Author Topic: Converts, Did you visit with your previous Priest, Pastor... before converting?  (Read 3803 times)

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Offline NMHS

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A question has come to mind recently for any and all converts..

Before you converted did you visit with your previous Pastor, Priest, Director.... and what denomination/church did you convert from.  Tell us how it went?  


**Modified the question to add what your previous affiliation was**
« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 08:43:20 PM by NMHS »

Online Asteriktos

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Yes, and he said I'd come back to his church eventually. But then, he thought Catholicism to be satanic/the whore of babylon/antichrist, and I'm sure he had similar feelings about Orthodoxy. Plus, the Orthodox parish in the small town I was from wasn't exactly "on fire," so he probably figured it wouldn't appeal to me (that, and the fact that many of my friends were part of his church). He wasn't nasty about it*, but he wasn't happy either.

*Unlike my wife's traditionalist RC priest, who all but told her that she would go to hell if she became Orthodox.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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I had been reading a little about Eastern Orthodoxy for awhile (I wasn't a Christian at the time) when I decided to call the local EO priest.  I had never spoken to him before and wasn't sure what I was going to say, only that I knew I needed to call him.  When I called him, I introduced myself and explained that I wasn't a Christian but that I thought I would eventually become one.  We talked for awhile and then a few months later met in person.  I bet I asked him hundreds of questions before I started (timidly) attending regularly.  He was always patient with my questions and encouraged me to continue reading and asking.  Now, 6 years later, I'm very thankful.
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Offline PrincessMommy

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yes, I did.  It went fine.  We talked about what I was wrestling with and he agreed that I needed to take a serious look at Orthodoxy.  My husband still goes to the church and I have a fairly  congenial relationship with people there - but I don't see them often.

Offline ialmisry

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Evangelical Lutheran.

No. Our Pastor had died a few years before, the parish was in transition IIRC (there had been a new pastor but he was leaving around the same time I was converting, I don't recall the specific chronology), and I was going to a parish at college (which seemed to have a rotating team of clergy (it was next to a seminary, which in fact soon became my former denomination's headquarters) and so didn't have any pastor really to talk to.  I did talk with the parish president (I was confirmed with his son, and was close to his wife).  They would have been more shocked if I told them I had AIDS and a month to live (AIDS had just become a big issue in the midwest). No problem, just shocked at someone so active and committed leaving.  They later came for a service at my new Church.
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Offline dcommini

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No, mainly because when I started looking in to the Orthodox Church I had no church home. When I got home from Iraq the non denom church my wife was attending did not have a pastor until after I had already decided to convert.

Also, I guess I converted from the Southern Baptist, although I hadn't really gone to a church in a while and my wife was going to a non denominational...

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Offline Seraphim98

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No. At the time of my conversion I had no church home either.

Offline NW Nik

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I spoke privately with our pastor and publicly said our goodbyes to the congregation several weeks later. It was a small independent charismatic fellowship.

Offline Ortho_cat

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I spoke with him, but it was such a large congregation that I didn't know him personally. Just one of those places where you can show up every week, leave, and never have to meet anyone.

Offline MJonsson

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I was a member of the Swedish Church, like most Swedes are from birth. But i never met the priest in my parish, i did talk to the parish administration about it when i left the church of Sweden, but they were mostly interested in why i left.

Offline JimCBrooklyn

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Roman Catholic. I'm now an Orthodox Catechumen.

I did speak with my priest initially about how my wife and I were both looking into one another's churches, which was the reality at the time. She also sat down with him. He had a fairly typical, other lung RC approach, and I think didn't believe that there was much of a risk of me actually converting. We had until that point a very good and burgeoning relationship: he was a new parish priest in a small town in upstate NY facing very low attendance and a lot of push back from locals who didn't like his more traditional views, and I was a fairly zealous, traditional RC-minded, younger than most (in NY) family man who was fairly generous with his parish. I think he thought that I was being polite to my wife, and that she would eventually convert to Catholicism, as her Orthodox faith was more nationally founded than anything else (she's Russian). I think I had the same expectations, but then the shocker hit, the opposite happened, and we both felt the truth lay in Orthodoxy.

I haven't spoken with him in some time, and I'm sure he wonders what happened to me. Thank you to the OP, as this has inspired me to email him. He is a good man and I owe him as much. I'd go in person but NY and Russia are not close.

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Offline Alpo

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No. At the time of my conversion I had no church home either.

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline IsmiLiora

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Hm, we left our church on not-so-great terms. I'm not proud of what we did.

I was RCC and when I went to college, joined a charismatic evangelical church. Even though I was an altar server for four years (yes, altar SERVER. I'm female!), my priest wouldn't be able to identify me out of a lineup.

