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Author Topic: Wish to Convert... how to begin? What do I do? What do I tell my Family?  (Read 777 times) Average Rating: 0
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Truthseeker194
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« on: September 06, 2010, 03:29:10 PM »

So I was born into another Christian Faith, but as I've grown up I've looked into other denominations. My research led me to my first introduction to orthodoxy and I was amazed... months later I am now convinced that Orthodoxy is true and I want to convert. I do however have some questions/concerns:

1. What do I tell those in my faith community now? (Mother, Grandmother, Pastor, Church Friends) if it tells you anything helpful, Im still a teenager
2. Will the Orthodox church accept my original baptism (done by sprinkling in the name of The Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit)?
3. What does the actual conversion process involve?
4. How do I begin?

Thank u in advance and Peace of Christ  angel
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 03:48:36 PM by Truthseeker194 » Logged
Cymbyz
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2010, 04:08:28 PM »

You're still quite young, and may not really be free to convert on your own till you leave home--it depends.  It would have been most helpful if you had named the denomination to which you currently belong, because framing the information about your desire to convert will, necessarily, involve detailing your differences with what your current denomination believes.

Depending on which Orthodox jurisdiction you choose to join, your baptism will be accepted.  The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, to which I belong, accepts by Chrismation those who have been baptized with water in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Some other jurisdictions may require a re-baptism with full immersion.

Typically, a conversion, if it's done right, involves finding a priest and parish you feel comfortable with, then entering on a program of study which may last up to a year or more, since the final decision to convert myst be fully-informed.

Just for starters, find a nearby parish and attend a service, so you'll have a practical idea of what you're getting into.

There's a handy article online by Frederica Matthewes-Green "Twelve Things I Wish I'd Known before I Entered an Orthodox Church."  This is a must read for anyone who has never attended Orthodox services.

Keep in touch and let us know of your experience.
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bogdan
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2010, 04:10:11 PM »

So I was born into another Christian Faith, but as I've grown up I've looked into other denominations. My research led me to my first introduction to orthodoxy and I was amazed... months later I am now convinced that Orthodoxy is true and I want to convert. I do however have some questions/concerns:

1. What do I tell those in my faith community now? (Mother, Grandmother, Pastor, Church Friends)
2. Will the Orthodox church accept my original baptism (done by sprinkling in the name of The Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit)?
3. What does the actual conversion process involve?
4. How do I begin?

Thank u in advance and Peace of Christ  angel

Welcome to the forum! Smiley

1. Be careful not to be overbearing, especially in the early stages. It's good to be excited and take a strong interest in matters of faith, but be cautious about "convertitis", that is, the condition of alienating people with minutiae and basically causing people to roll their eyes when they see you coming. Not that anyone should "hide it under a bushel", no, but just be careful. Don't do what I did: find ways to interject deep spiritual conversations in places where they don't belong. If others want to talk, that's fine, and when you get close to actual conversion it might be appropriate, but just be wise and it's usually best to let others initiate a conversation.

And finally, don't be judgmental about non-Orthodox people. Don't even have the appearance of it. Many, including myself, have learned that the hard way.

2. Technically no non-Orthodox baptism is "accepted" in its own right, rather they are completed in Chrismation. But some jurisdictions will require you to be baptized by an Orthodox priest, though it's more common to be received by Chrismation alone. There is no universal rule, but since you were baptized in the name of the Trinity, it's more likely than not that you would not be baptized again.

3. When the formal process begins, you will be made a Catechumen. Again, the length of time and what exactly this entails varies. You will be instructed in the faith in some way, and each priest does this differently. My Catechumenate was about 8 months long, meeting with my priest weekly. In general, be prepared for a gradual process. It will take some time for you to be ready to enter the full life of the Church. Your priest will help you learn whatever you need to learn.

4. Visit different parishes in your area and find out which one you feel at home with. Meet with the priests and see how they handle the Catechumenate process. Find a priest who you feel comfortable talking to, as he will eventually be hearing your confessions and guiding you. (That said, I think it's generally best to go to the parish nearest to your home. But that's just my opinion.)

Humility and patience are what you need most in this stage, so keep those things in mind. All the best to you! Smiley
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 04:13:03 PM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2010, 08:00:41 AM »

Truthseeker, if your mother and grandparents are receptive to the idea of a conversion - but want to know more to make sure that you aren't falling into something that could hurt you (as most of us parents often do for our children, because we love them so very very much!), I would suggest that you invite your mother / grandparents to research and weigh the information WITH you.  They may have good questions that can be brought to your priest to help you in your conversion.  They may not want to do this, but at least you've given them the respect of inviting them along. 

My son and I did this when he was looking into one of the Native American faiths - we went together. . .and in doing so, I was able to guide him to ask good questions for himself as he made his decision.  He decided against converting in the end, on his own and for himself. There were no fights, no trying to convince him otherwise. . .just the facts and the questions of what those facts would mean to him in the course of a life time.  He made his first very adult decision when he was sixteen - and learned the process of research and weighing and asking good questions. 

