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Author Topic: At what point in your journey to Orthodoxy did you tell others?  (Read 1255 times) Average Rating: 0
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Deborah
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« on: June 17, 2012, 03:35:49 AM »

Hi,

This is a question that's been playing on my mind for a while, and I'd love to know other inquirers' and converts' experience (only as much as you are comfortable sharing):

1. At what point in your journey to Orthodoxy did you tell other people (e.g. wider family, friends, your old church) beyond your immediate family/household?

2. What sort of reactions did you get?

I've been inquiring into Orthodoxy for a few months now and only have a couple of books, some internet reading and a couple of DLs under my belt.  I haven't told anyone else in my family, friends or current church yet.  I'll probably hold off until I know a little more about the faith, or am at the point I can't continue worshipping/receiving communion in my home church in good faith.

Thanks
Deborah
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 10:58:59 AM »

Right after I came back from my first day in church.
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2012, 11:08:53 AM »

As soon as I realized I was on the path.  My wife thought I had lost my mind and was joining a cult.
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2012, 02:11:11 PM »

I was in a rabidly "Charismatic" atmosphere so I really couldn't have a discussion with anyone.  I came back from the UK realizing Christianity is so much older than Azusa Street, but nobody in my church would find that bit of information relevant.
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2012, 02:33:31 PM »

The moment I left Protestantism. I told my mom that I was going to be converting to some older form of Christianity; either Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2012, 02:47:48 PM »

Until I was comfortable with it myself and started seriously considering conversion. Several months after I had been a regular attendee. My parents aren't religious, so it didn't really bother them. Had a lot of good discussions with friends, some of whom are now in the process of converting themselves.

I have an uncle that's a low-church Protestant minister. He was unsure for awhile, until we got to talk. It still makes him uncomfortable, but now he's at least convinced that I'm still a Christian and that traditional forms of Christianity are a positive thing...which is a big step forward, since a lot of his Christian formation was from an anti-Catholic background.
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2012, 06:24:19 AM »

i actually thought the churches were all basically the same, so that joining several would be ok!
after 3 years of enquiry, i realised i was missing something by not taking holy communion, so started to head towards orthodoxy.
by then my friends and family had guessed something was 'up' as i had kept most of them updated.
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2012, 07:57:16 AM »

I told my brother fairly early on - not sure exactly when but it was over 10 years ago after all. My wife (my fiancee at the start but we were married before I was Chrismated) is cradle Orthodox anyway so there really was nothing much to say. My mother I didn't tell until long after I was Chrismated and I believe it may have actually only have come out after she criticised us (publicly and during the actual service!) for having our son baptised Orthodox. I knew that her reaction would be bad, and it was, and I thought that staying quiet about it would be easier. Looking back on it I should have told her straight away and maybe that way we could have worked out things earlier, but maybe not. I think it took a good 7 or 8 years before she stopped criticising Orthodoxy at every other opportunity and even now I get the impression that her attitude hasn't changed, she's just learned to reign it in around me.

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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2012, 10:24:13 AM »

Good day Deborah!

I'm not sure weather you welcome my reply or not as I have no intentions of converting, yet, I have no intentions of not converting either. I'm not sure I'm even an ‘inquirer’ per say to Orthodoxy. I simply see myself as a repenting sinner and fool seeking Truth. I believe I have found such in Orthodoxy and hold a profound reverence and respect toward the Orthodox Church. Where this leads I will follow and some how I know in my heart God will guide me in His time and in His way as I believe He has done thus far. 

With that said I don’t hold or recognize any stigmas toward Orthodoxy that may exist. I see my journey as one toward Christ our Lord. I will speak of my faith to anyone that will listen and reference Orthodoxy without thought or concern. I speak of Truth and Understanding I have found in Orthodoxy to immediate family, extended family, Church, and friends. Sadly, many friends could care less to listen and I’m afraid we just don’t spend as much time together any more. He does warn us we will have to leave much behind I guess.

