Author Topic: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.  (Read 15207 times)

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Offline KShaft

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Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« on: July 03, 2011, 10:41:15 PM »
 I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 10:47:29 PM »
I do not, and the reason why is that the Church is not a building.  The Church is not the liturgy.  The Church is the Body of Christ - it is a living organism comprised of every Orthodox Christian.  If you go for liturgy and leave every time before you talk to people, you aren't really partaking of Church, you aren't a part of the community that is the Church, rather you are merely partaking of the liturgy.

These are just my opinions though.
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Offline IXOYE

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 11:13:03 PM »
I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there.

Exactly.  That is really the priority.  Some parishes form a family and that is reason for the time after services.  They are close-knit.  However, it is a church not a social club.

Offline KShaft

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 11:35:39 PM »
I do not, and the reason why is that the Church is not a building.  The Church is not the liturgy.  The Church is the Body of Christ - it is a living organism comprised of every Orthodox Christian.  If you go for liturgy and leave every time before you talk to people, you aren't really partaking of Church, you aren't a part of the community that is the Church, rather you are merely partaking of the liturgy.

These are just my opinions though.

So socializing is more important than the Liturgy? Give me a break. The Sacrifice at the Liturgy is the most important event in currently going on in creation. The fact that one shares that with the members of the body is infinitely more significant than talking about what one did over the weekend or on how many points Billy scored in his little league game.  Where does this put monastics and reclusives? You think they gossip to each other as lay people? I assure you they don't.

The communal sharing of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is what defines the body. Not social hour.

Im sure you wont understand this, but my time in the Marine Corps, I didnt constantly go out drinking or partying with my fellow jarheads. I did from time to time but it wasnt a constant thing. This made me no less a Marine, or less accepted by other Marines because of this, because of the work we did together and the sacrifices we made.

My time in the army was different. Backstabers and favorite players. There it was about making buddies artificially. It didnt matter what you did or how good you were at your prescribed duties. It just mattered how good you were at "social hour". Who you knew, not what.  Anyone who puts socializing above the truly important things will never have my trust.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2011, 11:37:19 PM »
Here's what to do.
Make a large cake with love on Saturday and take it to Church the following day and distribute it at coffee hour to those whom God has given you to love as your self.
The benefits are twofold:
1) It is an act of love which connects you to all
2) Going around and distributing it means you don't have time for small talk!
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2011, 12:52:29 AM »
So socializing is more important than the Liturgy? Give me a break. The Sacrifice at the Liturgy is the most important event in currently going on in creation. The fact that one shares that with the members of the body is infinitely more significant than talking about what one did over the weekend or on how many points Billy scored in his little league game.  Where does this put monastics and reclusives?

Do you wish to become one?  Maybe you need to find a monastery and do your inquiring there.

You think they gossip to each other as lay people? I assure you they don't.

I don't know if monastics gossip or not.  If you assure us that monastics don't gossip, you must know something about monasticism.   ;)

The communal sharing of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is what defines the body. Not social hour.

When busloads of people show up at the monastery, there is no "social hour?"

Im sure you wont understand this, but my time in the Marine Corps, I didnt constantly go out drinking or partying with my fellow jarheads. I did from time to time but it wasnt a constant thing. This made me no less a Marine, or less accepted by other Marines because of this, because of the work we did together and the sacrifices we made.

My time in the army was different. Backstabers and favorite players. There it was about making buddies artificially. It didnt matter what you did or how good you were at your prescribed duties. It just mattered how good you were at "social hour". Who you knew, not what.  Anyone who puts socializing above the truly important things will never have my trust.

Thank you for sharing.  Nice to have wi-fi Internet at the monastery.   ;D


Offline Opus118

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 01:14:21 AM »
I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?

I agree with JamesRottnek on this issue. I do not find coffee hour annoying, rather, it is always frightening because I am extremely shy, and at my age it is clear that I will not grow out of it. It is rare that the conversation veers towards a topic that I feel comfortable with such that I can contribute. I listen mostly, but I listen as someone who loves and cares. No words are needed for this and with time the opportunity to help another member of your church will arise.  It is remarkable how we are able to take on one more problem when we think we have too many problems of our own to handle.

Five minutes of socializing is fine. Work yourself up to ten. Learn who they are, how they think (for better or for worse), and help when the opportunity arises.
If you cannot remember everything, instead of everything, I beg you, remember this without fail, that not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs.  If we have this attitude, we will certainly offer our money; and by nourishing Christ in poverty here and laying up great profit hereafter, we will be able to attain the good things which are to come. - St. John Chrysostom

Offline TheodoraElizabeth3

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 02:07:17 AM »
I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Do you think you're above the people in your parish who DO go to coffee hour because you don't lower yourself to such "nonsense"?

There are several people who attend Liturgy and/or Vespers at my parish on a regular basis. Won't stay for coffee hour or even to chat for a few minutes after Vespers. Boom! Out the door! One fellow will *only* talk to our priest and won't talk to anyone else. Period. Looks mighty weird. It looks like they're either they're hiding something, think the rest of us are below them, and so forth. No, this isn't discussed at all, but certainly has gone through my mind.

It looks like you're just a "consumer" of the sacraments but show absolutely no interest in being a part of the community. There's more to being a member of the Church than just worship. Do you go to anything else - Bible studies, lectures, etc.? If your parish has a meal after Presanctified during Lent as many parishes have, do you go to that? Do you help out with charitable projects (feeding the hungry and so forth)?

And do you get that you can be "spiritually nurtured" by talking to and helping your fellow parishioners? Maybe someone needs to talk that day - but no, you can't be bothered. It's all nonsense and hooey. Coffee hour is a chance to give and take. You host when it's your turn, share whatever your culinary specialties are maybe, be hospitable.

You have other Christian friends you interact with in real life in the course of your life? Many of us only find those folks at church, and so we enjoy our talks with them. Serious discussion happens to. I'm known for having read a lot, and so folks wanting to learn ask me, and we turn out to have great discussions. But since you're bolting for the door...

Perhaps the previous poster who suggested you might find a monastery more congenial was correct.

Offline KBN1

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2011, 02:32:08 AM »
Have you ever considered that forming relationships with those you worship with might actually be a form of worship?  If Christ is truly "God with us", and if we are in the image of God, wouldn't it stand to reason that we should also be with us?  I am prone to social avoidance.  I have a hard time in large groups of people, but by making the effort to sit down with people and have a cup of coffee I have made some very real friends.  A few examples... I found out that a gentleman at church lives only a few blocks from my office and we have had lunch a few times.  I learn about his family and that he struggles to make try to make the proper decisions about his ailing mother's care.  He has asked me to help him teach Sunday school.  I met a couple who have become somewhat like church parents to me.  They invite me over to their home for feast days.  The husband is an artist and an iconographer.  We talk about art and he has taught me much about icons.  I just had lunch today with another couple.  We share the love of gardening and cooking.  They gave me a tour of their garden and we talked about our favorite vegetable varieties and shared gardening tips.  I made friends with their dog.  We cooked together.  Essentially, in all of these relationships we have become truly human to each other.  We make an idea of love into actual love.  I could look at all these little events and see them as isolated and rather unimportant, but they are synergistic.  They matter very much.  To be invited into someone's life and in turn to invite them into my life is in some small way participating with God and in some small way undoing the separation that sin has driven between us all.

Offline KShaft

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2011, 02:42:24 AM »
So socializing is more important than the Liturgy? Give me a break. The Sacrifice at the Liturgy is the most important event in currently going on in creation. The fact that one shares that with the members of the body is infinitely more significant than talking about what one did over the weekend or on how many points Billy scored in his little league game.  Where does this put monastics and reclusives?

Do you wish to become one?  Maybe you need to find a monastery and do your inquiring there.

You think they gossip to each other as lay people? I assure you they don't.

I don't know if monastics gossip or not.  If you assure us that monastics don't gossip, you must know something about monasticism.   ;)

The communal sharing of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is what defines the body. Not social hour.

When busloads of people show up at the monastery, there is no "social hour?"

Im sure you wont understand this, but my time in the Marine Corps, I didnt constantly go out drinking or partying with my fellow jarheads. I did from time to time but it wasnt a constant thing. This made me no less a Marine, or less accepted by other Marines because of this, because of the work we did together and the sacrifices we made.

My time in the army was different. Backstabers and favorite players. There it was about making buddies artificially. It didnt matter what you did or how good you were at your prescribed duties. It just mattered how good you were at "social hour". Who you knew, not what.  Anyone who puts socializing above the truly important things will never have my trust.

Thank you for sharing.  Nice to have wi-fi Internet at the monastery.   ;D



Do you have any thing worth saying or do you just say 'monastery' a lot?  " Monastery Tee-Hee" Like a five year old who says 'penis' or 'vagina' and laughs about it.

Its like I offended people because they are the socialite type so they type nonsense defending these feminine activities(in a passive-aggressive manner no less) that they excel at because they themselves arent the most masculine guys out there.

You guys are really 'coming out of the closet' to defend talkie talkie time.

Im fine with people liking it, but dont attack my viewpoint on the matter. Opus118 gave a reasoned response. The rest of you whined or said 'monastery' every other word. When Im at Vespers singing in the choir, I dont see most of the guys who come on Sunday just for the sake of the social time. In fact I hardly see anybody at all. I think thats more important than social time. I guess the 50 people who didnt show up for vespers disagree. Im just fine with that....




Offline KShaft

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2011, 03:24:30 AM »
I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?



Do you think you're above the people in your parish who DO go to coffee hour because you don't lower yourself to such "nonsense"?

There are several people who attend Liturgy and/or Vespers at my parish on a regular basis. Won't stay for coffee hour or even to chat for a few minutes after Vespers. Boom! Out the door! One fellow will *only* talk to our priest and won't talk to anyone else. Period. Looks mighty weird. It looks like they're either they're hiding something, think the rest of us are below them, and so forth. No, this isn't discussed at all, but certainly has gone through my mind.

It looks like you're just a "consumer" of the sacraments but show absolutely no interest in being a part of the community. There's more to being a member of the Church than just worship. Do you go to anything else - Bible studies, lectures, etc.? If your parish has a meal after Presanctified during Lent as many parishes have, do you go to that? Do you help out with charitable projects (feeding the hungry and so forth)?

And do you get that you can be "spiritually nurtured" by talking to and helping your fellow parishioners? Maybe someone needs to talk that day - but no, you can't be bothered. It's all nonsense and hooey. Coffee hour is a chance to give and take. You host when it's your turn, share whatever your culinary specialties are maybe, be hospitable.

You have other Christian friends you interact with in real life in the course of your life? Many of us only find those folks at church, and so we enjoy our talks with them. Serious discussion happens to. I'm known for having read a lot, and so folks wanting to learn ask me, and we turn out to have great discussions. But since you're bolting for the door...

Perhaps the previous poster who suggested you might find a monastery more congenial was correct.

Spare me the drama. "Oh were so beneath you....oh I faint...." get over yourself.

You just admitted you think the guy who only talks to the priest is hiding something. Do you ever think maybe he's just introverted or shy or whatever. Because he doesnt come and talk to you, youre now the issue. Its not about you. Get over yourself.

Oh just a consumer? When Christ said "do this in remembrance of me" Was he talking about partaking of the mystical supper or coffee? Ive explained this above, the Liturgy and the common bond between partakers of the mystical supper is infinitely more important than the Miami Heat getting defeated in the Finals... You are aware that the earliest Christians lived in communities together and shared everything right? Kind of like monastics only on a larger scale? You really think social hour equates to this type of living? How daft are you? Also when the earliest Christians had the Sacrifice, THAT WAS THE COFFEE HOUR! They didnt eat the bread and drink the wine and then went downstairs and do it again! I do sing in the Choir since week two of going there. And actually Im not being fed as far as the Body and Blood goes. Im not Orthodox yet so I dont partake of the Eucharist.

I love talking on an intimate level with fellow parishioners. Discussing Theology, world events, things important in their lives. This doesn't happen during social hour. Socializing is not the same as serious discussion. You do understand the difference don't you? 

As for Charitable works, lady, dont you read scripture and what it says about hypocrites who advertise that? I guess not....

And one more thing. Read the post thoroughly. I don't bolt for the door. I go downstairs. I stay around for a little. More so at the UOC Parish I attend than the OCA parish.
Dont judge me because I dont like to partake in the same things you do. Thats biggotry. Would you like to go shooting with me? How bout we go on a ruckmarch? Spar with the urban kids in the Gym on the East side of Cleveland where well be the only white people in there? No? Well I guess me and the black kids are just beneath you then.
You see how dumb that just sounded? Get over yourself.


Offline Philoumenos

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2011, 04:17:00 AM »
I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?



Do you think you're above the people in your parish who DO go to coffee hour because you don't lower yourself to such "nonsense"?

There are several people who attend Liturgy and/or Vespers at my parish on a regular basis. Won't stay for coffee hour or even to chat for a few minutes after Vespers. Boom! Out the door! One fellow will *only* talk to our priest and won't talk to anyone else. Period. Looks mighty weird. It looks like they're either they're hiding something, think the rest of us are below them, and so forth. No, this isn't discussed at all, but certainly has gone through my mind.

It looks like you're just a "consumer" of the sacraments but show absolutely no interest in being a part of the community. There's more to being a member of the Church than just worship. Do you go to anything else - Bible studies, lectures, etc.? If your parish has a meal after Presanctified during Lent as many parishes have, do you go to that? Do you help out with charitable projects (feeding the hungry and so forth)?

And do you get that you can be "spiritually nurtured" by talking to and helping your fellow parishioners? Maybe someone needs to talk that day - but no, you can't be bothered. It's all nonsense and hooey. Coffee hour is a chance to give and take. You host when it's your turn, share whatever your culinary specialties are maybe, be hospitable.

You have other Christian friends you interact with in real life in the course of your life? Many of us only find those folks at church, and so we enjoy our talks with them. Serious discussion happens to. I'm known for having read a lot, and so folks wanting to learn ask me, and we turn out to have great discussions. But since you're bolting for the door...

Perhaps the previous poster who suggested you might find a monastery more congenial was correct.

Spare me the drama. "Oh were so beneath you....oh I faint...." get over yourself.

You just admitted you think the guy who only talks to the priest is hiding something. Do you ever think maybe he's just introverted or shy or whatever. Because he doesnt come and talk to you, youre now the issue. Its not about you. Get over yourself.

Oh just a consumer? When Christ said "do this in remembrance of me" Was he talking about partaking of the mystical supper or coffee? Ive explained this above, the Liturgy and the common bond between partakers of the mystical supper is infinitely more important than the Miami Heat getting defeated in the Finals... You are aware that the earliest Christians lived in communities together and shared everything right? Kind of like monastics only on a larger scale? You really think social hour equates to this type of living? How daft are you? Also when the earliest Christians had the Sacrifice, THAT WAS THE COFFEE HOUR! They didnt eat the bread and drink the wine and then went downstairs and do it again! I do sing in the Choir since week two of going there. And actually Im not being fed as far as the Body and Blood goes. Im not Orthodox yet so I dont partake of the Eucharist.

I love talking on an intimate level with fellow parishioners. Discussing Theology, world events, things important in their lives. This doesn't happen during social hour. Socializing is not the same as serious discussion. You do understand the difference don't you? 

As for Charitable works, lady, dont you read scripture and what it says about hypocrites who advertise that? I guess not....

And one more thing. Read the post thoroughly. I don't bolt for the door. I go downstairs. I stay around for a little. More so at the UOC Parish I attend than the OCA parish.
Dont judge me because I dont like to partake in the same things you do. Thats biggotry. Would you like to go shooting with me? How bout we go on a ruckmarch? Spar with the urban kids in the Gym on the East side of Cleveland where well be the only white people in there? No? Well I guess me and the black kids are just beneath you then.
You see how dumb that just sounded? Get over yourself.



You sound like someone I would get along with.

I abhor idle talk as well. No one seems to understand where I'm coming from (shades of the responses here).

Idle talk and the inevitable little cliques that form, talking amongst themselves about, "What's up with that one guy who always leaves right away and only speaks to the Priest?".

None of your business!

Maybe he works and only gets a limited amount of time off? Better yet - who cares?

I can be a productive and caring member of a community without partaking in "Gossip Hour".

I'm the same way at my work too.

Some people get up early just so they can sit and gab in their little circle each morn. What do they talk about?

Absolutely nothing of substance. It's a gossip session.

I don't get it. At all.

Count me out.

If you need me - I'll be the first to come running but I will not conform to the nothing talk.
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Offline celticfan1888

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2011, 04:42:48 AM »


I agree with JamesRottnek on this issue. I do not find coffee hour annoying, rather, it is always frightening because I am extremely shy, and at my age it is clear that I will not grow out of it. It is rare that the conversation veers towards a topic that I feel comfortable with such that I can contribute. I listen mostly, but I listen as someone who loves and cares. No words are needed for this and with time the opportunity to help another member of your church will arise.  It is remarkable how we are able to take on one more problem when we think we have too many problems of our own to handle.

Five minutes of socializing is fine. Work yourself up to ten. Learn who they are, how they think (for better or for worse), and help when the opportunity arises.

[/quote]

I agree, shyness is my biggest issue. I do not speak much to anyone after liturgy, outside of my girlfriend and our priest. I really feel bad that I am not more social, but I am just too nervous around people I do not know that well.  :-X
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Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2011, 08:08:54 AM »
I know how you feel. I usually don't. It was the way I was raised. Right after Liturgy, we would go get the priest's blessing, the antidoran then leave. That's how my dad grew up in the old country. As soon as Liturgy is over, everyone goes home. Granted, over there, the entire village is Orthodox, so they all know each other already.

If it's strictly coffee and standing around, I won't stay. I have no interest in small talk. If it's the Russian tradition, where there's a meal and you're sitting and eating, that's a little different. I don't know why, but it is, at least for me. But, if you look at the cultures, having a meal together is a big thing (for instance, in monasteries, right after service it's time to eat). But, it really is how I feel. It's one of those tough things. On the one hand, I don't want small talk, on the other, how am I supposed to know my family? I think that's why I like the meal. No pressure to talk.

I went to the ROCOR church this past weekend for the first time. I ended up staying after being asked by Matushka. It was nice because there were very few people and I think that helped. Not hearing a lot of loud conversation. That's another reason I don't like staying a lot of times. Too loud.

There is one exception: For some reason, if Matushka tells me to stay or "strongly" invites me, I'll stay, whether I want to or not. I don't know why...I always do.

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2011, 08:55:01 AM »
I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?



Do you think you're above the people in your parish who DO go to coffee hour because you don't lower yourself to such "nonsense"?

There are several people who attend Liturgy and/or Vespers at my parish on a regular basis. Won't stay for coffee hour or even to chat for a few minutes after Vespers. Boom! Out the door! One fellow will *only* talk to our priest and won't talk to anyone else. Period. Looks mighty weird. It looks like they're either they're hiding something, think the rest of us are below them, and so forth. No, this isn't discussed at all, but certainly has gone through my mind.

It looks like you're just a "consumer" of the sacraments but show absolutely no interest in being a part of the community. There's more to being a member of the Church than just worship. Do you go to anything else - Bible studies, lectures, etc.? If your parish has a meal after Presanctified during Lent as many parishes have, do you go to that? Do you help out with charitable projects (feeding the hungry and so forth)?

And do you get that you can be "spiritually nurtured" by talking to and helping your fellow parishioners? Maybe someone needs to talk that day - but no, you can't be bothered. It's all nonsense and hooey. Coffee hour is a chance to give and take. You host when it's your turn, share whatever your culinary specialties are maybe, be hospitable.

You have other Christian friends you interact with in real life in the course of your life? Many of us only find those folks at church, and so we enjoy our talks with them. Serious discussion happens to. I'm known for having read a lot, and so folks wanting to learn ask me, and we turn out to have great discussions. But since you're bolting for the door...

Perhaps the previous poster who suggested you might find a monastery more congenial was correct.

Spare me the drama. "Oh were so beneath you....oh I faint...." get over yourself.

You just admitted you think the guy who only talks to the priest is hiding something. Do you ever think maybe he's just introverted or shy or whatever. Because he doesnt come and talk to you, youre now the issue. Its not about you. Get over yourself.

Oh just a consumer? When Christ said "do this in remembrance of me" Was he talking about partaking of the mystical supper or coffee? Ive explained this above, the Liturgy and the common bond between partakers of the mystical supper is infinitely more important than the Miami Heat getting defeated in the Finals... You are aware that the earliest Christians lived in communities together and shared everything right? Kind of like monastics only on a larger scale? You really think social hour equates to this type of living? How daft are you? Also when the earliest Christians had the Sacrifice, THAT WAS THE COFFEE HOUR! They didnt eat the bread and drink the wine and then went downstairs and do it again! I do sing in the Choir since week two of going there. And actually Im not being fed as far as the Body and Blood goes. Im not Orthodox yet so I dont partake of the Eucharist.

I love talking on an intimate level with fellow parishioners. Discussing Theology, world events, things important in their lives. This doesn't happen during social hour. Socializing is not the same as serious discussion. You do understand the difference don't you?  

As for Charitable works, lady, dont you read scripture and what it says about hypocrites who advertise that? I guess not....

And one more thing. Read the post thoroughly. I don't bolt for the door. I go downstairs. I stay around for a little. More so at the UOC Parish I attend than the OCA parish.
Dont judge me because I dont like to partake in the same things you do. Thats biggotry. Would you like to go shooting with me? How bout we go on a ruckmarch? Spar with the urban kids in the Gym on the East side of Cleveland where well be the only white people in there? No? Well I guess me and the black kids are just beneath you then.
You see how dumb that just sounded? Get over yourself.



And because you're interested only on lofty conversation you came to an internet forum inviting people to talk about your personal likes and dislikes?

So you're not talkative or outgoing. That's fine. But just as you dislike how you suppose people view you, you have just admitted that you have rather prejudicial views towards the people who like what you dislike. Coffee hour petty talk is neither evil or good. It's socializing. You don't like it fine. It makes you no more spiritual than anyone. As someone said, maybe there are people who do have their shoulders burdened with many pains and attentive listening is just all they need. Yes, maybe they will require this by just talking about sports, but it's human contact they need. Some people may do it just for the same reason you initiated this topic: they want to find people like them. Others may do it out of shallowness. The truth is that you can't know and shouldn't judge. Admit it is just a personality trait and that's it. One can live socializing and introspection either in a Christian or in a prideful way. Whatever is you case, live it in a humble way and that's it.

« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 08:57:52 AM by Fabio Leite »
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Offline stavros_388

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2011, 09:02:24 AM »
I feel the same way, mostly. It is nice to hear I am not the only one! I mean, I have nothing against talking to people after the services. However, I have attended a couple of mostly convert churches, and it seemed like the post-service church family social was the most important aspect of the day; I felt terribly out of my element. At my current parish, virtually everyone is Greek and so I just haven't felt comfortable going downstairs after the Liturgy yet. Maybe one day... I, like other posters here, am rather introverted and prefer to meet people one or two at a time, and so I usually find myself walking with my piece of bread straight out to the parking lot after services. Is this bad? I should probably make a bit more of an effort. But I am not much for these kinds of social gatherings at the best of times, so I usually come home to my family instead. I feel connected to everyone at the parish through worship, though, and that is okay for me.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 09:04:05 AM by stavros_388 »

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2011, 09:22:08 AM »
If you find coffee hour annoying or uncomfortable, just don't go. It's that simple. That's what I do.  Sometimes I go, but by nature I am shy, and I don't do small talk well. In addition, I am single. At coffee hour people are all paired up in families and couples, and I feel isolated and out-of-place.  Perhaps if my parish had more single people, I would feel more comfortable at coffee hour.  About the only time I attend coffee hour anymore is if I meet an earnest visitor and inquirer into the Orthodox Faith, and we want to sit down and talk more in depth. Then I'll go.

P.S.  I also boycotted coffee hour for a number of years after attending a yearly parish meeting where a married women ranted and raved about those "single people" who aren't "pulling their weight in this parish, esp. at coffee hour."  She went on and on about how we "singles" didn't shoulder our "fair share" of responsibility" and actually made me feel quite unwelcome in church.  I decided to let her have her precious coffee hour all to herself. And I've only been back (to coffee hour, not Divine Liturgy) a few times since.

Offline bogdan

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2011, 09:23:03 AM »
The false dichotomies are just flying in this thread. There is a vast expanse between solving the great theological conundrums and talking about the weather because there's nothing else to talk about.

Quote
If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you.

How can you possibly know that?

I'm a rather shy person myself, and I did not attend coffee hour for at least six months after I began attending my parish. I would get invited to coffee regularly, and I think they were trying to show hospitality. To Eastern people, and a lot of Western people too, it is strange—if not hurtful and insulting—to refuse hospitality. So if you experienced actual judgment (and not just assumed it), it's probably because you inadvertently hurt their feelings.

If I could do it all over again, in humility and obedience I would attend coffee hour and not refuse the hospitality of good and decent people.

And it's not "nonsense". Most people have friends at their parish. Now most of my friends are from church. When we talk about our week and what's happening in our lives (even just the mundane), it's because we legitimately care about each other, not to kill time or avoid other things (which I would define as idle talk). For lots of people, coffee hour may be the only time in their week when they can unwind just a little bit and talk to their friends about what's happening in their lives.

We have no idea how our willingness to engage in seemingly idle talk can help people. We have no way of knowing what kind of deeper things it will lead to. All I know is that I agree with St John Chrysostom here:

"There is nothing that ties love so firmly as sharing with joy and pain with one another. ... Take share in his tears, that you may lighten his low spirits. Take share in his joy, that you may make the joy strike deep root, and fix the love firmly ... and by your feeling his pleasure, purging yourself of envy and grudging." - Homily 22 on Romans

I'm sorry if that sounds effeminate to you, but I think St John would call it practicing theology in real life. Theology is not a bunch of theory and dogmas to assent to. If it does not affect the way we live, it's a bunch of trivia and idle talk unto itself. As all Christians are co-dependent on each other, we also have to love each other, and for most people conversation is a part of that.

Now, not everyone likes the coffee hour forum. That's fine. But you should not come in, both guns a-blazing as you have, accusing everyone else essentially of being sinners, just because you don't happen to find value in it for you.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 09:37:00 AM by bogdan »

Offline biro

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2011, 09:26:58 AM »
I feel very socially awkward at times, so it was not easy for me to start going to the post-church hour. I have started to go there more often, and it's getting better little by little. Sometimes I meet someone I know, other times I don't, but usually I just get a coffee and a cookie and relax. You don't have to stay the whole time, but it may help you to meet a couple of friends so you won't feel like you're by yourself in the parish. Just a thought.  :)
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2011, 09:34:22 AM »
Like most things in life, it's what you make of it.
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Offline SolEX01

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2011, 09:47:44 AM »
Do you have any thing worth saying or do you just say 'monastery' a lot?  " Monastery Tee-Hee" Like a five year old who says 'penis' or 'vagina' and laughs about it.

Five year olds usually drink (and spill) lemonade and run around the social hall during coffee hour.  I used to do that when I was five.  Anyway, if you think I'm on par with a five year old (and your analogies of choice are quite interesting to say the least), I'm quite honored.   ;D

Its like I offended people because they are the socialite type so they type nonsense defending these feminine activities(in a passive-aggressive manner no less) that they excel at because they themselves arent the most masculine guys out there.

You guys are really 'coming out of the closet' to defend talkie talkie time.

Im fine with people liking it, but dont attack my viewpoint on the matter. Opus118 gave a reasoned response. The rest of you whined or said 'monastery' every other word. When Im at Vespers singing in the choir, I dont see most of the guys who come on Sunday just for the sake of the social time. In fact I hardly see anybody at all. I think thats more important than social time. I guess the 50 people who didnt show up for vespers disagree. Im just fine with that....

Not every Church has Saturday Vespers....  Be thankful that yours does even if the people present at DL on Sunday do not attend Vespers on Saturday....

Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2011, 09:58:14 AM »
I feel awkward at coffee hour too...I feel sad that everyone knows each other already and we are still on the outside...my husband and I only go once in a while. That said, I am not going to project my own social anxiety issues on coffee hour. I WANT to talk to people and see how they are doing!

My husband and I have no familial ties or friends in the Orthodox church. None. It's just us. There is a value in going to the church and finding a family that will embrace you. Perhaps we're not Greek, but we have our faith in common, a faith that we don't really have in common with anyone else right now. Why wouldn't we? Why wouldn't we become close with our brothers and sisters?

I agree with the Body of Christ comments. The DL itself is something extremely valuable, life-giving, awesome, etc. etc. etc. As long as we're not putting coffee hour AHEAD of DL in priorities, it has its own value.
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Offline FormerReformer

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2011, 10:14:55 AM »
To the OP: I see where you're coming from, and if coffee hour were only about standing around for idle chit-chat I'd probably feel the same way. I admit my reason for staying at coffee hour is entirely selfish- going straight home would add another 30 minutes (now, other places I've lived an hour or more) to the time I can drink coffee! I'm uncomfortable with chit chat, especially at the larger parishes (where you will almost never talk to the same person two weeks in a row), but it's a cheaper price to pay for my caffeine addiction than $4 for a coffee at a chain that I don't even like or an extra wait.

If you find coffee hour annoying or uncomfortable, just don't go. It's that simple. That's what I do.  Sometimes I go, but by nature I am shy, and I don't do small talk well. In addition, I am single. At coffee hour people are all paired up in families and couples, and I feel isolated and out-of-place.  Perhaps if my parish had more single people, I would feel more comfortable at coffee hour.  About the only time I attend coffee hour anymore is if I meet an earnest visitor and inquirer into the Orthodox Faith, and we want to sit down and talk more in depth. Then I'll go.

P.S.  I also boycotted coffee hour for a number of years after attending a yearly parish meeting where a married women ranted and raved about those "single people" who aren't "pulling their weight in this parish, esp. at coffee hour."  She went on and on about how we "singles" didn't shoulder our "fair share" of responsibility" and actually made me feel quite unwelcome in church.  I decided to let her have her precious coffee hour all to herself. And I've only been back (to coffee hour, not Divine Liturgy) a few times since.

One of the things I love about my current parish- they understand that not everyone has the time and money to contribute to coffee hour. Even with a small parish like ours I'd be afraid of the monumental task of bringing enough food for 30-60 people, especially during one of the Fasts, when you can't stop by Dunkin Donuts on the way in.
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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2011, 10:38:12 AM »
I completley agree that Church is for worship, and only worship.  My Church is a family to me, and It's wonderful to just be with them at coffee hour.  When I'm not there, the sweet little old ladies will call me on the phone and give me a good talking too - that They "Threw a fit when they didn't see me in Church".  I guess that some parishes are like this, but I know some that are not.  At the Greek Cathedral I've been too, so many people attend that coffee hour is simply going into a massive hall and getting into your clique - clergy, old Greek ladies, etc.  Some Churches (like mine) are not this way.  We are a family, and I enjoy coffee hour as a time to talk with them.   :)

Offline Marc1152

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2011, 10:54:05 AM »
The size of the congregation matters. if you dont know many people and there are 150 folks at coffee hour, you need some rather advanced social skills to find your place.. That will come with time.

You may want to visit a small Parish with just 20 people or so at coffee hour. You will probably find yourself setting up chairs and doing pots and pans. It's easier to make friends when you cant hide and they need your help.
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline Byron

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2011, 10:54:54 AM »
I completley agree that Church is for worship, and only worship.  My Church is a family to me, and It's wonderful to just be with them at coffee hour.  When I'm not there, the sweet little old ladies will call me on the phone and give me a good talking too - that They "Threw a fit when they didn't see me in Church".  I guess that some parishes are like this, but I know some that are not.  At the Greek Cathedral I've been too, so many people attend that coffee hour is simply going into a massive hall and getting into your clique - clergy, old Greek ladies, etc.  Some Churches (like mine) are not this way.  We are a family, and I enjoy coffee hour as a time to talk with them.   :)

You hit the nail on the head. The larger the congregation the less welcoming it is. My former parish was small and always welcomed newcomers, due to moving, the new one is large and very impersonal. All i get is looks but no friendly "hello, are you new here, i'm so and so". I'm just another face in the crowd.  

What am i supposed to do at coffee hour? Approach total strangers in their little cliques? I am a confident person and find it easy to socialise, however the times i have attempted to introduce myself i have received very superficial responses.  

This is why some Pentecostal churches have been successful - the put people at ease. Someone greets you at the door and if you are new they assign you a "buddy". LAter on the buddy formally introduces you to other members and ensures you have company and are included in "small talk". Sadly this is lacking in some churches, notably the Greek ones.

To the OP if you do not feel comfortable taking part then don't. You should never feel forced to do something you do not want to do.
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Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2011, 10:56:14 AM »
I feel awkward at coffee hour too...I feel sad that everyone knows each other already and we are still on the outside...my husband and I only go once in a while. That said, I am not going to project my own social anxiety issues on coffee hour. I WANT to talk to people and see how they are doing!

My husband and I have no familial ties or friends in the Orthodox church. None. It's just us. There is a value in going to the church and finding a family that will embrace you. Perhaps we're not Greek, but we have our faith in common, a faith that we don't really have in common with anyone else right now. Why wouldn't we? Why wouldn't we become close with our brothers and sisters?

I agree with the Body of Christ comments. The DL itself is something extremely valuable, life-giving, awesome, etc. etc. etc. As long as we're not putting coffee hour AHEAD of DL in priorities, it has its own value.

I know how you feel about being on your own. I'm military now and live no where near any family. The only person I know around here is a friend of my dad who just happens to live 30 minutes from me (he moved here from TX years ago). Due to where I am in life, I would prefer to get to know and socialize with other Orthodox but I feel so awkward in a social setting when I don't know anyone. Nice catch 22 I often find myself in.

I received an e-mail from the priest inviting me to a small get-together at his house tonight. I'm trying to talk myself into going.

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2011, 11:02:15 AM »
I feel awkward at coffee hour too...I feel sad that everyone knows each other already and we are still on the outside...my husband and I only go once in a while. That said, I am not going to project my own social anxiety issues on coffee hour. I WANT to talk to people and see how they are doing!

My husband and I have no familial ties or friends in the Orthodox church. None. It's just us. There is a value in going to the church and finding a family that will embrace you. Perhaps we're not Greek, but we have our faith in common, a faith that we don't really have in common with anyone else right now. Why wouldn't we? Why wouldn't we become close with our brothers and sisters?

I agree with the Body of Christ comments. The DL itself is something extremely valuable, life-giving, awesome, etc. etc. etc. As long as we're not putting coffee hour AHEAD of DL in priorities, it has its own value.

I know how you feel about being on your own. I'm military now and live no where near any family. The only person I know around here is a friend of my dad who just happens to live 30 minutes from me (he moved here from TX years ago). Due to where I am in life, I would prefer to get to know and socialize with other Orthodox but I feel so awkward in a social setting when I don't know anyone. Nice catch 22 I often find myself in.

I received an e-mail from the priest inviting me to a small get-together at his house tonight. I'm trying to talk myself into going.

You should go!
  having dinner at a priest's house is a wonderful time for you to get to know him and his family, and to have some very deep discussions.  I'm sure he can also recommend books if you need something to read, which My priest did so often I should have payed him for the advice.   :)

Offline KShaft

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2011, 11:03:04 AM »
I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?



Do you think you're above the people in your parish who DO go to coffee hour because you don't lower yourself to such "nonsense"?

There are several people who attend Liturgy and/or Vespers at my parish on a regular basis. Won't stay for coffee hour or even to chat for a few minutes after Vespers. Boom! Out the door! One fellow will *only* talk to our priest and won't talk to anyone else. Period. Looks mighty weird. It looks like they're either they're hiding something, think the rest of us are below them, and so forth. No, this isn't discussed at all, but certainly has gone through my mind.

It looks like you're just a "consumer" of the sacraments but show absolutely no interest in being a part of the community. There's more to being a member of the Church than just worship. Do you go to anything else - Bible studies, lectures, etc.? If your parish has a meal after Presanctified during Lent as many parishes have, do you go to that? Do you help out with charitable projects (feeding the hungry and so forth)?

And do you get that you can be "spiritually nurtured" by talking to and helping your fellow parishioners? Maybe someone needs to talk that day - but no, you can't be bothered. It's all nonsense and hooey. Coffee hour is a chance to give and take. You host when it's your turn, share whatever your culinary specialties are maybe, be hospitable.

You have other Christian friends you interact with in real life in the course of your life? Many of us only find those folks at church, and so we enjoy our talks with them. Serious discussion happens to. I'm known for having read a lot, and so folks wanting to learn ask me, and we turn out to have great discussions. But since you're bolting for the door...

Perhaps the previous poster who suggested you might find a monastery more congenial was correct.

Spare me the drama. "Oh were so beneath you....oh I faint...." get over yourself.

You just admitted you think the guy who only talks to the priest is hiding something. Do you ever think maybe he's just introverted or shy or whatever. Because he doesnt come and talk to you, youre now the issue. Its not about you. Get over yourself.

Oh just a consumer? When Christ said "do this in remembrance of me" Was he talking about partaking of the mystical supper or coffee? Ive explained this above, the Liturgy and the common bond between partakers of the mystical supper is infinitely more important than the Miami Heat getting defeated in the Finals... You are aware that the earliest Christians lived in communities together and shared everything right? Kind of like monastics only on a larger scale? You really think social hour equates to this type of living? How daft are you? Also when the earliest Christians had the Sacrifice, THAT WAS THE COFFEE HOUR! They didnt eat the bread and drink the wine and then went downstairs and do it again! I do sing in the Choir since week two of going there. And actually Im not being fed as far as the Body and Blood goes. Im not Orthodox yet so I dont partake of the Eucharist.

I love talking on an intimate level with fellow parishioners. Discussing Theology, world events, things important in their lives. This doesn't happen during social hour. Socializing is not the same as serious discussion. You do understand the difference don't you? 

As for Charitable works, lady, dont you read scripture and what it says about hypocrites who advertise that? I guess not....

And one more thing. Read the post thoroughly. I don't bolt for the door. I go downstairs. I stay around for a little. More so at the UOC Parish I attend than the OCA parish.
Dont judge me because I dont like to partake in the same things you do. Thats biggotry. Would you like to go shooting with me? How bout we go on a ruckmarch? Spar with the urban kids in the Gym on the East side of Cleveland where well be the only white people in there? No? Well I guess me and the black kids are just beneath you then.
You see how dumb that just sounded? Get over yourself.



You sound like someone I would get along with.

I abhor idle talk as well. No one seems to understand where I'm coming from (shades of the responses here).

Idle talk and the inevitable little cliques that form, talking amongst themselves about, "What's up with that one guy who always leaves right away and only speaks to the Priest?".

None of your business!

Maybe he works and only gets a limited amount of time off? Better yet - who cares?

I can be a productive and caring member of a community without partaking in "Gossip Hour".

I'm the same way at my work too.

Some people get up early just so they can sit and gab in their little circle each morn. What do they talk about?

Absolutely nothing of substance. It's a gossip session.

I don't get it. At all.

Count me out.

If you need me - I'll be the first to come running but I will not conform to the nothing talk.

Amen to this. Especially to the clique stuff that goes on. That was the army. Good ole boy networks. Trust me it wasnt based on your performance, but your sociability.

What I find funny is, did you see the drama I was hit with? Amazing. "oh your too good to be bothered by us..." Seriously?

These forums take up too much time. I could have been reading Theophan the recluse, instead Im responding to disdain for those in the Religious life. Awesome.


Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #29 on: July 04, 2011, 11:03:51 AM »
The size of the congregation matters. if you dont know many people and there are 150 folks at coffee hour, you need some rather advanced social skills to find your place.. That will come with time.

You may want to visit a small Parish with just 20 people or so at coffee hour. You will probably find yourself setting up chairs and doing pots and pans. It's easier to make friends when you cant hide and they need your help.

That's what helped me yesterday. There were very few people at Liturgy.

Offline William

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2011, 11:10:33 AM »
I start walking home right after Liturgy so as to avoid coffee hour. Although, I know that at some point I'll need to be more social in my parish. How else will I find godparents?
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Offline Keble

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2011, 11:11:23 AM »
Kshaft, it isn't all about you.

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2011, 11:13:02 AM »
I know how you feel. I usually don't. It was the way I was raised. Right after Liturgy, we would go get the priest's blessing, the antidoran then leave. That's how my dad grew up in the old country. As soon as Liturgy is over, everyone goes home. Granted, over there, the entire village is Orthodox, so they all know each other already.

If it's strictly coffee and standing around, I won't stay. I have no interest in small talk. If it's the Russian tradition, where there's a meal and you're sitting and eating, that's a little different. I don't know why, but it is, at least for me. But, if you look at the cultures, having a meal together is a big thing (for instance, in monasteries, right after service it's time to eat). But, it really is how I feel. It's one of those tough things. On the one hand, I don't want small talk, on the other, how am I supposed to know my family? I think that's why I like the meal. No pressure to talk.

I went to the ROCOR church this past weekend for the first time. I ended up staying after being asked by Matushka. It was nice because there were very few people and I think that helped. Not hearing a lot of loud conversation. That's another reason I don't like staying a lot of times. Too loud.

There is one exception: For some reason, if Matushka tells me to stay or "strongly" invites me, I'll stay, whether I want to or not. I don't know why...I always do.

I agree and understand this. A meal is totally different. Thats yet another communion thing in a sense. I couldnt make the liturgy but they had a meal afterwards and they asked me to come anyway. So I did and ate a little and since this was at a religious neutral place at a University, I helped clean up and get our stuff out of there.

 I feel coffee hour is like pews. A protestant innovation. Its like you said. Everyone knew each other in the villages back in the old country. There was no need for an artificial coffee hour. A meal however is a communal thing. Some people get this and some dont.

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2011, 11:13:56 AM »
I start walking home right after Liturgy so as to avoid coffee hour. Although, I know that at some point I'll need to be more social in my parish. How else will I find godparents?

Although this is true, you can also just ask your priest to assign you godparents, and after that you can get to know them.  I know people who did this.

Offline KShaft

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2011, 11:17:38 AM »
I feel the same way, mostly. It is nice to hear I am not the only one! I mean, I have nothing against talking to people after the services. However, I have attended a couple of mostly convert churches, and it seemed like the post-service church family social was the most important aspect of the day; I felt terribly out of my element. At my current parish, virtually everyone is Greek and so I just haven't felt comfortable going downstairs after the Liturgy yet. Maybe one day... I, like other posters here, am rather introverted and prefer to meet people one or two at a time, and so I usually find myself walking with my piece of bread straight out to the parking lot after services. Is this bad? I should probably make a bit more of an effort. But I am not much for these kinds of social gatherings at the best of times, so I usually come home to my family instead. I feel connected to everyone at the parish through worship, though, and that is okay for me.

I think you hit the nail on the head with the convert remark. Take that and leave it in the protestant 'church' where it came from.

There are social times in the ethnic churches Ive been to, but theres a different atmosphere to it. More like a family thing than a yak around the water cooler thing.

Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2011, 11:18:52 AM »

You should go!
  having dinner at a priest's house is a wonderful time for you to get to know him and his family, and to have some very deep discussions.  I'm sure he can also recommend books if you need something to read, which My priest did so often I should have payed him for the advice.   :)

Oh, I know. It's more of convincing myself. Especially because they'll be people there I don't know. If it were just him and his family, that would be one thing and I'd go. But, I'm hoping a couple of the people I spoke with yesterday will be there so I don't feel like the odd man out.



Also, I have a question about several of the posts in this thread...are all the negative comments, bickering and arguing really necessary? I mean, really? This is one reason I dislike the internet. While it can be a great tool, and can bring people together from everywhere, it also creates this environment where people quickly become inhuman (I know because I've done it myself). As I have said, I'm not big on coffee hour and I'm not big on idle talk, though a meal, I think is nice. But, I do have this to say and I'm addressing my dislike for coffee hour as well: Being Orthodox does not mean two hours a week in Church and then living the rest of your life separated from other Orthodox. We need other Orthodox in our life, both priests and laity. They help us and who better to have in your social circle then those who are struggling, like we are, in their everyday life.

Does that mean you need coffee hour? No, but I hope that those who dislike it will at least find another way to socialize with other Orthodox, especially from their parish. We need this. I don't have my Bible in front of me, but I believe the Book of Ecclesiastes sorts of addresses this issue. I know, for myself, I am trying to push myself to be more social at Church, because I need that. I need to have Orthodox friends. I could hang out with people I work with but, as anyone who has been in a predominantly male occupation in the military knows, that's not always the best group to surround yourself, especially when easily swayed.

But, I go back to my main issue: why so much bickering in this thread. It's times like this I ask myself why I go to forums. I doubt that this kind of attitude would be taken if this were a face-to-face conversation (and it's not just this thread).

Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #36 on: July 04, 2011, 11:19:15 AM »
I start walking home right after Liturgy so as to avoid coffee hour. Although, I know that at some point I'll need to be more social in my parish. How else will I find godparents?

