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Author Topic: Why isn't Western Rite Orthodoxy thriving?  (Read 39220 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 06, 2009, 01:11:11 PM »

In the late 1800's Former German Catholic priest JJ Overbeck tried to spread Orthodoxy into the West by allowing the West to keep its customs, but it didn't work.

The early Church of the Apostles was persecuted relentlessly, but it overcame the challenges and spread and flourished quickly.  Why isn't the Western Rite even nearly as successful?

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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2009, 03:22:45 PM »

I think that most people who love the Western Rite also love Western theology and thought patterns.  Why only go for half of the Western tradition, when the Roman Catholic Church has the whole thing?
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2009, 03:31:16 PM »

I think that most people who love the Western Rite also love Western theology and thought patterns.  Why only go for half of the Western tradition, when the Roman Catholic Church has the whole thing?
Besides, late 19th century was the height of American and British Anglo-Protestant hegemony. Why join a Church of the Slavic and Eastern peoples, when the cutting-edge future is (obviously Roll Eyes) in the hands of the Germanic sons of Reformation?
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2009, 03:45:46 PM »

Because nobody is aware of it. It feels like an utopia. If I'd meet my bishop and said that I want to start a WR mission he would probably be rather bewildered because he had never thought that Western Rite could still be possible.
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2009, 04:18:42 PM »

In the late 1800's Former German Catholic priest JJ Overbeck tried to spread Orthodoxy into the West by allowing the West to keep its customs, but it didn't work.

The early Church of the Apostles was persecuted relentlessly, but it overcame the challenges and spread and flourished quickly.  Why isn't the Western Rite even nearly as successful?

K

For one thing, there wasn't a Church to absorb the Church of the Apostles.  The Czechoslovak Orthodox Church, for instance, was largely Western Rite but was absorbed by the Eastern Rite.  Ditto the WRO in Poland.

Then there is the hostility, from for instance the Greeks: they would rather see their less ethnic kin go to the Episcopal or Methodist churches than WRO. The OCA has also been quite hostile, another symptom of the myopia that plagued it and out of which it is emerging, the same myopia which helped create the Ukrainian problems here.

Couple that with the fear to 'offend' the Episcopalians or the Vatican that certain types like to pal around with, leading to the paralysis on this in Britain.

Then there is phyletism:The Nordic Catholic Church could have been WRO
http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=15-06-054-i
the local Greek bishop, though, thought that would be bad because it would mean Orthodoxy was for Scandinavians.
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2009, 06:52:26 PM »

I think this should be a top priority for the Orthodox Church today.

Unless the Patriarchs in power think converting Rome to Orthodoxy is easier...

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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2009, 06:54:25 PM »

Lack of organization? Lack of PR? Too early to tell I say.
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2009, 09:11:33 PM »

I think this should be a top priority for the Orthodox Church today.
Why?  Do you have a vested interest in seeing that the Orthodox Church follows a particular agenda?
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2009, 09:28:17 PM »

I think this should be a top priority for the Orthodox Church today.

Unless the Patriarchs in power think converting Rome to Orthodoxy is easier...

K

Why? What's wrong with the Eastern Rite?

Considering that the OCA's current Bishop is a convert from the Episcopalian/Anglican Church (as are many other Orthodox clergy in the US) it's obvious that a Westerner can adopt an Eastern mindset quite nicely.
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2009, 09:36:01 PM »

I think this should be a top priority for the Orthodox Church today.

Unless the Patriarchs in power think converting Rome to Orthodoxy is easier...

K

Why? What's wrong with the Eastern Rite?

Considering that the OCA's current Bishop is a convert from the Episcopalian/Anglican Church (as are many other Orthodox clergy in the US) it's obvious that a Westerner can adopt an Eastern mindset quite nicely.
If you are Eastern, nothing.

Can't answer for K's self-referenced importance: we use the Eastern Rite in China, Japan, Indonesia and India (would like to see more of the Mor Toma rites in the latter) and Africa (like to see the Alexandrian and Ethiopic rites more there). Why she thinks the West is more important I'll leave to her to answer.  Though I wish WRO was a higher priority, in the sense of acceptance and promotion.
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2009, 10:13:49 PM »

I have never been to a WR liturgy, but from what I've seen in the Internet, these liturgies look like Anglican liturgies.

