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Sigh. Another Non-Denominational Church...

Agabus

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in town and growing. Meanwhile, we, like every Orthodox church is in the slow growth mode. Any ideas on how to grow the church?
I say this with half a sigh, but what are they doing that is helping them grow?

Filter out your snarky answers about liturgy and sentiment and whatever first.

I would hazard they have done some kind of outreach event/activity that Orthodox churches typically do not (low pressure community fun day or whatever), and that when people showed up to said event they didn't act like total* weirdoes.


*of course they probably are because who isn't? But you keep your weird to yourself until people are comfortable around you.
 
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you keep your weird to yourself until people are comfortable around you.
I have yet to not experience that when visiting Orthodox parishes. If anything, Orthodoxy is packed with weird people willing to share their weirdness quite readily.
 

Agabus

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I have yet to not experience that when visiting Orthodox parishes. If anything, Orthodoxy is packed with weird people willing to share their weirdness quite readily.
Well, there's weird, and then there's weird, let the reader understand.
 

wooster

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Hi. I am new and not even Orthodox so you might feel I'm not qualified to have an opinion, but on the other hand, as I'm looking to find an Orthodox community I can join you might be interested in what would attract me.

Believe it or not despite some of the comments above and the tone of this thread, I'm not looking for gushing sentimentality or a departure from truth or the ability to stuff my face with food at every opportunity. My motives aren't to run away from integrity or the Gospel or the path to true salvation or whatever other failing you might attribute to those looking for a Church but who are unfortunate enough not to be currently Orthodox. To be honest it's downright insulting and wouldn't make me interested in joining your fellowship.

I want to find true worship and the presence of God. I want to share in true Christian fellowship where brotherly love and acceptance is the norm or at least the aspiration. I want to join a Church that communicates with me and is keen to share its Faith and doesn't hold onto it as an insider secret. I don't want to find it hostile to those on the outside looking to discover more. If your non-denominational Church has that and you don't then you lose! No big surprise.

I live in the UK and I have been slightly frustrated at the lack of Churches for English speakers here as well as the ethnic requirement for membership that some seem to have. I am definitely not saying this is always the case and in my own case, I have found a community which extends the hand of fellowship and shares its Faith with me gladly. I look forward to the Liturgy on Sundays when I can get there but unfortunately, it is many miles from me. I'd love to have a local Orthodox Church where I could learn of the Faith and participate in its fellowship, but the one near me only does Greek.
 
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WR-News

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Hi. I am new and not even Orthodox so you might feel I'm not qualified to have an opinion, but on the other hand, as I'm looking to find an Orthodox community I can join you might be interested in what would attract me.

Believe it or not despite some of the comments above and the tone of this thread, I'm not looking for gushing sentimentality or a departure from truth or the ability to stuff my face with food at every opportunity. My motives aren't to run away from integrity or the Gospel or the path to true salvation or whatever other failing you might attribute to those looking for a Church but who are unfortunate enough not to be currently Orthodox. To be honest it's downright insulting and wouldn't make me interested in joining your fellowship.

I want to find true worship and the presence of God. I want to share in true Christian fellowship where brotherly love and acceptance is the norm or at least the aspiration. I want to join a Church that communicates with me and is keen to share its Faith and doesn't hold onto it as an insider secret. I don't want to find it hostile to those on the outside looking to discover more. If your non-denominational Church has that and you don't then you lose! No big surprise.

I live in the UK and I have been slightly frustrated at the lack of Churches for English speakers here as well as the ethnic requirement for membership that some seem to have. I am definitely not saying this is always the case and in my own case, I have found a community which extends the hand of fellowship and shares its Faith with me gladly. I look forward to the Liturgy on Sundays when I can get there but unfortunately, it is many miles from me. I'd love to have a local Orthodox Church where I could learn of the Faith and participate in its fellowship, but the one near me only does Greek.
Just go to the Greek Church. Do you want the True Faith? Do you want real Divine Grace? Do you want to partake of the real Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Mysteries? Do you want salvation? Don't let the language be a barrier to that. Go along, follow the Divine Liturgy with a book and, after a few weeks, you won't need the book anymore. I'm sure the people there will welcome you; that was my experience.
 

hurrrah

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Let's think about who the English-speaking Orthodox parishes should consist of. In the vast majority of cases, it is easier for a person to speak, think and pray in their native language. Adaptation to a foreign language will take many years, or will never fully take place. Church Slavonic and Greek are richer, more flexible than English, they have more Orthodox background (first of all, I'm talking about the works of the Holy fathers). Therefore, it makes no sense for emigrants from Orthodox countries to switch to English in matters of religion. It's like putting trousers over head. The Orthodox Church in English makes sense for those to whom this language is their native language. Become a parishioner of a Greek or Russian parish, embrace the richness of faith, become a priest, and create an English-speaking community for the English.
 