Although this is true, you can also just ask your priest to assign you godparents, and after that you can get to know them.  I know people who did this.
Yes, I started a prayer thread about this because I was so stressed about "finding" godparents. I actually talked to our priest and now he is on the hunt, so to speak! He completely understands our situation, and I wish that I had spoken to him about it earlier.
She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #37 on: July 04, 2011, 11:20:46 AM »

Amen to this. Especially to the clique stuff that goes on. That was the army. Good ole boy networks. Trust me it wasnt based on your performance, but your sociability.

What I find funny is, did you see the drama I was hit with? Amazing. "oh your too good to be bothered by us..." Seriously?

These forums take up too much time. I could have been reading Theophan the recluse, instead Im responding to disdain for those in the Religious life. Awesome.



In all fairness, I don't think the disdain expressed was for those in religious life but for your conception of what religious life is. You have an idealized view of monastic life that is very divorced from the common reality. Read the Desert Fathers some time, monks don't tend to gossip and judge less, they tend to gossip and judge more, to the consternation of every abbot and spiritual father! For every monastery that achieves the ideal of silence except for needed communication there are twenty that are hives of backbiting and chatter that would make the local parish sewing circle shake it's head in dismay.
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Offline KShaft

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #38 on: July 04, 2011, 11:24:09 AM »
The size of the congregation matters. if you dont know many people and there are 150 folks at coffee hour, you need some rather advanced social skills to find your place.. That will come with time.

You may want to visit a small Parish with just 20 people or so at coffee hour. You will probably find yourself setting up chairs and doing pots and pans. It's easier to make friends when you cant hide and they need your help.

Good point about size and intimacy or lack of it. I get along well with the small UOC church I attend opposed with the somewhat bigger OCA church (which is mostly converts...).

Theres only like 8 people who attend regularly at the UOC church. I dont think any of them are converts.


Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2011, 11:24:23 AM »
I know how you feel. I usually don't. It was the way I was raised. Right after Liturgy, we would go get the priest's blessing, the antidoran then leave. That's how my dad grew up in the old country. As soon as Liturgy is over, everyone goes home. Granted, over there, the entire village is Orthodox, so they all know each other already.

If it's strictly coffee and standing around, I won't stay. I have no interest in small talk. If it's the Russian tradition, where there's a meal and you're sitting and eating, that's a little different. I don't know why, but it is, at least for me. But, if you look at the cultures, having a meal together is a big thing (for instance, in monasteries, right after service it's time to eat). But, it really is how I feel. It's one of those tough things. On the one hand, I don't want small talk, on the other, how am I supposed to know my family? I think that's why I like the meal. No pressure to talk.

I went to the ROCOR church this past weekend for the first time. I ended up staying after being asked by Matushka. It was nice because there were very few people and I think that helped. Not hearing a lot of loud conversation. That's another reason I don't like staying a lot of times. Too loud.

There is one exception: For some reason, if Matushka tells me to stay or "strongly" invites me, I'll stay, whether I want to or not. I don't know why...I always do.

I agree and understand this. A meal is totally different. Thats yet another communion thing in a sense. I couldnt make the liturgy but they had a meal afterwards and they asked me to come anyway. So I did and ate a little and since this was at a religious neutral place at a University, I helped clean up and get our stuff out of there.

 I feel coffee hour is like pews. A protestant innovation. Its like you said. Everyone knew each other in the villages back in the old country. There was no need for an artificial coffee hour. A meal however is a communal thing. Some people get this and some dont.

I think so. I think it's part of the American deal. I've been to several Orthodox countries. Never seen a coffee hour anywhere else. In Russia, there was a meal. There is also a meal after Liturgies in Japan and South Korea.

But, I will say only this about coffee hour and why, while I don't like it, I don't have a problem with others. The Church has, in Her history, evolved and adapted and, when it's not a matter of dogma, accepting local customs. I see the adoption of coffee hour in America as this. I wouldn't call it an innovation any more then I would call taking your shoes off in a Church in Japan an innovation or building a Church in a Japanese style, etc.

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #40 on: July 04, 2011, 11:29:40 AM »
I feel the same way, mostly. It is nice to hear I am not the only one! I mean, I have nothing against talking to people after the services. However, I have attended a couple of mostly convert churches, and it seemed like the post-service church family social was the most important aspect of the day; I felt terribly out of my element. At my current parish, virtually everyone is Greek and so I just haven't felt comfortable going downstairs after the Liturgy yet. Maybe one day... I, like other posters here, am rather introverted and prefer to meet people one or two at a time, and so I usually find myself walking with my piece of bread straight out to the parking lot after services. Is this bad? I should probably make a bit more of an effort. But I am not much for these kinds of social gatherings at the best of times, so I usually come home to my family instead. I feel connected to everyone at the parish through worship, though, and that is okay for me.

I think you hit the nail on the head with the convert remark. Take that and leave it in the protestant 'church' where it came from.

There are social times in the ethnic churches Ive been to, but theres a different atmosphere to it. More like a family thing than a yak around the water cooler thing.

I've also found this to be true.  We have two VERY small Churches in my town, one Greek and one OCA (a block away from eachother).  The Greek Church really is dying off, for lack of a better term.  The priest is a convert, and expects the members of his Church (about 15-20 people) to give the new comers the same respect he received. 

My Church was founded by Russians, Serbs, Bulgarians and Slovaks.  Most of their descendants, however, have "dropped out", so my parish is mostly converts from MANY different cultures.  It was so interesting to go to the Irish-American family's Slava on St. Patrick's day and eat traditional Irish food.  It's amazing how adaptable Orthodoxy is to any culture! 

Being all "American", in that we are diverse, it's easy for one to find his place in the big family.  But I have found that at larger Greek Churches especially, if your not Greek, 9 times out of 10, someone will ask you "Why are you here, if your not Greek?" 

Greek Churches have Greek festivals, host Greek cultural clubs and activities, it makes a 1/2 Slavic 1/2 Anglo like myself feel a bit uncomfortable.  I just have to remember that I'm there for the Orthodoxy, not the gyros.  Even though I can't really create relationships at this Church with the people, I remember that my relationship with God at this Church is more intimate than anything.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 11:31:42 AM by trevor72694 »

Offline IXOYE

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #41 on: July 04, 2011, 11:44:51 AM »
"This is why some Pentecostal churches have been successful - the put people at ease. Someone greets you at the door and if you are new they assign you a "buddy". Later on the buddy formally introduces you to other members and ensures you have company and are included in "small talk"."

I don't think that would put too many at ease.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 11:47:27 AM by IXOYE »

Offline KShaft

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #42 on: July 04, 2011, 11:46:40 AM »

Amen to this. Especially to the clique stuff that goes on. That was the army. Good ole boy networks. Trust me it wasnt based on your performance, but your sociability.

What I find funny is, did you see the drama I was hit with? Amazing. "oh your too good to be bothered by us..." Seriously?

These forums take up too much time. I could have been reading Theophan the recluse, instead Im responding to disdain for those in the Religious life. Awesome.



In all fairness, I don't think the disdain expressed was for those in religious life but for your conception of what religious life is. You have an idealized view of monastic life that is very divorced from the common reality. Read the Desert Fathers some time, monks don't tend to gossip and judge less, they tend to gossip and judge more, to the consternation of every abbot and spiritual father! For every monastery that achieves the ideal of silence except for needed communication there are twenty that are hives of backbiting and chatter that would make the local parish sewing circle shake it's head in dismay.

Well the monastery I visited for a prolonged period of time didnt seem this way. I think I was there long enough to see the shows and what was real. There wasnt too much nonsense going on from what I saw. Ive have read how Benedict was nearly poisoned.  I dont think its quite so bleak as you make it out. Perhaps Im wrong. I truly hope not...

Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #43 on: July 04, 2011, 11:47:14 AM »
I don't think that would put too many at ease.

I think that would annoy me.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #44 on: July 04, 2011, 11:48:38 AM »
I know how you feel. I usually don't. It was the way I was raised. Right after Liturgy, we would go get the priest's blessing, the antidoran then leave. That's how my dad grew up in the old country. As soon as Liturgy is over, everyone goes home. Granted, over there, the entire village is Orthodox, so they all know each other already.

If it's strictly coffee and standing around, I won't stay. I have no interest in small talk. If it's the Russian tradition, where there's a meal and you're sitting and eating, that's a little different. I don't know why, but it is, at least for me. But, if you look at the cultures, having a meal together is a big thing (for instance, in monasteries, right after service it's time to eat). But, it really is how I feel. It's one of those tough things. On the one hand, I don't want small talk, on the other, how am I supposed to know my family? I think that's why I like the meal. No pressure to talk.

I went to the ROCOR church this past weekend for the first time. I ended up staying after being asked by Matushka. It was nice because there were very few people and I think that helped. Not hearing a lot of loud conversation. That's another reason I don't like staying a lot of times. Too loud.

There is one exception: For some reason, if Matushka tells me to stay or "strongly" invites me, I'll stay, whether I want to or not. I don't know why...I always do.

I agree and understand this. A meal is totally different. Thats yet another communion thing in a sense. I couldnt make the liturgy but they had a meal afterwards and they asked me to come anyway. So I did and ate a little and since this was at a religious neutral place at a University, I helped clean up and get our stuff out of there.

 I feel coffee hour is like pews. A protestant innovation. Its like you said. Everyone knew each other in the villages back in the old country. There was no need for an artificial coffee hour. A meal however is a communal thing. Some people get this and some dont.
And obviously you don't.

I've lived in the Middle East and been to Europe: if someone has been to a cafe/maqhan and doens't think its communal, he's not paying attention.  Nothing "artifical" about it.

Nor anything Protestant.  I've been to several in the Middle East, where nary a Protestant was involved.

It may be a more urban thing, though.  The vast majority of us don't live in villages anymore.  Cities aren't a Protestant innovation.
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Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #45 on: July 04, 2011, 11:53:00 AM »

Amen to this. Especially to the clique stuff that goes on. That was the army. Good ole boy networks. Trust me it wasnt based on your performance, but your sociability.

What I find funny is, did you see the drama I was hit with? Amazing. "oh your too good to be bothered by us..." Seriously?

These forums take up too much time. I could have been reading Theophan the recluse, instead Im responding to disdain for those in the Religious life. Awesome.



In all fairness, I don't think the disdain expressed was for those in religious life but for your conception of what religious life is. You have an idealized view of monastic life that is very divorced from the common reality. Read the Desert Fathers some time, monks don't tend to gossip and judge less, they tend to gossip and judge more, to the consternation of every abbot and spiritual father! For every monastery that achieves the ideal of silence except for needed communication there are twenty that are hives of backbiting and chatter that would make the local parish sewing circle shake it's head in dismay.

Well the monastery I visited for a prolonged period of time didnt seem this way. I think I was there long enough to see the shows and what was real. There wasnt too much nonsense going on from what I saw. Ive have read how Benedict was nearly poisoned.  I dont think its quite so bleak as you make it out. Perhaps Im wrong. I truly hope not...

Out of curiosity, did you visit or live there? What I mean was, how deep in the community were you? I was a novice in a monastery for a while and there is a huge difference between visiting and living. I'm not making any assumptions, which is why I asked.

The thing to remember is that it's not bleak. It's reality. Monasteries are full of monks who happen to be human and have the same temptations and fallings we all do. You can read many stories of monks bickering and gossiping, etc. Not because they don't like each other but simply because they're human. I'm not saying this is you, but I do know that many romanticize monasticism then enter the monastery and are scandalized because it turns out there are sinful people there, too.

Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #46 on: July 04, 2011, 12:06:15 PM »
Coffee time is part of being part of the comunite and parish, it helps you to grow spiritually with your brothers in Christ.

Unfortunately the cathedral I go to in Athens is empty before the the priest leaves the alter, and no one speaks with anyone. but i guess this is a city.

this is catholic by the way.

but all the other churches I have been to around the world have coffee, or a meal together.
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Offline FormerReformer

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #47 on: July 04, 2011, 12:12:33 PM »

Amen to this. Especially to the clique stuff that goes on. That was the army. Good ole boy networks. Trust me it wasnt based on your performance, but your sociability.

What I find funny is, did you see the drama I was hit with? Amazing. "oh your too good to be bothered by us..." Seriously?

These forums take up too much time. I could have been reading Theophan the recluse, instead Im responding to disdain for those in the Religious life. Awesome.



In all fairness, I don't think the disdain expressed was for those in religious life but for your conception of what religious life is. You have an idealized view of monastic life that is very divorced from the common reality. Read the Desert Fathers some time, monks don't tend to gossip and judge less, they tend to gossip and judge more, to the consternation of every abbot and spiritual father! For every monastery that achieves the ideal of silence except for needed communication there are twenty that are hives of backbiting and chatter that would make the local parish sewing circle shake it's head in dismay.

Well the monastery I visited for a prolonged period of time didnt seem this way. I think I was there long enough to see the shows and what was real. There wasnt too much nonsense going on from what I saw. Ive have read how Benedict was nearly poisoned.  I dont think its quite so bleak as you make it out. Perhaps Im wrong. I truly hope not...

I'm glad to hear you had a good experience. I'm guessing you're posting from here in America, where I would assume the relative scarcity of monastic life pushes more toward the ideal than elsewhere (so that the ratio is maybe more like half and half) because those in a monastery have to actively seek out such a lifestyle. I've heard horror stories from elsewhere and there are the writings of monastic fathers over the centuries that show reality and the ideal don't always (or often) intersect.

The point, of course, is that not everything can be solved by being "more like a monastery". Monasteries have a certain set of rules appropriate to monastic life, parishes have a different approach appropriate to life in the world. Coffee hour at the parish shouldn't be taken in silence and solemnity with dour expressions and only pious conversation. I'm reminded of the (paraphrased) story of the monk who became a bishop and had another monk come and visit at the cathedral. After Liturgy the two sat down for a meal and the bishop provided chicken. The monk said, "For ten years I have kept my vow that meat should not pass my lips." The bishop replied, "And for twenty I have kept my vow that no judgement or unkind word should pass mine." The monk admitted the bishop had kept the better way, and ate his chicken.

Chatter is not necessarily bad, moms comparing notes about babies or men talking shop or sports is harmless (if annoying to the introverted). Now, if one group of women is nattering away at how that horrible Mrs Jones raises her kids, or a group of men is is talking about how that group of blue-collar men over there are wrecking church life, then you have problems with a parish. As for skipping out on coffee hour after a few minutes, if anyone questions you about it just tell them, "I'm not very comfortable around large groups of people." The feelings of being judged often go both ways, and are usually baseless on both sides. I know someone who is very uncomfortable socializing because she feels "judged" all the time, this can lead to others thinking she's being standoffish because she doesn't like them.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #48 on: July 04, 2011, 12:14:52 PM »
Coffee time is part of being part of the comunite and parish, it helps you to grow spiritually with your brothers in Christ.

Unfortunately the cathedral I go to in Athens is empty before the the priest leaves the alter, and no one speaks with anyone. but i guess this is a city.

this is catholic by the way.

but all the other churches I have been to around the world have coffee, or a meal together.

It it a Latin church, or a Greek/Eastern one?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline genesisone

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #49 on: July 04, 2011, 12:16:43 PM »
Our coffee hour may be just coffee and cookies, or it may be a full meal (usually announced ahead of time and for a specific reason), or anything in between.

After chanting through Orthros and DL, I'm glad for a cup of coffee and anything at all to eat and a chance to just sit for a few minutes before the half-hour drive back home.

We are a small congregation, so we do enjoy our "family chit-chat" - but when some need to rush off, that's never held against them. Also, we simply don't have the facilities to have a full range of services and socializing opportunities, so the coffee hour is really about the only place to keep in regular contact with our friends. Most of us live 20 to 30 minutes away from each other in various directions and rarely see each other between Sundays.

Offline Margaret S.

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #50 on: July 04, 2011, 12:27:55 PM »
".... here, perhaps, is the key to a place where the Lord can again stand openly with us. However superficial and vestigial Orthodox agape fellowship has become, it does continue to exist as coffee hour throughout the world.... Perhaps especially when the only realistic chance to gather is the Eucharistic celebration on the Lord's Day, coffee hour has once again become a true agape.

I have witnessed the forming of true families in large and small parishes when the parish priest, as father of the family, presides over the parish agape as well as over the Eucharistic Assembly.... I see no substitute for him not only blessing the meal, but also entering into normal family conversations....  Surrounded by a world that no longer provides guidance or support for social and family norms.... I believe the kind of family support that can be given by the priest and other adults during coffee hour is as necessary as preaching, confession and one-on-one counselling."

from Spiritual Parenthood in the Church Family: An Essay on Power and Maturity by Mother Raphaela, Abbess of Holy Myrrhbearers' Monastery, NY.

Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #51 on: July 04, 2011, 12:40:09 PM »
Latin church

Coffee time is part of being part of the comunite and parish, it helps you to grow spiritually with your brothers in Christ.

Unfortunately the cathedral I go to in Athens is empty before the the priest leaves the alter, and no one speaks with anyone. but i guess this is a city.

this is catholic by the way.

but all the other churches I have been to around the world have coffee, or a meal together.

It it a Latin church, or a Greek/Eastern one?
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Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #52 on: July 04, 2011, 12:42:59 PM »
In my home parish, we always have coffee hour, and I think most of us enjoy it. We want to know whats going on in everyone's lives, how everyone is doing, we get to know each other, and we also talk about Orthodoxy as well.
We live in a culture and a nation where Orthodoxy is a tiny, tiny minority. (800,000 out of 300 million doesn't even register at 1%) Most of our culture is even anti-Christian.
No offense to others, but even those in the world that claim to be Christian definitely do not show it in their actions.

Sunday, and if you're lucky enough, Wednesday and Saturday are the only times we get to be around other Orthodox Christians. The Church is not like a family, it is a family.

It is also a way to help integrate new people into the Parish. We usually have so many people at coffee hour (and in such a small space) that it is crammed full of people, so anyone that sits in there really isn't ever going to be sitting alone, and inevitably you will be engaged in conversation. Of course, that has the side-effect of getting really loud sometimes, so a few of us move out into the bookstore to talk.

As I said, I really enjoy that time to socialize with fellow Orthodox Christians. It is definitely awkward at first, but social encounters are always like that, even when/if you go somewhere new, you just have to get to know people.

No offense to this board, but the fact is, socializing with Orthodox Christians face-to-face and in real life (though this is real life, you know what I mean) is just so much better than trying to socialize on the internet. And at a parish, it is with people who live in your area and can be involved in your spiritual journey.

We cannot, and we should not ever go at it alone. We don't have the luxury of Russia, Greece, Romania or other countries, where most people are Orthodox. We can't just walk down the street to a local icon/candle store to talk with someone about the faith.

All that being said, I definitely think social hour is a great thing. I also think it is important for a parish to have other things as well. For example... We have catechumen classes on Mondays, this is for both Orthodox and catechumens. Its structured so that it isn't just a class, but a discussion, and often after class is over, we socialize more. We also have get-togethers outside of Church. Sometimes for birthdays or other celebrations, and sometimes its just to get together. It could just be pancakes one morning, or it could be a game night, or a men's get-together, or a women's get-together... Even if you don't get a lot of people, it's still good if even a few show up.
We also have Vespers on Wednesday, with dinner and Bible Study afterwards (headed by our Priest). This gives us even more time in church with fellow Orthodox Christians.
Lastly, we also have Vespers on Saturday, but we don't have anything afterwards, since the next day we will have social hour.

We do come to Church to worship. But the Orthodox Church is far more than just worship. We seek fellowship, not just with God, but one another as well. We are united to one another in the Church, we are all brothers and sisters, and we ought to be like family. We live in a place where people aren't Orthodox, and we need encouragement and support from our brothers and sisters.

We don't have the luxury of having a service that is hours upon hours long on Sundays. Don't forget the agape meals in the early Church. I would argue that the social hour is just an extension of that.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 12:45:20 PM by 88Devin12 »

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #53 on: July 04, 2011, 12:43:15 PM »
I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?



Do you think you're above the people in your parish who DO go to coffee hour because you don't lower yourself to such "nonsense"?

There are several people who attend Liturgy and/or Vespers at my parish on a regular basis. Won't stay for coffee hour or even to chat for a few minutes after Vespers. Boom! Out the door! One fellow will *only* talk to our priest and won't talk to anyone else. Period. Looks mighty weird. It looks like they're either they're hiding something, think the rest of us are below them, and so forth. No, this isn't discussed at all, but certainly has gone through my mind.

It looks like you're just a "consumer" of the sacraments but show absolutely no interest in being a part of the community. There's more to being a member of the Church than just worship. Do you go to anything else - Bible studies, lectures, etc.? If your parish has a meal after Presanctified during Lent as many parishes have, do you go to that? Do you help out with charitable projects (feeding the hungry and so forth)?

And do you get that you can be "spiritually nurtured" by talking to and helping your fellow parishioners? Maybe someone needs to talk that day - but no, you can't be bothered. It's all nonsense and hooey. Coffee hour is a chance to give and take. You host when it's your turn, share whatever your culinary specialties are maybe, be hospitable.

You have other Christian friends you interact with in real life in the course of your life? Many of us only find those folks at church, and so we enjoy our talks with them. Serious discussion happens to. I'm known for having read a lot, and so folks wanting to learn ask me, and we turn out to have great discussions. But since you're bolting for the door...

Perhaps the previous poster who suggested you might find a monastery more congenial was correct.

Spare me the drama. "Oh were so beneath you....oh I faint...." get over yourself.

You just admitted you think the guy who only talks to the priest is hiding something. Do you ever think maybe he's just introverted or shy or whatever. Because he doesnt come and talk to you, youre now the issue. Its not about you. Get over yourself.

Oh just a consumer? When Christ said "do this in remembrance of me" Was he talking about partaking of the mystical supper or coffee? Ive explained this above, the Liturgy and the common bond between partakers of the mystical supper is infinitely more important than the Miami Heat getting defeated in the Finals... You are aware that the earliest Christians lived in communities together and shared everything right? Kind of like monastics only on a larger scale? You really think social hour equates to this type of living? How daft are you? Also when the earliest Christians had the Sacrifice, THAT WAS THE COFFEE HOUR! They didnt eat the bread and drink the wine and then went downstairs and do it again! I do sing in the Choir since week two of going there. And actually Im not being fed as far as the Body and Blood goes. Im not Orthodox yet so I dont partake of the Eucharist.

I love talking on an intimate level with fellow parishioners. Discussing Theology, world events, things important in their lives. This doesn't happen during social hour. Socializing is not the same as serious discussion. You do understand the difference don't you?  

As for Charitable works, lady, dont you read scripture and what it says about hypocrites who advertise that? I guess not....