I did go church hopping because I got tired of everyone being obsessed with tongues and prophecy and landed at a non-denominational church very grounded in the Old Testament. They don't have membership, and it's so fluid that people just walk in and out. One of the attendants was a Baptist pastor, who came for about a year or so and just stopped coming. Several other families have done the same.

One of the reasons I wanted to leave about 2 years ago is that my friend did missions work for the church, and they sponsored her. When she did something that they didn't agree with, they pulled the funding. I didn't necessarily have an issue with that (Frankly, I agreed at the time), but they basically pretended that she or her ministry never existed after that. She made a youthful, immature mistake -- she wasn't giving false prophecies overseas. I thought that it was horrible that they would even act like she was never part of the church.

She tried to get in contact with the pastor and he never responded to her. When I kindly approached him and said, "So and so wanted to talk to you. Have you gotten her e-mails?" I saw a look in his eyes that frightened me. He has barely spoken to me ever since.

I don't even know what I would say to him. I don't think that it would be fruitful to speak with him, in my case. We just stopped going to the church, although we do have ties to other members and they know that we plan to join the Orthodox Church (they're not too happy about that, but whatever).

I think that if the pastor is a close friend, it might be good to briefly speak with him (and not just spend the entire time pointing out why his church is wrong). But in other cases? Eh.
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Offline blessedbeggar

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I did...and it wasn't the warmest of topics at the time. I was a lay minister/evangelist in the Church of God. In addition to preaching periodically, I and my wife were the children ministers, and sunday school teachers. To say we were invested and close to most of the congregation and pastor would be an understatement. Most of the congregation has taken it well...many just feel that we are on seperate paths to the same destination...I pray for them. The ministry team have a different take on things and don't have much to say to my family these days, though publicly it's always over-the-top kindness. The most interesting thing was that following our leaving...the series of sermons were focused on the dangers of "false teachings", praying to idols, and worshipping Mary. Interesting in that my wife's family still attends the church, (so far), and were present for these obviously directed sermons. Further, the associate pastor was openly argumentative and ugly about the situation. We pray fervently for these people trapped in Prelest as we were, especially since we are still close to some of them...but the results of our leaving only further demonstrated that we had made the correct decision in the love of Christ and His true Church were made all the more obvious.

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Offline Benjamin the Red

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The PCA church I was going to was rather large. I didn't know the pastor personally, so we never spoke.

However, there's no PCA church in my hometown, so when I visited I went to my uncle's church. He's evangelical, but pastors a Disciples of Christ church. I had been very active there. I spoke with him about Orthodoxy, and he listened. He even showed some interest, but hasn't experienced Orthodoxy firsthand yet. He has the typical objections one would expect from am evangelical. He is actually becoming disillusioned with evangelicals in practice, and is interested in more traditional thinking, but still has a long way to go. I later asked him to remove me from the church roll. He has respected my decision, and converses with me about theology. I've tried to guide him away from the low church, at least into traditional Anglicanism. He's got a way to go still, but I keep him in my prayers.

I actually haven't spoken with him for awhile. This thread was a nice reminder to give him a call. Thanks!
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 10:33:58 AM by Benjamin the Red »
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Offline David Garner

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WELS Lutheran.  I spoke to our Pastor before we left, and had raised various issues and concerns along the way, but I spent a LOT more time talking to our first Lutheran Pastor (LCMS), discussing the faith, his understanding of Orthodoxy, what I was learning about Orthodoxy, what his objections were from a Lutheran standpoint, etc.  I also spoke to several other Lutheran Pastors (all LCMS) I respected about our journey, as well as two friends who are both former Lutherans, now Orthodox.

Our final discussion with our WELS Pastor was pretty short and sweet.  I told him we were attending an Orthodox parish and intended to continue.  His response was basically along the lines of "well, this sometimes happens, and we respect your decision, but if you ever want to come back you will certainly receive a warm welcome."  I think I told him we were leaving essentially because we were more evangelical catholic Lutherans than low church protestant Lutherans, and we found a place where that catholicity was still present.  I also made clear we were not leaving because of him, or anyone else, that it wasn't personal and that we were not angry.  It was a good discussion, I thought.

The one thing I wish we'd done is send a short letter to the parish or spoken with some of our closer friends there before we left.  I assumed, perhaps naively, that our departure would be announced, and I didn't go in person and inform the congregation due to the fact that I didn't want to be perceived as shunning them or rejecting anyone.  Basically, I didn't want to be divisive within the parish.  But it became apparent to me that a lot of our friends didn't even know we had left, much less why.  We kept getting questions about when we were coming back, etc.  That's the reason I started blogging about our conversion.