Katechon

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Church Slavonic and Greek are richer, more flexible than English,
Na. Especially Church Slavonic is a pretty weird hodgepodge of Greek grammar with a Slavic vocabulary from 1,000 years ago. It's neither particularly rich nor flexible, but rather unwieldy, and was developed precisely to cater to the need of a nation being currently evangelized.

Plus the parishes in the diaspora die out within one or two generations if they fail to adapt to the language that their children speak.
 

hurrrah

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Not that I want to argue about it... But when I wanted to quote the Holy Scripture in English, and for this I went to a site with a parallel translation, I often noticed that the English text looks flatter, awkward. Of course, the Spirit of God is contained in the English text and acts through it no less than in any other language, I'm talking only about the outside, about the shell.
 

Katechon

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Not that I want to argue about it... But when I wanted to quote the Holy Scripture in English, and for this I went to a site with a parallel translation, I often noticed that the English text looks flatter, awkward. Of course, the Spirit of God is contained in the English text and acts through it no less than in any other language, I'm talking only about the outside, about the shell.
Maybe this is just a subjective opinion of yours that is not to be taken as the measure of how Liturgies are conducted in countries that you don't even live in?
 

hurrrah

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Maybe this is just a subjective opinion of yours
No, it's not just my opinion. Various people speak about both the greater expressiveness of the Russian language compared to English, and the greater suitability of the Church Slavonic language for prayer and Holy Scripture compared to Russian. When you read the Psalter in Church Slavonic, it's a song, in Russian - walking on crutches over potholes.
 

Katechon

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No, it's not just my opinion. Various people speak about both the greater expressiveness of the Russian language compared to English, and the greater suitability of the Church Slavonic language for prayer and Holy Scripture compared to Russian. When you read the Psalter in Church Slavonic, it's a song, in Russian - walking on crutches over potholes.
Appeal to masses is a fallacy. Plus we were talking about Slavonic compared to English in an English-language-country setting.
 

Ainnir

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Hi. I am new and not even Orthodox so you might feel I'm not qualified to have an opinion, but on the other hand, as I'm looking to find an Orthodox community I can join you might be interested in what would attract me.

Believe it or not despite some of the comments above and the tone of this thread, I'm not looking for gushing sentimentality or a departure from truth or the ability to stuff my face with food at every opportunity. My motives aren't to run away from integrity or the Gospel or the path to true salvation or whatever other failing you might attribute to those looking for a Church but who are unfortunate enough not to be currently Orthodox. To be honest it's downright insulting and wouldn't make me interested in joining your fellowship.

I want to find true worship and the presence of God. I want to share in true Christian fellowship where brotherly love and acceptance is the norm or at least the aspiration. I want to join a Church that communicates with me and is keen to share its Faith and doesn't hold onto it as an insider secret. I don't want to find it hostile to those on the outside looking to discover more. If your non-denominational Church has that and you don't then you lose! No big surprise.

I live in the UK and I have been slightly frustrated at the lack of Churches for English speakers here as well as the ethnic requirement for membership that some seem to have. I am definitely not saying this is always the case and in my own case, I have found a community which extends the hand of fellowship and shares its Faith with me gladly. I look forward to the Liturgy on Sundays when I can get there but unfortunately, it is many miles from me. I'd love to have a local Orthodox Church where I could learn of the Faith and participate in its fellowship, but the one near me only does Greek.
Consider that if it seems the Orthodox hold onto Faith as an insider secret, it is not necessarily that but more guarding a precious pearl. I'm a convert, too, and live in an Evangelical-heavy region. Here, it seems the whole goal of Christianity is to publicly profess faith in Christ, and then get as many other people to do the same. There was very little sense of discipleship, of a framework for dealing with life, or a way to actually relate to Christ once we'd put our faith in Him. There were individuals who tried to move in this direction, pastors included, but overall, it just felt shallow.