And one more thing. Read the post thoroughly. I don't bolt for the door. I go downstairs. I stay around for a little. More so at the UOC Parish I attend than the OCA parish.
Dont judge me because I dont like to partake in the same things you do. Thats biggotry. Would you like to go shooting with me? How bout we go on a ruckmarch? Spar with the urban kids in the Gym on the East side of Cleveland where well be the only white people in there? No? Well I guess me and the black kids are just beneath you then.
You see how dumb that just sounded? Get over yourself.
You can't stand the gossip and judging you see going on during coffee hour, so you come here to this Internet forum to gossip about and judge those who go to coffee hour? And then you attack those here who question your apparent hypocrisy? Seriously, I'm with Keble on this. It's you who need to get over yourself.


"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."  ~ Matthew 22:37-40

We come to the Divine Liturgy out of our love for God, but what better way to learn how to love your neighbor than by coming to the social hour afterward, whether it be over lunch or coffee? And what better way to manifest your love for someone else than by listening to that person talk about things that don't interest you or you think are beneath you? You're connecting with that person, and you're allowing that person to connect with you. Most importantly, you're putting aside your own desires in order to be of service to someone else. When Jesus said, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," I don't think He was talking merely about sacrificing one's life and physically dying for a friend.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 12:49:33 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline TheodoraElizabeth3

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #54 on: July 04, 2011, 12:47:50 PM »
Coffee time is part of being part of the comunite and parish, it helps you to grow spiritually with your brothers in Christ.

Unfortunately the cathedral I go to in Athens is empty before the the priest leaves the alter, and no one speaks with anyone. but i guess this is a city.

this is catholic by the way.

but all the other churches I have been to around the world have coffee, or a meal together.


That seems to be the norm in Catholic parishes here in the States, anyway. In the Catholic parish I grew up it, I can only remember several times when any gathering at all was held following Mass. It was always a special fundraiser, just coffee and a sweet. I think part of it has to do that there are multiple Masses a Sunday (four at the parish I grew up at) and simply too many people. You were lucky if you got to know the people who sat in a pew near you if you went to the same Mass each Sunday.

I love that Orthodox parishes, at least in the US, are generally much smaller. I've been a member of two parishes with about 150 people each, with about 60-70 staying for coffee hour each Sunday. If someone wants to be as anonymous as possible in an Orthodox parish, their best bet would be one of the large Greek parishes, if available in their area.

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #55 on: July 04, 2011, 12:48:11 PM »
I know how you feel. I usually don't. It was the way I was raised. Right after Liturgy, we would go get the priest's blessing, the antidoran then leave. That's how my dad grew up in the old country. As soon as Liturgy is over, everyone goes home. Granted, over there, the entire village is Orthodox, so they all know each other already.

If it's strictly coffee and standing around, I won't stay. I have no interest in small talk. If it's the Russian tradition, where there's a meal and you're sitting and eating, that's a little different. I don't know why, but it is, at least for me. But, if you look at the cultures, having a meal together is a big thing (for instance, in monasteries, right after service it's time to eat). But, it really is how I feel. It's one of those tough things. On the one hand, I don't want small talk, on the other, how am I supposed to know my family? I think that's why I like the meal. No pressure to talk.

I went to the ROCOR church this past weekend for the first time. I ended up staying after being asked by Matushka. It was nice because there were very few people and I think that helped. Not hearing a lot of loud conversation. That's another reason I don't like staying a lot of times. Too loud.

There is one exception: For some reason, if Matushka tells me to stay or "strongly" invites me, I'll stay, whether I want to or not. I don't know why...I always do.

I agree and understand this. A meal is totally different. Thats yet another communion thing in a sense. I couldnt make the liturgy but they had a meal afterwards and they asked me to come anyway. So I did and ate a little and since this was at a religious neutral place at a University, I helped clean up and get our stuff out of there.

 I feel coffee hour is like pews. A protestant innovation. Its like you said. Everyone knew each other in the villages back in the old country. There was no need for an artificial coffee hour. A meal however is a communal thing. Some people get this and some dont.
And obviously you don't.

I've lived in the Middle East and been to Europe: if someone has been to a cafe/maqhan and doens't think its communal, he's not paying attention.  Nothing "artifical" about it.

Nor anything Protestant.  I've been to several in the Middle East, where nary a Protestant was involved.

It may be a more urban thing, though.  The vast majority of us don't live in villages anymore.  Cities aren't a Protestant innovation.

Indeed, it's not Protestant. I've been to several Orthodox parishes in Rio, São Paulo and in the south of Brazil. All of them strongly ethnic, and what converts they had, were mostly from the Roman church. Everywhere they had coffe hour later. Some talk is idle. Some talk is sharing. Life is complex.
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Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #56 on: July 04, 2011, 12:51:49 PM »
I am originally from England, they are always socialising, here in Greece is so different.

I want to go to the orthodox church here, but I am shy to go as my Greek is very poor.

Trying to pluck up the courage to go.

Coffee time is part of being part of the comunite and parish, it helps you to grow spiritually with your brothers in Christ.

Unfortunately the cathedral I go to in Athens is empty before the the priest leaves the alter, and no one speaks with anyone. but i guess this is a city.

this is catholic by the way.

but all the other churches I have been to around the world have coffee, or a meal together.


That seems to be the norm in Catholic parishes here in the States, anyway. In the Catholic parish I grew up it, I can only remember several times when any gathering at all was held following Mass. It was always a special fundraiser, just coffee and a sweet. I think part of it has to do that there are multiple Masses a Sunday (four at the parish I grew up at) and simply too many people. You were lucky if you got to know the people who sat in a pew near you if you went to the same Mass each Sunday.

I love that Orthodox parishes, at least in the US, are generally much smaller. I've been a member of two parishes with about 150 people each, with about 60-70 staying for coffee hour each Sunday. If someone wants to be as anonymous as possible in an Orthodox parish, their best bet would be one of the large Greek parishes, if available in their area.
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Offline TheodoraElizabeth3

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #57 on: July 04, 2011, 01:12:33 PM »

One of the things I love about my current parish- they understand that not everyone has the time and money to contribute to coffee hour. Even with a small parish like ours I'd be afraid of the monumental task of bringing enough food for 30-60 people, especially during one of the Fasts, when you can't stop by Dunkin Donuts on the way in.

Well, now, *that* is solved in a variety of ways. Some parishes divide the alphabet up into 4 parts, so multiple people are only bringing a dish/item for maybe 10 people, and that only once a month. Others do up a schedule, as mine does, and you get paired up - 2-3 singles together or a couple and a single. You end up doing coffee hour twice a year. I know some parishes require people to sign up - in that case, just ask another family (or two) to do a joint coffee hour.

I'm single but *hosting* coffee hour isn't as difficult or the chore some people think it is. If you don't have a lot of money, you make stuff. That food usually ends up tasting better, anyway. I'll make hummus from scratch for a fasting coffee hour. And making muffins or a quick bread (such as banana bread) is pretty cheap.

For those who minimize attendance at coffee hour for whatever reason, I hope you're interacting with those in your parish in other ways. In Acts 3:42, "fellowship" is specifically mentioned, not just the "breaking of the bread" and "prayers." I've got Protestant friends who say they don't need to attend services to worship and be a good Christian, as they just need Jesus, themselves, and their Bible. It's a slippery slope.

But if you *do* want to get to know others in your parish, you have to get past whatever is holding you back and go to coffee hour, a Bible study, something. Maybe working on a charitable project might be easier for you, as you're doing something while also interacting with fellow parishioners. Tell the priest you're shy and ask him to introduce you to 1-2 people. Those will then introduce you to others.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. ;)

Several years ago I had an ongoing discussion with someone I know. She perpetually lamented that she didn't know anyone in her parish. She wouldn't go to coffee hour, she wouldn't attend the adult Bible study, she wouldn't stay for the soup and bread meal after Presanctified. She wouldn't do anything but attend Liturgy and bolt afterwards. I finally lost patience with her after some months of this and told her that she was either going to have to make an effort to go to *something* or to quit talking about it.

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #58 on: July 04, 2011, 01:15:51 PM »
Coffee time is part of being part of the comunite and parish, it helps you to grow spiritually with your brothers in Christ.

Unfortunately the cathedral I go to in Athens is empty before the the priest leaves the alter, and no one speaks with anyone. but i guess this is a city.

this is catholic by the way.

but all the other churches I have been to around the world have coffee, or a meal together.


That seems to be the norm in Catholic parishes here in the States, anyway. In the Catholic parish I grew up it, I can only remember several times when any gathering at all was held following Mass. It was always a special fundraiser, just coffee and a sweet. I think part of it has to do that there are multiple Masses a Sunday (four at the parish I grew up at) and simply too many people. You were lucky if you got to know the people who sat in a pew near you if you went to the same Mass each Sunday.

I love that Orthodox parishes, at least in the US, are generally much smaller. I've been a member of two parishes with about 150 people each, with about 60-70 staying for coffee hour each Sunday. If someone wants to be as anonymous as possible in an Orthodox parish, their best bet would be one of the large Greek parishes, if available in their area.


That's one of the things I really LIKE about the Roman Catholic Church.  I like the anonymity and the way they respect your privacy. I like the fact that the great emphasis in a typical Catholic parish is on worship and not socializing and social activities.  Although I became Orthodox 15 years ago, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have become Roman Catholic instead.  I don't think the switch would be too difficult for me, as long as it wasn't some modernist, New Age parish.

Offline TheodoraElizabeth3

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #59 on: July 04, 2011, 01:24:43 PM »

That's one of the things I really LIKE about the Roman Catholic Church.  I like the anonymity and the way they respect your privacy. I like the fact that the great emphasis in a typical Catholic parish is on worship and not socializing and social activities.  Although I became Orthodox 15 years ago, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have become Roman Catholic instead.  I don't think the switch would be too difficult for me, as long as it wasn't some modernist, New Age parish.

So what about life in the average Orthodox parish do you consider an invasion of your privacy? That's not a snarky question, I'm just curious. I don't know where you are, but from what Catholic friends tell me, there are a great deal of social activities. Much more than when I was growing up Catholic in the 1970s and 80s. And if you truly want to be unconnected, you don't send your kids to Catholic school or CCD classes.

Offline genesisone

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #60 on: July 04, 2011, 01:31:23 PM »
P.S.  I also boycotted coffee hour for a number of years after attending a yearly parish meeting where a married women ranted and raved about those "single people" who aren't "pulling their weight in this parish, esp. at coffee hour."  She went on and on about how we "singles" didn't shoulder our "fair share" of responsibility" and actually made me feel quite unwelcome in church.  I decided to let her have her precious coffee hour all to herself. And I've only been back (to coffee hour, not Divine Liturgy) a few times since.
I know this is a bit after the fact, but the way to handle people like that is to smile sweetly and say something like, All this time I've been wanting to share, but you are the first one to be kind enough to invite me to sign up for making my contribution.

I also realize not everyone can say that with a straight face  ::).

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #61 on: July 04, 2011, 01:32:26 PM »
Although I became Orthodox 15 years ago, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have become Roman Catholic instead.  I don't think the switch would be too difficult for me, as long as it wasn't some modernist, New Age parish.

I'm glad your Orthodoxy runs so deep.
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Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #62 on: July 04, 2011, 01:57:25 PM »

That's one of the things I really LIKE about the Roman Catholic Church.  I like the anonymity and the way they respect your privacy. I like the fact that the great emphasis in a typical Catholic parish is on worship and not socializing and social activities.  Although I became Orthodox 15 years ago, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have become Roman Catholic instead.  I don't think the switch would be too difficult for me, as long as it wasn't some modernist, New Age parish.

So what about life in the average Orthodox parish do you consider an invasion of your privacy? That's not a snarky question, I'm just curious. I don't know where you are, but from what Catholic friends tell me, there are a great deal of social activities. Much more than when I was growing up Catholic in the 1970s and 80s. And if you truly want to be unconnected, you don't send your kids to Catholic school or CCD classes.

Its not so much an "invasion" of privacy as it is a different set of assumptions about what is proper and expected of people in church.  Here are a few examples:

1.  People going around the church and hugging people after they venerate the icons, usually at the beginning of the Liturgy. My parish does not have pews, and its small, so there isn't really any place where one can go and stand alone and be left alone for very long. People whose name's I don't even know come up and hug me. I don't want to be rude or cold, so I hug them back.  But inwardly, I cannot stand it.  Its mostly the former Protestant converts in parish that are into all this touchy-feeling stuff.  The sweet, pious Russian and Romanians don't hug everybody.

2. Coming up to you and starting a conversation in the MIDDLE OF THE LITURGY, even during the Anaphora!  Now our Protestant converts would never do this.  They do understand reverence.  But our Eastern European folks, its entirely another matter.  No prayer is so sacred that it cannot be interrupted for conversation.  There almost seems to be an attitude among our folks from the Old Country that whatever the priest does in the altar is his business and doesn't concern us.

3. The assumption that everyone wants to participate in these coffee klatsch style get togethers (complete with a FULL MEAL) after every Sunday Liturgy. And the way people will literally grab you by the hand or arm and plead with you to stay for it.  They also get mighty annoyed with you if you don't take your turn cooking for this weekly affair (which often feeds more than 100 people).  I have things to do on my Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes I like to get together with family and eat lunch.  (And my family isn't Orthodox).  Some of us are not good at cooking.  Some of us can barely afford to pledge weekly offerings to the Church, let alone cook for the church.  Due to the downturn in the economy, I was actually on food stamps at this time last year and could not afford to do any coffee hour activities.

4. The inevitable conversations  at coffee hour that result from being single in a parish where most of the people are married:
So, when are you going to get married?
Why aren't you married yet? What's the problem?

5.  The inevitable political conversations at coffee hour that result from having a lot of former Right Wing Protestant converts to the Orthodox Church.  You hear lots of statements that tend to confuse the Republican party with being a Christian, and lots of condemnation of the corporal works of mercy of the Church as "Socialism" (feeding the poor, unmercenary healers (free health care).  I don't care to get involved in such a debate on the Social Darwinist ethic of the Republican party ....

These and other reasons are a good example of why I don't attend coffee hour.  I'm not hear to argue politics with anybody. I just want to worship in peace, unmolested by others, uninterrupted by others and then LEAVE.

It's that simple.

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #63 on: July 04, 2011, 02:15:12 PM »
To the OP:

Look, it's obvious that you're uncomfortable with small talk (or rather, just dislike it), but for most people small talk is the grease that gets the wheel to "deeper" (term varies with mileage) conversation. Most folks aren't comfortable with just jumping into a conversation about serious spiritual (or political, or whatever) things with someone they have barely spoken with, so they use base topics -- sports, which cloth diapers they use, their children's schools, popular music and art, gardening (all topics I heard discussed at coffee hour yesterday) -- to break the ice and make sure they will feel comfortable with a person before dredging into the mysteries of hesychasm or the uncreated light. A conversation about the weather could lead to the mention of how one's garden needs rain, and that could lead to a deeper discussion of how society as a whole has become disconnected from the goodness of the earth...But you can't skip the opening ritual. For the most part, only people whose job it is to be concerned with the deep things of the Church -- e.g. clergy -- are ready to jump into "deep" conversation with an inquirer at a moment's notice.

Of course, most people are more concerned with the minutiae of life than with countless theological discussions that have little or no practical influence on parish life, and some people just want to talk about sports or the movie they saw Saturday afternoon. There's nothing wrong with that, and if you don't like that just don't go, because there's nothing wrong with not going to coffee hour...But don't be surprised when no one in the parish knows you.
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Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #64 on: July 04, 2011, 02:15:38 PM »
Its not so much an "invasion" of privacy as it is a different set of assumptions about what is proper and expected of people in church.  Here are a few examples:

1.  People going around the church and hugging people after they venerate the icons, usually at the beginning of the Liturgy. My parish does not have pews, and its small, so there isn't really any place where one can go and stand alone and be left alone for very long. People whose name's I don't even know come up and hug me. I don't want to be rude or cold, so I hug them back.  But inwardly, I cannot stand it.  Its mostly the former Protestant converts in parish that are into all this touchy-feeling stuff.  The sweet, pious Russian and Romanians don't hug everybody.

I have seen this overseas, especially among Greeks. Yes, we are there to worship but, again, we are a family. And, believe me, I know what you mean. My dad doesn't like it either. My dad is not a hands-on type of person.

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2. Coming up to you and starting a conversation in the MIDDLE OF THE LITURGY, even during the Anaphora!  Now our Protestant converts would never do this.  They do understand reverence.  But our Eastern European folks, its entirely another matter.  No prayer is so sacred that it cannot be interrupted for conversation.  There almost seems to be an attitude among our folks from the Old Country that whatever the priest does in the altar is his business and doesn't concern us.

I would be careful when assuming the mind of someone else. Especially when implying they don't understand reverence.

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3. The assumption that everyone wants to participate in these coffee klatsch style get togethers (complete with a FULL MEAL) after every Sunday Liturgy. And the way people will literally grab you by the hand or arm and plead with you to stay for it.  They also get mighty annoyed with you if you don't take your turn cooking for this weekly affair (which often feeds more than 100 people).  I have things to do on my Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes I like to get together with family and eat lunch.  (And my family isn't Orthodox).  Some of us are not good at cooking.  Some of us can barely afford to pledge weekly offerings to the Church, let alone cook for the church.  Due to the downturn in the economy, I was actually on food stamps at this time last year and could not afford to do any coffee hour activities.

It's a family and they want you to stay and enjoy the family meal. As for being upset when you don't cook. Don't worry about it. They're human and, just like anyone else, they have imperfection and may get annoyed. It's a fact of life. Personally, I'll try to help in other ways when I stay for the meal. I'll help set up and clean up, if they let me. But, I can't cook for anything and am single. I just help where I can.

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4. The inevitable conversations  at coffee hour that result from being single in a parish where most of the people are married:
So, when are you going to get married?
Why aren't you married yet? What's the problem?

Tell them you're thinking about being a monk. Ha ha! Truthfully, I've never had that problem but I'm sure once they knew I really am contemplating the monastic life, it'd shut them up...or make them try harder. One or the other. Either way, don't let it affect you. That happens in every family.

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5.  The inevitable political conversations at coffee hour that result from having a lot of former Right Wing Protestant converts to the Orthodox Church.  You hear lots of statements that tend to confuse the Republican party with being a Christian, and lots of condemnation of the corporal works of mercy of the Church as "Socialism" (feeding the poor, unmercenary healers (free health care).  I don't care to get involved in such a debate on the Social Darwinist ethic of the Republican party ....

I avoid political discussions like the plague. I have no use for politics and don't want to talk about the subject and most understand when I tell them I don't like discussing politics and I steer them to something about the Church or something neutral. It's not to difficult most of the time. It can be, sometimes, though.

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These and other reasons are a good example of why I don't attend coffee hour.  I'm not hear to argue politics with anybody. I just want to worship in peace, unmolested by others, uninterrupted by others and then LEAVE.

It's that simple.

I can understand your concerns and I hope I don't come across as saying your ideas were wrong. i just wanted to give you a couple thoughts. As I've said, I have a problem in a new social setting. While I can "fake it" when I need to, I try not to get into the social situations. However, as I said before, Orthodoxy is more than two hours a week and fellowship with other Orthodox is a necessity. St. Paul said this and it's in the Book of Ecclesiastes as well as numerous other places in the Bible and the Fathers.

I learned that the hard way, especially when I was stationed in Japan and knew no other Orthodox. I do hope that you are getting involved with Orthodox another way if not through the meal/coffee hour. It is something we all need.

Offline Shiny

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #65 on: July 04, 2011, 02:40:18 PM »
Coffee time is part of being part of the comunite and parish, it helps you to grow spiritually with your brothers in Christ.

Unfortunately the cathedral I go to in Athens is empty before the the priest leaves the alter, and no one speaks with anyone. but i guess this is a city.

this is catholic by the way.

but all the other churches I have been to around the world have coffee, or a meal together.


That seems to be the norm in Catholic parishes here in the States, anyway. In the Catholic parish I grew up it, I can only remember several times when any gathering at all was held following Mass. It was always a special fundraiser, just coffee and a sweet. I think part of it has to do that there are multiple Masses a Sunday (four at the parish I grew up at) and simply too many people. You were lucky if you got to know the people who sat in a pew near you if you went to the same Mass each Sunday.

I love that Orthodox parishes, at least in the US, are generally much smaller. I've been a member of two parishes with about 150 people each, with about 60-70 staying for coffee hour each Sunday. If someone wants to be as anonymous as possible in an Orthodox parish, their best bet would be one of the large Greek parishes, if available in their area.


That's one of the things I really LIKE about the Roman Catholic Church.  I like the anonymity and the way they respect your privacy. I like the fact that the great emphasis in a typical Catholic parish is on worship and not socializing and social activities.  Although I became Orthodox 15 years ago, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have become Roman Catholic instead.  I don't think the switch would be too difficult for me, as long as it wasn't some modernist, New Age parish.

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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #66 on: July 04, 2011, 02:41:11 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Why don't you try small talking about Worshipful matters? Or discuss the Scriptures? Or Theology? Or what good things God has done for you this week? Fellowship is crucial to building a good Christian relationship with the world, and we start in our Parishes.

When I first started attending Orthodox, I would slip in for Liturgy and leave right after, for two whole years not a soul in the Church knew me, I was just that mysterious dreadlock who popped in every Sunday and disappeared.  Then finally the priests stopped me on my way out one day and forcefully invited me to lunch with them after Service and so I was stuck, how could I refuse my priests who I venerated as a Divine Mystery?

Since then I have met dozens of people, have even started teaching in the Youth Ministry, and it is delightful. I used to avoid the small talk too, I'm rather shy, and like you I came to worship, but I've learned that worship takes on several aspects, facets, and manitestations. Further, God has broken away my shyness which previously was a burden to me, and it has helped my whole life, my friendships, my relationship with my family, especially my career as a school teacher (a rather extrovert career path not for the shy ;) )

Of course, I also understand your sentiment, still, in the morning before Services I hardly whisper to a soul before the Liturgy starts, and I sincerely avoid even good morning handshakes, as I am so caught up in that worshiping spirit, but we must not become calous about it.  That Love of God which we receive imparted in our depths from worship, we must share it with others.

