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Author Topic: How to start a mission  (Read 1596 times) Average Rating: 0
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NMHS
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« on: October 11, 2010, 12:07:26 AM »

Hello all,

Here is my dilemma.  I live in southern New Mexico and I would say that almost no one in this part of the country or state has ever heard of the Orthodox Church as this part of the country and state is sparsely populated.  I am currently Roman Catholic and I have been learning about the Orthodox Church for a long while now and I have been in communication with an Orthodox priest of a Ukrainian Mission that is located a good 3 hours away (the closest OC).   I have almost made up my mind that I would convert to Orthodoxy.    I can read all the books I want to but they still don't make up the fact that the long distance hampers me from being part of the church community every weekend.  At the most I figure I could make it every 6 weeks or so to.

I have come to the conclusion that I have very few options here. The most likely option is that I remain RC and attend an OC service whenever I can.  This is what I will have to do for awhile as I am waiting for my wife and I to continue our dialogue about my interest into Orthodoxy.  This option is tough because in my heart I am Orthodox and not RC. 

Am I able to become a catachumenate even though I am unable to attend the services every weekend?  Can a person become Orthodox even if there isn’t an Orthodox church nearby?   Does a possible future member have to be part of a local church before becoming a church member?  This area is predominately covered by the RC or the Baptist Church and I would love to help spread the faith of the Orthodox faith around here but I am not yet Orthodox, and when I tell someone about it and mention of a Church nearby and the 3 hour drive it seems to put off some people.
 
So, how can a non-Orthodox person assist in bringing an Orthodox Mission to the area?   I admit there have been times I thought about taking college courses in the theology of the Orthodox Church and see where this leads.  Maybe I can do something with some schooling that will help bring the faith to this area.  I have mentioned to the priest my desire to help spread the faith around here but I have not really received any kind of feedback.

Any advice?
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2010, 12:28:05 AM »

Hello all,

Here is my dilemma.  I live in southern New Mexico and I would say that almost no one in this part of the country or state has ever heard of the Orthodox Church as this part of the country and state is sparsely populated.  I am currently Roman Catholic and I have been learning about the Orthodox Church for a long while now and I have been in communication with an Orthodox priest of a Ukrainian Mission that is located a good 3 hours away (the closest OC).   I have almost made up my mind that I would convert to Orthodoxy.    I can read all the books I want to but they still don't make up the fact that the long distance hampers me from being part of the church community every weekend.  At the most I figure I could make it every 6 weeks or so to.

I have come to the conclusion that I have very few options here. The most likely option is that I remain RC and attend an OC service whenever I can.  This is what I will have to do for awhile as I am waiting for my wife and I to continue our dialogue about my interest into Orthodoxy.  This option is tough because in my heart I am Orthodox and not RC.  

Am I able to become a catachumenate even though I am unable to attend the services every weekend?  Can a person become Orthodox even if there isn’t an Orthodox church nearby?   Does a possible future member have to be part of a local church before becoming a church member?  This area is predominately covered by the RC or the Baptist Church and I would love to help spread the faith of the Orthodox faith around here but I am not yet Orthodox, and when I tell someone about it and mention of a Church nearby and the 3 hour drive it seems to put off some people.
  
So, how can a non-Orthodox person assist in bringing an Orthodox Mission to the area?   I admit there have been times I thought about taking college courses in the theology of the Orthodox Church and see where this leads.  Maybe I can do something with some schooling that will help bring the faith to this area.  I have mentioned to the priest my desire to help spread the faith around here but I have not really received any kind of feedback.

Any advice?

Yes it is possible to be a Orthodox catechumen under the circumestances you destribe, just not desirable.

I know someone who IIRC started a mission in OK. If you want, I can see about getting you in touch. PM me.


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« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 12:30:25 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2010, 12:31:02 AM »

Metropolitan Constantine and Bishop Daniel.
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 05:25:29 PM »

I don't know about other churches, but from what my priest tells me, you are technically excommunicated from the church if you go without communion for more than three weeks in a row.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 05:30:09 PM by Antonis » Logged

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Αναστάς ο Ιησούς από του τάφου, καθώς προείπεν, έδωκεν ημίν την αιώνιον ζωήν και το μέγα έλεος.
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 06:05:45 PM »

I don't know about other churches, but from what my priest tells me, you are technically excommunicated from the church if you go without communion for more than three weeks in a row.

