• A blessed Nativity / Theophany season to all! For users new and old: the forum rules were streamlined when we transitioned to the new software. Please ensure that you are familiar with them. Continued use of the forum means that you (a) know the rules, and (b) pledge that you'll abide by them. For more information, check out the OrthodoxChristianity.Net Rules section. (There are only 2 threads there - Rules, and Administrative Structure.)

Local Parish Apparently Declining

Saxon

High Elder
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
512
Reaction score
73
Points
28
Age
31
Location
Canada
You all know my story so I won't repeat it for the millionth time, but as you know I ended up at an OCA parish and have been there with short-/long-term exceptions as I deal with my residual issues away from church.

This parish has been a very positive atmosphere, for me anyway - my "absences" from Orthodoxy and inability to maintain a consistent life of faith are down to me, and me alone - but some issues at the parish have been manifesting over time. I noticed that many parishioners have slowly and steadily left the church. This includes the deacon and his family last winter - leaving no other clergy and only one or two regular altar servers. At the annual general meeting around that time, the priest made a speech indicating complaints had been filed against him that he felt were unwarranted. I stopped attending regularly shortly thereafter and so haven't been in the loop on events there. I went to my first service this past week as I try once again to sincerely return to the faith. Few people were there, which is typical of a weekday service in this city, but there was a tense/hostile atmosphere. Coincidentally, the next day a friend from the parish who's a very active member reached out to me and indicated he's also leaving. Without going into detail, blame was placed pretty squarely on the priest for various things which, if true, certainly validates the (noticeable) decline in membership. Financial information disclosed as far back as the meeting last winter suggests that the long-, and perhaps short-term, survival of the church is in question with attendance and revenue continuing to dwindle.

Speaking anecdotally, I've noticed peculiarities and strictures that can be off-putting to some, but overall have found this priest to be wonderful and sincere and would have definitively walked away from Orthodoxy without him. But then again, I haven't been as involved with the parish as others and have less exposure to whatever has been going on there. I'm also trying to tread a fine line of not losing friends who have left, and not leaving a parish which I, personally, have found to be positive and a source of hope. I suppose my primary concern, then, is that the survival of this church is now up in the air, so while I wouldn't (yet) leave, I might not have a choice in the near future. There are no alternatives locally - of nine Orthodox churches here in town, it's the only one that holds services in English, and I wouldn't thrive or survive in an ethnic parish. I've been there and done that, and did it again while looking for an alternative to this parish (which has some parishioner overlap with the ROCOR church in town which, for obvious reasons, I don't want) and it isn't tolerable. There are also many Orthodox churches with an hour's drive or so from me, but none hold English services - this in the most densely-populated region of Canada - and only a handful include some English in the liturgy (some repeat the sermon in English and that's it).

I don't know how this is going to resolve. Maybe favorably, somehow and at some point, and this whole discussion is unnecessary. It's very frustrating, however, both in the vacuum of watching a parish unnecessarily fall apart, and in the wider context of converts here in Canada having few places to turn because of persistent ethnocentrism at non-OCA churches. I should add that I'm aware of a couple of people who have stopped attending church and left Orthodoxy altogether from the parish precisely because of this toxic mix of a negative experience in one place and with no suitable alternatives to turn to, and some others are working on setting up a mission church. I don't know what questions or discussion can be mined from this thread. In closing, anyway, I think the church, the (ex) parishioners, and myself could use some prayers, if nothing else.
 

Fr. George

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
21,897
Reaction score
69
Points
48
Age
39
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Saxon said:
In closing, anyway, I think the church, the (ex) parishioners, and myself could use some prayers, if nothing else.
Lord, have mercy!

