My wife and I came into the Orthodox Church under the GOA. When we moved we moved to a town where the closest Orthodox church was 50-60 miles away in any direction. While we were attending various area parishes, we began to attend a ROCOR services at a monastery and having in home services while going to major feast days either at the monastery or another ROCOR parish 200 miles away. At the request of the children who wanted a closer parish, with more pastoral and youth activities,ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š we began going to an Antiochian parish about 50 miles from our home.ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š We see our selves as American Orthodox Christians---we are not ethnicallyÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š focused, although we do try to stay at a parish for the duration of our location move.
We have gotten something out of each jurisdiction:
a, GOA gave us the opportunity to ground ourselves in the teachings of Orthodoxy and cast off our Old Mormon belief system. Through adult and youth Sunday school classes our questions were answered and we became Orthodox Christians [This was despite the fact when we first got there the priest said "Why would you ever wqnt to become Orthodox, you aren't even Greek!]
b.ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š ROCOR introduced us to the wonders of monasticism, the teachings of the church fathers, the mysticism of the Orthodox Church, confession, and the proper use of a spiritual father. [No mention of not being Russian or beingÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š a convert ever came up---they were just anxious to share with us the vision of Holy Russia]
c.ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š The Antiochians have taught us how to live an Orthodox life in a secular world, how to evangelize others in an Orthodox manner, and understand that within Orthodoxy there are sometimes disagreements about the non-essentials but let us know that we can studyÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š all sides and prayerfully approach life so we can live a more holy life. With the Antiochians we learned that Orthodox Christians are not always sad and somber but there is joy and laughter as well.
We are thankful for everything that we have received from the various jurisdictions we have had the blessing to be a part ofÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š in our various moves around the state.