I think the canons state if you don't attend church in three weeks you are self excommunicated. I also think the canons are guide lines and not to be adhered to as law. Ask your bishop to be sure. Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 06:17:14 PM »

I don't know about other churches, but from what my priest tells me, you are technically excommunicated from the church if you go without communion for more than three weeks in a row.

Considering the situation of the OP, I don't think this is very helpful to bring up. It's not like he would be voluntarily abstaining from communion. Also, in some Orthodox lands frequent communion is still not the norm.

NMHS, don't worry about this.
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 07:13:50 PM »

I agree with Iconodule.  The poster is asking about a whole different set of circumstances.
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2010, 10:31:53 PM »

I don't know about other churches, but from what my priest tells me, you are technically excommunicated from the church if you go without communion for more than three weeks in a row.

Considering the situation of the OP, I don't think this is very helpful to bring up. It's not like he would be voluntarily abstaining from communion. Also, in some Orthodox lands frequent communion is still not the norm.

NMHS, don't worry about this.

Thanks for the insight. 

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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2010, 12:05:13 AM »

I don't know about other churches, but from what my priest tells me, you are technically excommunicated from the church if you go without communion for more than three weeks in a row.

Come on Antonis, he is not even Orthodox yet and you are already trying to get him excommunicated?!  What are you thinking?!

Canon 80 of the 6th Ecumenical Council states:
Quote
In case any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else on the list of the Clergy, or any layman, without any graver necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from Communion.

This is obviously for those who have a church nearby and skip church for three consecutive weeks without any valid excuse, not for those who don't have a church nearby.

Have you checked www.orthodoxyinamerica.com for parishes in your area?  You will need to make contact with a priest of an actual parish and get started from there if you are interested in joining the Church.  After joining the Church, then you can discuss with your priest and bishop the subject of starting a mission.


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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 01:11:53 AM »

I apologize, like I said, I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject.   Undecided
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 01:12:13 AM by Antonis » Logged

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Αναστάς ο Ιησούς από του τάφου, καθώς προείπεν, έδωκεν ημίν την αιώνιον ζωήν και το μέγα έλεος.
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2010, 01:00:59 AM »

NMHS, I am in the exact same boat as you, only I am in the Southeast part of Kentucky. I am now beginning to attend the RC parish here, as it is at least a liturgical church, and much closer to Orthodoxy than the Pentecostal church my family and I were attending. I pray for you in your attempt to begin a mission and desire your prayers as well for the same. If anyone can give advice for someone getting an Orthodox mission in the Southern part of Ky...I'm all ears, PM me.
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2010, 07:43:57 AM »

I think it is pretty insensitive to tell someone who is praying about mission that they will be excommunicated if their mission does not become a functioning parish in three weeks.

I commend your interest in mission and pray that God will guide you and bless your desire.

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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2010, 11:54:08 PM »

NMHS, I am in the exact same boat as you, only I am in the Southeast part of Kentucky. I am now beginning to attend the RC parish here, as it is at least a liturgical church, and much closer to Orthodoxy than the Pentecostal church my family and I were attending. I pray for you in your attempt to begin a mission and desire your prayers as well for the same. If anyone can give advice for someone getting an Orthodox mission in the Southern part of Ky...I'm all ears, PM me.
I think it is pretty insensitive to tell someone who is praying about mission that they will be excommunicated if their mission does not become a functioning parish in three weeks.

I commend your interest in mission and pray that God will guide you and bless your desire.

Father Peter

Thank you for the prayers for a mission.  I hope and pray that one day a mission will come to your area as well.  Good Luck.

Father, thank you.
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2011, 12:22:54 PM »

Concerning the dogma’s I would like to comment that it is known that their purpose is to guide the faithful to salvation. Like the Lord had said:
 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2: 27)

Quote
So, how can a non-Orthodox person assist in bringing an Orthodox Mission to the area?   I admit there have been times I thought about taking college courses in the theology of the Orthodox Church and see where this leads.  Maybe I can do something with some schooling that will help bring the faith to this area.  I have mentioned to the priest my desire to help spread the faith around here but I have not really received any kind of feedback.

Any advice?

I think that we, lay people, can contribute to Orthodox mission by confessing our faith as openly as possible. You can, for example, cross yourself with the sign of the Cross (in an Orthodox way), say a prayer (the Lords prayer at least) before the meal during the break when you are at work.
I try to do this always, no matter how many people there are next to me. Moreover I do this at 09:00a.m., 12:00p.m. and 15:00, the moments when the services of Hours are held.
Hopefully there will be people who will notice that and get interested in your (Christian Orthodox) faith. In this way you will have a good opportunity to tell them about the Good News.
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2011, 04:18:17 PM »

I don't know about other churches, but from what my priest tells me, you are technically excommunicated from the church if you go without communion for more than three weeks in a row.