Saxon said:
This parish has been a very positive atmosphere, for me anyway - my "absences" from Orthodoxy and inability to maintain a consistent life of faith are down to me, and me alone - but some issues at the parish have been manifesting over time. I noticed that many parishioners have slowly and steadily left the church. This includes the deacon and his family last winter - leaving no other clergy and only one or two regular altar servers. At the annual general meeting around that time, the priest made a speech indicating complaints had been filed against him that he felt were unwarranted. I stopped attending regularly shortly thereafter and so haven't been in the loop on events there. I went to my first service this past week as I try once again to sincerely return to the faith. Few people were there, which is typical of a weekday service in this city, but there was a tense/hostile atmosphere. Coincidentally, the next day a friend from the parish who's a very active member reached out to me and indicated he's also leaving. Without going into detail, blame was placed pretty squarely on the priest for various things which, if true, certainly validates the (noticeable) decline in membership. Financial information disclosed as far back as the meeting last winter suggests that the long-, and perhaps short-term, survival of the church is in question with attendance and revenue continuing to dwindle.

Speaking anecdotally, I've noticed peculiarities and strictures that can be off-putting to some, but overall have found this priest to be wonderful and sincere and would have definitively walked away from Orthodoxy without him. But then again, I haven't been as involved with the parish as others and have less exposure to whatever has been going on there. I'm also trying to tread a fine line of not losing friends who have left, and not leaving a parish which I, personally, have found to be positive and a source of hope. I suppose my primary concern, then, is that the survival of this church is now up in the air, so while I wouldn't (yet) leave, I might not have a choice in the near future. There are no alternatives locally - of nine Orthodox churches here in town, it's the only one that holds services in English, and I wouldn't thrive or survive in an ethnic parish. I've been there and done that, and did it again while looking for an alternative to this parish (which has some parishioner overlap with the ROCOR church in town which, for obvious reasons, I don't want) and it isn't tolerable. There are also many Orthodox churches with an hour's drive or so from me, but none hold English services - this in the most densely-populated region of Canada - and only a handful include some English in the liturgy (some repeat the sermon in English and that's it).

I don't know how this is going to resolve. Maybe favorably, somehow and at some point, and this whole discussion is unnecessary. It's very frustrating, however, both in the vacuum of watching a parish unnecessarily fall apart, and in the wider context of converts here in Canada having few places to turn because of persistent ethnocentrism at non-OCA churches. I should add that I'm aware of a couple of people who have stopped attending church and left Orthodoxy altogether from the parish precisely because of this toxic mix of a negative experience in one place and with no suitable alternatives to turn to, and some others are working on setting up a mission church. I don't know what questions or discussion can be mined from this thread. 
I'm saddened to hear that a parish that you've found to be good is facing these dire circumstances (made no easier by the pandemic, I presume).  I've certainly seen good parishes affected by negative attention (I mean, people hated Jesus in His earthly ministry, so we're not shocked), and I've seen parishes that don't function or witness well still resonate with some of the believers; I'm assuming that your community would fall into one of these groupings (or somewhere on a spectrum between them).

I think it's good that you're starting to attend more.  While you can't ultimately control the long-term destiny of the parish, using your actions (attendance, increased participation in the life of the community, donations, etc.) to reflect your value (that the parish is worth saving, both because it's benefited you personally, and because it is an English-language haven for the Orthodox in your area) is probably the best possible course of action for you.  I don't think you'll get far trying to win people over to your POV on the parish, but by doing what you can to sustain its life will give it more chances of witnessing Christ to more people.
 

Saxon

High Elder
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
512
Reaction score
73
Points
28
Age
31
Location
Canada
Fr. George said:
Saxon said:
In closing, anyway, I think the church, the (ex) parishioners, and myself could use some prayers, if nothing else.
Lord, have mercy!

Saxon said:
This parish has been a very positive atmosphere, for me anyway - my "absences" from Orthodoxy and inability to maintain a consistent life of faith are down to me, and me alone - but some issues at the parish have been manifesting over time. I noticed that many parishioners have slowly and steadily left the church. This includes the deacon and his family last winter - leaving no other clergy and only one or two regular altar servers. At the annual general meeting around that time, the priest made a speech indicating complaints had been filed against him that he felt were unwarranted. I stopped attending regularly shortly thereafter and so haven't been in the loop on events there. I went to my first service this past week as I try once again to sincerely return to the faith. Few people were there, which is typical of a weekday service in this city, but there was a tense/hostile atmosphere. Coincidentally, the next day a friend from the parish who's a very active member reached out to me and indicated he's also leaving. Without going into detail, blame was placed pretty squarely on the priest for various things which, if true, certainly validates the (noticeable) decline in membership. Financial information disclosed as far back as the meeting last winter suggests that the long-, and perhaps short-term, survival of the church is in question with attendance and revenue continuing to dwindle.

