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Author Topic: Practical problems about a Protestant pastor becoming orthodox  (Read 5294 times) Average Rating: 5
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KevinOrr
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« on: August 27, 2009, 05:01:25 PM »

Friends,
     I have felt a strong pull toward orthodoxy off and on for many years. But over the past few, with a Greek church only a few miles away, I have been able to immerse myself more fully in orthodox spirituality. I have convinced myself that if I was not a United Methodist pastor, I would have converted awhile ago.
     This is my problem. I am trained to be a pastor. It is the only job I have ever had. By being a United Methodist pastor, not only do I have a pension and health insurance, my house is also provided for me. I have a wife and three children. As I count the cost of leaving behind being a pastor to become Orthodox...it seems too much. Perhaps it may be possible that I could be a deacon or priest, but there is no guarantee there. I do believe that God has given me grace to have a pastoral ministry. But, the insecurity of stepping out of the benefits of being a United Methodist pastor is scary, perhaps irresponsible.
     The priest at the Greek church (Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas, Cincinnati, OH), has encouraged me to continue to pray and read and be patient. Agreed. But are there any former Protestant pastors that can share how they moved to Orthodoxy and still provided for their families?

Kevin
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2009, 05:13:02 PM »

I know a former episcopalian priest who used to attend Vespers on saturday night at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago,IL and then do services at his episcopalian church on Sunday.he did not convert until after he retired as rector of his parish. he is now a deacon at St.Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas,TX. I know people who thought that was a bit much but you do have a family with all of the responsibilities that go with that..
I will pray for you..
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2009, 05:14:09 PM »

Friends,
     I have felt a strong pull toward orthodoxy off and on for many years. But over the past few, with a Greek church only a few miles away, I have been able to immerse myself more fully in orthodox spirituality. I have convinced myself that if I was not a United Methodist pastor, I would have converted awhile ago.
     This is my problem. I am trained to be a pastor. It is the only job I have ever had. By being a United Methodist pastor, not only do I have a pension and health insurance, my house is also provided for me. I have a wife and three children. As I count the cost of leaving behind being a pastor to become Orthodox...it seems too much. Perhaps it may be possible that I could be a deacon or priest, but there is no guarantee there. I do believe that God has given me grace to have a pastoral ministry. But, the insecurity of stepping out of the benefits of being a United Methodist pastor is scary, perhaps irresponsible.
     The priest at the Greek church (Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas, Cincinnati, OH), has encouraged me to continue to pray and read and be patient. Agreed. But are there any former Protestant pastors that can share how they moved to Orthodoxy and still provided for their families?

Kevin

"One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

I was never a Protestant nor a pastor, so I can't help in that regard, but I thought the above quotation might help give you some consolation.  

I believe Fr John Fenton of Holy Incarnation in Michigan was a Lutheran pastor who managed to convert to Orthodoxy and now is a priest of a Western Rite parish.  Maybe someone here can put you in touch with him.

EDIT:  Ah, here you go:  http://www.holyincarnation.org/
« Last Edit: August 27, 2009, 05:16:08 PM by Orual » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2009, 05:38:44 PM »

^Yes, Fr. Fenton did do that and was, on the internet, frequently threatened and bullied by those whom he left behind at his former parish and in Lutheranism in general. He essentially was left with nothing.  HIs house was lost as was his pension and health benefits.  His family was also hurting, though they had made the journey with him.

For pastors of other confessions to become priests, this is the standard through the antiochian archdiocese.  You would go through the St. Stephen's course, which is an online 3 year course (though you can finish it earlier) and requires a few months at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania.  You would, before all of this, become a catechumen and be received in and then go through to be ordained a deacon and then a priest.  Here is the website:  http://www.antiochian.org/638

I cannot speak of other jurisdictions and their requirements.  Please be mindful and prayerful as you consider this step.
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2009, 05:54:00 PM »

The priest serving my parish is also a former Lutheran pastor.  I'm not sure of the details on how he ended up becoming a priest, though.  Here is the link to our parish in case you'd like to email him for more info: St. Thomas the Apostle Orthodox Church (OCA).
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2009, 06:14:06 PM »

Fr. Peter Gilquist is probably one of the most notable Protestants to convert to Orthodoxy, and he was the pastor of a church as well. (You can read about his journey in "Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith" by Peter E. Gilquist. It's available on Amazon.com.)

It should be noted that if one were to become an Orthodox priest, there are pension plans, health insurance plans, and different housing options within the different dioceses. Usually housing varies from parish to parish. With some priests, they live in a house that is owned by the parish. For others, they are given a housing allowance, and allowed to purchase their own home. (From what I understand, many prefer the latter as to the former, since when they retire, the home is theirs to keep.)

Also, depending on the size of the parish one is assigned to, they may need to have a secular job. (This is more in the case of small mission parish's.) But no bother, "trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

Follow the advice of the priest you are under, and perhaps speak to his Bishop about your options of entering the priesthood.

Also, how does your wife and children feel about all of this?
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2009, 08:35:20 PM »

I know a former episcopalian priest who used to attend Vespers on saturday night at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago,IL and then do services at his episcopalian church on Sunday.he did not convert until after he retired as rector of his parish. he is now a deacon at St.Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas,TX. I know people who thought that was a bit much but you do have a family with all of the responsibilities that go with that..
I will pray for you..