In this mindset, it makes sense to hand the Faith out like candy, but Orthodoxy is very different. Once you are received, it's the beginning, not the end. Everything about the Orthodox Church is instruction and discipleship. And no everyone can handle everything at the same time. So no, it's not passed out like candy. It's measured out as a precious gift and balm. Like the milk/meat analogy St. Paul uses. If someone is not ready for meat, it will choke him and he will die. Yet someone may need meat, and the lack of it will kill him. It is the disposition of the person that makes the difference. I like the weight room analogy, too. Not everyone can bench press 50, 100, 150, etc. lbs. So just because the whole feast isn't laid out for everyone from the get-go or just because not everyone's bar is immediately loaded with 500 lbs. of plates doesn't mean the Faith is eternally sequestered. And thankfully (in my opinion), I only have to worry about how much I can handle right now. It was too much worrying about everyone else's salvation and spiritual growth as a Baptist/Evangelical. I can't handle that kind of responsibility, but I can pray. Orthodoxy seems ok with that limitation.

I hear you about the language barrier. It is a blessing to hear the Liturgy in your own language. Consider that's as true for the native Greek speakers as it is for you. This doesn't make either your need or theirs any less. If the closest parish is in Greek, just go, learn the repeat phrases (like "Kyrie eleison" = "Lord, have mercy"), and then study it in English at home. Find English liturgies online and watch them (follow along if you want), and eventually you'll know what's going on in the Greek Liturgy even though you don't understand everything that's being said. But it can be very frustrating to convert alone, so to speak. I'd only encourage you, if that's the only thing that ends up holding you back, don't let it. Pray God gives you extra grace and strength.

As for the ethnic requirement... one, we're all ethnic. If you feel like a fish out of water because your ethnicity doesn't match the majority of the parish's ethnicity, sit with it a minute and see whether they're truly acting unfriendly or if you're simply feeling awkward because you're different. Either one is possible, so I'm not discounting any negative experiences you've had. But allow the other to be a possibility and see how they treat you while offering kindness first. And maybe there's one bad egg in a mostly open and loving parish. Coming into Orthodoxy from a Western context is in itself a pretty big culture shock. I felt that same way for a while... "Do I need to be Russian or Greek to be Orthodox?" The answer is no. But Orthodoxy exists in these (and other) cultural contexts, so you'll have to kind of feel your way toward what it means to be Orthodox in your own culture context (this doesn't mean you get to make up new rules or reject the Church's teaching... it's just something that is lived out vs. mapped out in advance).

Hope that helps... try to tackle each issue on its own, and don't let them bury you. As long as you're seeking God, He'll guide you. It might not be as quickly as you want, though. Unlike Evangelicalism, slow and steady is just fine for Orthodoxy. :)
 

Katechon

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Hi. I am new and not even Orthodox so you might feel I'm not qualified to have an opinion, but on the other hand, as I'm looking to find an Orthodox community I can join you might be interested in what would attract me.

Believe it or not despite some of the comments above and the tone of this thread, I'm not looking for gushing sentimentality or a departure from truth or the ability to stuff my face with food at every opportunity. My motives aren't to run away from integrity or the Gospel or the path to true salvation or whatever other failing you might attribute to those looking for a Church but who are unfortunate enough not to be currently Orthodox. To be honest it's downright insulting and wouldn't make me interested in joining your fellowship.

I want to find true worship and the presence of God. I want to share in true Christian fellowship where brotherly love and acceptance is the norm or at least the aspiration. I want to join a Church that communicates with me and is keen to share its Faith and doesn't hold onto it as an insider secret. I don't want to find it hostile to those on the outside looking to discover more. If your non-denominational Church has that and you don't then you lose! No big surprise.

I live in the UK and I have been slightly frustrated at the lack of Churches for English speakers here as well as the ethnic requirement for membership that some seem to have. I am definitely not saying this is always the case and in my own case, I have found a community which extends the hand of fellowship and shares its Faith with me gladly. I look forward to the Liturgy on Sundays when I can get there but unfortunately, it is many miles from me. I'd love to have a local Orthodox Church where I could learn of the Faith and participate in its fellowship, but the one near me only does Greek.
Don't be discouraged. The UK has some amazing English language parishes and some very solid hierarchs. Vladyka Irenei of ROCOR for example is an American convert, acquainted with the griefs you articulate.


ROCOR propably is your best bet anyway in the UK, with Antiochians coming second. It's propably wise to avoid the Greeks for the time being.
 
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