Speaking anecdotally, I've noticed peculiarities and strictures that can be off-putting to some, but overall have found this priest to be wonderful and sincere and would have definitively walked away from Orthodoxy without him. But then again, I haven't been as involved with the parish as others and have less exposure to whatever has been going on there. I'm also trying to tread a fine line of not losing friends who have left, and not leaving a parish which I, personally, have found to be positive and a source of hope. I suppose my primary concern, then, is that the survival of this church is now up in the air, so while I wouldn't (yet) leave, I might not have a choice in the near future. There are no alternatives locally - of nine Orthodox churches here in town, it's the only one that holds services in English, and I wouldn't thrive or survive in an ethnic parish. I've been there and done that, and did it again while looking for an alternative to this parish (which has some parishioner overlap with the ROCOR church in town which, for obvious reasons, I don't want) and it isn't tolerable. There are also many Orthodox churches with an hour's drive or so from me, but none hold English services - this in the most densely-populated region of Canada - and only a handful include some English in the liturgy (some repeat the sermon in English and that's it).

I don't know how this is going to resolve. Maybe favorably, somehow and at some point, and this whole discussion is unnecessary. It's very frustrating, however, both in the vacuum of watching a parish unnecessarily fall apart, and in the wider context of converts here in Canada having few places to turn because of persistent ethnocentrism at non-OCA churches. I should add that I'm aware of a couple of people who have stopped attending church and left Orthodoxy altogether from the parish precisely because of this toxic mix of a negative experience in one place and with no suitable alternatives to turn to, and some others are working on setting up a mission church. I don't know what questions or discussion can be mined from this thread. 
I'm saddened to hear that a parish that you've found to be good is facing these dire circumstances (made no easier by the pandemic, I presume).  I've certainly seen good parishes affected by negative attention (I mean, people hated Jesus in His earthly ministry, so we're not shocked), and I've seen parishes that don't function or witness well still resonate with some of the believers; I'm assuming that your community would fall into one of these groupings (or somewhere on a spectrum between them).

I think it's good that you're starting to attend more.  While you can't ultimately control the long-term destiny of the parish, using your actions (attendance, increased participation in the life of the community, donations, etc.) to reflect your value (that the parish is worth saving, both because it's benefited you personally, and because it is an English-language haven for the Orthodox in your area) is probably the best possible course of action for you.  I don't think you'll get far trying to win people over to your POV on the parish, but by doing what you can to sustain its life will give it more chances of witnessing Christ to more people.
Hello Father,

I think it's a combination of the factors you mentioned. The fundamental problem seems to come down to a general inflexibility from both the priest and the congregation. They each have their own approaches and want their own way at all times and without compromise, and if they don't get, they lash out (the former) or abandon ship (the latter). Both sides are well aware of the problem, but instead of staying faithful and working for the greater good of the church, it's easier for the parishioners to leave and the priest to say "good riddance" - which apparently has literally been the case.

It's extremely worrying as this particular church is a linchpin of the Orthodox convert community in the area. I'd estimate 90-95% of the converts I know in town were either baptized there or ended committing there after coming to Orthodoxy. The mission parish that some of the former members have started perhaps represents a hopeful alternative, but they traditionally struggle in Canada. Who knows. I do miss that seemingly healthy and happy community I found after being in the wilderness following the end of my marriage.
 

