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Author Topic: Choosing a Church  (Read 816 times) Average Rating: 0
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JimCBrooklyn
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« on: April 18, 2011, 03:06:02 AM »

I'm sure this has been threaded upon before, but whenever I search for anything, I get the same 10 threads, that are about 47 pages long, and all contain every word ever written.

Now that our family is all Orthodox, we have begun discussing our church back home in the US, where we anticipate we will be anywhere from 50-80% of the time going forward, starting in June. We figured it's better to think about this now, rather than get hectic when we get home. We live in the country, and are equidistant from a number of churches, all about 30-60 minutes away from us: ROCOR, OCA, UOC, GOA, possible an Antiochian church across the river. We are fairly certain that we will be attending either the ROCOR or OCA parish, based on our more Russian background, and some semi-established relationships with them. Of course, we are eager to visit and celebrate with all of them down the road.

Obviously, no one here is going to tell me which one is best, and that would be silly, and obviously, you can't really go wrong, but any one have any experience in this situation, in terms of things that helped them figure out where to go? Also, is it unheard of to regularly attend 2 parishes, i.e., ROCOR and OCA, concurrently. Reason being: the ROCOR church near us is decidedly traditional Russian, which has a good deal of appeal to me in the beauty of worship, and it being close to the tradition I am in my Orthodox infancy in. For my wife, it is ideal, her being Russian, and there seeming to be a few more moms there. At OCA, on the other hand, I have a fairly strong report with the priest, I can experience liturgies in English (the Slavonic can be tough), and the parish clearly needs support, as it is a small mission church, where the priest is working a couple of other jobs. There are great pluses for us to each.

Thoughts?

In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011, 03:15:58 AM »

I'm sure this has been threaded upon before, but whenever I search for anything, I get the same 10 threads, that are about 47 pages long, and all contain every word ever written.

Now that our family is all Orthodox, we have begun discussing our church back home in the US, where we anticipate we will be anywhere from 50-80% of the time going forward, starting in June. We figured it's better to think about this now, rather than get hectic when we get home. We live in the country, and are equidistant from a number of churches, all about 30-60 minutes away from us: ROCOR, OCA, UOC, GOA, possible an Antiochian church across the river. We are fairly certain that we will be attending either the ROCOR or OCA parish, based on our more Russian background, and some semi-established relationships with them. Of course, we are eager to visit and celebrate with all of them down the road.

Obviously, no one here is going to tell me which one is best, and that would be silly, and obviously, you can't really go wrong, but any one have any experience in this situation, in terms of things that helped them figure out where to go? Also, is it unheard of to regularly attend 2 parishes, i.e., ROCOR and OCA, concurrently. Reason being: the ROCOR church near us is decidedly traditional Russian, which has a good deal of appeal to me in the beauty of worship, and it being close to the tradition I am in my Orthodox infancy in. For my wife, it is ideal, her being Russian, and there seeming to be a few more moms there. At OCA, on the other hand, I have a fairly strong report with the priest, I can experience liturgies in English (the Slavonic can be tough), and the parish clearly needs support, as it is a small mission church, where the priest is working a couple of other jobs. There are great pluses for us to each.

Thoughts?

In Christ,
Jim


Wait until you get home and visit each parish. Go where your family is comfortable.

Sometimes, it takes visiting a parish multiple times before you find the one that "fits" you.

A few years ago, I moved from New Jersey to Atlanta. Prior to my move, I investigated all of the Atlanta parishes online. The parish I "thought" would be best for me while researching it online, turned out to not be a good fit for me. And the one parish that I thought would never work for me, ended up being my home while I was down there. (I've since moved back to NJ.)

It's all very nice to try to intellectualize it and figure it out in theory; praxis is another issue.

Wait until you get home to make this decision. It's okay if you spend a few weeks/months visiting parishes. God understands. Smiley
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 03:16:56 AM by HandmaidenofGod » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2011, 03:34:48 AM »

I'm sure this has been threaded upon before, but whenever I search for anything, I get the same 10 threads, that are about 47 pages long, and all contain every word ever written.

Now that our family is all Orthodox, we have begun discussing our church back home in the US, where we anticipate we will be anywhere from 50-80% of the time going forward, starting in June. We figured it's better to think about this now, rather than get hectic when we get home. We live in the country, and are equidistant from a number of churches, all about 30-60 minutes away from us: ROCOR, OCA, UOC, GOA, possible an Antiochian church across the river. We are fairly certain that we will be attending either the ROCOR or OCA parish, based on our more Russian background, and some semi-established relationships with them. Of course, we are eager to visit and celebrate with all of them down the road.

Obviously, no one here is going to tell me which one is best, and that would be silly, and obviously, you can't really go wrong, but any one have any experience in this situation, in terms of things that helped them figure out where to go? Also, is it unheard of to regularly attend 2 parishes, i.e., ROCOR and OCA, concurrently. Reason being: the ROCOR church near us is decidedly traditional Russian, which has a good deal of appeal to me in the beauty of worship, and it being close to the tradition I am in my Orthodox infancy in. For my wife, it is ideal, her being Russian, and there seeming to be a few more moms there. At OCA, on the other hand, I have a fairly strong report with the priest, I can experience liturgies in English (the Slavonic can be tough), and the parish clearly needs support, as it is a small mission church, where the priest is working a couple of other jobs. There are great pluses for us to each.

Thoughts?

In Christ,
Jim

Wait until you get home and visit each parish. Go where your family is comfortable.

Sometimes, it takes visiting a parish multiple times before you find the one that "fits" you.

