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Author Topic: Help/Advice Needed  (Read 1819 times) Average Rating: 0
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Toraak
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« on: October 23, 2009, 12:51:18 AM »

Hi, all! I have been reading this forum for a few months now and I finally decided to register and post. Smiley

I was first introduced to Orthodoxy in Basic Training by an Ethiopian soldier. We attended a makeshift church in the hospital, which I thoroughly enjoyed. For about 7 years now I have been learning what I can about Eastern Orthodoxy. I am currently at a crossroads and I'm confused as to what to do. I will be moving to a new town in two months to try and finish school. They have a Greek Orthodox parish there and I really want to go. Unfortunately, I am extremely shy and afraid, so I need some advice and encouragement. I really want to conquer my fear so any help that you can give will be very much appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2009, 01:00:36 AM »

Hi, all! I have been reading this forum for a few months now and I finally decided to register and post. Smiley

Howdy!  And welcome!  Smiley

Unfortunately, I am extremely shy and afraid, so I need some advice and encouragement.

 It was several months before I was brave enough to attend a Vespers service.  It took me almost a year before I attended a Divine Liturgy!  Shocked  Because of my work schedule, I don't get to go as often as I'd like, but I've made some good friends.  And the best part?  Now I'm Orthodox!  So just cowboy up and go, friend!  You won't regret it.  Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2009, 05:44:55 AM »

I too am shy and not a mixer.  (As an example, I have been actively involved in my parish for over 34 years, primarily as an assistant chanter.  We have a new presiding priest since a little over a year ago.  I am amazed at how many people he inquiries about to me, and I know nothing more than to tell him how frequently they come to church; I don't know them.) Ask God to give you the mental presence to attend the Divine Services of the Church

 Go in humility, which won't be difficult for a shy person; keep your head down, somewhat, try not to catch peoples eyes.  Make an offering ($1.00) in whatever type of receptacle you see, take a candle, light it, and venerate the icon of the patron saint of the church.  Be prepared to possibly encounter a "welcoming committee,"  Be polite, but not chatty. Take your seat, pick up a pew book which the church hopefully has, and follow the service.  Hopefully you will enter a prayerful state.  You may wish to remain in the church after the distribution of antithoron and await the priest exiting the Church after he has taken off his vestments.  You may want to approach him about your possible journey into the faith.  He may be rushed due to some need to meet with some group after church, but he should be able to suggest a possible meeting with you at another time, if that is what you want.  Otherwise, you may wish to exit the church and return for the next week's service, until you are more comfortable in the church.  Without intending to debate with my fellow Greek-American's, Greeks do not tend to be too friendly to those they do not know in a church setting, though that attitude is changing.  That's a gross generalization and many GOAA parish's have adopted "welcoming committees," which hopefully won't be too invasive. 

My response in this post assumes that you don't want to start mixing with people you do not know, because you are shy. You may "PM" me if you would like to discuss this further.
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2009, 09:34:03 AM »

Hi, all! I have been reading this forum for a few months now and I finally decided to register and post. Smiley

I was first introduced to Orthodoxy in Basic Training by an Ethiopian soldier. We attended a makeshift church in the hospital, which I thoroughly enjoyed. For about 7 years now I have been learning what I can about Eastern Orthodoxy. I am currently at a crossroads and I'm confused as to what to do. I will be moving to a new town in two months to try and finish school. They have a Greek Orthodox parish there and I really want to go. Unfortunately, I am extremely shy and afraid, so I need some advice and encouragement. I really want to conquer my fear so any help that you can give will be very much appreciated.

Where are you moving to?
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 09:50:15 AM »


Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2009, 11:40:50 AM »

Actually I think, being a shy person myself, that attending an Orthodox Church may be the best worship for shy people!
At best, no one will speak to you at all!
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2009, 01:55:01 PM »

Welcome to the forum.   Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2009, 03:20:12 PM »

Dear Toraak,

Welcome to the forum!

Just like you and Basil 320, I, too, am shy and introvert and I do not interact with people much. I mean, I love all people (or at least am learning to love them), and I am always trying to be nice, smile, be supportive, etc. - but I would always, deep in my heart, prefer to be alone or with just my wife than in a group of people, especially people whom I barely know. And I am terrible in what is called "small talk" - could never master the subject...

However, that does not seem to harm me in any way in my current Greek parish. All parishioners are extremely good to my wife and to me, even though we are not ethnic Greeks (Ukrainians). They all are nice, open-minded, accepting and not obnoxious.

As far as the service goes, I just second Basil 320.

Best wishes,

George
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Toraak
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2009, 07:30:20 PM »

Thanks everyone! I really needed some encouragement. I currently live in Starkville, MS but I'm contemplating moving to Mobile, AL to be closer to home and finish school. I found the church there off of the GOAA website.

Just like you and Basil 320, I, too, am shy and introvert and I do not interact with people much. I mean, I love all people (or at least am learning to love them), and I am always trying to be nice, smile, be supportive, etc. - but I would always, deep in my heart, prefer to be alone or with just my wife than in a group of people, especially people whom I barely know. And I am terrible in what is called "small talk" - could never master the subject...