Conversely, I've come to Liturgy on days with serious heartache, fears, regrets, pains, etc etc and nothing but a surprising hug and encouraging small talk with a dozen people in the hall really and radically dispelled all evils, devils, and negative feelings, empowering me to get through another day.  So its not all just small talk, some of it is crucial. We are the Body of Christ, but this body is composed of human beings, and human beings are social creatures, so we must socialize as it is in our Nature, the very same Nature which Christ joined into through the Incarnation.  Socializing is part of being human, and Orthodox asks us simply to be the humans we are.  So it is as important to socialize and meet people and fellowship in that love of Christ as it is to receive the Divine Mysteries, they are interconnected.  Further, how can we expect to have such deep, profround and personal conversations about theology or other deep matters of religions and Faith with people we hardly know? How do we get to know people well enough to have such discussion? Small talk over coffee ;)

I recommend you go with whats comfortable for you, but also from time to time let God break you out of your comfort zone, as this is equally part of worship.  We do not worship merely to commend ourselves, rather to change, evolve, and be healed by God, and this includes fellowship with the Militant Body of Christ.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 02:53:45 PM by HabteSelassie »
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #67 on: July 04, 2011, 03:50:46 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Why don't you try small talking about Worshipful matters? Or discuss the Scriptures? Or Theology? Or what good things God has done for you this week? Fellowship is crucial to building a good Christian relationship with the world, and we start in our Parishes.

When I first started attending Orthodox, I would slip in for Liturgy and leave right after, for two whole years not a soul in the Church knew me, I was just that mysterious dreadlock who popped in every Sunday and disappeared.  Then finally the priests stopped me on my way out one day and forcefully invited me to lunch with them after Service and so I was stuck, how could I refuse my priests who I venerated as a Divine Mystery?

Since then I have met dozens of people, have even started teaching in the Youth Ministry, and it is delightful. I used to avoid the small talk too, I'm rather shy, and like you I came to worship, but I've learned that worship takes on several aspects, facets, and manitestations. Further, God has broken away my shyness which previously was a burden to me, and it has helped my whole life, my friendships, my relationship with my family, especially my career as a school teacher (a rather extrovert career path not for the shy ;) )

Of course, I also understand your sentiment, still, in the morning before Services I hardly whisper to a soul before the Liturgy starts, and I sincerely avoid even good morning handshakes, as I am so caught up in that worshiping spirit, but we must not become calous about it.  That Love of God which we receive imparted in our depths from worship, we must share it with others.

Conversely, I've come to Liturgy on days with serious heartache, fears, regrets, pains, etc etc and nothing but a surprising hug and encouraging small talk with a dozen people in the hall really and radically dispelled all evils, devils, and negative feelings, empowering me to get through another day.  So its not all just small talk, some of it is crucial. We are the Body of Christ, but this body is composed of human beings, and human beings are social creatures, so we must socialize as it is in our Nature, the very same Nature which Christ joined into through the Incarnation.  Socializing is part of being human, and Orthodox asks us simply to be the humans we are.  So it is as important to socialize and meet people and fellowship in that love of Christ as it is to receive the Divine Mysteries, they are interconnected.  Further, how can we expect to have such deep, profround and personal conversations about theology or other deep matters of religions and Faith with people we hardly know? How do we get to know people well enough to have such discussion? Small talk over coffee ;)

I recommend you go with whats comfortable for you, but also from time to time let God break you out of your comfort zone, as this is equally part of worship.  We do not worship merely to commend ourselves, rather to change, evolve, and be healed by God, and this includes fellowship with the Militant Body of Christ.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Well said. 

I would only add that coffee hour IS an extension of the sacrament.  You just mystically united yourself to the Body of Christ WITH all of these people, and you can't meet them where they're at?  or even see if there's anyone who shares your passion for theological dialogue?  Or even teach them more about their faith that they may not know?  Eating a meal with someone & sharing time with them is an extension of the sacrament.  If you can be ultimately mystically united to them through Eucharist, you can have a cup of coffee with them.  Otherwise, are you possibly mistreating the sacrament?  I don't know, but something to think about. 

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #68 on: July 04, 2011, 04:15:06 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Why don't you try small talking about Worshipful matters? Or discuss the Scriptures? Or Theology? Or what good things God has done for you this week? Fellowship is crucial to building a good Christian relationship with the world, and we start in our Parishes.

When I first started attending Orthodox, I would slip in for Liturgy and leave right after, for two whole years not a soul in the Church knew me, I was just that mysterious dreadlock who popped in every Sunday and disappeared.  Then finally the priests stopped me on my way out one day and forcefully invited me to lunch with them after Service and so I was stuck, how could I refuse my priests who I venerated as a Divine Mystery?

Since then I have met dozens of people, have even started teaching in the Youth Ministry, and it is delightful. I used to avoid the small talk too, I'm rather shy, and like you I came to worship, but I've learned that worship takes on several aspects, facets, and manitestations. Further, God has broken away my shyness which previously was a burden to me, and it has helped my whole life, my friendships, my relationship with my family, especially my career as a school teacher (a rather extrovert career path not for the shy ;) )

Of course, I also understand your sentiment, still, in the morning before Services I hardly whisper to a soul before the Liturgy starts, and I sincerely avoid even good morning handshakes, as I am so caught up in that worshiping spirit, but we must not become calous about it.  That Love of God which we receive imparted in our depths from worship, we must share it with others.

Conversely, I've come to Liturgy on days with serious heartache, fears, regrets, pains, etc etc and nothing but a surprising hug and encouraging small talk with a dozen people in the hall really and radically dispelled all evils, devils, and negative feelings, empowering me to get through another day.  So its not all just small talk, some of it is crucial. We are the Body of Christ, but this body is composed of human beings, and human beings are social creatures, so we must socialize as it is in our Nature, the very same Nature which Christ joined into through the Incarnation.  Socializing is part of being human, and Orthodox asks us simply to be the humans we are.  So it is as important to socialize and meet people and fellowship in that love of Christ as it is to receive the Divine Mysteries, they are interconnected.  Further, how can we expect to have such deep, profround and personal conversations about theology or other deep matters of religions and Faith with people we hardly know? How do we get to know people well enough to have such discussion? Small talk over coffee ;)

I recommend you go with whats comfortable for you, but also from time to time let God break you out of your comfort zone, as this is equally part of worship.  We do not worship merely to commend ourselves, rather to change, evolve, and be healed by God, and this includes fellowship with the Militant Body of Christ.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Well said. 

I would only add that coffee hour IS an extension of the sacrament.  You just mystically united yourself to the Body of Christ WITH all of these people, and you can't meet them where they're at?  or even see if there's anyone who shares your passion for theological dialogue?  Or even teach them more about their faith that they may not know?  Eating a meal with someone & sharing time with them is an extension of the sacrament.  If you can be ultimately mystically united to them through Eucharist, you can have a cup of coffee with them.  Otherwise, are you possibly mistreating the sacrament?  I don't know, but something to think about. 


I was waiting for someone to say that.  I think you people have gone overboard here. You've just made Coffee Hour into the 8th Sacrament. Seriously, you need to get over this. (And before someone corrects me, I know the Orthodox don't official number the Sacraments.)

Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #69 on: July 04, 2011, 04:38:18 PM »
I was waiting for someone to say that.  I think you people have gone overboard here. You've just made Coffee Hour into the 8th Sacrament. Seriously, you need to get over this. (And before someone corrects me, I know the Orthodox don't official number the Sacraments.)

In a way, you rebutted your own argument. We don't know how many Sacraments there are. ;) But, I understand what serb was saying. The idea of Communion is being in union not only with God, but all Orthodox. You would be hard-pressed to prove that having a meal together does not bring people together. All over the world, eating together is a big deal (as an example: my uncle married a woman who left the Amish...she is now shunned which, though she can visit with her family, they are not allowed to eat with her). It's not the coffee hour, per se, that unites, but the fellowship that arises from it. Just, as in Russia, Japan, Korea and many other places, there is a large meal after Liturgy. I prefer the meal to the standing around with coffee, but that part isn't important, the fellowship is.

Do you believe that, at the Last Supper, they only had the bread and wine? I will take a leap of faith and say "no." Fellowship with other Orthodox goes beyond Communion, but, at the same time, is part of it.

And, please keep in mind what I said earlier of myself. I am a huge hypocrite because I say these things yet it is hard for me to do them.

Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #70 on: July 04, 2011, 04:53:27 PM »
I just have a few more comments, and then I'll probably be done unless anyone has a direct comment on my post.

#1: I did not say in any way - nor even imply - that coffee hour is more important, or even equal, to the liturgy.  I said that the liturgy is not the only part of the Church.  Certainly the liturgy is the most important part, because it is worship and reception of the Life-giving Bread.  However, just because something is most important, doesn't mean it is the be-all-end-all.  I'd say that Communion is the most important part of the Divine Liturgy.  However, does this mean that the other hour and a half or so is crap?  Does it mean we should throw it out?  Of course not!  Just because something is most important, does not mean it is all there is.

#2: Before my first Sunday liturgy, I met exactly four people at the Church (out of about 130 or so on a normal Sunday).  I met Father John (the main priest) and Kenny one Thursday.  The following day I attended the Friday morning liturgy and met Mike and Father Bill.  Kenny I hadn't talked to too much before the Sunday I attended the first time.  Father Bill had to leave right after liturgy and Mike hadn't been able to be there that day.  So I knew Fr. John and Kenny, and Fr. John was of course busy talking to people about spiritual matters for a good amount of time after liturgy.  So, I was left knowing just one person (who actually, that day, was busy talking to people about them volunteering at the then-upcoming Gyros booth).  However, despite my knowing almost no one there, I managed to meet people.  Since then, I've met a large number of the parishioners, old and young, cradle and convert, long-time attenders and fairly new people.  You cannot get to know the people you worship with if you do not attend Church functions other than liturgy, as you shouldn't be talking to people during liturgy.

#3: The priest is not called "Father" for no reason at all.  Rather, he is supposed to be the father of the parish community.  When your father has children other than you, do you never speak to them?  Do you not get to know them?  Do you refrain from forming familial ties with them?  A parish is supposed to become a family.  It is supposed to be a community.  That does not happen if there is no time to get to know your fellow parishioners.  A week ago, the last time I had a chance to be at liturgy, I got to find out things about some of the fellow attenders that I hadn't known.  The topic of conversation managed to get onto their pasts (for instance, I found out one person had volunteered for the Navy during Vietnam and become an air traffic controller with them, I found out another member had previously owned a bookstore in the Valley, and drives about a half an hour or so to get to Church).  If the priest is to rightly be called "Father," then the parish needs to be a family.  Coffee hour (or, in my parish, a meal that has food that is greatly varied, one week there will be fried chicken and pyrogies (sp?) and the next week 90% of the food will be cake and cupcakes with some pudding, it isn't exactly organized, just a pot luck - sometimes the luck is closer to lunch and other times to dessert) brings people together and into communion, it helps us to know each other's desires, what we think, what we feel, where we're coming from (that is, we find out where each other have been, which helps us to know where certain mentalities or actions might be coming from), and it helps us to not judge.  It is hard to judge people you care about, at least as much as you will a total stranger, and you are far more likely to care about someone you have talked to for a length of time.

#4: I doubt too many people will judge you for not staying at coffee hour, because I doubt too many people will even have noticed you if the Church is of any significant size.  If you don't make the effort to come to coffee hour, no one will no who you are, and so are likely to completely forget you.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #71 on: July 04, 2011, 05:27:09 PM »

That's one of the things I really LIKE about the Roman Catholic Church.  I like the anonymity and the way they respect your privacy. I like the fact that the great emphasis in a typical Catholic parish is on worship and not socializing and social activities.  Although I became Orthodox 15 years ago, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have become Roman Catholic instead.  I don't think the switch would be too difficult for me, as long as it wasn't some modernist, New Age parish.

So what about life in the average Orthodox parish do you consider an invasion of your privacy? That's not a snarky question, I'm just curious. I don't know where you are, but from what Catholic friends tell me, there are a great deal of social activities. Much more than when I was growing up Catholic in the 1970s and 80s. And if you truly want to be unconnected, you don't send your kids to Catholic school or CCD classes.

Its not so much an "invasion" of privacy as it is a different set of assumptions about what is proper and expected of people in church.  Here are a few examples:

1.  People going around the church and hugging people after they venerate the icons, usually at the beginning of the Liturgy. My parish does not have pews, and its small, so there isn't really any place where one can go and stand alone and be left alone for very long. People whose name's I don't even know come up and hug me. I don't want to be rude or cold, so I hug them back.  But inwardly, I cannot stand it.  Its mostly the former Protestant converts in parish that are into all this touchy-feeling stuff.  The sweet, pious Russian and Romanians don't hug everybody.
No, they kiss everyone.   Most Protestants are God's frozen people, at least the WASPS.

2. Coming up to you and starting a conversation in the MIDDLE OF THE LITURGY, even during the Anaphora!  Now our Protestant converts would never do this.  They do understand reverence.  But our Eastern European folks, its entirely another matter.  No prayer is so sacred that it cannot be interrupted for conversation.  There almost seems to be an attitude among our folks from the Old Country that whatever the priest does in the altar is his business and doesn't concern us.
So now we have eliminated both the New and Old worlds. Becoming quite a petite eglise indeed.

3. The assumption that everyone wants to participate in these coffee klatsch style get togethers (complete with a FULL MEAL) after every Sunday Liturgy. And the way people will literally grab you by the hand or arm and plead with you to stay for it.  They also get mighty annoyed with you if you don't take your turn cooking for this weekly affair (which often feeds more than 100 people).  I have things to do on my Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes I like to get together with family and eat lunch.  (And my family isn't Orthodox).  Some of us are not good at cooking.  Some of us can barely afford to pledge weekly offerings to the Church, let alone cook for the church.  Due to the downturn in the economy, I was actually on food stamps at this time last year and could not afford to do any coffee hour activities.

4. The inevitable conversations  at coffee hour that result from being single in a parish where most of the people are married:
So, when are you going to get married?
Why aren't you married yet? What's the problem?
Well, that is a problem, the price we pay to be in society is to preach MYOB.


5.  The inevitable political conversations at coffee hour that result from having a lot of former Right Wing Protestant converts to the Orthodox Church.  You hear lots of statements that tend to confuse the Republican party with being a Christian, and lots of condemnation of the corporal works of mercy of the Church as "Socialism" (feeding the poor, unmercenary healers (free health care).  I don't care to get involved in such a debate on the Social Darwinist ethic of the Republican party ....

These and other reasons are a good example of why I don't attend coffee hour.  I'm not hear to argue politics with anybody. I just want to worship in peace, unmolested by others, uninterrupted by others and then LEAVE.

It's that simple.
Your no. 5 is rather simplistic.  Unmercenary healers are not a free health care system.  and there are plenty of conservative and Republican (the two are NOT the same) cradles.
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Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #72 on: July 04, 2011, 05:33:28 PM »
I just have a few more comments, and then I'll probably be done unless anyone has a direct comment on my post.

#1: I did not say in any way - nor even imply - that coffee hour is more important, or even equal, to the liturgy.  I said that the liturgy is not the only part of the Church.  Certainly the liturgy is the most important part, because it is worship and reception of the Life-giving Bread.  However, just because something is most important, doesn't mean it is the be-all-end-all.  I'd say that Communion is the most important part of the Divine Liturgy.  However, does this mean that the other hour and a half or so is crap?  Does it mean we should throw it out?  Of course not!  Just because something is most important, does not mean it is all there is.

#2: Before my first Sunday liturgy, I met exactly four people at the Church (out of about 130 or so on a normal Sunday).  I met Father John (the main priest) and Kenny one Thursday.  The following day I attended the Friday morning liturgy and met Mike and Father Bill.  Kenny I hadn't talked to too much before the Sunday I attended the first time.  Father Bill had to leave right after liturgy and Mike hadn't been able to be there that day.  So I knew Fr. John and Kenny, and Fr. John was of course busy talking to people about spiritual matters for a good amount of time after liturgy.  So, I was left knowing just one person (who actually, that day, was busy talking to people about them volunteering at the then-upcoming Gyros booth).  However, despite my knowing almost no one there, I managed to meet people.  Since then, I've met a large number of the parishioners, old and young, cradle and convert, long-time attenders and fairly new people.  You cannot get to know the people you worship with if you do not attend Church functions other than liturgy, as you shouldn't be talking to people during liturgy.Why do you feel it is necessary to get to know them?  It might be nice, but I would hardly call it necessary.  In a large church, one could never get to know everyone anyway. If I get to know two or three people in a parish, I am quite satisfied. The rest I will acknowledge with a smile or a nod when I see them, but I am certainly not going to try to get to know everybody.  But if you want to know names and faces, I have found a pictorial church directory is quite good for that. 

#3: The priest is not called "Father" for no reason at all.  Rather, he is supposed to be the father of the parish community.  When your father has children other than you, do you never speak to them?  Do you not get to know them?  Do you refrain from forming familial ties with them?  A parish is supposed to become a family.  It is supposed to be a community.  That does not happen if there is no time to get to know your fellow parishioners.  A week ago, the last time I had a chance to be at liturgy, I got to find out things about some of the fellow attenders that I hadn't known.  The topic of conversation managed to get onto their pasts (for instance, I found out one person had volunteered for the Navy during Vietnam and become an air traffic controller with them, I found out another member had previously owned a bookstore in the Valley, and drives about a half an hour or so to get to Church).  If the priest is to rightly be called "Father," then the parish needs to be a family.  Coffee hour (or, in my parish, a meal that has food that is greatly varied, one week there will be fried chicken and pyrogies (sp?) and the next week 90% of the food will be cake and cupcakes with some pudding, it isn't exactly organized, just a pot luck - sometimes the luck is closer to lunch and other times to dessert) brings people together and into communion, it helps us to know each other's desires, what we think, what we feel, where we're coming from (that is, we find out where each other have been, which helps us to know where certain mentalities or actions might be coming from), and it helps us to not judge.  It is hard to judge people you care about, at least as much as you will a total stranger, and you are far more likely to care about someone you have talked to for a length of time.

#4: I doubt too many people will judge you for not staying at coffee hour, because I doubt too many people will even have noticed you if the Church is of any significant size.  If you don't make the effort to come to coffee hour, no one will no who you are, and so are likely to completely forget you.

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #73 on: July 04, 2011, 05:40:15 PM »
I just have a few more comments, and then I'll probably be done unless anyone has a direct comment on my post.

#1: I did not say in any way - nor even imply - that coffee hour is more important, or even equal, to the liturgy.  I said that the liturgy is not the only part of the Church.  Certainly the liturgy is the most important part, because it is worship and reception of the Life-giving Bread.  However, just because something is most important, doesn't mean it is the be-all-end-all.  I'd say that Communion is the most important part of the Divine Liturgy.  However, does this mean that the other hour and a half or so is crap?  Does it mean we should throw it out?  Of course not!  Just because something is most important, does not mean it is all there is.

#2: Before my first Sunday liturgy, I met exactly four people at the Church (out of about 130 or so on a normal Sunday).  I met Father John (the main priest) and Kenny one Thursday.  The following day I attended the Friday morning liturgy and met Mike and Father Bill.  Kenny I hadn't talked to too much before the Sunday I attended the first time.  Father Bill had to leave right after liturgy and Mike hadn't been able to be there that day.  So I knew Fr. John and Kenny, and Fr. John was of course busy talking to people about spiritual matters for a good amount of time after liturgy.  So, I was left knowing just one person (who actually, that day, was busy talking to people about them volunteering at the then-upcoming Gyros booth).  However, despite my knowing almost no one there, I managed to meet people.  Since then, I've met a large number of the parishioners, old and young, cradle and convert, long-time attenders and fairly new people.  You cannot get to know the people you worship with if you do not attend Church functions other than liturgy, as you shouldn't be talking to people during liturgy.

#3: The priest is not called "Father" for no reason at all.  Rather, he is supposed to be the father of the parish community.  When your father has children other than you, do you never speak to them?  Do you not get to know them?  Do you refrain from forming familial ties with them?  A parish is supposed to become a family.  It is supposed to be a community.  That does not happen if there is no time to get to know your fellow parishioners.  A week ago, the last time I had a chance to be at liturgy, I got to find out things about some of the fellow attenders that I hadn't known.  The topic of conversation managed to get onto their pasts (for instance, I found out one person had volunteered for the Navy during Vietnam and become an air traffic controller with them, I found out another member had previously owned a bookstore in the Valley, and drives about a half an hour or so to get to Church).  If the priest is to rightly be called "Father," then the parish needs to be a family.  Coffee hour (or, in my parish, a meal that has food that is greatly varied, one week there will be fried chicken and pyrogies (sp?) and the next week 90% of the food will be cake and cupcakes with some pudding, it isn't exactly organized, just a pot luck - sometimes the luck is closer to lunch and other times to dessert) brings people together and into communion, it helps us to know each other's desires, what we think, what we feel, where we're coming from (that is, we find out where each other have been, which helps us to know where certain mentalities or actions might be coming from), and it helps us to not judge.  It is hard to judge people you care about, at least as much as you will a total stranger, and you are far more likely to care about someone you have talked to for a length of time.

#4: I doubt too many people will judge you for not staying at coffee hour, because I doubt too many people will even have noticed you if the Church is of any significant size.  If you don't make the effort to come to coffee hour, no one will no who you are, and so are likely to completely forget you.


And that would be just fine with me. People don't have to know who I am. This isn't some social club for goodness sakes! Somehow this sounds like close to the Baptist practice of emphasis on "fellowshipping" and "covered dish suppers."  Its probably just an American social phenomenon.  Our Russian parishioners tell me that "Coffee Hours" are unknown there.  Most church are far to large to have them, and the people simply go home after Liturgy (kind of similar to the way American Catholics go home after Mass here.)

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #74 on: July 04, 2011, 05:57:50 PM »

That's one of the things I really LIKE about the Roman Catholic Church.  I like the anonymity and the way they respect your privacy. I like the fact that the great emphasis in a typical Catholic parish is on worship and not socializing and social activities.  Although I became Orthodox 15 years ago, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have become Roman Catholic instead.  I don't think the switch would be too difficult for me, as long as it wasn't some modernist, New Age parish.

So what about life in the average Orthodox parish do you consider an invasion of your privacy? That's not a snarky question, I'm just curious. I don't know where you are, but from what Catholic friends tell me, there are a great deal of social activities. Much more than when I was growing up Catholic in the 1970s and 80s. And if you truly want to be unconnected, you don't send your kids to Catholic school or CCD classes.

Its not so much an "invasion" of privacy as it is a different set of assumptions about what is proper and expected of people in church.  Here are a few examples:

1.  People going around the church and hugging people after they venerate the icons, usually at the beginning of the Liturgy. My parish does not have pews, and its small, so there isn't really any place where one can go and stand alone and be left alone for very long. People whose name's I don't even know come up and hug me. I don't want to be rude or cold, so I hug them back.  But inwardly, I cannot stand it.  Its mostly the former Protestant converts in parish that are into all this touchy-feeling stuff.  The sweet, pious Russian and Romanians don't hug everybody.
No, they kiss everyone.   Most Protestants are God's frozen people, at least the WASPS.Former Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Presbyterians tend to be the Frozen Chosen.  Former Charismatics and Assembly of God-types are very touchy-feely.