These liturgies might attract former Anglicans but not Traditional Latin Christians because of some aspects of the liturgy itself (use of vulgar tongues, Anglican anthems, etc.).

The WR would probably be more succesful if they celebrated the liturgy in Latin (or at least part of it in Latin) and following the Latin tradition more closely.

In my country, an Orthodox Latin mass would be succesful if it's given propper promotion. However, the hierarchs would have to be careful so that this new mission doesn't cause confusion among the faithful or make others think that their church is a RC Church.
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2009, 11:02:00 PM »

I have never been to a WR liturgy, but from what I've seen in the Internet, these liturgies look like Anglican liturgies.

These liturgies might attract former Anglicans but not Traditional Latin Christians because of some aspects of the liturgy itself (use of vulgar tongues, Anglican anthems, etc.).

The WR would probably be more succesful if they celebrated the liturgy in Latin (or at least part of it in Latin) and following the Latin tradition more closely.

In my country, an Orthodox Latin mass would be succesful if it's given propper promotion. However, the hierarchs would have to be careful so that this new mission doesn't cause confusion among the faithful or make others think that their church is a RC Church.

Well yes, the Liturgy of St. Tikhon is based off the 1928 BCP Anglican liturgy but the Liturgy of St. Gregory is based off the Latin mass but done in the vernacular with some minor variations. And there is at least one WR parish in the US that does occasionally do the liturgy in Latin.
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2009, 12:07:02 AM »

I have never been to a WR liturgy, but from what I've seen in the Internet, these liturgies look like Anglican liturgies.

These liturgies might attract former Anglicans but not Traditional Latin Christians because of some aspects of the liturgy itself (use of vulgar tongues, Anglican anthems, etc.).

The WR would probably be more succesful if they celebrated the liturgy in Latin (or at least part of it in Latin) and following the Latin tradition more closely.

In my country, an Orthodox Latin mass would be succesful if it's given propper promotion. However, the hierarchs would have to be careful so that this new mission doesn't cause confusion among the faithful or make others think that their church is a RC Church.
I've been to the DL of St. Gregory at Holy Incarnation in Detroit.  The Vatican's Latin mass has nothing on them.
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2009, 01:22:51 AM »

  The Vatican's Latin mass has nothing on them.

That tends to be true of most Catholic Masses. The RC pretty much gave up on beautiful liturgy after Vatican II. Now the Society of Saint Pius X they have beautiful Masses.
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2009, 01:24:52 AM »

I think it would be good if the WR spread more. It would help to bring people into the fullness of the Orthodox faith who may have cold feet about going eastern.
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2009, 03:07:44 AM »

Does anyone have firsthand hearing Latin being used during WR liturgies?
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2009, 03:31:22 AM »

Does anyone have firsthand hearing Latin being used during WR liturgies?

Yup, at the Christminster monastery.
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2009, 03:34:23 AM »

I'd like to see that.  My interest is piqued.
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2009, 01:50:39 PM »

Does anyone have firsthand hearing Latin being used during WR liturgies?

Yup, at the Christminster monastery.
The website needs a little tweaking.
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2009, 02:18:05 PM »

Western rite missions and western rite parishes have, in general, a very short longevity.  A few do thrive such as St. Benedict of Nursia in Wichita Falls, TX which Bishop BASIL has endorsed as the epitome of WR parishes.

I've known a lot of people who have come from the WR parish in my town over to the Eastern Rite (Same jurisidiction--Antiochian).  Why?  The Eastern Rite seems to appeal to them more.  They like its "otherness" so to speak.  Also, I know a lot of people, both laypersons and priests, who suggest that when people convert to the fulness of the faith, they should also convert to the fullness of the rite (i.e. Eastern Rite).  It's a snobbish attitude, I feel.  ANd though I grew up in a church that used the western rite (in modified form) and still do like it, I feel most at home in the Eastern Rite.
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2009, 03:06:51 PM »

The website needs a little tweaking.