For one thing, I don't see how relevant this is given that he's not even in communion in the first place.

And, if you are referring to the "making it there every 6 weeks", the line I have heard is if you miss church for 3 weeks, without legitimate reason for why you couldn't make it, that you are excommunicated. Obviously the OP has legitimate reason why he cannot, i.e. extreme distance, so he would not be excommunicated.
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2011, 06:59:47 PM »

Thanks for all the advice!
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2011, 08:01:44 AM »

Christ is Risen !

NHMS, I was reading your post and although its been a while, I want to tell you I admire you.  You do know pretty well that the first church is our home and you are just doing it excellent, taking in consideration your wife, because she met you as a catholic, also for her is a bit difficult to accept, specially if she is catholic as well. 

God is love and He shall always be in your home.  You take care of your wife and your family, that makes you a good man and you are probably more orthodox in practice than many baptized or chrismated people who call themselves orthodox.  The step you are about to take is not about "changing your religion" but about deepening your christian knowledge and practice.

I come from an orthodox background and my wife is orthodox as well.  We live in a place where the nearest orthodox church is 7 hours (McAllen Texas) but its difficult to get there because its in another country (USA, we live in Mexico); and the nearest church within Mexico is 11 hours away.  We've been making so many efforts to bring a priest to live within us, but so lately it seems its not the way.  We focus in our daily lives and how to live it out as orthodox, even though we have no orthodox temple, but our house it is a church and it is how we should consider it.

I also think that many of your answers you are looking for, you will find them in prayer.  May God illumine your way and your family's.

Marco. 
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2011, 08:47:44 AM »

I don't know about other churches, but from what my priest tells me, you are technically excommunicated from the church if you go without communion for more than three weeks in a row.

Considering the situation of the OP, I don't think this is very helpful to bring up. It's not like he would be voluntarily abstaining from communion. Also, in some Orthodox lands frequent communion is still not the norm.

NMHS, don't worry about this.
I asked my priest how he would answer the following question a friend put to me: "What if you were inclined toward Orthodoxy but there were no Orthodox churches anywhere near you?" ...and very quickly received the following reply:

Quote
Wherever there is an Orthodox person, there is the Church. The Church exists in your home, and you are the Church.

There is a kind of martyrdom when we cannot participate in the holy Eucharist because of distance; then we participate in the prayers of saints like Mary of Egypt or Seraphim of Sarov, who were able only rarely to share in the Body and Blood of Christ. But always they could participate in the Spirit, wherever they were; and so can we.

The Church begins in your home. The father is the priest of the house, and it is the mother's home. She can initiate the prayers--like in a Jewish family at Sabbath. So the family can exercise Orthodox faith and life at home, even where there is no congregation nearby. And there are prayers for the various times of day (if anyone wants to say them) and even for midnight. Also, Orthodox Christians have icons at home as reminders that the church begins at home. Even catechumens are already participating in the Church and are the Church.
Given examples like St. Mary of Egypt I think it safe to say the canon is meant for those who are reasonably able to attend but don't, but you should ask the priest you are speaking with if you are concerned at all, and don't take everything you read on the internet to heart.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 08:54:46 AM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2011, 11:07:19 PM »

Thank you for the advice, its comforting knowing I'm not alone.  Caleb

Christ is Risen !

NHMS, I was reading your post and although its been a while, I want to tell you I admire you.  You do know pretty well that the first church is our home and you are just doing it excellent, taking in consideration your wife, because she met you as a catholic, also for her is a bit difficult to accept, specially if she is catholic as well. 

God is love and He shall always be in your home.  You take care of your wife and your family, that makes you a good man and you are probably more orthodox in practice than many baptized or chrismated people who call themselves orthodox.  The step you are about to take is not about "changing your religion" but about deepening your christian knowledge and practice.

I come from an orthodox background and my wife is orthodox as well.  We live in a place where the nearest orthodox church is 7 hours (McAllen Texas) but its difficult to get there because its in another country (USA, we live in Mexico); and the nearest church within Mexico is 11 hours away.  We've been making so many efforts to bring a priest to live within us, but so lately it seems its not the way.  We focus in our daily lives and how to live it out as orthodox, even though we have no orthodox temple, but our house it is a church and it is how we should consider it.

I also think that many of your answers you are looking for, you will find them in prayer.  May God illumine your way and your family's.

Marco. 

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