Fr. George

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
21,897
Reaction score
69
Points
48
Age
39
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Saxon said:
The fundamental problem seems to come down to a general inflexibility from both the priest and the congregation. They each have their own approaches and want their own way at all times and without compromise, and if they don't get, they lash out (the former) or abandon ship (the latter). Both sides are well aware of the problem, but instead of staying faithful and working for the greater good of the church, it's easier for the parishioners to leave and the priest to say "good riddance" - which apparently has literally been the case.
I suppose we could wax theological here about the destructive nature of pride, but that wouldn't help.  But it's sad to have the shepherd say (or feel) "good riddance."  I'm not trying to cast blame, but whether he's right to feel that way or not it grieves me.

Saxon said:
It's extremely worrying as this particular church is a linchpin of the Orthodox convert community in the area. I'd estimate 90-95% of the converts I know in town were either baptized there or ended committing there after coming to Orthodoxy. The mission parish that some of the former members have started perhaps represents a hopeful alternative, but they traditionally struggle in Canada. Who knows. I do miss that seemingly healthy and happy community I found after being in the wilderness following the end of my marriage.
I think this is a failure of the larger Orthodox culture in town.  That's a lot of pressure to put on one parish (and the new mission).  I'm not necessarily opposed, in areas with larger immigrant communities, to having representational-type churches - but the larger communities should help fund / support the smaller ones in those cases (which where you are would mean both this OCA parish and the mission).  But that assumes that everyone is in the Church for Christ, which (sadly) likely isn't true.
 

Ainnir

Taxiarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
6,187
Reaction score
284
Points
83
Age
37
Lord, have mercy.
 

Pravoslavbob

Protokentarchos
Staff member
Moderator
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
3,696
Reaction score
8
Points
38
Location
Canada
There are also many Orthodox churches with an hour's drive or so from me, but none hold English services - this in the most densely-populated region of Canada - and only a handful include some English in the liturgy (some repeat the sermon in English and that's it).
I'm not sure why you would insist on this: Perhaps you have simply been misinformed by "those in the know"? In any event, a quick internet search would reveal the presence of at least three other English-language missions (which AFAIK you have not yet visited) within "an hour's drive or so" of Hamilton on the Canadian side of the border and a couple more stateside. (Not that the U.S. option is currently a good one, given the whole COVID business.) I agree, of course, that English-language Orthodoxy should be much more of a going concern in Canada than it is presently.
 

Saxon

High Elder
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
512
Reaction score
73
Points
28
Age
31
Location
Canada
I'm not sure why you would insist on this: Perhaps you have simply been misinformed by "those in the know"? In any event, a quick internet search would reveal the presence of at least three other English-language missions (which AFAIK you have not yet visited) within "an hour's drive or so" of Hamilton on the Canadian side of the border and a couple more stateside. (Not that the U.S. option is currently a good one, given the whole COVID business.) I agree, of course, that English-language Orthodoxy should be much more of a going concern in Canada than it is presently.
There's one English-language mission parish subordinated to a local Russophone ROCOR mother parish; there's one English-language Antiochian parish in Waterloo; one of the US parishes you're referring to is non-functional; the one I'm currently involved in may or may not get off the ground. Take Toronto - a city that large, with that many churches, and the only English-language Orthodox church is the chapel at the Orthodox divinity school at U of T. Even the OCA cathedral in town there is primarily Russian-speaking. Actually take the time do the research on the ground before throwing a "quick internet search" at me.
 

Ainnir

Taxiarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
6,187
Reaction score
284
Points
83
Age
37
Why can't you go to the Antiochian parish?
 

RaphaCam

Patriarch of Trashposting
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
8,663
Reaction score
103
Points
63
Age
23
Location
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website
em-espirito-e-em-verdade.blogspot.com
Lord, have mercy. I'm surprised by your patience after all that happened. I think you can be confident that this patient is not your work alone, but also the work of Someone Who loves you and wants you to stay despite any human limits in and around you.

BTW, I used to occasionally attend a church that prayed in Portuguese and was a daughter church to one that prayed most of the liturgy in Slavonic. The whole daughter-mother thing didn't affect us at all, actually the clergy made a big deal of serving Orthodoxy to regular Brazilians without Russian cultural influences. Just saying that because, if you haven't been to this daughter parish yet and the fact it's ROCOR doesn't stop you, perhaps you'd be surprised by its cultural atmosphere.
 