Father G? (I don't know if I should put the full name out).  I remember when he converted (I was at HT).  I also went to his Episcopalian Church for Holy Week one year. VERY high Church (even had Latin).  The congregation was 80% gay, and one of the priest was in the rectory with his live in.  One woman (who had come to our Orthodox parish to convert, but eventually didn't, but someone she came with is now Bp. Tikhon of Philadelphia) told me she didn't bring her son to Church until he demonstrated pronounced heterosexual tendencies.

Our priest, Fr. Patrick Reardon couldn't wait: he realized that he was shielding his children from his own church, and he had to go.  They lost the job, salary, pension, etc.  it was very hard.  We have a parishioner who was a presbyterian minister and tried but was not able to bring his congregation over.  He also lost everything, and for a while his youngest daughter, who stayed presbyterian had to hear how her father and family were going to hell, from the pulpit.  The family is all Orthodox, the spouses and grandchildren now.  He works as a chaplain in hospitals and hospices (and has converted a number).

For the OP: I'm assuming bringing your congregation into Orthodoxy isn't in the offing, or have you not considered it?  Say its not, yes there are practical bread and butter issues.

I think I could put you in contact with some former pastors who have done it, with perhaps more practical advice. PM me.

Btw, since you are in Ohio, Bishop Mark used to be Pentacostal, though baptized by the Vatican.
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2009, 08:37:51 PM »

Friends,
     I have felt a strong pull toward orthodoxy off and on for many years. But over the past few, with a Greek church only a few miles away, I have been able to immerse myself more fully in orthodox spirituality. I have convinced myself that if I was not a United Methodist pastor, I would have converted awhile ago.
     This is my problem. I am trained to be a pastor. It is the only job I have ever had. By being a United Methodist pastor, not only do I have a pension and health insurance, my house is also provided for me. I have a wife and three children. As I count the cost of leaving behind being a pastor to become Orthodox...it seems too much. Perhaps it may be possible that I could be a deacon or priest, but there is no guarantee there. I do believe that God has given me grace to have a pastoral ministry. But, the insecurity of stepping out of the benefits of being a United Methodist pastor is scary, perhaps irresponsible.
     The priest at the Greek church (Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas, Cincinnati, OH), has encouraged me to continue to pray and read and be patient. Agreed. But are there any former Protestant pastors that can share how they moved to Orthodoxy and still provided for their families?

Kevin

"One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

I was never a Protestant nor a pastor, so I can't help in that regard, but I thought the above quotation might help give you some consolation.  

I believe Fr John Fenton of Holy Incarnation in Michigan was a Lutheran pastor who managed to convert to Orthodoxy and now is a priest of a Western Rite parish.  Maybe someone here can put you in touch with him.

EDIT:  Ah, here you go:  http://www.holyincarnation.org/

Just visited him the Sunday before last.  VERY High Church, strict Gregorian Rite.  Yes. He was a Lutheran pastor.
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2009, 10:15:34 PM »

The Orthodox priest who baptised and chrismated me, Fr. Michael Dunstin (even though some will say that he is not really Orthodox, because he was of the so-called Milan Synod), had two secular jobs that allowed him to support himself and his family: one was a position of an adjunct instructor in History at a community college, and the other was a long-distance trailer truck driver...
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2009, 11:02:37 PM »

I know a former episcopalian priest who used to attend Vespers on saturday night at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago,IL and then do services at his episcopalian church on Sunday.he did not convert until after he retired as rector of his parish. he is now a deacon at St.Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas,TX. I know people who thought that was a bit much but you do have a family with all of the responsibilities that go with that..
I will pray for you..

Thank you for the prayers. I need all I can get. I am grateful that Fr. Bill at the Greek church I attend when I can (love feast days!) is praying for me as well. I have also thought about taking the early retirement option, which would be available for me in five years.
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2009, 11:08:41 PM »

Quote
"One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

The passage you mention I have thought of. One thing to do that when you are single. Much more difficult when you have a wife and three children. I have also thought about the passage where Jesus says that before one does something they first count the cost (can't remember exact reference). That's what I am doing. As for taking up my cross, I do what I can by God's grace.

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KevinOrr
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2009, 11:14:49 PM »

^Yes, Fr. Fenton did do that and was, on the internet, frequently threatened and bullied by those whom he left behind at his former parish and in Lutheranism in general. He essentially was left with nothing.  HIs house was lost as was his pension and health benefits.  His family was also hurting, though they had made the journey with him.

For pastors of other confessions to become priests, this is the standard through the antiochian archdiocese.  You would go through the St. Stephen's course, which is an online 3 year course (though you can finish it earlier) and requires a few months at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania.  You would, before all of this, become a catechumen and be received in and then go through to be ordained a deacon and then a priest.  Here is the website:  http://www.antiochian.org/638

I cannot speak of other jurisdictions and their requirements.  Please be mindful and prayerful as you consider this step.
Definitely being mindful. I would not enter into the Orthodox church with my mind set on being a deacon or priest. I would not presume such a thing. I am not sure, even though I am a Protestant pastor, that I could presume to be considered worthy in orthodoxy. Wouldn't I have to go through some kind of discernment process after being chrismated?
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2009, 11:20:24 PM »

Fr. Peter Gilquist is probably one of the most notable Protestants to convert to Orthodoxy, and he was the pastor of a church as well. (You can read about his journey in "Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith" by Peter E. Gilquist. It's available on Amazon.com.)