As far as reactions? Keep in mind I pray at a Wesleyan Church so it’s a little different as John Wesley himself held a profound belief in the Orthodoxy. It would be difficult for anyone to discredit Orthodoxy without discrediting (in small part) the very doctrine our Church is founded upon. I have had a couple of ‘strange’ looks but to be honest I think it was as much out of ignorance as any negativity. My Pastor encourages me to learn and grow. Yes, he points me more toward Wesley but also realizes it is difficult to study Wesley without mentioning Orthodoxy, Church Fathers, and Patristic writings. My immediate family: My daughter (20yrs) has begun to make visits to the Orthodox Churches in her area. She also seems to be seeking God without stigmas but with an open heart and mind. My wife is by my side in our journey though she was raised Baptist so more conflicts surface for her both due to Orthodoxy and Wesleyan theology.  She’s working through that just fine though!  Her family I’m guessing might have some raised eye brows but nothing mentioned to my knowledge. My mom was at one point a Church of God once saved always saved woman. I speak to her of my journey, what I am learning, and she herself has now listened to Orthodox sermons on line and I even found a John Wesley sermon she printed out laying on her table. Wink Others like extended family; well, I did hear my aunt say ‘Orthodox? Wow, they are a little too hard core!’ I just smiled.

If I have a point to offer in my reply it is that I am in my infancy spiritual speaking. Should I not share what I am learning without concern of reproach? You have found Truth in Orthodoxy glory to God. The fruits of the Spirit in you will be seen by others. Should they not know where that seed came from?

There will be some that criticize us in His name. That's on them not us.

Well, now in addition to the others you have the opinion of a fool!  Wink
 
God bless you in your journey!
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2012, 10:43:02 AM »

Hi,

This is a question that's been playing on my mind for a while, and I'd love to know other inquirers' and converts' experience (only as much as you are comfortable sharing):

1. At what point in your journey to Orthodoxy did you tell other people (e.g. wider family, friends, your old church) beyond your immediate family/household?

2. What sort of reactions did you get?

I've been inquiring into Orthodoxy for a few months now and only have a couple of books, some internet reading and a couple of DLs under my belt.  I haven't told anyone else in my family, friends or current church yet.  I'll probably hold off until I know a little more about the faith, or am at the point I can't continue worshipping/receiving communion in my home church in good faith.

Thanks
Deborah

Certain people knew sooner.  I talked with my previous pastor before I met with the priest.  I thought he should be aware of what was going on.  I *assumed* he'd tell his wife (who I was friendly with), but he didn't.  It caused some hurt feelings.  I didn't reallly talk about it with many people from my previous church mainly because I didn't want to look like I was sheep stealing.  I was never THAT close to anyone at the church anyway.  We'd only been there 4 yrs. 

My sis and her husband knew very soon on because he was helpful in my learning about church history and Church Father's.  They were supportive.

I can't really remember with other family members.  I know my dh's sister wanted me to keep trying Lutheranism since "We believe in the Real Presence" too.  It was hard to explain that it was more than that.  But, there was never any hard pressure to stay Protestant from any family/friends. 

Oh! I just remembered.  I did have one close Prot. friend.  She would call me EVERY Sunday afternoon and ask me, "how was church?"   She IS one of those bull-dog type Protestants who won't let go in an argument.  Since we had left the same church about 5yrs previous she had NEVER done anything like that.  It was way too obvious.  I just brushed her off by telling her what Bible verses we read and how much I loved that was sing the Psalms every Sunday Smiley  She really didn't argue with me, but I always felt she was looking for a chance to do so. 

