Author Topic: Where to start?  (Read 3415 times)

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Offline cherokeerose

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Where to start?
« on: October 03, 2008, 06:58:15 PM »
I've been lurking for some time now, and forgive me because I know my questions are similar to those asked by others ...

I was raised Baptist, and have attended non-denominational, Methodist and Anglican churches. All the while, I have been reading and praying and pondering where God wants me to be.  I'm married with a flexible husband (thank goodness), and he's willing to go to church with me.  We've talked in depth about my beliefs and concerns, and I believe he understands where I am spiritually.

I've also studied the Roman Catholic church (reading, internet message boards, in-depth conversations with anyone Catholic who was willing to talk with me and answer questions, and I've attended mass several times over the years).  I learned about Orthodoxy via my study of the Catholic church.

After studying church history and opening myself to all the possibilities, I realize that no longer believe in scripture alone, faith alone or once saved always saved. I actually don't know if I ever did believe in all these things, but I am grateful to my Christian family and protestant roots that led me to Christ.  What is sad is that I consider myself to be a Christian without a home at this point.

There are 2 Orthodox churches in other cities within 30-35 miles of my home - one is OCA and the other is Greek Orthodox.  I also believe that there may be a Romanian Orthodox church that is closer, but their website is in Romanian (with a small translation into English).

What do I do next?  Attend a service?  Go to an inquirer class?  I am both scared (of the unknown) and excited (about possibly finding the true church and what that means in terms of my whole life).

Suggestions  :)?

ddc

Offline Quinault

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2008, 01:10:43 AM »
I would attend a service and then go from there. If you feel "at home" at the first parish then attend an inquirers class. If you are curious still, then attend the other parishes as well. There are different "flavors" of Orthodoxy, so I would try a few if the first one doesn't absolutely grab you. That being said we joined the second parish we ever attended. (The time period between our first service at one parish and our second service at the second parish was about a decade). There is a balance that should be made between attending whatever is closest and being consumeristic about finding a parish. And that is something you will need to pray and discern very carefully. Comfort shouldn't be your greatest reason for choosing/not choosing a parish. But you shouldn't feel as someone looking into Orthodoxy that you have to attend the closest parish to you. I can't tell you what to look for in a parish, it is very individual.

Do you have children? That could help you choose a parish to visit. Some parishes offer catechism classes on Sunday mornings for children, others do not. And my eldest loves attending those classes. It is a good sign that there are alot of kids to play with if they offer the classes. Although there could be a whole lot of kids even without a sunday morning class.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 01:16:35 AM by Quinault »

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2008, 01:31:40 AM »
cherokeerose,
I am so delighted that you have successfully made it here after all my hinting on that "other forum" about us.
I can only guess from your profile that you are located in the SE USA but you might wish to tell us which parishes are near you because, well, we've a fairly large group of laypeople and clergy spread over North America and might know these parishes (or even be members or clergy there ourselves).
Visiting them would seem the 'next' logical step, perhaps even calling the parish priest first if you're not too intimidated by that prospect. (But that last isn't necessary). And besides Sunday Divine Liturgy you might find the parish(es) offer Vespers on Saturday and that could be a nice introduction to the feel of our worship.
As to which to see first, I would try for the most likely English using one to start, perhaps the OCA; but visit all available eventually.
Welcome to the forum.  :)

"Aristokles" (on that "other forum")
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline Quinault

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2008, 01:34:22 AM »
Oh, are you Cherokee indian? I am Quinault, Nez Perce and Yakima (and a tiny bit Chinook).
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 02:17:27 AM by Quinault »

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2008, 02:10:59 AM »
Cherokeerose, Welcome to the OC.net forum!

Cherokee are originally from Georgia / North Carolina / SE USA until they were forcibly repatriated via the "Trail of Tears" in the 1830's.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 02:13:29 AM by SolEX01 »

Offline Quinault

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2008, 02:14:34 AM »
Cherokee are originally from Georgia / North Carolina / SE USA until they were forced to move to Oklahoma via the "Trail of Tears" in the 1830's.

