by strengthening relationships and promoting international religious freedoms. Look for an announcement of TIP’s website in the coming months. TIP invites corporations, leaders of industry and government, and individual donors to contribute to TIP. “Who has religion has peace and blessings in life,” concluded Very Reverend Bohdan Zhoba, Executive Director of TIP. For more information, contact Susan Guz, [email protected].