It should be noted that if one were to become an Orthodox priest, there are pension plans, health insurance plans, and different housing options within the different dioceses. Usually housing varies from parish to parish. With some priests, they live in a house that is owned by the parish. For others, they are given a housing allowance, and allowed to purchase their own home. (From what I understand, many prefer the latter as to the former, since when they retire, the home is theirs to keep.)

Also, depending on the size of the parish one is assigned to, they may need to have a secular job. (This is more in the case of small mission parish's.) But no bother, "trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

Follow the advice of the priest you are under, and perhaps speak to his Bishop about your options of entering the priesthood.

Also, how does your wife and children feel about all of this?
I have considered speaking to the bishop as time goes by. As for what my wife and kids think. My sons, who have gone to some liturgies with me, think it's neat. Especially the incense. My wife thinks I'm going through a phase. She has not attended a liturgy with me and has zero interest in doing so.
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2009, 11:25:42 PM »

The Orthodox priest who baptised and chrismated me, Fr. Michael Dunstin (even though some will say that he is not really Orthodox, because he was of the so-called Milan Synod), had two secular jobs that allowed him to support himself and his family: one was a position of an adjunct instructor in History at a community college, and the other was a long-distance trailer truck driver...

How did he do all that, be a father to his family and pastor a church???
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2009, 11:26:43 PM »

I have considered speaking to the bishop as time goes by. As for what my wife and kids think. My sons, who have gone to some liturgies with me, think it's neat. Especially the incense. My wife thinks I'm going through a phase. She has not attended a liturgy with me and has zero interest in doing so.

Well, unless your wife is willing to convert to Orthodoxy, you can't become a priest, because a priest must be married to an Orthodox woman.

But don't despair; maybe this is just God's way of saying "Not right now, later."

Keep praying, keep in contact with the priest, and God will provide a way.

God bless you on your journey.
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2009, 11:29:35 PM »

The other consideration is that God may indeed be calling you to preach in the Orthodox church, but not as a priest.

There are many speakers and writers in the Orthodox Church that are not clergy. Maybe you could teach at one of the seminaries. God may have blessed you with pastoral gifts, but maybe you're not meant to be a priest.

Only God knows.

Just thought I would throw it out there.
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2009, 11:47:37 PM »

I believe Fr John Fenton of Holy Incarnation in Michigan was a Lutheran pastor who managed to convert to Orthodoxy and now is a priest of a Western Rite parish.

This got me searching for Western Rite videos, and I came across the Sarum Rite.  I think this video is Anglo-Catholic, not Western Rite Orthodox, but it is absolutely breathtaking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21pnAoiGnjs&feature=related
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2009, 11:58:09 PM »

I have considered speaking to the bishop as time goes by. As for what my wife and kids think. My sons, who have gone to some liturgies with me, think it's neat. Especially the incense. My wife thinks I'm going through a phase. She has not attended a liturgy with me and has zero interest in doing so.

Well, unless your wife is willing to convert to Orthodoxy, you can't become a priest, because a priest must be married to an Orthodox woman.

But don't despair; maybe this is just God's way of saying "Not right now, later."

Keep praying, keep in contact with the priest, and God will provide a way.

God bless you on your journey.
The priest I talked to said the same thing, that if my wife was not interested in being Orthodox, that this would be a problem for me to become a priest. Clearly, it is not right now, and perhaps never as a priest. Just trying to get some peace. Pray for me.
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« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2009, 12:01:08 AM »

The other consideration is that God may indeed be calling you to preach in the Orthodox church, but not as a priest.

There are many speakers and writers in the Orthodox Church that are not clergy. Maybe you could teach at one of the seminaries. God may have blessed you with pastoral gifts, but maybe you're not meant to be a priest.

Only God knows.

Just thought I would throw it out there.
That's right. I have wondered if perhaps I could serve as a deacon. Like you said, a non-orthodox wife would be a problem for me to be a priest. God definitely knows. And in time His intentions for me will be revealed. Pray for me.
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« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2009, 12:08:54 AM »

I believe Fr John Fenton of Holy Incarnation in Michigan was a Lutheran pastor who managed to convert to Orthodoxy and now is a priest of a Western Rite parish.

This got me searching for Western Rite videos, and I came across the Sarum Rite.  I think this video is Anglo-Catholic, not Western Rite Orthodox, but it is absolutely breathtaking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21pnAoiGnjs&feature=related
Wow! I agree with your sentiment. I noticed in the comments that is the Tallis Scholars who are singing. What beautiful voices. And the profound respect with all the bows and incense. Wow.
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« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2009, 12:26:25 AM »

Wow! I agree with your sentiment. I noticed in the comments that is the Tallis Scholars who are singing. What beautiful voices. And the profound respect with all the bows and incense. Wow.