There may be the scenario of you becoming more convinced of your conversion - and your family may be not at all convinced - if this is so - the commandment still stands to Honor your Father and your Mother - trust Him for the timing of your conversion.  He will make it happen with out forcing you to break His commandment. 
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2010, 08:54:06 AM »

So I was born into another Christian Faith, but as I've grown up I've looked into other denominations. My research led me to my first introduction to orthodoxy and I was amazed... months later I am now convinced that Orthodoxy is true and I want to convert. I do however have some questions/concerns:

1. What do I tell those in my faith community now? (Mother, Grandmother, Pastor, Church Friends) if it tells you anything helpful, Im still a teenager
2. Will the Orthodox church accept my original baptism (done by sprinkling in the name of The Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit)?
3. What does the actual conversion process involve?
4. How do I begin?

Thank u in advance and Peace of Christ  angel


It is always encouraging when I hear of teenagers who have searched for the truth and found the Orthodox Church.  How you proceed from here depends on many personal circumstances, but in general the most important step is to visit an Orthodox church, or a few of them, and to make contact with a priest.  If there are a few churches in the area, you may wish to visit them to see which one you feel more comfortable in, or which one uses English (which I assume would be important), etc., and then based on which church you would most likely be received at, you should make contact with the priest of that parish and begin discussing your interest in Orthodoxy and the process of being received into the Church. 

You mention that you are a teenager.  If you are relatively independent and able to drive yourself to church, you could simply say to your family that you have been learning about Orthodox Christianity and would like to visit an Orthodox church one Sunday, and take it from there.  Or, if you can’t drive yourself to church you may mention your interest to your parents/guardians and ask if they could take you to an Orthodox church one Sunday instead of where you ordinarily would go.  If they refuse, you may have to wait until you can drive or until you are of age to live on your own.  As a teenager, even a few years can seem like an eternity, but if because of family circumstances you are not able to attend or join the Church for a few years, you can still make contact with a priest nearby, by phone or email, and begin praying as an Orthodox Christian and learning as much as you can, something like an extended catechesis. 

To emphasize this again, it is most important to make contact with an Orthodox priest with whom you can discuss the particulars of your situation and how best to handle this.  In case you haven’t come across this yet, the following site has a very good directory for locating an Orthodox church near you:

www.orthodoxyinamerica.com

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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2010, 10:01:40 AM »

So I was born into another Christian Faith, but as I've grown up I've looked into other denominations. My research led me to my first introduction to orthodoxy and I was amazed... months later I am now convinced that Orthodoxy is true and I want to convert. I do however have some questions/concerns:

1. What do I tell those in my faith community now? (Mother, Grandmother, Pastor, Church Friends) if it tells you anything helpful, Im still a teenager
2. Will the Orthodox church accept my original baptism (done by sprinkling in the name of The Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit)?
3. What does the actual conversion process involve?
4. How do I begin?

Thank u in advance and Peace of Christ  angel

First, welcome to the forum Truthseeker, and may the Lord bless your journey!

You have already received many excellent answers and pointers from other forum members. I would like to add couple of thoughts to your first and last questions.

1. Regarding what to tell your Methodist faith community and your parents and relatives, you could tell them that you have found the New Testament Church, one which John Wesley would have also considered joining, and one which was indeed chosen by numerous Protestant and Evangelical ministers and theologians. (Back up source document: Father Peter Gillquist's Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith) You could tell them that the Orthodox Church is the most Bible-based, Christ-centered and Spirit filled Church. Now, these concepts and conclusions may be regarded by some adults as being over the head of teenagers; so, unless you already have a reputation of being able to comprehend such concepts and make sound decisions, I would not relate them lest you are perceived as repeating what someone else has told you. So, if theology is out, I would think that your approach could be based on the idea that Orthodox worship is serious, real and Biblical. You know, some people are attracted to Orthodoxy for theological, ecclesiastic or historical reasons, while others are attracted because, in the words of one convert friend of mine, "they can truly worship God in the Orthodox Church."

2. As for how to begin, you don't have to start with a visit to an Orthodox Church. You can simply begin by instituting a regular prayer life, consisting of Orthodox prayers each morning and evening. Such prayers are available on line. Here are some links:

http://www.oca.org/OCSelect.asp?SID=2
http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-prayers
http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/daily_prayers
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2010, 04:54:25 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

The very best and most simple advice I will give you is this: just go to Church.  Every-time the door is open for Divine Liturgies, others services and social events be there.  Converts who quickly enter the Church many times leave just as fast or are inconsistent in their adherence to Orthodoxy. And don't get your feelings hurt to easy.  Focus on why you are there.  You are there to glorify the Triune God with all the saints, angels and blessed spirits present during the Liturgy along with God's people.  Don't let people at church discourage you and do not rest your decision to join the Church on the opinions of men.  Just be there.  Every Sunday, Holy Day, whenever, get in that church.  Just set it in your mind to take it real slow, attend faithfully, and eventually you will find it was worth it all.  Some converts want to quickly get in the Church because they don't want to die without being Orthodox.  But, even as a catechumen you are mystically united to the Church and many catechumens are more holy than most Orthodox.  God knows your heart.  There is no rush, take your time go to church often, socialize with the people, pray before the Ikon Corner at home and be happy.  Smile often, that is the best tool you have to make friends at church and meet people.  You will do fine. 

Sincerely in Christ,


Alexis
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