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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 04:58:39 PM »

I told my wife and family(we were and she still is RC) I was interested in Orthodoxy about a year before I took my first inquiry class. Funny thing is I had an hour in the Adoration Chapel at my RC church for about 20 yrs and started reading about Orthodoxy there. I feel like I didnt leave the RC church as much as it had left me after VII(my wife converted to RC in 1978 so she still doesnt completely understand what I am talking about) I started my search looking for  an alternative to RCC, but ended up switching because I came to love Orthodoxy. Started my inquiry at a Greek Orthodox church in Sept of 2010. I was recieved into Orthodoxy in Dec of 2011.  My wife still hasn't followed, but I expect it is as much to do with the 40 mile one way trip to my church(my RC parish was 4 miles), she has been very supportive, cooks special for me for fast days. The only negative comments have been"why didnt you know about this from the beginning." The Orthodox church is a very well kept secret.
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2012, 08:12:44 AM »

Hi,

This is a question that's been playing on my mind for a while, and I'd love to know other inquirers' and converts' experience (only as much as you are comfortable sharing):

1. At what point in your journey to Orthodoxy did you tell other people (e.g. wider family, friends, your old church) beyond your immediate family/household?

2. What sort of reactions did you get?

I've been inquiring into Orthodoxy for a few months now and only have a couple of books, some internet reading and a couple of DLs under my belt.  I haven't told anyone else in my family, friends or current church yet.  I'll probably hold off until I know a little more about the faith, or am at the point I can't continue worshipping/receiving communion in my home church in good faith.

Thanks
Deborah
Hi Deborah,

I have found engaging with Orthodoxy really stressful.  Apart from the internal conflict - am I doing the right thing - I know that if I eventually become Orthodox I will loose my previous Anglican friends - they just would not understanding.  Apart from one or two, I know I could never adequately explain why I choose Orthodoxy. 

I have told my closest friends, they number less than the fingers on one hand, and they support me while not following me. 

But the time is fast approaching where I will have to inform my local priest.  I have been avoiding making that contact for some time now.  What makes my situation somewhat different is that the nearest Orthodox church is over 3 hours away making a total of 6 hours for the return trip just to attend DL. 

There is no easy answers here I'm afraid - and God seems strangely silent on the matter.
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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2012, 09:34:51 AM »

I told my family about my conversion and the only thing they were worried about and that was: "Are you still Catholic".  Of course was my reply and that ended any further discussion on the subject.
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2012, 01:17:58 PM »

Hello Deborah,

I had told my wife what  I was exploring before I even knew that what I was exploring was Orthodoxy. So she was there throughout the process in which I explored via the internet and reading church fathers, etc. It was in fact, at her suggestion, that we first attended a Divine Liturgy. Throughout that process nearly a year in length I keep myself from expressing any affirmative statement that I was converting until the end, saying I wanted to be sure my wife would be on board before I finalized any decision. Looking back though, I probably knew where I needed to go within the first couple of months. This as all my prayers thereafter that 'God would guide me and open doors that needed to be opened and close doors that needed to be closed' were tinged the hope that this would lead me further into Orthodoxy. I'm Cheesy happy to say that it has. We're now six months into attending our Orthodox church consistently and only, with another three months before that of attending there every other week on Saturday evenings before we left our former church.

I made a decision early on to not tell anyone, other than my wife, what I was looking at until my mind was made up. This went to both sides of the equation, I have an uncle who's a retired Orthodox priest, but the rest of my family and friends were firmly Protestant and my wife's family Protestant and Roman Catholic. The idea was that I wanted to explore these things on my own without anyone trying to influence me one way or the other.

This may have been my biggest mistake in the process, though its hard to say because it didn't go the other way. I feel that in doing this I betrayed the trust of my friends and my Pastor. I was myself a Licensed Minister and my Pastor was my accountability partner and also a friend we would do some holidays together and he and h is family had done work on our house. So, he was right to point out his shock, when he found out a year after the fact and only when my mind was made up what I was doing. His reaction was not the best at all points including his hasty, he only had one week, analysis of the Orthodox church. But, I did my best to indicated that our leaving was not about being negative about him or our church and he did permit us to come a last time to give a public goodbye. Also, I'm happy to say I've kept in some touch with his family via facebook, and shared congratulations with them on various family events. More, I did run in to him in person the other day and gave him a hug, which he reciprocated and had a good, though brief chat.