I looked up the Tallis Scholars, and they are actually doing a short North American tour this autumn.  In between two dates in Canada, they are actually performing right where I live in Kansas City.  After getting all excited, I realized that the concert date is three days after the due date of my first son.  I doubt my wife would allow it or that I would want to leave my new child, but everyone keeps saying that the first one always comes late!  Anyway, the service in the video is majestic.
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« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2009, 02:45:23 AM »

Wouldn't I have to go through some kind of discernment process after being chrismated?

Newly coverted are supposed to wait at least 3 years to become a Priest.

That's right. I have wondered if perhaps I could serve as a deacon. Like you said, a non-orthodox wife would be a problem for me to be a priest.

Deaconate is the first grade of priesthood, so you won't be able to serve as a Deacon unless your wife becomes Orthodox

Lord, have mercy on your journey!
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« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2009, 10:40:00 AM »

I have considered speaking to the bishop as time goes by. As for what my wife and kids think. My sons, who have gone to some liturgies with me, think it's neat. Especially the incense. My wife thinks I'm going through a phase. She has not attended a liturgy with me and has zero interest in doing so.

Well, unless your wife is willing to convert to Orthodoxy, you can't become a priest, because a priest must be married to an Orthodox woman.

But don't despair; maybe this is just God's way of saying "Not right now, later."

Keep praying, keep in contact with the priest, and God will provide a way.

God bless you on your journey.
The priest I talked to said the same thing, that if my wife was not interested in being Orthodox, that this would be a problem for me to become a priest. Clearly, it is not right now, and perhaps never as a priest. Just trying to get some peace. Pray for me.

Dear Kevin,

Please remember this is a process, and where your wife is right now is not necessarily where she will be five years from now.  I have known several clergy in your position, and they all stressed the importance of patience.  Preserving your family is paramount.  As for your wife, she will likely have a much harder time because modern churches are much more woman-oriented than the Orthodox Church, which is still fairly masculine.

For a start, you might want to consider contacting the Department of Missions and Evangelism of the Antiochian Archdiocese and introduce yourself.  I believe they can give you some practical advice and perhaps refer you to some convert-clergy who have dealt with similar issues.  Then, you may want to register for the St. Stephen's Course, just to get you into a regulated study program.  I'm sure you will not find it terribly difficult, but the summer programs will introduce you a bit to the pastoral milieu you will likely run into if you make the switch.

I was at a Protestant seminary on an unaffiliated basis when I converted, and I felt sorry for students who were too afraid to back then because they worried about losing their scholarships.  I had nothing to lose, which made it much easier.  You have others to consider, and it would be better to move slow and bring them all on board than to move too fast and risk losing them.

One warning: I know of several clergy marriages that broke down because the husband strong-armed the wife into converting, only to end up in divorce after many years of Orthodox priestly ministry.  The Priesthood is a Cross, and the Cross must be taken up willingly.  The wives felt compelled to carry it.  As one wife told her husband, 'I married a _______ pastor, not an Orthodox Priest.'  There are big differences between the UMC and us in terms of the emotional level that women are much more sensitive to.  The relationships are different in ways that men don't notice or even care about but that women find critical.  Today, with divorce as common as marriage, there are lots of incentives and temptations for an unhappy wife to contend with.

A final thought, you may be able to steer her on to Frederica Matthews-Green.  She may find an Orthodox woman whom she can relate to.  Just my opinion, but I think her having relationships with other Orthodox women will be essential if you want her to convert.

If you would like a referral to the DME, I can help you contact them if you PM me through this site.
 

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« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2009, 01:06:04 PM »

Just to add on to what FatherGiryus has so eloquently stated, after one has completed seminary and is seeking ordination from his Bishop, quite often his wife must write a letter to the Bishop stating that she not only supports her husband and will be a part of his ministry, but why she thinks he is a good candidate for ordination. You see in the Orthodox Church a seminarian does not necassarily a priest or deacon make. Just because you have your MDiv, does not automatically qualify you for ordination. You have to go through a process, and the Bishop must find you worthy of ordination. In addition to this, the people must find you worthy for ordination.

It is for this reason that during the ordination of a deacon, priest, or Bishop, the people shout Axios! Axios! Axios! (Axios = worthy in Greek) To demonstrate that they believe the candidate is indeed worthy for his position. If during the process anyone shous Anaxios! (Not worthy), the candidate and the individual who shouted it must come before the people right then and there to explain why the candidate may not be worthy for ordination.

But long before you get to the ordination service, your WIFE must think you worthy, and must support your ordination. For you see, in the Orthodox Church, just as we call the priest "Father," the priest's wife is a "Mother" to the parish. She is given a title; Presbytera (Greek)/ Khouria (Arabic)/ Matushka (Russian)/ Pani Matka (Ukrainian)/ Mother (English.) People respect her out of respect for her husband's office.

Personally, I think you are putting the cart before the horse at this time.

Rather than focusing on whether or not God is calling you to the priesthood, focus on your own conversion to Orthodoxy. It may take years to complete, but if it is God's will, it will happen.
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« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2009, 01:16:18 PM »

Just to add on to what FatherGiryus has so eloquently stated, after one has completed seminary and is seeking ordination from his Bishop, quite often his wife must write a letter to the Bishop stating that she not only supports her husband and will be a part of his ministry, but why she thinks he is a good candidate for ordination. You see in the Orthodox Church a seminarian does not necassarily a priest or deacon make. Just because you have your MDiv, does not automatically qualify you for ordination. You have to go through a process, and the Bishop must find you worthy of ordination. In addition to this, the people must find you worthy for ordination.

