Author Topic: A rough decade for American congregations  (Read 4057 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline GTAsoldier

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 444
  • Faith: Christian and failing at it
A rough decade for American congregations
« on: September 20, 2011, 09:33:29 PM »
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/20/a-rough-decade-for-american-congregations/?hpt=hp_c2

Quote
A new decade-long survey of American congregations shows religious health and vitality are weaker than they were 10 years ago.  While the survey showed that many congregations are adopting new technologies and innovative worship, there were steep drops in financial health and attendance at weekly worship services.

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research released the study's findings Saturday in a report titled "A Decade of Change in American Congregations, 2000 – 2010" authored by David A. Roozen.

In the measured decade, churches, temples and synagogues told surveyors that congregations that were innovative and contemporary showed the highest amount of "high spiritual vitality."

Why am I not surprised?

- GTA
God be merciful to us sinners.

Quote from: IoanC
the best way of conveying God's love to people is through your own presence and deeds.
No longer posting on this forum. Thanks to all the helpful people who inspired me. God bless.

Offline biro

  • Site Supporter
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 21,553
  • Excelsior
    • Archive of Our Own works
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 09:35:54 PM »
Some of this may be due to the fact that the economy is very sluggish. It's hard for my parish, where a lot of people are also on fixed incomes. However, I'm sure there are other issues at work around the country.
https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist


Warning: stories have mature content.

Offline BoredMeeting

  • Loving the Life of a Council Member
  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 722
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2011, 10:43:19 AM »
A lot of it has to do with the way that the Christian faith is openly mocked in popular American culture, particular in television and movies.

Every time an American Evangelical leader says something foolish, it makes the front page of the NY Times.

Hardly anything in comparison to what the early Church endured at the hands of the Pagans, but the hostility of the popular culture will have an impact.

Offline KBN1

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 888
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 11:18:40 AM »
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/20/a-rough-decade-for-american-congregations/?hpt=hp_c2

Quote
A new decade-long survey of American congregations shows religious health and vitality are weaker than they were 10 years ago.  While the survey showed that many congregations are adopting new technologies and innovative worship, there were steep drops in financial health and attendance at weekly worship services.

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research released the study's findings Saturday in a report titled "A Decade of Change in American Congregations, 2000 – 2010" authored by David A. Roozen.

In the measured decade, churches, temples and synagogues told surveyors that congregations that were innovative and contemporary showed the highest amount of "high spiritual vitality."

Why am I not surprised?

- GTA

What is "high spiritual vitality" and how is it quantified?  "Innovative and contemporary" generally equals entertainment value and has nothing to do with spiritual vitality.  I'm calling this one BS.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 38,001
  • It's raw!
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 11:35:57 AM »
If it is an accurate report, I would agree that the bad economy could be part of an explanation for financial problems. However, I'm not sure about the claimed drops in attendance: when things get tough people generally go to Church more, not less.

Offline BoredMeeting

  • Loving the Life of a Council Member
  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 722
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 02:17:47 PM »
If it is an accurate report, I would agree that the bad economy could be part of an explanation for financial problems. However, I'm not sure about the claimed drops in attendance: when things get tough people generally go to Church more, not less.
Of course, folks are less likely to attend Churches that give them a load of feel-good mush.

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2011, 03:57:50 PM »
If it is an accurate report, I would agree that the bad economy could be part of an explanation for financial problems. However, I'm not sure about the claimed drops in attendance: when things get tough people generally go to Church more, not less.
Of course, folks are less likely to attend Churches that give them a load of feel-good mush.
I must agree. Christianity (in all its stripes) get attacked by culture, ridiculed by media, looked-down upon by the "intellectual elites". That it is really no wonder. Second that by the fact that most churches sell themselves (or their products, their "schools" or their "programs" and not Christ and I understand why.

PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker

Offline Rufus

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,337
  • Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 04:58:24 PM »
So what can we do in our parishes and communities to help bring people into (and back into) our churches?

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 09:44:16 PM »
Well, if I had control over it I would first study the problem. People in the US are starting to realize that American Protestantism is hollow with no substance. Its anything goes and whatever feels right. I think The Orthodox Church should do absolutely nothing. Allow me to explain.

Every spiffy branch of the American churches all do studies and commercials trying to get folks to attend and more importantly to them, give $$$. Orthodoxy drew me in not because of a marketing strategy but by offering stability, tradition, historical legitimacy, closeness to the Lord, and could back up the claims of being the one true church handed down.