Saxon

High Elder
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
512
Reaction score
73
Points
28
Age
31
Location
Canada
Why can't you go to the Antiochian parish?
It's over an hour away and my work schedule means I would be limited to one service per week. If I cannot fully commit to a parish, with maximum attendance at the cycle of services and involvement in services and volunteering, then I would prefer one closer to home where I can do that.

Lord, have mercy. I'm surprised by your patience after all that happened. I think you can be confident that this patient is not your work alone, but also the work of Someone Who loves you and wants you to stay despite any human limits in and around you.

BTW, I used to occasionally attend a church that prayed in Portuguese and was a daughter church to one that prayed most of the liturgy in Slavonic. The whole daughter-mother thing didn't affect us at all, actually the clergy made a big deal of serving Orthodoxy to regular Brazilians without Russian cultural influences. Just saying that because, if you haven't been to this daughter parish yet and the fact it's ROCOR doesn't stop you, perhaps you'd be surprised by its cultural atmosphere.
The ROCOR mission parish is run by the former junior priest at my old church - the one who mediated my complaint to Archbishop Gabriel, but also continued serving alongside my former priest while hypocritically telling me not to publicly air the negative remarks he made about him in our private conversations. I have as little respect and regard for him as I do for the one who struck me.
 

Pravoslavbob

Protokentarchos
Staff member
Moderator
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
3,696
Reaction score
8
Points
38
Location
Canada
There's one English-language mission parish subordinated to a local Russophone ROCOR mother parish; there's one English-language Antiochian parish in Waterloo; one of the US parishes you're referring to is non-functional; the one I'm currently involved in may or may not get off the ground. Take Toronto - a city that large, with that many churches, and the only English-language Orthodox church is the chapel at the Orthodox divinity school at U of T. Even the OCA cathedral in town there is primarily Russian-speaking. Actually take the time do the research on the ground before throwing a "quick internet search" at me.
LOL. For sure there is one pretty big Antiochian parish near Niagara Falls, NY and a large OCA one in Buffalo. The Antiochian parish in KW is about one hour from central Hamilton. And another Antiochian one that you missed in St Catharines should be 30-60 minutes from you, depending on where you are in the Hamilton area. I didn't even mention the large Antiochian parish in Richmond Hill (which uses lots of English) that is about one hour and ten minutes from downtown Hamilton if you avoid the 407, shorter if you take it. And there is the OCA mission at U of T that you referenced. So it's simply not true that there are no other English-language churches in the entire Golden Horseshoe region, something that you insisted on in your earlier post.
 

Saxon

High Elder
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
512
Reaction score
73
Points
28
Age
31
Location
Canada
LOL. For sure there is one pretty big Antiochian parish near Niagara Falls, NY and a large OCA one in Buffalo. The Antiochian parish in KW is about one hour from central Hamilton. And another Antiochian one that you missed in St Catharines should be 30-60 minutes from you, depending on where you are in the Hamilton area. I didn't even mention the large Antiochian parish in Richmond Hill (which uses lots of English) that is about one hour and ten minutes from downtown Hamilton if you avoid the 407, shorter if you take it. And there is the OCA mission at U of T that you referenced. So it's simply not true that there are no other English-language churches in the entire Golden Horseshoe region, something that you insisted on in your earlier post.
You're not going to drop it and and there's clearly no point in engaging further, but I'll bite; I'm not driving to another country to attend church (and can't legally now or for the forseeable future); until I split with my wife I lived about two blocks away from the St. Catharines Antiochian church you're speaking of - it's New Calendar and is attended by the wife and children of the junior ROCOR priest I was speaking about above due to their dislike of Russian-language services (that church is also borderline inactive); St. George's in Richmond Hill, still not close, is, again, primarily Arabic. And that's what I'm tired of - the habit of ethnic churches of either holding separate English liturgies before/after the main ethnic liturgy, attended by no one (the Ukrainian church here in Hamilton does that - it gets four or five people), or incorporating bits of English into the liturgy (ie. repeating the sermon or creed in English) which draws it out and still doesn't create an atmosphere friendly to English-speakers (one of the Greek churches here does that; some parishioners actually departed for the other Greek parish because they resented the inclusion of English). Take Toronto - a city of millions with around 20 canonical Orthodox churches in the region proper, and the only all-English church is a university campus chapel. No matter how you try to break it down by technicalities, the situation remains absurd.
 