It is for this reason that during the ordination of a deacon, priest, or Bishop, the people shout Axios! Axios! Axios! (Axios = worthy in Greek) To demonstrate that they believe the candidate is indeed worthy for his position. If during the process anyone shous Anaxios! (Not worthy), the candidate and the individual who shouted it must come before the people right then and there to explain why the candidate may not be worthy for ordination.

But long before you get to the ordination service, your WIFE must think you worthy, and must support your ordination. For you see, in the Orthodox Church, just as we call the priest "Father," the priest's wife is a "Mother" to the parish. She is given a title; Presbytera (Greek)/ Khouria (Arabic)/ Matushka (Russian)/ Pani Matka (Ukrainian)/ Mother (English.) People respect her out of respect for her husband's office.

Personally, I think you are putting the cart before the horse at this time.

Rather than focusing on whether or not God is calling you to the priesthood, focus on your own conversion to Orthodoxy. It may take years to complete, but if it is God's will, it will happen.
The ordination discernment process in the UMC is similar in essence. Theological education is only one part of the process that includes approval from the church which the candidate comes from, committees of lay and clergy who examine and approve the candidate, unanimous approval of the clergy, and essentially an "Axios" from the congregation at the time of ordination. The key difference is that the wife has no obligation to vouch for the worthiness of her husband. What a glaring omission!
As I said in my first post, I would not presume a call into the priesthood. I was just wondering how former Protestant pastors were able to convert and still provide for their families. I am being patient, participating in divine liturgies as often as I can, praying Matins every morning, and letting time take its course.
Thank you for all of your thoughtul posts.

Kevin
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« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2009, 02:56:14 PM »

Fr. Peter Gilquist is probably one of the most notable Protestants to convert to Orthodoxy, and he was the pastor of a church as well. (You can read about his journey in "Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith" by Peter E. Gilquist. It's available on Amazon.com.)

It should be noted that if one were to become an Orthodox priest, there are pension plans, health insurance plans, and different housing options within the different dioceses. Usually housing varies from parish to parish. With some priests, they live in a house that is owned by the parish. For others, they are given a housing allowance, and allowed to purchase their own home. (From what I understand, many prefer the latter as to the former, since when they retire, the home is theirs to keep.)

Also, depending on the size of the parish one is assigned to, they may need to have a secular job. (This is more in the case of small mission parish's.) But no bother, "trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

Follow the advice of the priest you are under, and perhaps speak to his Bishop about your options of entering the priesthood.

Also, how does your wife and children feel about all of this?
I have considered speaking to the bishop as time goes by. As for what my wife and kids think. My sons, who have gone to some liturgies with me, think it's neat. Especially the incense. My wife thinks I'm going through a phase. She has not attended a liturgy with me and has zero interest in doing so.

Well if you did get chrismated and if a bishop wanted you to be ordained and you went through all the steps he outlines your wife would still have to be Eastern Orthodox for you to become ordained a deacon or a priest.  To be ordained a deacon or a priest your wife would have to be a practicing Eastern Orthodox Christian.
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« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2009, 07:50:13 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

My heart goes out to you, Kevin. I was raised UMC and became Catholic about 3 years ago and did not look into Orthodoxy. After studying Catholicism and Orthodoxy at length, and after much prayer, I am now in the process of becoming Orthodox. While I was never a clergyman in the UMC, I still understand what you're going through. It's an exciting journey, but it's not without its hardships and such. But, stay close to God and keep praying that you'll follow His will, whatever that may be.

I know of a priest near me (I'm going to his parish on Sunday, but he will be out of town) who was a UMC minister for 20 years and became Orthodox. He and his wife converted and they now have a thriving church with two priests and are connected to a monastery in WV. His church's website is: http://www.allsaintsofamerica.org/. His name is Fr. John and I am sure he would be willing to talk to you about it and could definitely empathize completely with your situation, as he went through the exact same thing. God is gracious and has mercy on all of us! I will pray for you, too.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2009, 10:26:01 PM »

Kevin,

Continue ministering to your Methodist flock.  If the desire to become Orthodox grows that strong, you have to balance the effects on your family with your desires.

May the Lord provide you with strength and guidance as you deal with this decision.

Amen!
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« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2009, 10:05:41 AM »

Dear  Kevin,

Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum!  If you will send me a pm, Iwill give you information to contact my own pastor who is a former Minister of the United Methodist Church. I am sure that he would like to talk with you about his journey to Orthodoxy and eventually his call to the Orthodox priesthood.

I hope that we will be able  here on this forum to help you as you journey to Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2009, 08:18:20 PM »

The Orthodox priest who baptised and chrismated me, Fr. Michael Dunstin (even though some will say that he is not really Orthodox, because he was of the so-called Milan Synod), had two secular jobs that allowed him to support himself and his family: one was a position of an adjunct instructor in History at a community college, and the other was a long-distance trailer truck driver...

How did he do all that, be a father to his family and pastor a church???