I don't understand what you point is.  I certainly know this. And I would assume she does also-native or not. I may only have a 9th grade education, but even I was taught about the trail of tears before I left school.

Now the NW trail of tears is something most people have no idea occurred.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 02:16:45 AM by Quinault »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2008, 07:04:29 AM »
Welcome cherokeerose!
I am both scared (of the unknown) and excited (about possibly finding the true church and what that means in terms of my whole life).
"And the Lord said to Abram: 'Go forth, out of thy land and out of thy kindred, and out of the house of thy father, and come into the land which I shall show thee.'" (Genesis 12:1). It's always both scary and exciting leaving the familiar behind and taking that "Abrahamic Step" into the unknown!
I remember the first time I visited the Holy Mountain (Mount Athos), I felt as though I'd landed on another planet! I was scared and excited at the same time, so I can relate to how you're feeling.
My advice is to walk boldly and humbly at the same time. Boldness is not fearlessness, but rather, the ability to move forward despite our fear. Ask questions, approach the Priest, make contact, this requires boldness. At the same time, walk humbly with your God, and remember Who Is in charge. Treat everyone with respect, not only those whom you will meet, but also those whom you will leave behind. There's nothing like respect, and there is nothing more disarming!
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline chrevbel

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2008, 10:16:51 AM »
Quote from: cherokeerose
What do I do next?  Attend a service?
That is definitely what I'd recommend, as that is what I experienced, myself.  I was raised Baptist.  For many years I attended non-denominational, and then Episcopal, churches.  And I too spent many of my adult years reading, praying, and pondering where God wanted me to be.  Jogging one day, I "found" the small Orthodox Church only a few blocks from my house.  I attended Sunday Liturgy, and that, as they say, was that.  I knew I'd found my home.

It's been wonderful.  I'd encourage you to come and see.  Before you do, take a look at Frederica Mathewes-Green's "12 Things I Wish I'd Known" pamphlet.  It's available online.  Let us know if you can't find it, and we'll post a link.

My best to you and your husband.  God bless.

Offline cherokeerose

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2008, 11:15:00 AM »
I would attend a service and then go from there. If you feel "at home" at the first parish then attend an inquirers class.  There is a balance that should be made between attending whatever is closest and being consumeristic about finding a parish. And that is something you will need to pray and discern very carefully. Comfort shouldn't be your greatest reason for choosing/not choosing a parish. But you shouldn't feel as someone looking into Orthodoxy that you have to attend the closest parish to you. I can't tell you what to look for in a parish, it is very individual.

Do you have children? That could help you choose a parish to visit.

Thank you for your thoughts about this.  You verbalized what I've been thinking about the consumeristic issue.  There is also another parish (OCA) that is about 45 miles away that I've been interested in.

No - we don't have children, so we don't have to take that issue into consideration.

ddc


Offline cherokeerose

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2008, 11:32:29 AM »
cherokeerose,
I am so delighted that you have successfully made it here after all my hinting on that "other forum" about us.
I can only guess from your profile that you are located in the SE USA but you might wish to tell us which parishes are near you because, well, we've a fairly large group of laypeople and clergy spread over North America and might know these parishes (or even be members or clergy there ourselves).
Visiting them would seem the 'next' logical step, perhaps even calling the parish priest first if you're not too intimidated by that prospect. (But that last isn't necessary). And besides Sunday Divine Liturgy you might find the parish(es) offer Vespers on Saturday and that could be a nice introduction to the feel of our worship.
As to which to see first, I would try for the most likely English using one to start, perhaps the OCA; but visit all available eventually.
Welcome to the forum.  :)

"Aristokles" (on that "other forum")

Hi "Aristokles"  :)

I live in Northeast Georgia and would welcome any first-hand thoughts (or to know that I "know" someone there).  The specific parishes are all in totally different directions from my home - there is St. Mary of Eqypt in Norcross, GA OCA (about 20 miles north of Atlanta), St. Philothea Greek Orthodox in near Athens, GA.  I think the Romanian church is a mission in the process of building, but I can't tell from the website exactly where they are (I did email them, but no response yet).  The other church is an OCA in Toccoa, GA called St. Timothy.