This describes me pretty accurately too. I do wish I could interact more, but I'm more of a listener unless I'm with really close friends.
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2009, 08:17:22 PM »

Thanks everyone! I really needed some encouragement. I currently live in Starkville, MS but I'm contemplating moving to Mobile, AL to be closer to home and finish school. I found the church there off of the GOAA website.

Just like you and Basil 320, I, too, am shy and introvert and I do not interact with people much. I mean, I love all people (or at least am learning to love them), and I am always trying to be nice, smile, be supportive, etc. - but I would always, deep in my heart, prefer to be alone or with just my wife than in a group of people, especially people whom I barely know. And I am terrible in what is called "small talk" - could never master the subject...

This describes me pretty accurately too. I do wish I could interact more, but I'm more of a listener unless I'm with really close friends.

Well the Divine Liturgy provides plenty of opportunity to listen that's for sure.  Smiley

I can speak from experience, the first Orthodox parish I ever attended was a fairly old, fairly large Greek parish. I was very nervous and shy just like you. I called the office before I planned to attend and spoke with the pastoral assistant (now priest). He agreed to meet with me after the liturgy.

When I arrived at the church a woman came up and introduced herself to me. I told her my situation and then she asked me to sit with her and her family. She walked me into the nave and told me a little about the icons and explained what was going on (orthos at that time), and after the Eucharist she brought me a few pieces of antidoron (I was scared to eat it but she told me it was ok).

After the liturgy she introduced me to the pastoral assistant who then introduced me to the priest. Before I left he let me borrow a few books from the church library. All in all it was a wonderful experience. The people there could not have been more welcoming.

If it would make you feel more comfortable I recommend calling the parish and setting up a time to come in a see the church prior to attending a service. You may even get a chance to meet with the priest or someone else who can help you along the way.

Either way it will take you a while to get used to Orthodox worship but believe me, the slight discomfort you feel now will be worth it in the long run. If you like you can pm me here or email me anytime.


Yours in Christ
Joe
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2009, 08:21:52 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

I am glad to hear about your interest in Orthodoxy, and highly encourage you to "Come and See" what we are all about. Prior to going to the parish for the first time, you may want to contact the priest so that he knows that you are coming, and will help you with whatever questions you may have.

God bless you on your journey!

In XC,

Maureen
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2009, 08:41:51 PM »

Thanks everyone! I really needed some encouragement. I currently live in Starkville, MS but I'm contemplating moving to Mobile, AL to be closer to home and finish school. I found the church there off of the GOAA website.

Just like you and Basil 320, I, too, am shy and introvert and I do not interact with people much. I mean, I love all people (or at least am learning to love them), and I am always trying to be nice, smile, be supportive, etc. - but I would always, deep in my heart, prefer to be alone or with just my wife than in a group of people, especially people whom I barely know. And I am terrible in what is called "small talk" - could never master the subject...

This describes me pretty accurately too. I do wish I could interact more, but I'm more of a listener unless I'm with really close friends.

But, like I said, in my case my being that way did not harm me in my current parish - so it should be possible. Most importantly, I think, don't try to change yourself; be what you are. You will be fine, the Church is broad enough to accommodate introvert types like you and me.
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2009, 08:54:43 PM »

Thanks for all the wonderful advice! Smiley

I think I will call the church before I visit. I'm very excited to go, but I will not be moving until December. What should I do in the meantime? Should I try to contact the priest now or wait? Thanks everyone for being so nice! Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2009, 09:16:55 PM »

Welcome!
Courage is not fearlessness. Courage is the ability to move forward despite our fear.
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2009, 09:19:54 PM »

Thanks for all the wonderful advice! Smiley

I think I will call the church before I visit. I'm very excited to go, but I will not be moving until December. What should I do in the meantime? Should I try to contact the priest now or wait? Thanks everyone for being so nice! Cheesy

I would contact the priest now. After all, no harm in developing a relationship with him ahead of time, right?

Also, he may be able to point you to some good books to read, and begin catechism with you prior to your move.
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« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2009, 10:07:53 PM »

Thanks everyone! I really needed some encouragement. I currently live in Starkville, MS but I'm contemplating moving to Mobile, AL to be closer to home and finish school. I found the church there off of the GOAA website.

Just like you and Basil 320, I, too, am shy and introvert and I do not interact with people much. I mean, I love all people (or at least am learning to love them), and I am always trying to be nice, smile, be supportive, etc. - but I would always, deep in my heart, prefer to be alone or with just my wife than in a group of people, especially people whom I barely know. And I am terrible in what is called "small talk" - could never master the subject...

This describes me pretty accurately too. I do wish I could interact more, but I'm more of a listener unless I'm with really close friends.

I'm the same and I understand where you are coming from. The only thing I can suggest is that you simply bite the bullet and do it; praying before and trusting God for the outcome. 

Oh, and welcome to the forum!  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2009, 11:29:48 PM »

Should I try to contact the priest now or wait?

Yes, absolutely, do try that. I have never, really, never encountered even ONE Orthodox priest in my entire life who would be cold, un-receptive, un-willing to listen to what I have to say. And believe me, I am the most weird, pricky, rebellious, non-conformist fellow one can ever meet.

Thanks everyone for being so nice! Cheesy

Don't mention it, you are most welcome. May the Lord be with you, and my all best wishes to you and all yours.
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