Easily - he just worked... and he still does... I don't know how it is now, but back then, when I was a member of his parish, his parish met when Fr. Michael was in town. And that could be every Sunday if Fr. Michael was not driving his truck, or once a 1.5 months if he was. In the parish I am with right now, it's also once a month, at best.
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« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2009, 09:27:54 PM »

The Orthodox priest who baptised and chrismated me, Fr. Michael Dunstin (even though some will say that he is not really Orthodox, because he was of the so-called Milan Synod), had two secular jobs that allowed him to support himself and his family: one was a position of an adjunct instructor in History at a community college, and the other was a long-distance trailer truck driver...

How did he do all that, be a father to his family and pastor a church???


Easily - he just worked... and he still does... I don't know how it is now, but back then, when I was a member of his parish, his parish met when Fr. Michael was in town. And that could be every Sunday if Fr. Michael was not driving his truck, or once a 1.5 months if he was. In the parish I am with right now, it's also once a month, at best.
Now I understand. You did not have liturgies served every Sunday and major feasts. Still, quite a load.
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« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2009, 12:33:56 AM »

Hi Kevin,

I post very little on this forum but I can directly relate to your note and so...

I read the replies, you received some good advice.  Here's my input:

I've only been Orthodox since 2008.  Before that, I spent a decade in various non-denom evangelical ministries with a focus on men's ministry and music.  In 2007, we had to relocate to a new city for my health. In a very short time, I again became involved with the local church community and a few ministries, helping where I could.

Rather than describe my "journey to Orthodoxy", I'm going to skip a lot of details and cut to the specific day I chose to become Orthodox:  I was eating lunch and got a reply to an email I'd sent to Matthew Gallatin a few weeks earlier.  The funny thing is that when my Blackberry pinged, I had a burrito in one hand and was about to turn a page of his book with the other.  Supernatural statistics like that are my own little burning bushes.  At that moment, after a year of intense research, months and months of sleepless nights and internal arguments, my wife's prayers were answered.  I chose to become Orthodox.

That very afternoon (I call it Ortho Monday) I was supposed to become the director of a new evangelical/compassion ministry that would have paid a generous salary, plus housing and benefits. The board members, men from various churches, all knew me, loved me and were excited about the work that we would be doing.  I loved them, too.  They were a good group of hard workers, all with a long track record of helping around the country.  I had chosen that job over a half dozen other offers from churches and ministries here in the US because I thought it was a perfect fit.

That afternoon, I had to turn the job down.  Because I chose to become Orthodox, I could not, in good conscience, do what was required of me in that particular ministry without compromising in inappropriate areas.  I wasn't completely candid with the board but they knew me well enough to know I had to have sound sound reasons.  Now, a year and a half later, the board members and their families are still friends and I meet with one or another of them every few weeks and always wind up discussing Orthodoxy with them.  And they are still trying to get that ministry afloat.

By the way Kevin... on Ortho Monday, I was an unemployed 52 year old man, a husband and a father of a special needs son. We were then living in a travel trailer.  No pension, almost no savings left, etc.  And... I've been fighting an uphill battle with cancer since 2004 (not healed yet, prayer welcome).  I had to choose between the Truth or a job.  Fears? Yes indeed.  I imagine Gideon was a little nervous at times, too.  And even George Mueller probably had a twinge every now and then.  But no regrets, not one.

Vocationally, I wound up getting back into making records for people, something I've been doing since the mid-70's. It's a slow climb back up that ladder in these unique economic times but my wife and I have no regrets.  Yes, I miss being immersed in the types of ministries I was involved with.  It is very different for me in the Orthodox Church.  Thank God, for we are blessed beyond measure.
 
I have a question for you... I was the one who stood between my wife and Orthodoxy for three years.  She suffered because of me.  Is your wife against it or merely uninterested?  For the time being, forget all the talk about being a deacon or priest... focus on learning exactly what your wife needs and prioritizing that, especially as you consider a change as dramatic as this.  She and your children are your first and most important ministry. God, family, everything and everyone else (including ministry).

Kevin, I understand the pain and uncertainty you find yourself in.  I personally know a few pastors who are now in that same private struggle, pastors who are beginning to live in a deepening emotional conflict, knowing the Truth and yet continuing to teach what their particular denomination demands.  You too will be in my prayers.

Lord have mercy on all of us.

In Christ,
Andrew


Friends,
     I have felt a strong pull toward orthodoxy off and on for many years. But over the past few, with a Greek church only a few miles away, I have been able to immerse myself more fully in orthodox spirituality. I have convinced myself that if I was not a United Methodist pastor, I would have converted awhile ago.
     This is my problem. I am trained to be a pastor. It is the only job I have ever had. By being a United Methodist pastor, not only do I have a pension and health insurance, my house is also provided for me. I have a wife and three children. As I count the cost of leaving behind being a pastor to become Orthodox...it seems too much. Perhaps it may be possible that I could be a deacon or priest, but there is no guarantee there. I do believe that God has given me grace to have a pastoral ministry. But, the insecurity of stepping out of the benefits of being a United Methodist pastor is scary, perhaps irresponsible.
     The priest at the Greek church (Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas, Cincinnati, OH), has encouraged me to continue to pray and read and be patient. Agreed. But are there any former Protestant pastors that can share how they moved to Orthodoxy and still provided for their families?