I've thought about Vespers.  Would you or someone else here mind describing a typical vespers service?

Thanks for the warm welcome (and definitely the hinting)

ddc



Offline cherokeerose

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2008, 11:48:35 AM »
Cherokee are originally from Georgia / North Carolina / SE USA until they were forced to move to Oklahoma via the "Trail of Tears" in the 1830's.

I don't understand what you point is.  I certainly know this. And I would assume she does also-native or not. I may only have a 9th grade education, but even I was taught about the trail of tears before I left school.

Now the NW trail of tears is something most people have no idea occurred.

From my calculations I am close to 1/16 Cherokee, but I'm not completely sure.  My family is from North Georgia and western North Carolina, and I'm quite familiar with the trail of tears.  There is an Eastern band of the Cherokee that remained behind by hiding in the mountains - and then there is the Western band who were forced off their land to Oklahoma.  Very sad.

I actually chose my username because I feel like a cherokee rose sometimes.  Cherokee roses are considered weeds by some people in Georgia (ironically the cherokee rose is the state flower) but I love them.  They do have thorns and like to grow where ever they please, but they are strong and beautiful in a very non-showy way when they bloom.

ddc

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2008, 12:07:01 PM »
^ Please forgive me if I offended you although if I had known that the state flower of GA was the Cherokee Rose; I wouldn't have posted American Indian History....   :'(

The Vespers thread provides some explanation and clarification regarding Vespers.

Offline cherokeerose

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2008, 12:26:24 PM »
^ Please forgive me if I offended you although if I had known that the state flower of GA was the Cherokee Rose; I wouldn't have posted American Indian History....   :'(

The Vespers thread provides some explanation and clarification regarding Vespers.

Please - no offense taken at all.  I do have Cherokee ancestry.

I will investigate the link to vespers.  Thanks for your welcome

ddc

Offline cherokeerose

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2008, 12:39:54 PM »
Welcome cherokeerose!
I am both scared (of the unknown) and excited (about possibly finding the true church and what that means in terms of my whole life).
"And the Lord said to Abram: 'Go forth, out of thy land and out of thy kindred, and out of the house of thy father, and come into the land which I shall show thee.'" (Genesis 12:1). It's always both scary and exciting leaving the familiar behind and taking that "Abrahamic Step" into the unknown!
I remember the first time I visited the Holy Mountain (Mount Athos), I felt as though I'd landed on another planet! I was scared and excited at the same time, so I can relate to how you're feeling.
My advice is to walk boldly and humbly at the same time. Boldness is not fearlessness, but rather, the ability to move forward despite our fear. Ask questions, approach the Priest, make contact, this requires boldness. At the same time, walk humbly with your God, and remember Who Is in charge. Treat everyone with respect, not only those whom you will meet, but also those whom you will leave behind. There's nothing like respect, and there is nothing more disarming!

What wonderful advice that I most certainly need.  My fears have been keeping me from moving forward - yet I know in my deepest heart that if I don't step out there I have nowhere else to go. 

I ask for prayers that I have the courage to be bold (and respectful) and also patient with myself (when I make mistakes or don't understand something).

ddc

 

Offline cherokeerose

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2008, 01:09:07 PM »
Quote from: cherokeerose
What do I do next?  Attend a service?
That is definitely what I'd recommend, as that is what I experienced, myself.  I was raised Baptist.  For many years I attended non-denominational, and then Episcopal, churches.  And I too spent many of my adult years reading, praying, and pondering where God wanted me to be.  Jogging one day, I "found" the small Orthodox Church only a few blocks from my house.  I attended Sunday Liturgy, and that, as they say, was that.  I knew I'd found my home.

It's been wonderful.  I'd encourage you to come and see.  Before you do, take a look at Frederica Mathewes-Green's "12 Things I Wish I'd Known" pamphlet.  It's available online.  Let us know if you can't find it, and we'll post a link.