Nathanael

High Elder
Joined
Sep 16, 2012
Messages
577
Reaction score
24
Points
18
I think the church, the (ex) parishioners, and myself could use some prayers, if nothing else.
Lord Jesus Christ, by the prayers of St. John of San Francisco, St. Sophrony & Silouan the Athonite and by the prayers of all your Apostles, have mercy upon us & help us.
 

Ainnir

Taxiarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
6,187
Reaction score
284
Points
83
Age
37
Learning a bit of another language isn't terrible. I understand the distance, but it seems like you're insisting on a combination of criteria that almost guarantees you won't find a parish anywhere in North America. It might be good to focus your energy on helping out the parish you're in, if you like it, so it has less chance of folding.
 

Nathanael

High Elder
Joined
Sep 16, 2012
Messages
577
Reaction score
24
Points
18
Finding 10-20 people who are together with you willing to launch a new english speaking parish, which you all are ready to support financially.
And then mailing a signed letter to different bishops and praying you may find one who is willing to support your request...
 

Saxon

High Elder
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
512
Reaction score
73
Points
28
Age
31
Location
Canada
Finding 10-20 people who are together with you willing to launch a new english speaking parish, which you all are ready to support financially.
And then mailing a signed letter to different bishops and praying you may find one who is willing to support your request...
That's where I am now. We just received nonprofit status. Virus restrictions are making a lot of the ground work very difficult, so we'll see where it goes.
 

LukeDM

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2013
Messages
133
Reaction score
65
Points
28
Good luck and God bless your endeavor. Lord have mercy.
 

Stinky

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
438
Reaction score
172
Points
43
Location
America
How many people are committed to this new mission with you?
 

Saxon

High Elder
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
512
Reaction score
73
Points
28
Age
31
Location
Canada
How many people are committed to this new mission with you?
It started just before COVID hit and attendance has been very inconsistent. Some weeks around six people, others 20-30. Apparently another jurisdiction is also starting up a mission parish nearby and has more cash behind it. Who knows at this point.
 

Stinky

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
438
Reaction score
172
Points
43
Location
America
It started just before COVID hit and attendance has been very inconsistent. Some weeks around six people, others 20-30. Apparently another jurisdiction is also starting up a mission parish nearby and has more cash behind it. Who knows at this point.
May there be lots and lots of native tongue, non ethnic, non exclusive churches springing up everywhere. May everyone feel welcome to hear the Gospel and draw near to God. Lord have mercy.
 

RaphaCam

Patriarch of Trashposting
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
8,663
Reaction score
103
Points
63
Age
23
Location
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Website
em-espirito-e-em-verdade.blogspot.com
A friend of mine attends a parish that prays Church Slavonic, but given that she dislikes praying in other languages and was previously in one that prayed in Portuguese, she knows the Liturgy by heard and repeats it to herself simultaneously. She finds it less cumbersome than the strictness of the Portuguese-speaking parish. :LOL:
 

Ainnir

Taxiarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
6,187
Reaction score
284
Points
83
Age
37
May there be lots and lots of native tongue, non ethnic, non exclusive churches springing up everywhere. May everyone feel welcome to hear the Gospel and draw near to God. Lord have mercy.
All tongues are native and it’s impossible to be “non-ethnic.” How about “mostly English, non-phyletist”? I’ve never felt unwelcome in an Orthodox Church, no matter how much or how little English was being spoken. Maybe it’s just me, though.
 