2. Coming up to you and starting a conversation in the MIDDLE OF THE LITURGY, even during the Anaphora!  Now our Protestant converts would never do this.  They do understand reverence.  But our Eastern European folks, its entirely another matter.  No prayer is so sacred that it cannot be interrupted for conversation.  There almost seems to be an attitude among our folks from the Old Country that whatever the priest does in the altar is his business and doesn't concern us.
So now we have eliminated both the New and Old worlds. Becoming quite a petite eglise indeed. No one wants to eliminate the Old World. But talking during the Liturgy and especially during the Anaphora ought to be discouraged.
3. The assumption that everyone wants to participate in these coffee klatsch style get togethers (complete with a FULL MEAL) after every Sunday Liturgy. And the way people will literally grab you by the hand or arm and plead with you to stay for it.  They also get mighty annoyed with you if you don't take your turn cooking for this weekly affair (which often feeds more than 100 people).  I have things to do on my Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes I like to get together with family and eat lunch.  (And my family isn't Orthodox).  Some of us are not good at cooking.  Some of us can barely afford to pledge weekly offerings to the Church, let alone cook for the church.  Due to the downturn in the economy, I was actually on food stamps at this time last year and could not afford to do any coffee hour activities.

4. The inevitable conversations  at coffee hour that result from being single in a parish where most of the people are married:
So, when are you going to get married?
Why aren't you married yet? What's the problem?
Well, that is a problem, the price we pay to be in society is to preach MYOB.


5.  The inevitable political conversations at coffee hour that result from having a lot of former Right Wing Protestant converts to the Orthodox Church.  You hear lots of statements that tend to confuse the Republican party with being a Christian, and lots of condemnation of the corporal works of mercy of the Church as "Socialism" (feeding the poor, unmercenary healers (free health care).  I don't care to get involved in such a debate on the Social Darwinist ethic of the Republican party ....

These and other reasons are a good example of why I don't attend coffee hour.  I'm not hear to argue politics with anybody. I just want to worship in peace, unmolested by others, uninterrupted by others and then LEAVE.

It's that simple.
Your no. 5 is rather simplistic.  Unmercenary healers are not a free health care system. True.  But you have to admit, the mere example of Unmercenary Physicians does tend to fly in the face of our for profit capitalist-based health care system.   and there are plenty of conservative and Republican (the two are NOT the same) cradles. True.  However, there tends to be a big difference between the Cradles and the Converts on politics. A Cradle Orthodox might be a conservative Republican.  But he'll still admit you are a Christian if you disagree with him politically. Cradle Orthodox don't equate politics with dogma.  Converts, however, often tend to do that. [/i] 

Offline Marc1152

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #75 on: July 04, 2011, 06:15:18 PM »
I completley agree that Church is for worship, and only worship.  My Church is a family to me, and It's wonderful to just be with them at coffee hour.  When I'm not there, the sweet little old ladies will call me on the phone and give me a good talking too - that They "Threw a fit when they didn't see me in Church".  I guess that some parishes are like this, but I know some that are not.  At the Greek Cathedral I've been too, so many people attend that coffee hour is simply going into a massive hall and getting into your clique - clergy, old Greek ladies, etc.  Some Churches (like mine) are not this way.  We are a family, and I enjoy coffee hour as a time to talk with them.   :)

You hit the nail on the head. The larger the congregation the less welcoming it is. My former parish was small and always welcomed newcomers, due to moving, the new one is large and very impersonal. All i get is looks but no friendly "hello, are you new here, i'm so and so". I'm just another face in the crowd.  

What am i supposed to do at coffee hour? Approach total strangers in their little cliques? I am a confident person and find it easy to socialise, however the times i have attempted to introduce myself i have received very superficial responses.  

This is why some Pentecostal churches have been successful - the put people at ease. Someone greets you at the door and if you are new they assign you a "buddy". LAter on the buddy formally introduces you to other members and ensures you have company and are included in "small talk". Sadly this is lacking in some churches, notably the Greek ones.

To the OP if you do not feel comfortable taking part then don't. You should never feel forced to do something you do not want to do.

At larger congregations there are often people who look out for newbies and meet and greet. You really don't need to do anything. Just eat something and before long someone will probably come up to you.

The second time I went to the Church where I was eventually Baptized a fellow came up to me and introduced himself. We talked a bit and eventually I mentioned that I was Jewish ( Actually Jew-Boo, Jewish person practicing Buddhism).. He paused for a second then said:

"That's great. My wife is Palestinian.. Come with me, I'll introduce you"   

Thank God for him. If he had been hostile I probably would have bolted.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #76 on: July 04, 2011, 06:23:44 PM »
People don't have to know who I am.
Why? What have you got to hide? :-\
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #77 on: July 04, 2011, 07:00:50 PM »
Tikhon, firstly, have you considered that coffee hour is unknown in Russia because it was under an oppressive communist regime for decades?  I imagine a lot of stuff is unknown in Russia that used to be quite prevalent.  That does not mean it is a bad thing, it may well be a good thing.

As well, are you aware that originally the Eucharist was served during a large meal?  Consequently, I have a hard time believing that coffee hour is an American phenomenon.  Even if it is, that doesn't mean you should reject it.  Every Orthodox country has their own unique way of practicing Orthodoxy, but that doesn't mean it is alright for people in Russia to ignore unique Russian customs or people in Greece to ignore unique Greek customs.

Furthermore, it seems to me that you think that the people are unimportant to the Church.  There is a reason that a priest cannot perform the liturgy without someone else present, and it is because the Church is the Body of Christ, the People of God.  It is comprised of each and every Orthodox Christian and if you do not participate with the body, you become isolated from it.  Is that what you want?  To become isolated from the Body of Christ?  As well, we are all made in the image of God.  If God was at coffee hour, wouldn't you want to talk with Him?

As much as you talk about how coffee hour is some Protestant innovation, you seem to not realize that "Me, Myself, and Jesus" is a Protestant innovation.  The Church is a community - it is not a building.  The Church is visible - it is not invisible.  The Church is communion (with God and Man) - it is not you praying by yourself in your room.  Your idea that you should not care about getting to know or be known by the Church is a Protestant innovation that is dangerous to the state of your soul, in my opinion.
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Offline biro

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #78 on: July 04, 2011, 07:49:21 PM »
I guess the modern 'coffee hour' at the church hall may have come about because in some places, people don't live in local communities as they used to- people can live in far-flung cities and towns- and so they may not be able to walk a short distance to their cousin's or grandparents' house after church, as once was the norm. Today they may be coming in from various places, and their chance to gather after church may be one of the few times they'll all be in the same place for the week. Just a thought.
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Offline Hamartolos

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #79 on: July 04, 2011, 07:54:26 PM »
It's difficult to just jump into things because that's what your new church does.  I grew up Catholic and aside from the hellos and nods, everybody went home after Mass.  That's what I grew up with and I personally have a hard time being involved with everyone around me in after Liturgy.  People have gotten offended because of that.  Now, I do make myself go up and get into conversations with people but it's odd for me.  For me, it's just because when we went to Mass we went to Mass; then straight home.  You can adapt and it's probably worth it, but it takes a lot of effort and time; in my opinion anyway.  Personally, I don't like politics in Church and I've seen it many times.

Actually, if I was still Catholic, I think would find it odd for someone to approach me afterwards and start chatting about whatever.  I do miss the 'understating' that seems prominent in Catholic parishes (at least where I live); however I do think it's more Christian to know and care about those around you.  It's what happens after that that can be...scary.  ;)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 07:57:19 PM by Hamartolos »

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #80 on: July 04, 2011, 08:12:47 PM »
Tikhon, firstly, have you considered that coffee hour is unknown in Russia because it was under an oppressive communist regime for decades?  I imagine a lot of stuff is unknown in Russia that used to be quite prevalent.  That does not mean it is a bad thing, it may well be a good thing.

As well, are you aware that originally the Eucharist was served during a large meal?  Consequently, I have a hard time believing that coffee hour is an American phenomenon.  Even if it is, that doesn't mean you should reject it.  Every Orthodox country has their own unique way of practicing Orthodoxy, but that doesn't mean it is alright for people in Russia to ignore unique Russian customs or people in Greece to ignore unique Greek customs.

Furthermore, it seems to me that you think that the people are unimportant to the Church.  There is a reason that a priest cannot perform the liturgy without someone else present, and it is because the Church is the Body of Christ, the People of God.  It is comprised of each and every Orthodox Christian and if you do not participate with the body, you become isolated from it.  Is that what you want?  To become isolated from the Body of Christ?  As well, we are all made in the image of God.  If God was at coffee hour, wouldn't you want to talk with Him?

As much as you talk about how coffee hour is some Protestant innovation, you seem to not realize that "Me, Myself, and Jesus" is a Protestant innovation.  The Church is a community - it is not a building.  The Church is visible - it is not invisible.  The Church is communion (with God and Man) - it is not you praying by yourself in your room.  Your idea that you should not care about getting to know or be known by the Church is a Protestant innovation that is dangerous to the state of your soul, in my opinion.


James:


Perhaps you misunderstand me.  If you want to do Coffee Hour, fine.  Do it.  If people enjoy it and like it, more power to it. Just don't tell me it is part of my Sunday obligation to attend it.  That's all I'm saying.

Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #81 on: July 04, 2011, 08:13:58 PM »
I guess the modern 'coffee hour' at the church hall may have come about because in some places, people don't live in local communities as they used to- people can live in far-flung cities and towns- and so they may not be able to walk a short distance to their cousin's or grandparents' house after church, as once was the norm. Today they may be coming in from various places, and their chance to gather after church may be one of the few times they'll all be in the same place for the week. Just a thought.

This is a very good point.  I know that I drive a good distance to get to the closest Orthodox Church, there's another regular attender who drives about a half an hour each way, then there are some other people who drive a good distance (I believe a few who drive even further than me) and come when they can (our parish is the only one in the county, a county of roughly 8,000 square miles, and it's in the middle of the county).  Like a lot of States, Arizona has most of its Orthodox parishes in concentrated areas.  We've got 22 on SCOBA's directory, and only 6 are outside the Phoenix Metropolitan Area (one in Prescott, Lake Havasu City, one in Flagstaff, one in Bisbee, and two in Tucson).  This, of course, being in the sixth largest state (by geographic size) at roughly 114,000 square miles.  Most people who go to an Orthodox Church in Arizona are likely not able to visit with parish members outside of a coffee hour (or full meal) after liturgy.  Anyways, enough rambling for now.
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #82 on: July 04, 2011, 08:16:59 PM »
Tikhon, firstly, have you considered that coffee hour is unknown in Russia because it was under an oppressive communist regime for decades?  I imagine a lot of stuff is unknown in Russia that used to be quite prevalent.  That does not mean it is a bad thing, it may well be a good thing.

As well, are you aware that originally the Eucharist was served during a large meal?  Consequently, I have a hard time believing that coffee hour is an American phenomenon.  Even if it is, that doesn't mean you should reject it.  Every Orthodox country has their own unique way of practicing Orthodoxy, but that doesn't mean it is alright for people in Russia to ignore unique Russian customs or people in Greece to ignore unique Greek customs.

Furthermore, it seems to me that you think that the people are unimportant to the Church.  There is a reason that a priest cannot perform the liturgy without someone else present, and it is because the Church is the Body of Christ, the People of God.  It is comprised of each and every Orthodox Christian and if you do not participate with the body, you become isolated from it.  Is that what you want?  To become isolated from the Body of Christ?  As well, we are all made in the image of God.  If God was at coffee hour, wouldn't you want to talk with Him?

As much as you talk about how coffee hour is some Protestant innovation, you seem to not realize that "Me, Myself, and Jesus" is a Protestant innovation.  The Church is a community - it is not a building.  The Church is visible - it is not invisible.  The Church is communion (with God and Man) - it is not you praying by yourself in your room.  Your idea that you should not care about getting to know or be known by the Church is a Protestant innovation that is dangerous to the state of your soul, in my opinion.


James:


Perhaps you misunderstand me.  If you want to do Coffee Hour, fine.  Do it.  If people enjoy it and like it, more power to it. Just don't tell me it is part of my Sunday obligation to attend it.  That's all I'm saying.

There really isn't Sunday obligation in Orthodoxy.  But anyways, it is more than just an aside that doesn't really matter.  Would you skip all of Church except for the Eucharist?  Or except for the Eucharist, Gospel, and homily?  Fellowship is an important part of what it means to be an Orthodox Christian, and especially when forming your Orthodox mindset, and spiritual life.  That is why you don't see novice monks becoming hermits, but only monks who have been monks for decades.  I recall a passage from His All-Holiness Batholomew's book (I forget which one it is that I've read) where he talks about what it means to be a person.  He mentions that you can't really be a person, a whole person, outside of fellowship.  It is in the connections you make with other human beings that you become a human being in the truest sense of the word.
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Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #83 on: July 04, 2011, 08:18:28 PM »
It's difficult to just jump into things because that's what your new church does.  I grew up Catholic and aside from the hellos and nods, everybody went home after Mass.  That's what I grew up with and I personally have a hard time being involved with everyone around me in after Liturgy. That's been my experience also. 

People have gotten offended because of that.  Now, I do make myself go up and get into conversations with people but it's odd for me. I did for about the first 10 years I was Orthodox.  But I just got tired of it as the church grew and coffee hour became larger, louder, and much more chaotic.

For me, it's just because when we went to Mass we went to Mass; then straight home.  You can adapt and it's probably worth it, but it takes a lot of effort and time; in my opinion anyway.  Personally, I don't like politics in Church and I've seen it many times.

Actually, if I was still Catholic, I think would find it odd for someone to approach me afterwards and start chatting about whatever.  I do miss the 'understating' that seems prominent in Catholic parishes (at least where I live); however I do think it's more Christian to know and care about those around you.  It's what happens after that that can be...scary.  Wink
Thanks for your kind words and understanding.

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #84 on: July 04, 2011, 08:24:49 PM »
Tikhon, firstly, have you considered that coffee hour is unknown in Russia because it was under an oppressive communist regime for decades?  I imagine a lot of stuff is unknown in Russia that used to be quite prevalent.  That does not mean it is a bad thing, it may well be a good thing.

As well, are you aware that originally the Eucharist was served during a large meal?  Consequently, I have a hard time believing that coffee hour is an American phenomenon.  Even if it is, that doesn't mean you should reject it.  Every Orthodox country has their own unique way of practicing Orthodoxy, but that doesn't mean it is alright for people in Russia to ignore unique Russian customs or people in Greece to ignore unique Greek customs.

Furthermore, it seems to me that you think that the people are unimportant to the Church.  There is a reason that a priest cannot perform the liturgy without someone else present, and it is because the Church is the Body of Christ, the People of God.  It is comprised of each and every Orthodox Christian and if you do not participate with the body, you become isolated from it.  Is that what you want?  To become isolated from the Body of Christ?  As well, we are all made in the image of God.  If God was at coffee hour, wouldn't you want to talk with Him?

As much as you talk about how coffee hour is some Protestant innovation, you seem to not realize that "Me, Myself, and Jesus" is a Protestant innovation.  The Church is a community - it is not a building.  The Church is visible - it is not invisible.  The Church is communion (with God and Man) - it is not you praying by yourself in your room.  Your idea that you should not care about getting to know or be known by the Church is a Protestant innovation that is dangerous to the state of your soul, in my opinion.


James:


Perhaps you misunderstand me.  If you want to do Coffee Hour, fine.  Do it.  If people enjoy it and like it, more power to it. Just don't tell me it is part of my Sunday obligation to attend it.  That's all I'm saying.

There really isn't Sunday obligation in Orthodoxy.  But anyways, it is more than just an aside that doesn't really matter.  Would you skip all of Church except for the Eucharist?  Or except for the Eucharist, Gospel, and homily?  Fellowship is an important part of what it means to be an Orthodox Christian, and especially when forming your Orthodox mindset, and spiritual life.  That is why you don't see novice monks becoming hermits, but only monks who have been monks for decades.  I recall a passage from His All-Holiness Batholomew's book (I forget which one it is that I've read) where he talks about what it means to be a person.  He mentions that you can't really be a person, a whole person, outside of fellowship.  It is in the connections you make with other human beings that you become a human being in the truest sense of the word.

Well, suit yourself then.  I asked my priest about this a while ago and he actually laughed outloud when I asked him if attendance at Coffee Hour was required. He told me if you don't care for it, don't go.  In fact, he told me that some Sundays he wished he could skip Coffee Hour and go straight home, but that someone has to bless the food.

Coffee Hour: It is what it is.

Offline dcommini

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #85 on: July 04, 2011, 09:05:13 PM »
The feelings of being judged often go both ways, and are usually baseless on both sides. I know someone who is very uncomfortable socializing because she feels "judged" all the time, this can lead to others thinking she's being standoffish because she doesn't like them.

Maybe she really doesn't like them... just sayin.

As to the OP... I used to be very shy, and I can be still to this day. At the first parish I attended there was a coffee hour that I rarely stayed for. One reason was to get home to my wife and daughter, but the other was because I genuinely didn't want to stand around and talk with a bunch of people I did not know. This ultimately led to me meeting the same people about three to four times before they realized that we had met the week before...

The parish I attend now, though larger was very much more welcoming of new comers. I met a few people when I first started attending, though I did not like to stay too long, but I wanted to actually meet some people and talk with them to get to know my church a little better. I ended up getting a pretty good deal as many times I had to go to work immediately after the Liturgy (I was doing military funerals on a day by day basis so I would find out about work with maybe a days advance notice), so the days I worked I skipped the coffee hour, and the days I didn't I stayed. This too opened up the gates for conversation as some would comment about my uniform and other such things showing that people were interested in me. Now, I love to stay for coffee hour because I get to have fellowship with like minded believers, a novelty I don't get with the military crowds where the majority of my friends call me "the Jew" because I am Orthodox (long story).

All of that being said, don't let anybody shame you because you don't stay for coffee hour, but it could be beneficial for you to stay and have fellowship with other Orthodox, especially when living in a country/culture that doesn't understand the Church. It can be tiring to be constantly bombarded with the attitude of others views of religion, and it is a good thing to be able to relax and commune with like-minded people.
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #86 on: July 04, 2011, 09:50:17 PM »
The feelings of being judged often go both ways, and are usually baseless on both sides. I know someone who is very uncomfortable socializing because she feels "judged" all the time, this can lead to others thinking she's being standoffish because she doesn't like them.

Maybe she really doesn't like them... just sayin.

You would know better than I would  :laugh:
Quote
Now, I love to stay for coffee hour because I get to have fellowship with like minded believers, a novelty I don't get with the military crowds where the majority of my friends call me "the Jew" because I am Orthodox (long story).

Maybe they call you "the Jew" cause of that nose (not that I can really talk there).  :laugh:
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #87 on: July 04, 2011, 09:57:29 PM »
The feelings of being judged often go both ways, and are usually baseless on both sides. I know someone who is very uncomfortable socializing because she feels "judged" all the time, this can lead to others thinking she's being standoffish because she doesn't like them.

Maybe she really doesn't like them... just sayin.

You would know better than I would  :laugh:
Quote
Now, I love to stay for coffee hour because I get to have fellowship with like minded believers, a novelty I don't get with the military crowds where the majority of my friends call me "the Jew" because I am Orthodox (long story).

Maybe they call you "the Jew" cause of that nose (not that I can really talk there).  :laugh:

 ;D she piped in with "nobody asked him anyway!"

As for our respective noses... well that is a large topic to discuss
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #88 on: July 04, 2011, 10:03:10 PM »
Like others said, joining in the labor is a great way to break the ice with people. I've only done this a few times because of time issues, but I talked more to the women after helping them out with a task. It's also nice to just be busy and be in the mix, listening to them talk amongst themselves, occasionally chiming in. Much better than standing around awkwardly during coffee hour!
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Offline John Ward

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #89 on: July 05, 2011, 01:03:11 AM »
Tikhon, I have a sincere question:

Why are you so against being around your family? Do you do other things with the parish or is do you only go to Church for those two hours? This is not a question I need an actual answer to, and I don't expect an answer and am not entitled to one as this is more between you and God and your spiritual father. I only ask, hoping you'll truly think about it.

At first, I thought maybe you just don't like the awkwardness of standing around which I can understand a lot. But some of your comments got me thinking, for instance talking about people not needing to know you who are and I find it strange that you don't want your family to know you. That points to you not doing anything at all with the other members of the parish. You're right, it's not a social club: it's a family. I think that's what everyone seems to be trying to get across. I will be truthful: I have run across parishes where it seems more like an ethnic club and, if there's another parish in that city, I tend to go there. Interestingly, if you go to the old countries, as soon as they see you're Orthodox, as far as they're concerned, you're Greek/Russian/Romanian/whatever.

Also, about the Russians not having coffee hour in Russia. You're right. Based on first-hand experience, they don't. They sit down and eat lunch together in the priest's house, instead. I visited several parishes there (all country parishes or small cities) and the priest's house always had a large dining room with multiple tables set up. Personally, I wish more parishes in America did the meal thing. I like those, especially in smaller parishes, it's really nice. Granted, I saw first-hand that large parishes can pull it off, as well, as evidenced at the cathedral in Seoul.

Also, I strongly discourage brushing a coffee hour off as some sort of Protestant invasion. As I stated before, the history of the Church includes adopting local culture. Adopting a local culture that includes fellowship of Orthodox in a country where Orthodox account for less than 1% of the population can hardly be seen as a bad thing. It may not have been done in 5th century Greece, but when 99% of 5th century Greece was Orthodox, there was no need.

I'm not trying to say what you're doing is wrong...I only say what I say in hopes that you'll think about it and think about why you're so against having anything to do with the people in your family (or at least seem to, from your comments and I may have read them wrong...forgive me if that's the case). What you do is your decision and is between you and God. I just hope you'll think about it.

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #90 on: July 05, 2011, 06:44:23 AM »
Just out of curiosity, if you fall ill or experience some other calamity, who will ask to pray for you? the people at your parish?
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #91 on: July 05, 2011, 09:25:05 AM »
Quote
Personally, I wish more parishes in America did the meal thing. I like those, especially in smaller parishes, it's really nice. Granted, I saw first-hand that large parishes can pull it off, as well, as evidenced at the cathedral in Seoul.

Mmm... I actually miss the Sunday lunches at the parish in Seoul. Koreans can pull that kind of thing off. They work together like a well-oiled machine!