My best to you and your husband.  God bless.

Thank you for sharing your story.  It is uplifting to know hear from those who've already found their way.

Was there any one thing that was more challenging to you when you converted?  One of the things I am hoping for is that I can finally stop some of the "doctrinal" questioning I've always had in protestant churches - that I will develop a trust that even though I don't understand it yet , I accept it.  Does that make sense?

ddc

Offline Paisius

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2008, 09:05:50 PM »
cherokeerose,
I am so delighted that you have successfully made it here after all my hinting on that "other forum" about us.
I can only guess from your profile that you are located in the SE USA but you might wish to tell us which parishes are near you because, well, we've a fairly large group of laypeople and clergy spread over North America and might know these parishes (or even be members or clergy there ourselves).
Visiting them would seem the 'next' logical step, perhaps even calling the parish priest first if you're not too intimidated by that prospect. (But that last isn't necessary). And besides Sunday Divine Liturgy you might find the parish(es) offer Vespers on Saturday and that could be a nice introduction to the feel of our worship.
As to which to see first, I would try for the most likely English using one to start, perhaps the OCA; but visit all available eventually.
Welcome to the forum.  :)

"Aristokles" (on that "other forum")

Hi "Aristokles"  :)

I live in Northeast Georgia and would welcome any first-hand thoughts (or to know that I "know" someone there).  The specific parishes are all in totally different directions from my home - there is St. Mary of Eqypt in Norcross, GA OCA (about 20 miles north of Atlanta), St. Philothea Greek Orthodox in near Athens, GA.  I think the Romanian church is a mission in the process of building, but I can't tell from the website exactly where they are (I did email them, but no response yet).  The other church is an OCA in Toccoa, GA called St. Timothy.

I've thought about Vespers.  Would you or someone else here mind describing a typical vespers service?

Thanks for the warm welcome (and definitely the hinting)

ddc





This is joedavis28 from that "other forum."  ;D

St Mary of Egypt is a really excellent parish. You really couldn't pick a better place to start your inquiry. The entire liturgy is in English and they are very convert oriented as a large number of the parishioners are converts themselves. Also I'm pretty sure they have a structured inquirers class for people just like yourself.

You should give them a call and see what happens.  ;)



Yours in Christ
Joe


 
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 09:07:19 PM by Paisius »

Offline chrevbel

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2008, 03:54:31 AM »
Quote from: cherokeerose
Thank you for sharing your story.  It is uplifting to know hear from those who've already found their way.
Was there any one thing that was more challenging to you when you converted?  One of the things I am hoping for is that I can finally stop some of the "doctrinal" questioning I've always had in protestant churches - that I will develop a trust that even though I don't understand it yet , I accept it.  Does that make sense?
It makes perfect sense.  This is almost exactly what my priest told me as I was converting.  He said that ultimately I would accept Orthodoxy (or not) based on faith that the Church would not steer me wrong.  I could never understand everything about Orthodoxy before becoming Orthodox.  In fact, I would spend the rest of my life in Orthodoxy and not understand everything about Orthodoxy.  As you say, I no longer go through the "doctrinal questioning" that I once did.  I consider it now more of a "doctrinal inquiry" -- a lifelong process of understanding more about my Lord and my Church.  It's a totally different mindset, brought on by the realization that I truly am a part of Christ's Church.

Offline Thomas

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2008, 08:45:38 AM »
WElcome to the Convert Issues Forum, Cherokee Rose!

I too am 1/16th Cherokee by family history. Nice to have you here on the forum.

Thomas
Convert Issues Forum Moderator.
Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas

Offline cherokeerose

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2008, 10:45:28 PM »
WElcome to the Convert Issues Forum, Cherokee Rose!

I too am 1/16th Cherokee by family history. Nice to have you here on the forum.

Thomas
Convert Issues Forum Moderator.

Thank you for the welcome!