You mean a complete overhaul? Tongue

I know that for a while (maybe even still?) they were running two websites.  Neither of which were updated often.
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2009, 03:25:17 PM »

I think the problem is that to the average American it's the whole 'High Church' thing that's foreign and off-putting. It doesn't matter if it's a Greek Liturgy, a Tridentine Mass, or an Anglican High Mass, the structure and formalism is foreign from their religious experience. Those who like such formalism and structure generally will have no problem with an Eastern as opposed to Western liturgy. So while the western rite may appeal to a few High-Church Anglicans and maybe a very small handful of Lutherans, to the average American it's advocates claim to be targeting, it's just as foreign as an Eastern liturgy.
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2009, 10:50:19 AM »

Can't answer for K's self-referenced importance: we use the Eastern Rite in China, Japan, Indonesia and India (would like to see more of the Mor Toma rites in the latter) and Africa (like to see the Alexandrian and Ethiopic rites more there). Why she thinks the West is more important I'll leave to her to answer.  Though I wish WRO was a higher priority, in the sense of acceptance and promotion.

When you say that you'd like to see the Alexandrian and Ethiopic rites more there, are you saying that they use these rites within the Eastern Orthodox Church and you'd like them to see it done more? I know Oriental Orthodox Church use these rites but are they used at all within the Eastern Orthodox Church?
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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2009, 11:56:58 AM »

Can't answer for K's self-referenced importance: we use the Eastern Rite in China, Japan, Indonesia and India (would like to see more of the Mor Toma rites in the latter) and Africa (like to see the Alexandrian and Ethiopic rites more there). Why she thinks the West is more important I'll leave to her to answer.  Though I wish WRO was a higher priority, in the sense of acceptance and promotion.

When you say that you'd like to see the Alexandrian and Ethiopic rites more there, are you saying that they use these rites within the Eastern Orthodox Church and you'd like them to see it done more? I know Oriental Orthodox Church use these rites but are they used at all within the Eastern Orthodox Church?

No.  They were banned in c. 1200, by the never showed up Patriarch of Antioch, Balsamon.  The ban should be done away with.  Of course, reunion with the Copts would solve that.
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2009, 12:36:34 PM »

I think the problem is that to the average American it's the whole 'High Church' thing that's foreign and off-putting. It doesn't matter if it's a Greek Liturgy, a Tridentine Mass, or an Anglican High Mass, the structure and formalism is foreign from their religious experience. Those who like such formalism and structure generally will have no problem with an Eastern as opposed to Western liturgy. So while the western rite may appeal to a few High-Church Anglicans and maybe a very small handful of Lutherans, to the average American it's advocates claim to be targeting, it's just as foreign as an Eastern liturgy.

I never thought of that. The same would apply here I guess, especially in my state of New South Wales. There is only one High Anglican Church, the rest are all Low Church, and apart from High Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral Sydney, incense is something usually used only for funerals in Catholic Churches.
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« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2009, 01:29:55 PM »

I think the problem is that to the average American it's the whole 'High Church' thing that's foreign and off-putting. It doesn't matter if it's a Greek Liturgy, a Tridentine Mass, or an Anglican High Mass, the structure and formalism is foreign from their religious experience. Those who like such formalism and structure generally will have no problem with an Eastern as opposed to Western liturgy. So while the western rite may appeal to a few High-Church Anglicans and maybe a very small handful of Lutherans, to the average American it's advocates claim to be targeting, it's just as foreign as an Eastern liturgy.

Now that's an angle that I'd never think of... Thank you.
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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2009, 04:17:16 PM »

Can a "low church" liturgy be developed in Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2009, 04:26:14 PM »

Does anyone have firsthand hearing Latin being used during WR liturgies?
I do  - In the Liturgy of St. Germanus
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2009, 04:49:33 PM »

Can a "low church" liturgy be developed in Orthodoxy?

As a convert from a determinedly 'low church' denomination, 'low church liturgy' sounds like an oxymoron to me. But what elements of low church worship are you thinking could be adopted into something Orthodox would recognize as worship?

And yes, I very much resemble GiC's point. I was born in America, descended from generations of devout American Protestants, and I usually stay out of Western-rite threads because I don't understand the impulse at all. To most of the Americans I know (including the Episcopalians and even a majority of the Roman Catholics under the age of 40), the kind of 'smells and bells' high church Anglicanism one occasionally sees on TV and which seems to be the 'type' of worship Western-riters are trying to integrate with Orthodoxy is just as alien and incomprehensible as a liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (assuming both are in English).