Oddly, Seoul was one of the only places (so far) where I didn't find it too awkward to hang out after services. I guess because it was centered around the food, and Koreans love to sit around and eat and shoot the bull. This was much more comfortable for me than a tightly knit little convert church coffee hour. It's always meal and family time in Korea, it seems. Koreans already act like one big family. I mean, where else can you hear someone yell: "Aunt, over here!" to a waitress he's never met and it's totally acceptable?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 09:29:29 AM by stavros_388 »

Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #92 on: July 05, 2011, 09:45:22 AM »
It is like that in the Philippines also, Most Asian countries are very welcoming, unlike the Europeans.

Quote
Personally, I wish more parishes in America did the meal thing. I like those, especially in smaller parishes, it's really nice. Granted, I saw first-hand that large parishes can pull it off, as well, as evidenced at the cathedral in Seoul.

Mmm... I actually miss the Sunday lunches at the parish in Seoul. Koreans can pull that kind of thing off. They work together like a well-oiled machine!

Oddly, Seoul was one of the only places (so far) where I didn't find it too awkward to hang out after services. I guess because it was centered around the food, and Koreans love to sit around and eat and shoot the bull. This was much more comfortable for me than a tightly knit little convert church coffee hour. It's always meal and family time in Korea, it seems. Koreans already act like one big family. I mean, where else can you hear someone yell: "Aunt, over here!" to a waitress he's never met and it's totally acceptable?
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #93 on: July 05, 2011, 11:07:04 AM »
Coffee time is important for all of our communities as it is normally the one time when we can meet together and share needs, experiences, prayer requests, etc etc. It is important for me as a priest.

I think that having a small community makes it so. If it were a large one then the dynamics would be different.
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #94 on: July 05, 2011, 11:23:02 AM »
I guess the modern 'coffee hour' at the church hall may have come about because in some places, people don't live in local communities as they used to- people can live in far-flung cities and towns- and so they may not be able to walk a short distance to their cousin's or grandparents' house after church, as once was the norm. Today they may be coming in from various places, and their chance to gather after church may be one of the few times they'll all be in the same place for the week. Just a thought.

This is a very good point.  I know that I drive a good distance to get to the closest Orthodox Church, there's another regular attender who drives about a half an hour each way, then there are some other people who drive a good distance (I believe a few who drive even further than me) and come when they can (our parish is the only one in the county, a county of roughly 8,000 square miles, and it's in the middle of the county).  Like a lot of States, Arizona has most of its Orthodox parishes in concentrated areas.  We've got 22 on SCOBA's directory, and only 6 are outside the Phoenix Metropolitan Area (one in Prescott, Lake Havasu City, one in Flagstaff, one in Bisbee, and two in Tucson).  This, of course, being in the sixth largest state (by geographic size) at roughly 114,000 square miles.  Most people who go to an Orthodox Church in Arizona are likely not able to visit with parish members outside of a coffee hour (or full meal) after liturgy.  Anyways, enough rambling for now.

What brio and JamesRottnek have said is especially true of my experience. In my parish, some folks leave right away, but those people tend to live in the area. Those of us who have long drives ahead of us like to spend some time together before we hop back in the car. (For me, if I left immediatly after the DL I would be spending more time in the car than in the church building.) The light meal at coffee hour helps us defray the costs of lunch we would otherwise have to buy, and that time together with our godparents, their spouses and children and anyone else who wants to join us (and someone always does) is one of the few opportunities my wife and I have during the week to be with adults (with whom we want to spend time, anyway). It has helped me get to know people I would not otherwise know, and I am better for it. If nothing else, it gives me faces so I know for whom we are praying during the liturgy.

So if you don't like it and don't care to go, fine. I really don't judge you...Sometimes I just want to leave, too. But coffee hour -- spiritual or not -- is more than just coffee and baklava for me.
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #95 on: July 05, 2011, 01:28:53 PM »
Just out of curiosity, if you fall ill or experience some other calamity, who will ask to pray for you? the people at your parish?

At my parish the priest normally asks the congregation to pray for said person.
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #96 on: July 05, 2011, 07:20:44 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I am not a social person. Dont get me wrong, serious discussion is fine. Small talk is annoying. Today I left the parish I attend after about 5 min downstairs in the hall because I was just kinda sitting there while watching everyone else carry on. I just felt awkward and out of place so I left. One feels really pressured to go down and make small talk, as if its just such a joy for everyone. A bit presumptuous to say the least but many couldn't even fathom this.  The reason this annoying is not because of people wanting to yak. Fine. Go do it. I came here to worship. Thats my main cause, really my only cause to be there. If you dont do the nonsense afterwards, you know folks are going to start to judge you. Theyll say they wont but thats a lie. "Hes not very talkative...." "Why doesnt he join us for coffee?"

I didnt join a social club, I joined a CHURCH to be spiritually nurtured  from one of the sub-churches of the True Church of Jesus Christ.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Why don't you try small talking about Worshipful matters? Or discuss the Scriptures? Or Theology? Or what good things God has done for you this week? Fellowship is crucial to building a good Christian relationship with the world, and we start in our Parishes.

When I first started attending Orthodox, I would slip in for Liturgy and leave right after, for two whole years not a soul in the Church knew me, I was just that mysterious dreadlock who popped in every Sunday and disappeared.  Then finally the priests stopped me on my way out one day and forcefully invited me to lunch with them after Service and so I was stuck, how could I refuse my priests who I venerated as a Divine Mystery?

Since then I have met dozens of people, have even started teaching in the Youth Ministry, and it is delightful. I used to avoid the small talk too, I'm rather shy, and like you I came to worship, but I've learned that worship takes on several aspects, facets, and manitestations. Further, God has broken away my shyness which previously was a burden to me, and it has helped my whole life, my friendships, my relationship with my family, especially my career as a school teacher (a rather extrovert career path not for the shy ;) )

Of course, I also understand your sentiment, still, in the morning before Services I hardly whisper to a soul before the Liturgy starts, and I sincerely avoid even good morning handshakes, as I am so caught up in that worshiping spirit, but we must not become calous about it.  That Love of God which we receive imparted in our depths from worship, we must share it with others.

Conversely, I've come to Liturgy on days with serious heartache, fears, regrets, pains, etc etc and nothing but a surprising hug and encouraging small talk with a dozen people in the hall really and radically dispelled all evils, devils, and negative feelings, empowering me to get through another day.  So its not all just small talk, some of it is crucial. We are the Body of Christ, but this body is composed of human beings, and human beings are social creatures, so we must socialize as it is in our Nature, the very same Nature which Christ joined into through the Incarnation.  Socializing is part of being human, and Orthodox asks us simply to be the humans we are.  So it is as important to socialize and meet people and fellowship in that love of Christ as it is to receive the Divine Mysteries, they are interconnected.  Further, how can we expect to have such deep, profround and personal conversations about theology or other deep matters of religions and Faith with people we hardly know? How do we get to know people well enough to have such discussion? Small talk over coffee ;)

I recommend you go with whats comfortable for you, but also from time to time let God break you out of your comfort zone, as this is equally part of worship.  We do not worship merely to commend ourselves, rather to change, evolve, and be healed by God, and this includes fellowship with the Militant Body of Christ.

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Well said. 

I would only add that coffee hour IS an extension of the sacrament.  You just mystically united yourself to the Body of Christ WITH all of these people, and you can't meet them where they're at?  or even see if there's anyone who shares your passion for theological dialogue?  Or even teach them more about their faith that they may not know?  Eating a meal with someone & sharing time with them is an extension of the sacrament.  If you can be ultimately mystically united to them through Eucharist, you can have a cup of coffee with them.  Otherwise, are you possibly mistreating the sacrament?  I don't know, but something to think about. 


I was waiting for someone to say that.  I think you people have gone overboard here. You've just made Coffee Hour into the 8th Sacrament. Seriously, you need to get over this. (And before someone corrects me, I know the Orthodox don't official number the Sacraments.)

Well my friend you can't have it both ways.  You can't tell me "get over coffee hour being the 8th sacrament" and then say "there is no official number of sacraments".  If you TRULY understood that later statement, there would be no need for the first.  Makes one think huh...

Also, I think you are downplaying (to an extreme extent actually) the impact of the unification of the Eucharist.  You have been more powerfully been united with someone you do not know, than any other physical action possible.  Think about it this way:  it's as if you have been married to these people, within the sacrament of Eucharist.  You have mystically been united, and all of you together have been engrafted into the body of christ, making up the body as you walk out of church.  If that's not a good enough reason to go to coffee hour & get to know these people, then why are you receiving communion?  Because it's that magic potion you need to take?  Or something that you just do for yourself?  Dangerous questions my friend.  I hope you take them seriously. 

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #97 on: July 05, 2011, 07:45:43 PM »
Does anyone else feel this way?

Sort of. But I think you are being over judgmental of what coffee hour can be. I've had some rather serious and meaningful conversations at coffee hour.

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #98 on: July 06, 2011, 07:01:57 PM »
Just out of curiosity, if you fall ill or experience some other calamity, who will ask to pray for you? the people at your parish?

If an situation arises where I need the Church's intercessions, I either speak to my priest in person or I email him.  I give him the reason and tell him that I want to be remembered in the prayers offered at the Divine Liturgy.  Its very easy and it doesn't require attending coffee hour.

Offline bogdan

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #99 on: July 06, 2011, 07:45:24 PM »
But the Church is a family, even more familial than our natural family. The parish is the local unit or manifestation of that. What kind of dysfunctional family has members who simply come and go, only attending the same formal events but otherwise having no contact? That's not like any loving family I've ever seen. It would never fly in my family, that's for sure. ???

We don't have to go extreme and be bizarro cult people living in communes, but this kind of parish interaction would be considered odd in every church I've ever been part of, Orthodox or Protestant.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 07:46:34 PM by bogdan »

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #100 on: July 06, 2011, 07:46:24 PM »
Tikhon, I have a sincere question:

Why are you so against being around your family? Do you do other things with the parish or is do you only go to Church for those two hours? This is not a question I need an actual answer to, and I don't expect an answer and am not entitled to one as this is more between you and God and your spiritual father. I only ask, hoping you'll truly think about it.

At first, I thought maybe you just don't like the awkwardness of standing around which I can understand a lot. But some of your comments got me thinking, for instance talking about people not needing to know you who are and I find it strange that you don't want your family to know you. That points to you not doing anything at all with the other members of the parish. You're right, it's not a social club: it's a family. I think that's what everyone seems to be trying to get across. I will be truthful: I have run across parishes where it seems more like an ethnic club and, if there's another parish in that city, I tend to go there. Interestingly, if you go to the old countries, as soon as they see you're Orthodox, as far as they're concerned, you're Greek/Russian/Romanian/whatever.

Also, about the Russians not having coffee hour in Russia. You're right. Based on first-hand experience, they don't. They sit down and eat lunch together in the priest's house, instead. I visited several parishes there (all country parishes or small cities) and the priest's house always had a large dining room with multiple tables set up. Personally, I wish more parishes in America did the meal thing. I like those, especially in smaller parishes, it's really nice. Granted, I saw first-hand that large parishes can pull it off, as well, as evidenced at the cathedral in Seoul.

Also, I strongly discourage brushing a coffee hour off as some sort of Protestant invasion. As I stated before, the history of the Church includes adopting local culture. Adopting a local culture that includes fellowship of Orthodox in a country where Orthodox account for less than 1% of the population can hardly be seen as a bad thing. It may not have been done in 5th century Greece, but when 99% of 5th century Greece was Orthodox, there was no need.

I'm not trying to say what you're doing is wrong...I only say what I say in hopes that you'll think about it and think about why you're so against having anything to do with the people in your family (or at least seem to, from your comments and I may have read them wrong...forgive me if that's the case). What you do is your decision and is between you and God. I just hope you'll think about it.


I've been around these people for 15 years. I was a charter member of this parish. I know almost everybody already. I've seen the kids in the parish grow up, go away to college and then move away.  Those who are important to me, I speak to in church after the liturgy or on my way out into the parking lot. Sometimes I might stay for coffee hour on some special occasion, but certainly not every Sunday. It doesn't seem to bother me (or anyone else in church) when I don't stay for coffee hour.  I know other individuals and (entire families, too) that almost never stay for it.  I am by nature and temperment, shy and reserved. I enjoy solitude a lot.  Sometimes worshipping shoulder-to-shoulder with a roomfull of crowded people is simply enough for me for one day.   I find socializing a lot like garlic: a little bit goes a LONG way.   :)     

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #101 on: July 06, 2011, 07:48:37 PM »
But the Church is a family, even more familial than our natural family. The parish is the local unit or manifestation of that. What kind of dysfunctional family has members who simply come and go, only attending the same formal events but otherwise having no contact? That's not like any loving family I've ever seen. It would never fly in my family, that's for sure. ???

We don't have to go extreme and be bizarro cult people living in communes, but this kind of parish interaction would be considered odd in every church I've ever been part of, Orthodox or Protestant.

I think you are pushing the earthly family metaphor a bit too far.  I am more concerned with the vertical relationship (between myself and God) than I am with polite chatter with 100 or more people.

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #102 on: July 06, 2011, 07:52:18 PM »
But we are not only supposed to have a relationship with God.  We are meant to foster relationships with our communities, especially our parish.
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #103 on: July 06, 2011, 09:41:32 PM »
But the Church is a family, even more familial than our natural family. The parish is the local unit or manifestation of that. What kind of dysfunctional family has members who simply come and go, only attending the same formal events but otherwise having no contact? That's not like any loving family I've ever seen. It would never fly in my family, that's for sure. ???

We don't have to go extreme and be bizarro cult people living in communes, but this kind of parish interaction would be considered odd in every church I've ever been part of, Orthodox or Protestant.

I think you are pushing the earthly family metaphor a bit too far.  I am more concerned with the vertical relationship (between myself and God) than I am with polite chatter with 100 or more people.

What about God's call to "feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick, visit those in prison" etc.?  The path to salvation is through the "other".  Even hermitic monks pray for the whole world & live their lives as that prayer, which is an outward action for others, being in prayerful community with them, in their lives, praying for them at all times.  Even cenobitic monasticism shows that community is important. 

Offline katherine 2001

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #104 on: July 06, 2011, 10:01:19 PM »
But the Church is a family, even more familial than our natural family. The parish is the local unit or manifestation of that. What kind of dysfunctional family has members who simply come and go, only attending the same formal events but otherwise having no contact? That's not like any loving family I've ever seen. It would never fly in my family, that's for sure. ???

We don't have to go extreme and be bizarro cult people living in communes, but this kind of parish interaction would be considered odd in every church I've ever been part of, Orthodox or Protestant.

I think you are pushing the earthly family metaphor a bit too far.  I am more concerned with the vertical relationship (between myself and God) than I am with polite chatter with 100 or more people.

In the last passage of Matthew 25, Christ makes it clear that what we do to others, we have done to Him.  Christ works through other people all the time.  When we keep to ourselves and try to stay away from interaction with other people, we keep God out too.  It took me a long time to learn that one.  I still struggle with this a lot, but I have learned that there are people that I can trust and am trying to break down the walls that I built to protect myself .  God has blessed me many times since I started to do this.  It makes me sad how many blessings I missed in the past because I wouldn't let others whom God was trying to use to bless me out.  Also, I have learned that I can encourage others and give compassion to others that are hurting. 

Offline jah777

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #105 on: July 06, 2011, 11:06:46 PM »
"Coffee hour" has its place, but it isn't necessary.  I seem to recall that Fr. Seraphim (Rose), when he was still in the world, would depart quickly after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy in order to avoid idle chatter and the temptations that may accompany coffee hour.  Many saints were very careful not to enter into conversation after Divine Liturgy in order to preserve that grace received in the mysteries and to not dissipate the spirit of prayer.

I recall in the life of Elder Ieronymos of Aegina the layman Misael who lived in Anatolia at the end of the 19th century.  Of him it was said, among other things:

Quote
When he went to church, during the Divine Liturgy, he would not enter the nave, but stood in the narthex or behind some column.  He would have his head resting on his chest and prayed noetically.  Oft-times when the priest made the exclamation "especially our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed , glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary," he would quietly leave and disappear.  As it became evident later, he would go to some chapel to continue his prayer into the night.

Many seeing him leave before the Divine Liturgy ended thought it strange and wondered where he went and what he did.  One Sunday, therefore, as soon as Misael left the church, some women followed him discreetly from a distance in order to see where he went.  He took a footpath and in a short time arrived at one of the many chapels.  A little later the women following him arrived also and stood quietly outside.  Misael, who had not noticed them, began to pray aloud with sobs, tears, and groanings that cannot be uttered.  He prayed different prayers, known and extemporaneous, whatever helped to bring his heart to compunction.  In this manner, with Misael praying aloud inside with tears and the women outside listening to his divine occupation, several hours passed with holy exaltation and contrition of heart. 

As soon as Misael finished, he came out.  When he saw the women, he was very upset, almost angry.  He left without speaking to them.  But they, transported by this divine mystagogy which they experienced so many hours near him, were envious , and they said among them, "Does God hear only Misael?  Why don't we try to pray like him too?"

The story explains that after this incident people from the village began to gather at Misael’s home and beg to be taught how to pray.  Among those who Misael instructed was the boy who later became known as Elder Ieronymos of Aegina.

One can find many such stories in the lives of the saints, of those who sought to avoid idle chatter like the plague in order to preserve a spirit of prayer and sobriety, and in order to prevent a dissipation of grace, following Divine Liturgy and the reception of Mysteries.  If one wants to imitate Misael and the saints in this way, particularly if one is single and is contemplating monasticism or is an “empty nester” wishing to live more monastically, then this may be a worthy endeavor.  However, there may be less noble reasons for avoiding coffee hour.  One may think he is “more spiritual” than everyone else and therefore doesn’t want to “waste time” around “less spiritual” people.  In other words, one could avoid coffee hour out of pride.  One may simply be uncomfortable around people and suffer from social awkwardness.  Particularly if a person is single and is not inclined towards monasticism, there may be some very important reasons why one should make the church a center of one’s social interactions.  While a person may seek ever greater solitude in order to increase prayer, one may also be led by the Evil One to isolate one’s self in order to be more vulnerable to the temptation and more susceptible to despair.  As with most things, however, it is a subject that is best to discuss with one’s priest, confessor, and/or spiritual father. 


Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #106 on: July 07, 2011, 01:57:59 AM »
St Paul says it all don't you think?

1 Thessalonians 5:10–14
"10  Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11    So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.   
12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. 14  Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone."
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them".

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #107 on: July 07, 2011, 03:03:40 AM »
How can we say we love God if we are not able to bear with the 'idle chatter' of his children?
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #108 on: July 07, 2011, 01:40:13 PM »
"Coffee hour" has its place, but it isn't necessary.  I seem to recall that Fr. Seraphim (Rose), when he was still in the world, would depart quickly after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy in order to avoid idle chatter and the temptations that may accompany coffee hour.  Many saints were very careful not to enter into conversation after Divine Liturgy in order to preserve that grace received in the mysteries and to not dissipate the spirit of prayer.

I recall in the life of Elder Ieronymos of Aegina the layman Misael who lived in Anatolia at the end of the 19th century.  Of him it was said, among other things:

Quote
When he went to church, during the Divine Liturgy, he would not enter the nave, but stood in the narthex or behind some column.  He would have his head resting on his chest and prayed noetically.  Oft-times when the priest made the exclamation "especially our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed , glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary," he would quietly leave and disappear.  As it became evident later, he would go to some chapel to continue his prayer into the night.

Many seeing him leave before the Divine Liturgy ended thought it strange and wondered where he went and what he did.  One Sunday, therefore, as soon as Misael left the church, some women followed him discreetly from a distance in order to see where he went.  He took a footpath and in a short time arrived at one of the many chapels.  A little later the women following him arrived also and stood quietly outside.  Misael, who had not noticed them, began to pray aloud with sobs, tears, and groanings that cannot be uttered.  He prayed different prayers, known and extemporaneous, whatever helped to bring his heart to compunction.  In this manner, with Misael praying aloud inside with tears and the women outside listening to his divine occupation, several hours passed with holy exaltation and contrition of heart. 

As soon as Misael finished, he came out.  When he saw the women, he was very upset, almost angry.  He left without speaking to them.  But they, transported by this divine mystagogy which they experienced so many hours near him, were envious , and they said among them, "Does God hear only Misael?  Why don't we try to pray like him too?"

The story explains that after this incident people from the village began to gather at Misael’s home and beg to be taught how to pray.  Among those who Misael instructed was the boy who later became known as Elder Ieronymos of Aegina.

One can find many such stories in the lives of the saints, of those who sought to avoid idle chatter like the plague in order to preserve a spirit of prayer and sobriety, and in order to prevent a dissipation of grace, following Divine Liturgy and the reception of Mysteries.  If one wants to imitate Misael and the saints in this way, particularly if one is single and is contemplating monasticism or is an “empty nester” wishing to live more monastically, then this may be a worthy endeavor.  However, there may be less noble reasons for avoiding coffee hour.  One may think he is “more spiritual” than everyone else and therefore doesn’t want to “waste time” around “less spiritual” people.  In other words, one could avoid coffee hour out of pride.  One may simply be uncomfortable around people and suffer from social awkwardness.  Particularly if a person is single and is not inclined towards monasticism, there may be some very important reasons why one should make the church a center of one’s social interactions.  While a person may seek ever greater solitude in order to increase prayer, one may also be led by the Evil One to isolate one’s self in order to be more vulnerable to the temptation and more susceptible to despair.  As with most things, however, it is a subject that is best to discuss with one’s priest, confessor, and/or spiritual father. 



The saint, as well as Fr. Seraphim were both called to monasticism, where hesychasm, silence, and idle talk are main tools of the devil in their spiritual life.  They were not called to "live in the world" as we do.  Tikhon however DOES live in the world, so we are basing our advice on that fact.  If he had said "I have monastic tendencies" then my advice would have been TOTALLY different. 

We can't compare apples to oranges here.  Yes we can learn a lesson about spirituality from these people, but even THEIR spiritual lives were spent talking (praying) with others.  Be a monk, or a christian in the world.  They are both paths to righteousness, but do both WELL. 

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #109 on: July 07, 2011, 04:49:40 PM »

My home PC died on me, and I've been crazy busy at work lately and haven't been able to keep up.

I haven't read all three pages, but, I do have a comment on coffee hour.

When I was a kid we always had lunches served after Divine Liturgy.  All the women would sign up in threes and would take turns.
...then it stopped.  Nobody wanted to cook.  So, everyone would go to DL and then go home.