Stinky

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
438
Reaction score
172
Points
43
Location
America
All tongues are native and it’s impossible to be “non-ethnic.” How about “mostly English, non-phyletist”? I’ve never felt unwelcome in an Orthodox Church, no matter how much or how little English was being spoken. Maybe it’s just me, though.
I'm very happy for you. May this be the case for all. I still have a lot to learn. I will go look up the word phyletist now. Thank you for your correction and clarification. Lord have mercy.
 

Ainnir

Taxiarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
6,187
Reaction score
284
Points
83
Age
37
I'm very happy for you. May this be the case for all. I still have a lot to learn. I will go look up the word phyletist now. Thank you for your correction and clarification. Lord have mercy.
It’s just really easy for us as inquirers and converts to insist that Orthodoxy conforms to us, instead of vice versa, and to project any discomfort we feel in unfamiliar surroundings onto the parish or jurisdiction as being unwelcoming. Certainly (and sadly) insular parishes exist, but we should be honest with ourselves first and examine others second.
 

Stinky

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
438
Reaction score
172
Points
43
Location
America
It’s just really easy for us as inquirers and converts to insist that Orthodoxy conforms to us, instead of vice versa, and to project any discomfort we feel in unfamiliar surroundings onto the parish or jurisdiction as being unwelcoming. Certainly (and sadly) insular parishes exist, but we should be honest with ourselves first and examine others second.
May the Gospel be preached and may we have ears to hear. May His love shine through all obstacles. May we accept the cross even when preached in tongues-though in our own backyard. May we all be living epistles read by all men. May God grant humility to all. Lord have mercy.
 

Timos

High Elder
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
858
Reaction score
2
Points
18
Age
33
Location
Toronto, Canada
You're not going to drop it and and there's clearly no point in engaging further, but I'll bite; I'm not driving to another country to attend church (and can't legally now or for the forseeable future); until I split with my wife I lived about two blocks away from the St. Catharines Antiochian church you're speaking of - it's New Calendar and is attended by the wife and children of the junior ROCOR priest I was speaking about above due to their dislike of Russian-language services (that church is also borderline inactive); St. George's in Richmond Hill, still not close, is, again, primarily Arabic. And that's what I'm tired of - the habit of ethnic churches of either holding separate English liturgies before/after the main ethnic liturgy, attended by no one (the Ukrainian church here in Hamilton does that - it gets four or five people), or incorporating bits of English into the liturgy (ie. repeating the sermon or creed in English) which draws it out and still doesn't create an atmosphere friendly to English-speakers (one of the Greek churches here does that; some parishioners actually departed for the other Greek parish because they resented the inclusion of English). Take Toronto - a city of millions with around 20 canonical Orthodox churches in the region proper, and the only all-English church is a university campus chapel. No matter how you try to break it down by technicalities, the situation remains absurd.
I'm not sure if you already mentioned this (I didn't catch it) but there is also St. Silouan's parish which is under the Carpatho-Russian Diocese. Check it out if you haven't already! https://www.stsilouan.ca/
 

Stinky

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
438
Reaction score
172
Points
43
Location
America
I'm not sure if you already mentioned this (I didn't catch it) but there is also St. Silouan's parish which is under the Carpatho-Russian Diocese. Check it out if you haven't already! https://www.stsilouan.ca/
I liked the " Who we are" section and the mention of "striving to combat the poverty of isolation." There seems to be a lot of outreach opportunities. There is repeated mention of diversity. ❤
 

Timos

High Elder
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
858
Reaction score
2
Points
18
Age
33
Location
Toronto, Canada
I liked the " Who we are" section and the mention of "striving to combat the poverty of isolation." There seems to be a lot of outreach opportunities. There is repeated mention of diversity. ❤
Indeed, this mission parish has a long history in serving the poor of the city!
 

Stinky

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
438
Reaction score
172
Points
43
Location
America
Indeed, this mission parish has a long history in serving the poor of the city!
Praise be to God! We can find Jesus disguised in the poor, in the grieving, in the excluded and lonely, in refugees and displaced. What a blessed group of people. Look how joyful they are. I would love to be there.
 
Top