Family, I told in different stages owing largely to the desire on my part to inject some theater into the process. The reaction has been good but then my uncles conversion had paved the way. He himself, by the way, was predictably delighted yet shocked. Part of the conversation went "No way", "way", "no way", "way..." laugh

Friends, some know some don't, with no significant reasons for delay just kind of a when we see them and/or the topic comes up kind of thing.

My wife's family mostly still doesn't know and when she tells them will be up to her.

God bless you on your journey.
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2012, 02:22:13 PM »

My wife forced the issue, but after that whenever it came up.

After we moved the opportunity presented itself enough times, as one of the questions Christians in the southern US always ask after you move is, "So, where are you going to church now?"
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2012, 05:47:23 PM »

oh, yes, the moving house issue!
well, i had told friends i was going to the orthodox church, and at the previous house move, when i told friends i had found a good church, they still seemed surprised (after 3 years of being orthodox) to hear that it was another coptic church.
like as if orthodoxy was just a fad and i would soon be back attending a 'proper' (protestant) church.
i suppose it was because at first i would still visit protestant churches (with another family member), so i suppose they assumed the occasional attendance at the protestant church was the one that counted. sadly, it has affected the amount of times one of my friends calls me (rarely these days), though i suppose the increased distance was another factor.

maximum bob, i agree with you, it's best to tell important people early on, so they realise u have nothing to hide. but i am glad u still have good contact with your friend. keep it up.

wayseer, similarly, i think you should bring it up with your priest soon.
i was attending a (very) small village anglican church when i became orthodox, and was quite involved in church life, living just down the road.
they already knew i was 'weird' as i often used to attend the catholic service that took place just before the anglican one in the same church building. at this time i was looking closely at the catholic church to see if it was the one i should join. it would have been an easier option (in terms of numbers of churches around, thus less distance to travel), but i was put off by the lack of fasting and a couple of doctrinal issues. i had a good relationship with the catechist in the catholic church, though and we learnt a lot about each other's church in the time i was there.

the concept of attending more than one type of church was completely shocking for both the catholics and the anglicans, and eventually they asked me if i was catholic or anglican. they were a bit confused to hear that i was heading in the orthodox direction.
but the anglican priest had actually been to egypt and had some experience of orthodoxy there, so once i found that out (i was surprised), we had plenty of very interesting conversations.

so i think we should be open whenever we can (if not about to be sacked, beheaded etc.) so that our friends will feel more respected.
there will be opposition, but God can guide us to have the best response, full of grace.
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2012, 11:37:47 PM »

My husband actually had me tell my three closest friends because he was tired of covering for me when people called/asked where I was.  After that, it didn't really go public until I posted a picture of us becoming catechumens.  We've had mixed reactions.  From full support to a three page letter telling me that I was disobeying God, my husband, and the authority placed over me by the "church".  It hasn't been easy but it HAS been the right choice.

eta: I should add that although my husband was not on board at all to begin with, he became a catechuman along with me and our three daughters the same day and while we haven't been baptised yet, he is getting closer every day. 
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2012, 11:40:08 PM »

I don't even remember. Actually I had my sister come with me to my first parish visit, but on an inquiry level I think it was a few months before telling someone.

The biggest mistake I ever made was giving my parents a copy of "Becoming Orthodox" by Fr. Gilquist. I could of handled the exposure to Orthodoxy much more differently.
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2012, 07:44:42 AM »

Hey Biro, Kerdy, dllwatkins, JamesR, Benjamin the Red, mabsoota, jmbejdl, alanscott, PrincessMommy, Rdunbar123, wayseer, JoeS2, Maximum Bob, Agabus, Desiring_Unity, Achronos - thanks so much for your replies!  Your different experiences and perspectives are very helpful and have given me much food for thought.

Good day Deborah!