At least with the Eastern rite, we are generally surrounded and led by individuals who have practiced the rite all their life after receiving it from individuals who had practiced it all their life who had received, etc. The fact that Western rite isn't actually the BCP Rite, or the Tridentine rite, and its certainly not a pre-schism or an Eastern rite, results in it feeling somewhat like the 'pick and choose your taste' religion which was often the reason we started the journey that led to Orthodoxy in the first place.

(Sorry, I don't question the authority of our bishops to create a Western rite, and if it's been duly authorized by the responsible bishop I don't consider it my business how anyone else chooses to worship, but I think GiC captured the answer to the thread title so well that I wished to back it up with the POV of a 'typical' Western convert).
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« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2009, 01:09:08 AM »

Does anyone have firsthand hearing Latin being used during WR liturgies?
I do  - In the Liturgy of St. Germanus

Really? What was it like? Do you have pictures? I have read that liturgy so many times and it seems beautiful.

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« Reply #30 on: December 09, 2009, 11:23:26 AM »

Not that it matters much what I think, LOL, but I would love to see a thriving Western Rite in the EO Church free Byzantiumizations (made up word? LOL). It would demonstrate that being EO does not require some one to convert to a particular ethnicity.
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« Reply #31 on: December 09, 2009, 12:03:33 PM »

Not that it matters much what I think, LOL, but I would love to see a thriving Western Rite in the EO Church free Byzantiumizations (made up word? LOL). It would demonstrate that being EO does not require some one to convert to a particular ethnicity.


Whoever said it does?

Just ask Fr. Peter Gilquist, Fr. Patrick Reardon, Fr. James Bernstein, +Metropolitan JONAH, +Metrpolitan KALLISTOS, Frank Schaffer.... the list goes on and on, not to mention all of the converts I personally know that are of neither Middle Eastern, Greek, or Slavic background.

I mean, this would be the equivelant of saying you have to be Polish or Italian to be Catholic, when that's simply not true....everyone knows you have to be Irish. j/k  Tongue  Wink  laugh
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« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2009, 12:28:26 PM »


Really? What was it like? Do you have pictures? I have read that liturgy so many times and it seems beautiful.

In Christ,
Andrew
Actually, its quite difficult to say what it was like. I had very very little experience with liturgy when I attended (about 6 months ). It was the chapel in which I converted. I found it other-worldly, beautiful and slightly confusing (the chanting back and forth and changing books). We each had the books to go along, the priest's wife, one older man and I usually. Many more Psalms, the Book of Sirach and Wisdom, Latin, Greek, English mixed together. The Priest always took a considerable amount of time - in reverence, not rushing. Father George Y. is a good man and is grateful to be serving this rare liturgy. I can tell you where to go if you're interested. PM me
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« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2009, 12:21:30 PM »

The Czechoslovak Orthodox Church, for instance, was largely Western Rite but was absorbed by the Eastern Rite.  Ditto the WRO in Poland.

The failoure of WR in Poland was rather due the very man who began it, Fr. Andrzej Huszno, who made a journey from Roman Catholicism, through Old Catholicism and Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicsm once agian, with a Neo-Pagan episode at some point.
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« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2009, 12:51:29 PM »

The Czechoslovak Orthodox Church, for instance, was largely Western Rite but was absorbed by the Eastern Rite.  Ditto the WRO in Poland.

The failoure of WR in Poland was rather due the very man who began it, Fr. Andrzej Huszno, who made a journey from Roman Catholicism, through Old Catholicism and Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicsm once agian, with a Neo-Pagan episode at some point.
Weird.
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« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2009, 04:00:54 PM »

I think we are about to see an interesting case study on the Western Rite. I know I will be keeping an eye on this because it is such an interesting situation that it may shed a lot of light on the viability of the Western Rite.

Here is the situation...

Evansville, IN - No significant Orthodox presence until this month when both Western and Eastern Rite missions will open. Both are under the Antiochian Archdiocese so there will be no issues with choosing between jurisdiction. Both are going to have their own pastor so there can't be any charge of favoritism by the pastor. The Western Rite will have an initial advantage in that it is an established community that is converting, where as the Eastern Rite will be a gathering of many different people, not sure which one will be larger at the start.

While I am sure they will not look at it as competition it will be interesting to see the growth and health of the two parishes over time. With all these factors and based on the location being so separated from mainstream Orthodoxy, if the Western Rite doesn't flourish here I am not sure where it will.
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« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2009, 04:03:49 PM »

I think we are about to see an interesting case study on the Western Rite. I know I will be keeping an eye on this because it is such an interesting situation that it may shed a lot of light on the viability of the Western Rite.