Kevin
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« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2009, 12:22:30 PM »

Here is a current, and relevant article:

"One man's spiritual journey ends with a congregation's conversion"

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/art_life/display.htm?storyID=94504

(Please forgive my laziness at not better hyperlinking this).
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« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2009, 12:54:52 PM »

This got me searching for Western Rite videos, and I came across the Sarum Rite.  I think this video is Anglo-Catholic, not Western Rite Orthodox, but it is absolutely breathtaking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21pnAoiGnjs&feature=related

Try this - Nativity in ROCOR's Monastery in Canada.
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« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2009, 09:34:42 PM »

Here is a current, and relevant article:

"One man's spiritual journey ends with a congregation's conversion"

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/art_life/display.htm?storyID=94504

(Please forgive my laziness at not better hyperlinking this).
Great find! That's quite a story. The article gives me encouragement to think more about taking the risk. It is interesting too that many posters have been suggesting Western Rite for me. Hadn't thought much about that before now. Perhaps I should explore this more. There sure aren't many of them!
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« Reply #35 on: August 30, 2009, 10:00:11 PM »

Some things I thought you might like or want to check out:

http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?products_id=3317



As seen from the website:
"This collection of essays addresses the question: What does it mean to be the Church? The presentations derive from the Fourth Consultation on Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality convened at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in January 2006, sponsored by the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church and the faculty of St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Using doctrines and methodology from their distinct traditions, authors further consider the place of the Church in a person's spiritual life, including the concepts of obedience, discipline, and authority in the community."



and

http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?products_id=2766



As seen from the website:
"These essays from the "Second Consultation on Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality" address scriptural authority and interpretation in the Orthodox and Wesleyan traditions. Rooted within their respective faith communities, the authors avoid false convergences but acknowledge viable commonalities, thus setting an innovative tone for ecumenical study and dialogue.
The four main sections-Orthodox Scriptural Understanding and Practice,Mutual Learning between Orthodox and Methodists,Wesleyan Scriptural Understanding and Practice, and Liturgy and Scriptural Interpretation-represent selected presentations from the "Second Consultation on Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality" held at Trinity College, June 16-20, 2000, in Bristol, UK, and from the "Third Consultation" convened at the Orthodox Spiritual Academy in Crete, Greece, August 1-7, 2002, under the sponsorship of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church and the faculty of St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary."



and


"Salvation in Christ - The Orthodox Approach" by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (a lecture about different atonement theories at a Methodist University in Seattle Washington)

The video Link:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1088949815257678826&ei=PC2bSrnWE43-rAKQ-6WwDQ&q=kallistos+ware&hl=en


and


"What is Prayer" by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (at the same University)

The video link:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4891287987122701409&hl=en



The rest of the videos are on Itunes, just type in his name and you should be able to find it.









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« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2009, 10:09:47 PM »

Fr. Peter Gilquist is probably one of the most notable Protestants to convert to Orthodoxy, and he was the pastor of a church as well. (You can read about his journey in "Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith" by Peter E. Gilquist. It's available on Amazon.com.)

It should be noted that if one were to become an Orthodox priest, there are pension plans, health insurance plans, and different housing options within the different dioceses. Usually housing varies from parish to parish. With some priests, they live in a house that is owned by the parish. For others, they are given a housing allowance, and allowed to purchase their own home. (From what I understand, many prefer the latter as to the former, since when they retire, the home is theirs to keep.)

Also, depending on the size of the parish one is assigned to, they may need to have a secular job. (This is more in the case of small mission parish's.) But no bother, "trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

Follow the advice of the priest you are under, and perhaps speak to his Bishop about your options of entering the priesthood.

Also, how does your wife and children feel about all of this?

It may be a good idea to contact Fr. Gilquist. He is very kind and accesable. Part of living the Orthodox life is to find a Spritual Father ( mentor). Look him up and ask for guidence.
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« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2009, 10:17:46 PM »

As a fellow convert, the issues I faced were not nearly so steep as your own. I can only say that the journey is not easy, not short, but it is worth it.

I recommend you check out the "Journeys to Orthodoxy" podcast available through iTunes. It seems to be a common denominator amongst families that convert: in almost all the cases the husband is raring to be received into the Church, the wives are usually less than enthused (at first.)
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« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2009, 10:19:40 PM »

Responding to Jnorm888, I had seen those books once on the St. Vladimir bookstore website and thought to myself those would be some good books to pick up. I have read somewhere that of all the Protestant denominations, "Wesleyanism" is the most orthodox. I don't know about that. John Wesley did reference the early fathers, especially St. Macarius, as sources of great inspiration for him. The Wesleyan understanding of sanctifying grace and belief in being made perfect in love falls in line with theosis, along with the understanding that salvation is a process. Then again, John Wesley died as an Anglican priest.