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2008, 01:00:54 AM »
Quote from: cherokeerose
What do I do next?  Attend a service?
That is definitely what I'd recommend, as that is what I experienced, myself.  I was raised Baptist.  For many years I attended non-denominational, and then Episcopal, churches.  And I too spent many of my adult years reading, praying, and pondering where God wanted me to be.  Jogging one day, I "found" the small Orthodox Church only a few blocks from my house.  I attended Sunday Liturgy, and that, as they say, was that.  I knew I'd found my home.

It's been wonderful.  I'd encourage you to come and see.  Before you do, take a look at Frederica Mathewes-Green's "12 Things I Wish I'd Known" pamphlet.  It's available online.  Let us know if you can't find it, and we'll post a link.

My best to you and your husband.  God bless.

Thank you for sharing your story.  It is uplifting to know hear from those who've already found their way.

Was there any one thing that was more challenging to you when you converted?  One of the things I am hoping for is that I can finally stop some of the "doctrinal" questioning I've always had in protestant churches - that I will develop a trust that even though I don't understand it yet , I accept it.  Does that make sense?

ddc

Welcome!

I decided to come to Orthodoxy (from evangelical Lutheranism) when it finally dawned on me that I had more chance of drinking the ocean than I did on getting THE grasp of Orthodoxy.  Its depths cannot be contained.

I learned to trust that although I might not have the answer, I knew the Church did, and to put my Faith in her, not myself.

btw, there is much that I didn't "get" until years after embracing Orthodoxy.
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,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline GreekChef

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Re: Where to start?
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2008, 10:25:33 AM »
cherokeerose,
I am so delighted that you have successfully made it here after all my hinting on that "other forum" about us.
I can only guess from your profile that you are located in the SE USA but you might wish to tell us which parishes are near you because, well, we've a fairly large group of laypeople and clergy spread over North America and might know these parishes (or even be members or clergy there ourselves).
Visiting them would seem the 'next' logical step, perhaps even calling the parish priest first if you're not too intimidated by that prospect. (But that last isn't necessary). And besides Sunday Divine Liturgy you might find the parish(es) offer Vespers on Saturday and that could be a nice introduction to the feel of our worship.
As to which to see first, I would try for the most likely English using one to start, perhaps the OCA; but visit all available eventually.
Welcome to the forum.  :)


"Aristokles" (on that "other forum")

Hi "Aristokles"  :)

I live in Northeast Georgia and would welcome any first-hand thoughts (or to know that I "know" someone there).  The specific parishes are all in totally different directions from my home - there is St. Mary of Eqypt in Norcross, GA OCA (about 20 miles north of Atlanta), St. Philothea Greek Orthodox in near Athens, GA.  I think the Romanian church is a mission in the process of building, but I can't tell from the website exactly where they are (I did email them, but no response yet).  The other church is an OCA in Toccoa, GA called St. Timothy.

I've thought about Vespers.  Would you or someone else here mind describing a typical vespers service?

Thanks for the warm welcome (and definitely the hinting)

ddc






Hi, Cherokeerose!  My name is Presbytera Mari and I am from Athens, GA!  My home parish is St. Philothea!  It is a WONDERFUL parish, with about 25% Greeks, 25% other eastern european, and 50% converts.  I think you would feel VERY comfortable there.  I would be happy to put you in touch with Fr. Anthony, who is himself a convert.  He teaches catechuman (inquirer) classes every week, they have Vespers on Wednesdays, and are a very active, wonderful little parish.  I would also be happy to put you in touch with my family, so that you will have someone to talk to and introduce you to the services and at coffee hour (my sister is very cool and does this all the time).  I myself go there frequently, but spend most of my time at the Cathedral in Atlanta, where my husband serves as the associate priest.  Feel free to PM me and I'll be happy to help you in whatever way that I can.  I think you will truly find St. Philothea to be a wonderful home.  Also, if I may suggest, say a prayer to St. Philothea herself to ask for guidance.  I have found her to be a huge help when I don't know what to do about something or am searching for guidance.

Hope this helps!  And welcome to OC.net!!!!

With love in Christ,
Presbytera Mari
Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5