Here is the situation...

Evansville, IN - No significant Orthodox presence until this month when both Western and Eastern Rite missions will open. Both are under the Antiochian Archdiocese so there will be no issues with choosing between jurisdiction. Both are going to have their own pastor so there can't be any charge of favoritism by the pastor. The Western Rite will have an initial advantage in that it is an established community that is converting, where as the Eastern Rite will be a gathering of many different people, not sure which one will be larger at the start.

While I am sure they will not look at it as competition it will be interesting to see the growth and health of the two parishes over time. With all these factors and based on the location being so separated from mainstream Orthodoxy, if the Western Rite doesn't flourish here I am not sure where it will.

Do you have anymore infor (like contact, the name of the priest/parish, etc.)?
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« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2009, 04:09:48 PM »

Do you have anymore infor (like contact, the name of the priest/parish, etc.)?

Ohh sorry I meant to add this to end... http://www.antiochian.org/node/21634

Quote
Diocese of Toledo Adds Two New Missions

The Diocese of Toledo is in the process of starting two new missions in Evansville, Indiana. Information about the Western Rite Mission is available at: www.evansvillewesternorthodox.org. Renowned author and speaker The Very Rev. Fr. Michael D. Keiser, of the Department of Missions and Evangelism of the Antiochian Archdiocese, will be with the fledgling community on Sunday, December 20th, to begin the process of conversion to the Orthodox Church. The Eastern Rite parish is introducing itself at the address: www.evorthodox.weebly.com. Fr. Daniel Hackney and his family are in the process of moving to Evansville and services will commence soon thereafter.

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« Reply #38 on: December 11, 2009, 09:09:51 PM »

Back to the OP about why WR isn't thriving...maybe this isn't such an isolated incident. I hope it is.  Check out this WR church's website and notice what happens on Sundays at 9:30.


http://emmanuelorthodox.squarespace.com/weekly-schedule/
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« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2009, 09:57:23 PM »

Back to the OP about why WR isn't thriving...maybe this isn't such an isolated incident. I hope it is.  Check out this WR church's website and notice what happens on Sundays at 9:30.


http://emmanuelorthodox.squarespace.com/weekly-schedule/


I've only been to two WRO parishes, one in the south, one in the Great Lakes.  No contemporary praise.  I'd find it jolting between Matins and DL.
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« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2009, 10:13:26 PM »

Can a "low church" liturgy be developed in Orthodoxy?
Leaving out the dismissal of the catechumens and not closing the curtain during the Communion of the Clergy is about as low church as it gets in the Eastern Rite Churches.
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« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2009, 11:32:51 PM »

Back to the OP about why WR isn't thriving...maybe this isn't such an isolated incident. I hope it is.  Check out this WR church's website and notice what happens on Sundays at 9:30.


http://emmanuelorthodox.squarespace.com/weekly-schedule/


That looks really bad. I hope the local bishop will say something.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2009, 12:07:00 AM »

Back to the OP about why WR isn't thriving...maybe this isn't such an isolated incident. I hope it is.  Check out this WR church's website and notice what happens on Sundays at 9:30.


http://emmanuelorthodox.squarespace.com/weekly-schedule/


I've only been to two WRO parishes, one in the south, one in the Great Lakes.  No contemporary praise.  I'd find it jolting between Matins and DL.

Nothing wrong with Contemporary worship. Contemporary for the 4th Century that is. Wink
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« Reply #43 on: December 26, 2009, 03:39:09 AM »

I'm not sure what the OP means by "thriving." Is it that people are "converting in droves?" I don't see that with Eastern Rite parishes, despite the frequent publicity. There is, supposedly, a 50% convert drop out rate, anyway. If you look at how many ER parishes there are, and how few WR parishes there are, how misunderstood, not well known, marginalized, etc., it seems like nothing unusual. Actually, the number of WR rite churches has greatly increased in the last few years, especially in America. And the interest is not just among former Anglicans, and not just in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Actually, the WR is gaining global interest, with churches in New Zealand, Canada, and large interest in Britain. It looks like the general trend is for growth.
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« Reply #44 on: December 26, 2009, 03:54:46 AM »

Welcome to the forum.   Smiley
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