I might start another topic on the rationale John Wesley used to perform "extraordinary ordinations" so that the Methodist Anglicans in America could partake in the sacraments since the Church of England had abandoned them, and how it seems to connect with the ongoing struggle Orthodox jurisdictions are dealing with regarding the so-called "Diaspora." The new world sure created some ecclesiastical problems, didn't it.
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« Reply #39 on: August 31, 2009, 11:44:20 AM »

Kevin,
While I didn't have your responsibilities, when I became Orthodox I had to give up my dream of becoming an ordained Lutheran pastor. It was tough - I had already been through the discernment process and was planning to enter seminary. Everyone at my church, my pastor, husband, family and friends were enthusiastically supportive.
Then I ran head first into the Orthodox Church.
Things changed.
 Wink
Radically.
It was tough, I can tell you, and there were many sleepless nights and tears. I've always been a decisive sort of person. I make lists and have plans, but this was hard. I could think of all kinds of good and rational reasons why I shouldn't become Orthodox.
But in the end, no matter what I wanted or thought I wanted, the truth of Orthodoxy was too compelling. I couldn't walk away from it. I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't pretend like I never knew.
Other people have these wonderful transcendant experiences. I experienced God's call as unrelenting pressure - more like a sinus headache!
That headache went away when I was chrismated and I felt not only joy but primarily and enormous sense of relief.
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« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2009, 12:09:34 PM »

As a fellow convert, the issues I faced were not nearly so steep as your own. I can only say that the journey is not easy, not short, but it is worth it.

I recommend you check out the "Journeys to Orthodoxy" podcast available through iTunes. It seems to be a common denominator amongst families that convert: in almost all the cases the husband is raring to be received into the Church, the wives are usually less than enthused (at first.)

Thanks for the tip regarding "Journeys to Orthodoxy." I'll check it out.

And, again, I want to thank everyone who has replied. All the posts have been thoughtful and helpful for me.

Kevin
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« Reply #41 on: August 31, 2009, 12:15:39 PM »

But in the end, no matter what I wanted or thought I wanted, the truth of Orthodoxy was too compelling. I couldn't walk away from it. I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't pretend like I never knew.
Other people have these wonderful transcendant experiences. I experienced God's call as unrelenting pressure - more like a sinus headache!
That headache went away when I was chrismated and I felt not only joy but primarily and enormous sense of relief.
I can sort of relate, although it's not like a sinus headache. It's more like Orthodoxy is shaping my identity. I'm definitely not walking away or ignoring it. Right now, I'm just letting time take its course. I have not yet found myself in a crisis where I have to decide. Surely that will come someday. I just hope it's an easy step for me when the time comes.
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« Reply #42 on: August 31, 2009, 12:47:57 PM »

You hit a point we both dealt with, katherineofdixie: once Orthodoxy was recognized as the Truth, not moving forward was compromise.  Heh.  The unrelenting pressure of the Truth. 

You have quite a story.

Peace - Andrew



Kevin,
While I didn't have your responsibilities, when I became Orthodox I had to give up my dream of becoming an ordained Lutheran pastor. It was tough - I had already been through the discernment process and was planning to enter seminary. Everyone at my church, my pastor, husband, family and friends were enthusiastically supportive.
Then I ran head first into the Orthodox Church.
Things changed.
 Wink
Radically.
It was tough, I can tell you, and there were many sleepless nights and tears. I've always been a decisive sort of person. I make lists and have plans, but this was hard. I could think of all kinds of good and rational reasons why I shouldn't become Orthodox.
But in the end, no matter what I wanted or thought I wanted, the truth of Orthodoxy was too compelling. I couldn't walk away from it. I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't pretend like I never knew.
Other people have these wonderful transcendant experiences. I experienced God's call as unrelenting pressure - more like a sinus headache!
That headache went away when I was chrismated and I felt not only joy but primarily and enormous sense of relief.
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« Reply #43 on: August 31, 2009, 01:41:51 PM »

Kevin,
While I didn't have your responsibilities, when I became Orthodox I had to give up my dream of becoming an ordained Lutheran pastor. It was tough - I had already been through the discernment process and was planning to enter seminary. Everyone at my church, my pastor, husband, family and friends were enthusiastically supportive.
Then I ran head first into the Orthodox Church.
Things changed.
 Wink
Radically.
It was tough, I can tell you, and there were many sleepless nights and tears. I've always been a decisive sort of person. I make lists and have plans, but this was hard. I could think of all kinds of good and rational reasons why I shouldn't become Orthodox.
But in the end, no matter what I wanted or thought I wanted, the truth of Orthodoxy was too compelling. I couldn't walk away from it. I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't pretend like I never knew.
Other people have these wonderful transcendant experiences. I experienced God's call as unrelenting pressure - more like a sinus headache!
That headache went away when I was chrismated and I felt not only joy but primarily and enormous sense of relief.

I have to agree: I resisted the proselytizing at the Vatican school I attended, the JW's, the Baptist's, the Muslims, the Jews (my maternal grandmotehr was Hebrew) etc..  The Orthodox didn't come for me, I just tripped over them. And Orthodoxy's case made itself before I knew it.

I didn't think of converting until an agnostic friend pointed out that I already had.  I didn't think it that different until, after a number of years in the Church, I came across my copy of the Book of Concord and flipping through it I gasped "I used to believe THAT!?"
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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
katherineofdixie
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« Reply #44 on: August 31, 2009, 02:42:10 PM »

I didn't think it that different until, after a number of years in the Church, I came across my copy of the Book of Concord and flipping through it I gasped "I used to believe THAT!?"


 Grin

I hear ya, pal!
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"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
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