The folks who simply want the Christianized version of everything worldly or those who want Christianity with no discipline (what I like to call fire-and-forget spirituality) or no repercussions for their actions dont even understand the basic tenets of the faith. These folks need to come to the real church on their own time.

Those that are ready should be informed and those that arent will only be ready once the Spirit leads them.

PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker

Offline FormerReformer

  • Convertodox of the convertodox
  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,723
    • Music and Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Convertodox
  • Jurisdiction: Netodoxy
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 10:42:43 PM »
Well, if I had control over it I would first study the problem. People in the US are starting to realize that American Protestantism is hollow with no substance. Its anything goes and whatever feels right. I think The Orthodox Church should do absolutely nothing. Allow me to explain.

Every spiffy branch of the American churches all do studies and commercials trying to get folks to attend and more importantly to them, give $$$. Orthodoxy drew me in not because of a marketing strategy but by offering stability, tradition, historical legitimacy, closeness to the Lord, and could back up the claims of being the one true church handed down.

The folks who simply want the Christianized version of everything worldly or those who want Christianity with no discipline (what I like to call fire-and-forget spirituality) or no repercussions for their actions dont even understand the basic tenets of the faith. These folks need to come to the real church on their own time.

Those that are ready should be informed and those that arent will only be ready once the Spirit leads them.

PP

I wouldn't say "nothing". The one thing the Orthodox Church in the States can do that would help growth without being a gimmicky marketing technique is bring about jurisdictional unity. Disaffected Roman Catholics and Protestants both tend to believe that Orthodoxy is either a loose union of nationalistic churches or the same thing as RCism but with a different Pope. Opening the phone book (or going on Google) and seeing "Russian Orthodox", "Greek Orthodox", "Serbian Orthodox", "Antiochian Orthodox", etc reinforces this misapprehension.  We need to finally get to the point where there is just an Orthodox Church that just happens to have a high number of people of particular ethnic groups.
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Offline jewish voice

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 886
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Still dont know yet
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2011, 11:21:55 PM »
Well, if I had control over it I would first study the problem. People in the US are starting to realize that American Protestantism is hollow with no substance. Its anything goes and whatever feels right. I think The Orthodox Church should do absolutely nothing. Allow me to explain.

Every spiffy branch of the American churches all do studies and commercials trying to get folks to attend and more importantly to them, give $$$. Orthodoxy drew me in not because of a marketing strategy but by offering stability, tradition, historical legitimacy, closeness to the Lord, and could back up the claims of being the one true church handed down.

The folks who simply want the Christianized version of everything worldly or those who want Christianity with no discipline (what I like to call fire-and-forget spirituality) or no repercussions for their actions dont even understand the basic tenets of the faith. These folks need to come to the real church on their own time.

Those that are ready should be informed and those that arent will only be ready once the Spirit leads them.

PP

I wouldn't say "nothing". The one thing the Orthodox Church in the States can do that would help growth without being a gimmicky marketing technique is bring about jurisdictional unity. Disaffected Roman Catholics and Protestants both tend to believe that Orthodoxy is either a loose union of nationalistic churches or the same thing as RCism but with a different Pope. Opening the phone book (or going on Google) and seeing "Russian Orthodox", "Greek Orthodox", "Serbian Orthodox", "Antiochian Orthodox", etc reinforces this misapprehension.  We need to finally get to the point where there is just an Orthodox Church that just happens to have a high number of people of particular ethnic groups.
I agree with most of what you said but the names is not a big deal breaker. The first step should be that they all use english for the DL. Second step would be to work out the jurisdictional unity. Third step would be to show that they are not RC church and lay the line in the sand so to speak even at the risk of talk's with the Pope and go after what they call the old Catholic church's such as the PNCC then the Anglicans who are not happy with what is going on there and bring them into the EOC

Offline FormerReformer

  • Convertodox of the convertodox
  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,723
    • Music and Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Convertodox
  • Jurisdiction: Netodoxy
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2011, 11:28:43 PM »
Well, if I had control over it I would first study the problem. People in the US are starting to realize that American Protestantism is hollow with no substance. Its anything goes and whatever feels right. I think The Orthodox Church should do absolutely nothing. Allow me to explain.

Every spiffy branch of the American churches all do studies and commercials trying to get folks to attend and more importantly to them, give $$$. Orthodoxy drew me in not because of a marketing strategy but by offering stability, tradition, historical legitimacy, closeness to the Lord, and could back up the claims of being the one true church handed down.