Offline KBN1

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I am a former Stone-Campbellite / non-denominationalist.  I am close friends with a former pastor and greatly respect him so I did seek his advice when I was considering becoming Orthodox.  He was great about it and encouraged me to read all four gospels again and if I found Orthodoxy there then I probably should convert.  He was mostly pragmatic about it.  He is well studied and I asked him if there were any theological problems he had with Orthodoxy and his response was, "Theological?  No, none that I can think of."  There are a couple of other former pastors that I run into occasionally as we have common friends and one's response to my conversion was, "Huh.  I'm surprised.  Well, no I'm not I guess."  I don't think that was said in a negative sense.  The other one has "offered" his opinion a couple of times and demonstrated his ignorance.  I actually ran into this former pastor a few hours after I was baptized into the Orthodox church and he asked how my day was and I told him it was great and that I just became Orthodox.  His response was, "Wow.  So you are a neo-platonic Roman Catholic now, eh?"

Offline katherineofdixie

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Former Lutheran. I didn't talk to my pastor before I left - although I did try to talk to some of my friends. But they basically blew me off and never spoke to me again.
The reason I didn't talk to my pastor is that I didn't respect him because he failed to honor promises he had given when the congregation called him.
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Offline Quinault

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We wrote to our previous church to withdraw membership. The letter didn't go over very well. It was a "mega church" so even if we had wanted to meet with a pastor, we wouldn't have been able to get an appointment for months or even a year in some cases.

Our leaving coincided with the sacking of several elders and change in the bylaws by mere coincidence, this causes some to think we left because of these events. The sacking of the elders even made the local news!

We didn't even know about the change in the bylaws and the firing of the pastors when we left. We sort of jumped off the cliff into Orthodoxy. One week we were attending Mars Hill, the next week we left MH and started attending our parish. We had investigated Orthodoxy on our own for about 4 years before we made the jump though. Ever methodical in preparation, some what quick when it comes to decision, that is how we tend to work.

Offline Agabus

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As it happened, the church we were attending (a....uh, non-denominational? gathering) was pastored by my wife's uncle, who had married her best friend from high school. One day while at their house (which was next-door to where we lived at the time), my wife spoke with the pastor's wife about how we were going to start attending an Orthodox church soon . We phased out our attendance at that church over the next year as we had made commitments we felt we should keep, and while it would be a stretch to say they were supportive of the move they never said anything negative to us about it and a couple of times asked us how things were going.

Since then we have moved, and my wife actually ran into a different former pastor of ours around town several times. He invited us to start attending church there (it was a capital-R Reformed church) a few times, and eventually she just told him where we were now. The conversation didn't carry on long after that, but I have no doubt that if I run into him he will not express support.

It makes me said, but I have come to think of losing some of those relationships as part of forsaking all for Christ.
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Offline scamandrius

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Former Lutheran--Missouri Synod.

I did not meet with my former pastor for several reasons.  First, I had just moved here to Omaha and I had only been attending that Lutheran church for maybe 9 months before I started attending Liturgy at St. Mary.  I didn't really have much of a connection with him (he wasn't a bad guy or anything and he was the sort of confessional Lutheran I had hoped to find for most of my spiritual life but not enough time elapsed to really develop a relationship).  Second, it was not needed.  I left; that was that.  If I did meet with him or even my pastor when I was growing up (who is one of my best friend's dad), I knew it would get into a lot of heated polemics (There seems to be no worse sin for LCMS people than leaving the Lutheran church;  when several pastors in the LCMS swam the Bosphorus, there were numerous charges of apostasy and heresy and treason thrown out at them by other LCMS pastors).  All I did was write to the governing body of the LCMS announcing my withdrawal and wrote to my local church back home that I should no longer appear on their roster. 
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Offline bogdan

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I came from a non-denominational megachurch, and in my 8 years of faithful attendance there I never personally met the pastor once. I did write a two-page letter of explanation, but I was clearly of little consequence and received nothing in return, except that year's membership "covenant" document I had signed. (They required members to sign one every year to keep track. I requested my "papers"—my baptism certificate, etc—but I never got it. They probably filed it in the Circular File when I transferred from the Reformed church.)

Offline myrrhbear

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It was sad. At first we did let our pastor (Lutheran, Missouri Synod) know we needed time away. (We needed time to explore what Orthodoxy was all about.) Our friends there knew we were visiting an Orthodox church and we told them when we decided to leave. We sent the pastor an email, cowardly, I know and it wasn't well-received I imagine, as there was some fallout. We didn't want to make a fuss; we weren't mad at anyone.  In fact some of our friends were so supportive they may even visit our new church. We told them if they "ever want an upgrade..."
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Offline TheMathematician

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when(if) i convert while im at school, I will most likely not tell my current priest. I will be three and a half hours away, without a new Catholic church to call home, because ill start attending Divine Liturgy when i arrive at school

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Just to add to my earlier post, I was in a Wesleyan holiness group (Church of God out of Anderson IN)
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Offline Trevorthodox

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No need. Anglicans don't mind if you worship in another church, they own the christian cemeteries around here, so if you don't go back in your lifetime, you end up there eventually.