The GOA does tend to have a stronger presence, at least in some parts of the country. Where I live, there are a whole lot of Orthodox parishes from almost every jurisdiction imaginable. The amount of English they use is directly proportional to the number of converts they get, even if the parish is tiny. When people who do not speak the ancient language get a choice of where to go, they go to where they speak English.
It may certainly appear
that way to you (I used to think the same thing), but I don't think you'd find that to actually be the case if you carefully examined all of the parishes' members. Undoubtedly, you would find a higher percentage
of converts in the OCA parishes (and, depending on your location, in the Antiochian parishes as well), but absolute numbers are a different manner.
There are several reasons why this common misconception is false in most areas (and most certainly false when looked at on a jurisdiction-wide basis):
1) The math on the macro level. According to the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, 51% of members of the OCA are converts, while 29% of the GOA's members are. However, no matter what means you use to determine total membership (Sunday worship attendance, stewards, "adherents"), the GOA is at least 4 times the size of the OCA. 51% of 25 will never equal or exceed 29% of 100.
2) The math on the regional level. Your average OCA parish most certainly has a higher percentage of converts and, thus, naturally feels more convert heavy. However, having been active in Pan-Orthodox activities in four very different areas of the country, I have found that the macro trend is replicated on the regional level (in general, it would have to be, or the macro wouldn't be true!). For example, in my current area, there are 4 OCA parishes and 3 GOA parishes. The OCA parishes have anywhere between 20 and 70 people at an average Sunday Liturgy, with two of those parishes being much closer to the lower number. Probably very close to 50% of those worshipers are converts, but that's simply not that many people. One of the GOA parishes in the area is mid-size (~250 in worship), one is a bit larger (~380), and the little mission where I chant has about 130 in worship each week. If you only attend two or three times, you might think there aren't many converts. However, now that I've been in the area for over a year, I've found, once again, that there are many converts in each Greek parish, easily reaching 30%, even though this is an "ethnic" area. When you crunch the numbers, there are about 80 more converts in those three GOA parishes than there are in the four OCA parishes. I found very similar trends in New England and the South. In the Midwest, the numbers weren't quite as skewed.
3) The type of convert. Speaking in very broad strokes, one isn't hard-pressed to find several fair-haired, former Bible thumpers in an OCA parish; or a bookish, bearded college student or recent grad; or a nice, middle class family that permanently offended their relatives by leaving the ancestral denomination; or a convert who reads Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog every day and wears a chotki
to bed (not that Fr. Stephen would approve!). Speaking as someone who has some of those characteristics, it's a common mistake to think that is the only type of convert. In our mission, for example, there are dozens of converts, many of whom married a Greek girl or guy, came to Liturgy with their kids every week for several years, and, at some point, decided they wanted to convert. When I first started chanting here, I just assumed many of these people were Greeks. They attend all the Holy Week services. They teach Sunday School, organize the New Year's ball, are officers in the Philoptochos, sit on the Parish Council. They bring Greek food to coffee hour. Their kids know the Creed in Greek and English. They are godparents of other kids in the parish, and their families engage each other frequently outside of Liturgy over the dinner table, at Greek School, at GOYA, at diocesan-wide religious and cultural events. In short, they are totally integrated into the worship and social life of the mission. As I've gotten to know them, it turns out they converted 5 or 10 or 15 years ago. Now, their story is unlikely to show up in a new edition of Becoming Orthodox
or be documented on their ortho-blog, but they are strong Christians and true converts to Orthodoxy. And, according to the numbers, they are by far the majority of converts in the U.S. over the last 30 years (especially because there are plenty
that fall into this category in the other jurisdictions as well).