I'm not sure weather you welcome my reply or not as I have no intentions of converting, yet, I have no intentions of not converting either. I'm not sure I'm even an ‘inquirer’ per say to Orthodoxy. I simply see myself as a repenting sinner and fool seeking Truth. I believe I have found such in Orthodoxy and hold a profound reverence and respect toward the Orthodox Church. Where this leads I will follow and some how I know in my heart God will guide me in His time and in His way as I believe He has done thus far. 

With that said I don’t hold or recognize any stigmas toward Orthodoxy that may exist. I see my journey as one toward Christ our Lord. I will speak of my faith to anyone that will listen and reference Orthodoxy without thought or concern. I speak of Truth and Understanding I have found in Orthodoxy to immediate family, extended family, Church, and friends. Sadly, many friends could care less to listen and I’m afraid we just don’t spend as much time together any more. He does warn us we will have to leave much behind I guess.

As far as reactions? Keep in mind I pray at a Wesleyan Church so it’s a little different as John Wesley himself held a profound belief in the Orthodoxy. It would be difficult for anyone to discredit Orthodoxy without discrediting (in small part) the very doctrine our Church is founded upon. I have had a couple of ‘strange’ looks but to be honest I think it was as much out of ignorance as any negativity. My Pastor encourages me to learn and grow. Yes, he points me more toward Wesley but also realizes it is difficult to study Wesley without mentioning Orthodoxy, Church Fathers, and Patristic writings. My immediate family: My daughter (20yrs) has begun to make visits to the Orthodox Churches in her area. She also seems to be seeking God without stigmas but with an open heart and mind. My wife is by my side in our journey though she was raised Baptist so more conflicts surface for her both due to Orthodoxy and Wesleyan theology.  She’s working through that just fine though!  Her family I’m guessing might have some raised eye brows but nothing mentioned to my knowledge. My mom was at one point a Church of God once saved always saved woman. I speak to her of my journey, what I am learning, and she herself has now listened to Orthodox sermons on line and I even found a John Wesley sermon she printed out laying on her table. Wink Others like extended family; well, I did hear my aunt say ‘Orthodox? Wow, they are a little too hard core!’ I just smiled.

If I have a point to offer in my reply it is that I am in my infancy spiritual speaking. Should I not share what I am learning without concern of reproach? You have found Truth in Orthodoxy glory to God. The fruits of the Spirit in you will be seen by others. Should they not know where that seed came from?

There will be some that criticize us in His name. That's on them not us.

Well, now in addition to the others you have the opinion of a fool!  Wink
 
God bless you in your journey!

Alanscott, thank you for your gentle but straight-speaking post.  Ugh - a bit hard to take in places on first reading, but welcome and necessary in that it brought to light some hidden motivations for holding off telling anyone.  Fear of man, of what others might think.  I know very little about Orthodoxy, and worried I might make a hatchet job of explaining the basics, not yet being able to provide evidence from the bible or wider Tradition very well.  Not really being able to put into words the heartfelt joy and truth I've found in Orthodoxy so far.  How I'd cope against attacks on what might be seen as "doctrinal errors", or efforts to steer me back to "biblically correct" beliefs.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Your attitude, your focus, is a more healthy one, that honours  both God and His creation.  I don't consider you a "fool" in any way but for Christ, and I'm honoured to share this journey with you on OC.net. Smiley

Hi Deborah,

I have found engaging with Orthodoxy really stressful.  Apart from the internal conflict - am I doing the right thing - I know that if I eventually become Orthodox I will loose my previous Anglican friends - they just would not understanding.  Apart from one or two, I know I could never adequately explain why I choose Orthodoxy. 

I have told my closest friends, they number less than the fingers on one hand, and they support me while not following me. 

But the time is fast approaching where I will have to inform my local priest.  I have been avoiding making that contact for some time now.  What makes my situation somewhat different is that the nearest Orthodox church is over 3 hours away making a total of 6 hours for the return trip just to attend DL. 

There is no easy answers here I'm afraid - and God seems strangely silent on the matter.

wayseer, thanks for your frank post.  I can identify with some of your points - internal conflict, not being able to explain easily, difficulties caused by church distance.  I'm glad your friends are supportive of your journey to Orthodoxy.  I hope the conversation with your priest goes well, and that it helps resolves any issues and provides clarity.  God bless you on your path.