A few years ago, I moved from New Jersey to Atlanta. Prior to my move, I investigated all of the Atlanta parishes online. The parish I "thought" would be best for me while researching it online, turned out to not be a good fit for me. And the one parish that I thought would never work for me, ended up being my home while I was down there. (I've since moved back to NJ.)

It's all very nice to try to intellectualize it and figure it out in theory; praxis is another issue.

Wait until you get home to make this decision. It's okay if you spend a few weeks/months visiting parishes. God understands. Smiley
Good points.

As an aside, where are you in the A? I have many ties there, have family roots there, lived and worked for my family's company there for a couple years, and often visit. We actually kept our house. Im very curious to explore the Orthodox community there, too, as we may end up back there someday!
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 03:46:30 AM »

Good points.

As an aside, where are you in the A? I have many ties there, have family roots there, lived and worked for my family's company there for a couple years, and often visit. We actually kept our house. Im very curious to explore the Orthodox community there, too, as we may end up back there someday!

I was in Buckhead. I moved back to NJ in 2009 after losing my job.

While in Atlanta, I was a member of Annunciation Cathedral, a parish whose praises I cannot sing enough of. (And this forum is surely tired of, at this point! LOL) GreekChef is the Presbytera there, and would be happy to tell you all about the Cathedral if you ask her.
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2011, 03:53:55 AM »

My house is in Buckhead! I will definitely check that out.
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2011, 11:17:10 AM »

Sorry to bump my own old thread, but I'm trying to sort through this process a bit, now that I'm back in the US, at least for a while.

We live in the middle of the country here, and as such, we are fair good distance from all of the nearest churches. We have a ROCOR church about 35 min away, 2 OCA churches, each about 45-50 min away, and a UC of USA church (which I believe is EP, no?) about 30 min away. Each have great things to offer, and some drawbacks, but I think it would be silly to list them all here. Suffice it to say, we're having trouble figuring out how one decides this sort of thing, not wanting to get almost consumerist in our approach...
Any thoughts?
In Christ,
Jim
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2011, 12:05:18 PM »

My thoughts? Well, go for English. You might be comfortable with worship in another language, but how easily will you be able to share your faith with family and friends?

If all else seems equal, is there one parish that could really use you and the talents you bring? You will enjoy being able to serve in some capacity.
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2011, 12:11:58 PM »

There are lots of reasons but a big one for me is simple proximity. I wish I was so close to a parish that I could stop by on most days and if they had services throughout the week, attend them. I think it is important to be at as many services as possible.
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2011, 06:38:36 PM »

If all else seems equal, is there one parish that could really use you and the talents you bring? You will enjoy being able to serve in some capacity.
This is a great point. Thanks.

One of the issues that I'm running into here, also, is that most of our local parishes are very, very small, and thus eager for new parishioners,  and I've developed decent relationships with a few of the priests. We keep worrying I'll disappoint someone by not attending, which is silly, we just need to get it out of our heads.
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2011, 12:10:34 AM »

Jim, my first thought is - do you have children? If so, I would go for English worship.

A real story to illustrate my stance:

There is a couple that now attends my OCA parish. Husband Russian immigrant, wife convert (before they met). They were ROCOR, at an entirely Slavonic parish. Sermon even in Russian. Wife speaks almost no Russian. They have a grammar school aged child who began attending a Catholic school. You have to go to Mass one day a week as a part of the whole school, even if you're not Catholic. After some weeks into the school year, the child comes home and tells the parents the child wants to become Catholic. Why? Mass is in English.

The next Sunday they showed up at my OCA parish and have been attending ever since.

There are plenty of other immigrants (Russian and Ukrainian, mostly) who attend my parish, at least occasionally, because they want their children to experience English-language services. The children go to public school and speak English (most of the kids were American-born). The parents seem to realize, at least on some level, that without at least some exposure to English services, the Church has less attraction to their children.

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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2011, 01:53:04 AM »

Jim,
Not trying to lure you away from Handmaiden's recommendation.  Annunciation Cathedral is nice.
I'm confident you've looked at this one already. It will be a bit of a haul for you, but this OCA parish in Grant Park (across from the zoo) looks very vibrant, if relatively small.
http://saintjohnwonderworker.org/

I'm sorry I don't know much about the ROCOR parish.
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2011, 09:57:18 AM »

Jim,
Not trying to lure you away from Handmaiden's recommendation.  Annunciation Cathedral is nice.
I'm confident you've looked at this one already. It will be a bit of a haul for you, but this OCA parish in Grant Park (across from the zoo) looks very vibrant, if relatively small.
http://saintjohnwonderworker.org/

I'm sorry I don't know much about the ROCOR parish.

Cognomen-Thanks, I actually visited that OCA parish last month on my trip. It was amazing, but I don't live in Atlanta! I have a house there, as my family's business is headquartered there and I worked there for a while, and I do visit often, but now I really live between the woods in the Hudson Valley, NY and StPB, Russia. I'm also in NYC often; I usually just visit new churches when I'm there.
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 09:58:49 PM »

It's important to pray about it, don't you think? You and your family have certain talents, so ask God to lead you where your talents are needed most. Shouldn't that be the focus, rather than for some who ask, "What's in it for ME?"
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2011, 11:03:24 PM »

Cognomen-Thanks, I actually visited that OCA parish last month on my trip. It was amazing, but I don't live in Atlanta! I have a house there, as my family's business is headquartered there and I worked there for a while, and I do visit often, but now I really live between the woods in the Hudson Valley, NY and StPB, Russia. I'm also in NYC often; I usually just visit new churches when I'm there.

Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I'm glad you enjoyed St. John's when visiting.  Let me know what you come across/recommend in NYC.
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