We got many new immigrants coming to our parish, and everyone started to complain that the old and the new simply aren't mixing.  The old bunch would say the new ones think they are too good for us, and mix only with other new immigrants.  The new immigrants would say the same thing about the old.

So, we began coffee hours.  From the coffee hours, the lady's of the "sisterhood" began doing lunches every other week.  Every other week was picked up by our Junior Ukrainian Orthodox League.  The "sisters" take the summer off, and so it falls to the JrUOL to continue cooking throughout the summer.  Usually this means me.  Every Saturday I cook borsch at home in a huge pot, and reheat it Sunday....along with Varenyki, sweets and coffee.

I could stop for the summer, too.  I would actually love to have a Saturday where I can do chores and not worry about cooking for Sunday.  However, I persist because I don't want to get folks out of the routine.  It was hard to get them to come down to the hall, and I don't want to lose them....even though the crowds are very light in the summer.....and I always make too much food.

So, I can say first hand....that having the people come down to "eat", has brought them closer together and bridged two factions.  They thought they were so different and stand-offish....but, in fact they just didn't know each other.  Now everyone sits together and everyone finds something to talk about.  Yes, there exists superflous chit chat, however, sometimes the discussions go deeper.  One often hears about various lectures, etc....

I've even had the honor of hosting one of our forum members and his wife!  That was quite the treat!  :)
They've even come back after eating my cooking! 

So, that's one reason for "coffee hour".

Second reason...and in my mind even more important....
What is the "goal" of Divine Liturgy.  The Eucharist.  In order to partake, one must fast.  In addition to all the other preparations, one doesn't eat/drink from at least midnight.  After standing for 2 hours during Divine Liturgy....and sometimes having another hour to drive home.....these folks are HUNGRY!  Why should they have to stop by McDonalds or somewhere...when they have a chance to sit and eat with their church family?

Finally, we have many old parishioners.  If anyone knows anything about older people, you know they seldom cook good food for themselves.  They eat "whatever".  Here's a chance for them to have a good meal, while enjoying good company.  In addition to the food, this might be their one chance all week to talk to folks.

Yes, Divine Liturgy is the crucial and important event on Sunday.  However, we are also taught to care for our neighbors....

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #110 on: July 07, 2011, 04:54:07 PM »


Finally, we have many old parishioners.  If anyone knows anything about older people, you know they seldom cook good food for themselves.  They eat "whatever".  Here's a chance for them to have a good meal, while enjoying good company.  In addition to the food, this might be their one chance all week to talk to folks.

Thank you for your practical wisdom, Liza! This is very, very true. We can look it as helping out and providing our neighbor. Plus, I'm sure many people crave company, and we can provide that as well as the food and drink.
She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
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Offline JR

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Re: coffee hour
« Reply #111 on: July 08, 2011, 12:19:05 PM »
what a nice story, I am happy that you found happiness in sharing in coffee hour.

God bless


For what it's worth, I am extremely thankful for the coffee hour.  We moved to a new city and knew next to no one here, outside of a few work acquaintances.  The coffee hour gave us a chance to connect with others in the church.  We consider those folks as our "church family" in this city, and while at coffee hour we make plans to get together, go out to dinner, etc.  It helps break down boundaries so that we get to know one another as complete human beings (made in the image of God) and provides opportunities for fellowship with other Orthodox Christians.  Meeting folks there made us comfortable enough to ask them about the choir, and invited to join, where we now sing.  It also helps emphasize the nature of church as not just "me-and-God" but that we are indeed part of the Body of Christ, not just when we worship God in the Liturgy but at all times and in all places.  "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35).  It also makes the church itself seem even more like our "home" with our "family" there, a place where we long to be and are excited to go.  "I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord."  (Psa. 122:1).  This time of fellowship has really helped build up my relationship with God and with His people.  Just my two cents.
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Offline myrrhbear

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #112 on: July 09, 2011, 07:29:53 AM »
How truly sad if the social hour at a parish is perceived only as "gossip hour". If that is the case, perhaps finding a different parish family is in order? If Christ is truly in a parish, the members there love each other and attend not only for their own nourishment but to nourish each other in whatever way God chooses to use them/you. Some parishes, during the fellowship hour at one table or corner of a table, hold informal discussions on Christian topics.
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Offline myrrhbear

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Re: coffee hour
« Reply #113 on: July 09, 2011, 07:35:26 AM »
OUT of line? no I don't think you are.

it is important for people to mix and socialise after a service. especially if the church is like a family.

but some people don't like it, there is another thread like this here http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37606.0/all.html#top

as you will see, some are against it, but reasons not so good.

I am all for it, but unfortunately the church I go to is anti social.



For what it's worth, I am extremely thankful for the coffee hour.  We moved to a new city and knew next to no one here, outside of a few work acquaintances.  The coffee hour gave us a chance to connect with others in the church.  We consider those folks as our "church family" in this city, and while at coffee hour we make plans to get together, go out to dinner, etc.  It helps break down boundaries so that we get to know one another as complete human beings (made in the image of God) and provides opportunities for fellowship with other Orthodox Christians.  Meeting folks there made us comfortable enough to ask them about the choir, and invited to join, where we now sing.  It also helps emphasize the nature of church as not just "me-and-God" but that we are indeed part of the Body of Christ, not just when we worship God in the Liturgy but at all times and in all places.  "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35).  It also makes the church itself seem even more like our "home" with our "family" there, a place where we long to be and are excited to go.  "I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord."  (Psa. 122:1).  This time of fellowship has really helped build up my relationship with God and with His people.  Just my two cents.

I agree! In fact, I almost feel "slighted" if a visitor comes to the liturgy then dashes out afterwards instead of staying to share the meal and fellowship, as if a family member dropped in and left without saying hello or goodbye. I understand there could be prior commitments, but all the same it is a disappointment when it happens. Am I out of line?

These two threads are so similar they could be combined. If it's allowed I'll post what I said there here, too:

How truly sad if the social hour at a parish is perceived only as "gossip hour". If that is the case, perhaps finding a different parish family is in order? If Christ is truly in a parish, the members there love each other and attend not only for their own nourishment but to nourish each other in whatever way God chooses to use them/you. Some parishes, during the fellowship hour at one table or corner of a table, hold informal discussions on Christian topics.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #114 on: July 09, 2011, 07:51:34 AM »
Tonight, I visited another parish (not my own) for vespers.

At the conclusion of a beautiful service, I tried to spread the love by making eye contact with the parishioners, smiling and giving a small bow/nod. All avoided eye contact and one even gave me a look up and down and a judgmental glare (I assume because I wasn't "dressed for church").

As much as I am painfully introverted and generally can't abide small talk, it's moments like these that make me envious of the full parish life extending beyond the Divine Liturgy that you in the States seem to have. I can't even get a smile from these old Greeks.

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Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #115 on: July 09, 2011, 08:14:35 AM »
Lol, I understand where you are coming from, but Greeks can be funny at times.

try breaking the ice by greeting them in there language. that mellows them a bit and they might even smile.

I'll give you some will Latin spelling.

kalimera - good morning
kalispera - good evening
kalinita - goodnight
ti kanis - how are you
yasas - hello and goodbye, polite form

you never know, give it a try....

But you are right, you don't know what you have got until it has gone.

God bless





Tonight, I visited another parish (not my own) for vespers.

At the conclusion of a beautiful service, I tried to spread the love by making eye contact with the parishioners, smiling and giving a small bow/nod. All avoided eye contact and one even gave me a look up and down and a judgmental glare (I assume because I wasn't "dressed for church").

As much as I am painfully introverted and generally can't abide small talk, it's moments like these that make me envious of the full parish life extending beyond the Divine Liturgy that you in the States seem to have. I can't even get a smile from these old Greeks.

Perhaps you don't know what you've got til it's gone?
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them".

Mother Teresa

Offline myrrhbear

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #116 on: July 09, 2011, 09:32:08 AM »
A wise Christian once told me to remember the CROSS: It has a vertical, Heavenly dimension, reminding us of our relationship to God, and a horizontal bar to remind us to care for one another here on earth.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #117 on: July 09, 2011, 09:35:32 AM »
I like that, will have to try to remember it   ;)


A wise Christian once told me to remember the CROSS: It has a vertical, Heavenly dimension, reminding us of our relationship to God, and a horizontal bar to remind us to care for one another here on earth.
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them".

Mother Teresa

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #118 on: July 09, 2011, 10:09:01 AM »
Tonight, I visited another parish (not my own) for vespers.

At the conclusion of a beautiful service, I tried to spread the love by making eye contact with the parishioners, smiling and giving a small bow/nod. All avoided eye contact and one even gave me a look up and down and a judgmental glare (I assume because I wasn't "dressed for church").

As much as I am painfully introverted and generally can't abide small talk, it's moments like these that make me envious of the full parish life extending beyond the Divine Liturgy that you in the States seem to have. I can't even get a smile from these old Greeks.

Perhaps you don't know what you've got til it's gone?


I have a non-Greek friend who converted to Orthodoxy at a Greek parish here in the USA.  He told me it took ten years of attending before people started to speak to him and treat him as one of their own. It might not take you ten years, but it will take time.

Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #119 on: July 09, 2011, 02:52:37 PM »
At my parish it's still going....we do talk to a few of them after DL. A lot of the parish members have at least said "Hi," but we are invisible to them afterwards.

Ah well, I'm glad that at least Father and Presbytera, as well as a few members, are welcoming. My devious plan is to work with them on all the committees and see what happens next.
She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
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Offline TheodoraElizabeth3

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #120 on: July 09, 2011, 07:39:13 PM »
Tonight, I visited another parish (not my own) for vespers.

At the conclusion of a beautiful service, I tried to spread the love by making eye contact with the parishioners, smiling and giving a small bow/nod. All avoided eye contact and one even gave me a look up and down and a judgmental glare (I assume because I wasn't "dressed for church").

As much as I am painfully introverted and generally can't abide small talk, it's moments like these that make me envious of the full parish life extending beyond the Divine Liturgy that you in the States seem to have. I can't even get a smile from these old Greeks.

Perhaps you don't know what you've got til it's gone?

That's my standard issue experience at Greek parishes here in my area that has lots and lots of Greeks. You seemed to have escaped The Question, "Are you Greek?"  ;)

I'm told, at least in the US, that Greek parishes in parts of the US with fewer Greek are more open to non-Greeks. However, I have never experienced that myself.

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #121 on: July 10, 2011, 12:59:49 AM »
Lol, I understand where you are coming from, but Greeks can be funny at times.

try breaking the ice by greeting them in there language. that mellows them a bit and they might even smile.

I'll give you some will Latin spelling.

kalimera - good morning
kalispera - good evening
kalinita - goodnight
ti kanis - how are you
yasas - hello and goodbye, polite form

you never know, give it a try....

But you are right, you don't know what you have got until it has gone.

God bless





Tonight, I visited another parish (not my own) for vespers.

At the conclusion of a beautiful service, I tried to spread the love by making eye contact with the parishioners, smiling and giving a small bow/nod. All avoided eye contact and one even gave me a look up and down and a judgmental glare (I assume because I wasn't "dressed for church").

As much as I am painfully introverted and generally can't abide small talk, it's moments like these that make me envious of the full parish life extending beyond the Divine Liturgy that you in the States seem to have. I can't even get a smile from these old Greeks.

Perhaps you don't know what you've got til it's gone?

Thanks, JR, and everyone else.

The sad thing is, I am by birth both Greek and Orthodox (as much as one can be Christian "from birth", anyway).

I have made excuses for such people all my life but I am starting to really resent them for their attitudes: I believe they have very much contributed to the demographic crisis in the Australian Church.

Lord, have mercy on me for my finger-pointing. I hope you guys trust that it is born of frustration, not hatred.

It may be frustrating having to swat away over-zealous coffee-hour types, but it's probably better to be in a position where you are swatting people away than one where you are given the cold shoulder.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 01:20:08 AM by akimori makoto »
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #122 on: July 10, 2011, 05:20:06 AM »
That is very bad if you are also Greek, they should welcome everybody into the house of God.

Maybe you should have a word with the priest, maybe a sermon on hospitality could be in order.

I don't know what is wrong with some of the older ones, they are supposed to lead by example.

My prayers are with you in your problem. Lets hope they mellow a bit.

It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man, and man to God. But where charity is not found, God cannot dwell. If, then, we possess charity, we possess God, for “God is Charity” ( 1 John 4:8 ) Saint Albert the Great

Lol, I understand where you are coming from, but Greeks can be funny at times.

try breaking the ice by greeting them in there language. that mellows them a bit and they might even smile.

I'll give you some will Latin spelling.

kalimera - good morning
kalispera - good evening
kalinita - goodnight
ti kanis - how are you
yasas - hello and goodbye, polite form

you never know, give it a try....

But you are right, you don't know what you have got until it has gone.

God bless





Tonight, I visited another parish (not my own) for vespers.

At the conclusion of a beautiful service, I tried to spread the love by making eye contact with the parishioners, smiling and giving a small bow/nod. All avoided eye contact and one even gave me a look up and down and a judgmental glare (I assume because I wasn't "dressed for church").

As much as I am painfully introverted and generally can't abide small talk, it's moments like these that make me envious of the full parish life extending beyond the Divine Liturgy that you in the States seem to have. I can't even get a smile from these old Greeks.

Perhaps you don't know what you've got til it's gone?

Thanks, JR, and everyone else.

The sad thing is, I am by birth both Greek and Orthodox (as much as one can be Christian "from birth", anyway).

I have made excuses for such people all my life but I am starting to really resent them for their attitudes: I believe they have very much contributed to the demographic crisis in the Australian Church.

Lord, have mercy on me for my finger-pointing. I hope you guys trust that it is born of frustration, not hatred.

It may be frustrating having to swat away over-zealous coffee-hour types, but it's probably better to be in a position where you are swatting people away than one where you are given the cold shoulder.



Post edited to remove automatic smiley... On this forum, "8 )" automatically becomes "8)" when you remove the space.  -PtA
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 11:35:54 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #123 on: July 10, 2011, 04:57:00 PM »
Thanks, JR, and everyone else.

The sad thing is, I am by birth both Greek and Orthodox (as much as one can be Christian "from birth", anyway).

I have made excuses for such people all my life but I am starting to really resent them for their attitudes: I believe they have very much contributed to the demographic crisis in the Australian Church.

Lord, have mercy on me for my finger-pointing. I hope you guys trust that it is born of frustration, not hatred.

It may be frustrating having to swat away over-zealous coffee-hour types, but it's probably better to be in a position where you are swatting people away than one where you are given the cold shoulder.
We can solve this problem by you attending my church. Mr. Ismi and I would be your friends.


(I fully understand your frustrations and am not trying to minimize them. I really do hope it gets better.)
She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #124 on: July 10, 2011, 06:10:42 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Just a thought regarding the "8th Sacrament" comments..

In the Tewahedo Church there is some merit to this idea in the sense that generally, the meals served after Divine Liturgy were specially prepared and donated by either an individual or association within the parish either to Commemorate a memorial or a Saint's day, or as an offering to the clergy and the Church, and as such it is considered reverent to accept the invitation and eat and drink the coffee specially prepared and blessed by the priests for this purpose.  Further, historically the bread served after Divine Liturgy were those extra loaves brought in and donated by parishioners for the Holy Communion but were not needed, and so are still blessed (albeit not consecrated) and it is considered a special blessing to eat this bread because it was a fellow brother or sister's offering.

So to purposefully snub these meals, or even these small coffee breaks over bread is considered a theological faux pas as you are inherently snubbing either a fellow parishioner's offering, a person or Saint's commemoration, or a sacred lunch with the clergy. 

Also usually a portion of this food is set aside specifically for the less fortunate and students who traditionally attended classes at the church or monastery.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Offline CBGardner

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #125 on: July 10, 2011, 06:36:03 PM »
I had always been on the 'I'm super shy and don't like talking to strangers and thus hate coffee hour' side, but I did something different today. I actually went to coffee hour to experiment after reading this post. And you know what? I ended up talking to a guy who sat next to me during liturgy. We had a good conversation and at the end he really thanked me for the talk. He was new to the parish, I was new to the parish, but I could tell we both really benefited from the exchange. I praise God that He made someone smile through me. If I hadn't have gone maybe this guy would of never come back. Now I know he expects to be there next week again. So there definitely is something to "social club" :)
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #126 on: July 11, 2011, 10:54:36 AM »

Yay! 

So good to hear!

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #127 on: July 11, 2011, 01:31:12 PM »
I had always been on the 'I'm super shy and don't like talking to strangers and thus hate coffee hour' side, but I did something different today. I actually went to coffee hour to experiment after reading this post. And you know what? I ended up talking to a guy who sat next to me during liturgy. We had a good conversation and at the end he really thanked me for the talk. He was new to the parish, I was new to the parish, but I could tell we both really benefited from the exchange. I praise God that He made someone smile through me. If I hadn't have gone maybe this guy would of never come back. Now I know he expects to be there next week again. So there definitely is something to "social club" :)

Very cool!  Don't be afraid to branch out either! 

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #128 on: July 11, 2011, 01:59:43 PM »
But the Church is a family, even more familial than our natural family. The parish is the local unit or manifestation of that. What kind of dysfunctional family has members who simply come and go, only attending the same formal events but otherwise having no contact? That's not like any loving family I've ever seen. It would never fly in my family, that's for sure. ???

We don't have to go extreme and be bizarro cult people living in communes, but this kind of parish interaction would be considered odd in every church I've ever been part of, Orthodox or Protestant.

I think you are pushing the earthly family metaphor a bit too far.  I am more concerned with the vertical relationship (between myself and God) than I am with polite chatter with 100 or more people.

You may think it's just "polite chatter," but it may be a way for you to show Christian love to people, and for them to do the same to you.
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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #129 on: July 11, 2011, 02:16:57 PM »
But the Church is a family, even more familial than our natural family. The parish is the local unit or manifestation of that. What kind of dysfunctional family has members who simply come and go, only attending the same formal events but otherwise having no contact? That's not like any loving family I've ever seen. It would never fly in my family, that's for sure. ???

We don't have to go extreme and be bizarro cult people living in communes, but this kind of parish interaction would be considered odd in every church I've ever been part of, Orthodox or Protestant.

I think you are pushing the earthly family metaphor a bit too far.  I am more concerned with the vertical relationship (between myself and God) than I am with polite chatter with 100 or more people.

You may think it's just "polite chatter," but it may be a way for you to show Christian love to people, and for them to do the same to you.

Indeed.  I recall a metaphor of a bicycle wheel with spokes to demonstrate just how our relationships with people are part and parcel of our relationship with God.  If God is the center, and people are the spokes, as one gets closer to God, one gets closer to others...and vice versa.
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Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #130 on: July 11, 2011, 02:55:47 PM »
Schultz I like that metaphor, well put and very true....



Indeed.  I recall a metaphor of a bicycle wheel with spokes to demonstrate just how our relationships with people are part and parcel of our relationship with God.  If God is the center, and people are the spokes, as one gets closer to God, one gets closer to others...and vice versa.
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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #131 on: July 11, 2011, 02:59:58 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

There is another contemporary analogy I've heard.

Imagine that Our Lord is at the center of a large arena filled with people, and as all the people crowd forward to get closer to God, the inadvertently get closer and closer to each other, just as when we all crowd (both literally and figuratively) into the Church to worship and get closer to God, we also get closer to each other as we all have the same fundamental purpose in being there. In this metaphor, none of us can really get close to God without getting close to our fellow brothers and sisters, because as we get closer and closer to him, we also get closer with those who are with us trying to close in on God.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Offline Philoumenos

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #132 on: July 11, 2011, 06:01:17 PM »
I had always been on the 'I'm super shy and don't like talking to strangers and thus hate coffee hour' side, but I did something different today. I actually went to coffee hour to experiment after reading this post. And you know what? I ended up talking to a guy who sat next to me during liturgy. We had a good conversation and at the end he really thanked me for the talk. He was new to the parish, I was new to the parish, but I could tell we both really benefited from the exchange. I praise God that He made someone smile through me. If I hadn't have gone maybe this guy would of never come back. Now I know he expects to be there next week again. So there definitely is something to "social club" :)

Thanks for this...

This really made me think when I read it last night. I think you may have converted me!

I started looking at it like this:

Maybe "Coffee time" bothers me a little. Maybe I feel like I'm "suffering" through it.

Well, as a Christian I'm called to suffer! And if we suffer, we do it in love and service to others, for someone might need us.

I think anyone with an aversion to coffee time should read your account, and act accordingly.

Thanks again.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #133 on: July 11, 2011, 07:06:59 PM »
I like the way this thread is moving.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #134 on: August 07, 2011, 10:37:52 PM »
Would you like to go shooting with me? How bout we go on a ruckmarch? Spar with the urban kids in the Gym on the East side of Cleveland where well be the only white people in there? No? Well I guess me and the black kids are just beneath you then.

It's like your my long lost brother in that other city in Ohio.

In the ring I'm non-Orthodox though, can we still break bread or at least each other's head? I kid. Too many lumps to the head. Can't afford more brain damage.


Offline stanley123

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #135 on: August 07, 2011, 10:54:46 PM »
Tonight, I visited another parish (not my own) for vespers.

At the conclusion of a beautiful service, I tried to spread the love by making eye contact with the parishioners, smiling and giving a small bow/nod. All avoided eye contact and one even gave me a look up and down and a judgmental glare (I assume because I wasn't "dressed for church").

As much as I am painfully introverted and generally can't abide small talk, it's moments like these that make me envious of the full parish life extending beyond the Divine Liturgy that you in the States seem to have. I can't even get a smile from these old Greeks.

Perhaps you don't know what you've got til it's gone?

That's my standard issue experience at Greek parishes here in my area that has lots and lots of Greeks. You seemed to have escaped The Question, "Are you Greek?"  ;)

I'm told, at least in the US, that Greek parishes in parts of the US with fewer Greek are more open to non-Greeks. However, I have never experienced that myself.
I attended three different Greek Orthodox Churches in California and I told the usher that we were Roman Catholics. After the DL, we attended the coffee hour and I have to say that during the coffee hour, the Greek parishoners were extremely kind and  welcoming to us, even though we are not Greek. In one case they offered to give us a tour of the Church, explaining in detail each of the many beauriful icons.  What a pleasant and beautiful experience it was.

Offline JR

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Re: Coffee time after DL. Not a fan.
« Reply #136 on: August 08, 2011, 01:26:19 AM »
The Greeks can  be nice, Just that at the moment they have so many problems here, there heads are in the clouds. it is only there great civil service where they are arrogant and very lazy.

Nice to know that you was welcomed

God Bless
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them".

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