Hello Deborah,

I had told my wife what  I was exploring before I even knew that what I was exploring was Orthodoxy. So she was there throughout the process in which I explored via the internet and reading church fathers, etc. It was in fact, at her suggestion, that we first attended a Divine Liturgy. Throughout that process nearly a year in length I keep myself from expressing any affirmative statement that I was converting until the end, saying I wanted to be sure my wife would be on board before I finalized any decision. Looking back though, I probably knew where I needed to go within the first couple of months. This as all my prayers thereafter that 'God would guide me and open doors that needed to be opened and close doors that needed to be closed' were tinged the hope that this would lead me further into Orthodoxy. I'm Cheesy happy to say that it has. We're now six months into attending our Orthodox church consistently and only, with another three months before that of attending there every other week on Saturday evenings before we left our former church.

I made a decision early on to not tell anyone, other than my wife, what I was looking at until my mind was made up. This went to both sides of the equation, I have an uncle who's a retired Orthodox priest, but the rest of my family and friends were firmly Protestant and my wife's family Protestant and Roman Catholic. The idea was that I wanted to explore these things on my own without anyone trying to influence me one way or the other.

This may have been my biggest mistake in the process, though its hard to say because it didn't go the other way. I feel that in doing this I betrayed the trust of my friends and my Pastor. I was myself a Licensed Minister and my Pastor was my accountability partner and also a friend we would do some holidays together and he and h is family had done work on our house. So, he was right to point out his shock, when he found out a year after the fact and only when my mind was made up what I was doing. His reaction was not the best at all points including his hasty, he only had one week, analysis of the Orthodox church. But, I did my best to indicated that our leaving was not about being negative about him or our church and he did permit us to come a last time to give a public goodbye. Also, I'm happy to say I've kept in some touch with his family via facebook, and shared congratulations with them on various family events. More, I did run in to him in person the other day and gave him a hug, which he reciprocated and had a good, though brief chat.

Family, I told in different stages owing largely to the desire on my part to inject some theater into the process. The reaction has been good but then my uncles conversion had paved the way. He himself, by the way, was predictably delighted yet shocked. Part of the conversation went "No way", "way", "no way", "way..." laugh

Friends, some know some don't, with no significant reasons for delay just kind of a when we see them and/or the topic comes up kind of thing.

My wife's family mostly still doesn't know and when she tells them will be up to her.

God bless you on your journey.

Maximum Bob, I had to laugh when I read your post! Cheesy I've barely taken enough steps to bend grass blades in terms of knowledge or book reading, but was absolutely convinced that Orthodoxy was "it" after attending my first DL.  My prayers and hopes are along the same lines laugh

Not wanting to be influenced by others is one of my reasons for holding off telling people as well.  Your post, along with a few others, has convinced me that it's better to tell people earlier rather than later.  It's not fair to land it on people just before making the move, it is a betrayal of sorts.  It's not giving people fair credit...some may question or ridicule our decision, or pull away...but those people may have done so regardless at what point we tell them.  Some may not know of, much less about, Orthodoxy.  Some may want to know more.  Should we not share this treasure that we have found?

It's time for me to start sharing, even if only with very close friends and family at this point.  I want and need to be honest and open.  I'm tired of living a double life.

Thanks again and hugs to all,

Deborah
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2012, 07:12:27 PM »

From the beginning stage as i used to be a volunteer in a catholic parish. That is now like almost a half year ago. Some has been supportive and other not. My family does not care too much about it and that is just fine with me. My friends are kind of lukewarm about it (but that was expected).

It is a journey and i love it so far. Began my catechumenate last friday. Pray, trust in God and let time work while studying, attending liturgy and learn the smaller and bigger bits and pieces that my new life has to offer. A fellow orthodox (ROCOR) told me that this will be much like taking ground level school over again. Smiley
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