The folks who simply want the Christianized version of everything worldly or those who want Christianity with no discipline (what I like to call fire-and-forget spirituality) or no repercussions for their actions dont even understand the basic tenets of the faith. These folks need to come to the real church on their own time.

Those that are ready should be informed and those that arent will only be ready once the Spirit leads them.

PP

I wouldn't say "nothing". The one thing the Orthodox Church in the States can do that would help growth without being a gimmicky marketing technique is bring about jurisdictional unity. Disaffected Roman Catholics and Protestants both tend to believe that Orthodoxy is either a loose union of nationalistic churches or the same thing as RCism but with a different Pope. Opening the phone book (or going on Google) and seeing "Russian Orthodox", "Greek Orthodox", "Serbian Orthodox", "Antiochian Orthodox", etc reinforces this misapprehension.  We need to finally get to the point where there is just an Orthodox Church that just happens to have a high number of people of particular ethnic groups.
I agree with most of what you said but the names is not a big deal breaker. The first step should be that they all use english for the DL. Second step would be to work out the jurisdictional unity. Third step would be to show that they are not RC church and lay the line in the sand so to speak even at the risk of talk's with the Pope and go after what they call the old Catholic church's such as the PNCC then the Anglicans who are not happy with what is going on there and bring them into the EOC
I would have to disagree about the language. English should certainly be the standard language in MORE parishes, but in a parish composed mainly of immigrants it would be ridiculous to have an all English language parish. The Church needs to care for all people, not just "seekers" but those already belonging to Her as well.
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Offline jewish voice

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 886
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Still dont know yet
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2011, 11:54:37 PM »
Well, if I had control over it I would first study the problem. People in the US are starting to realize that American Protestantism is hollow with no substance. Its anything goes and whatever feels right. I think The Orthodox Church should do absolutely nothing. Allow me to explain.

Every spiffy branch of the American churches all do studies and commercials trying to get folks to attend and more importantly to them, give $$$. Orthodoxy drew me in not because of a marketing strategy but by offering stability, tradition, historical legitimacy, closeness to the Lord, and could back up the claims of being the one true church handed down.

The folks who simply want the Christianized version of everything worldly or those who want Christianity with no discipline (what I like to call fire-and-forget spirituality) or no repercussions for their actions dont even understand the basic tenets of the faith. These folks need to come to the real church on their own time.

Those that are ready should be informed and those that arent will only be ready once the Spirit leads them.

PP

I wouldn't say "nothing". The one thing the Orthodox Church in the States can do that would help growth without being a gimmicky marketing technique is bring about jurisdictional unity. Disaffected Roman Catholics and Protestants both tend to believe that Orthodoxy is either a loose union of nationalistic churches or the same thing as RCism but with a different Pope. Opening the phone book (or going on Google) and seeing "Russian Orthodox", "Greek Orthodox", "Serbian Orthodox", "Antiochian Orthodox", etc reinforces this misapprehension.  We need to finally get to the point where there is just an Orthodox Church that just happens to have a high number of people of particular ethnic groups.
I agree with most of what you said but the names is not a big deal breaker. The first step should be that they all use english for the DL. Second step would be to work out the jurisdictional unity. Third step would be to show that they are not RC church and lay the line in the sand so to speak even at the risk of talk's with the Pope and go after what they call the old Catholic church's such as the PNCC then the Anglicans who are not happy with what is going on there and bring them into the EOC
I would have to disagree about the language. English should certainly be the standard language in MORE parishes, but in a parish composed mainly of immigrants it would be ridiculous to have an all English language parish. The Church needs to care for all people, not just "seekers" but those already belonging to Her as well.
I'm not say that there shouldn't be any greek etc most should be english 

Offline BoredMeeting

  • Loving the Life of a Council Member
  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 722
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2011, 09:32:01 AM »
I'm not say that there shouldn't be any greek etc most should be english 
I agree. Although hearing a Greek or Church Slavonic litany every once in a while is a good thing, it is very important for the congregation to be able to follow the Liturgy without having their heads buried in a book.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 38,001
  • It's raw!
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2011, 09:35:46 AM »
I agree with most of what you said but the names is not a big deal breaker. The first step should be that they all use english for the DL. Second step would be to work out the jurisdictional unity. Third step would be to show that they are not RC church and lay the line in the sand so to speak even at the risk of talk's with the Pope and go after what they call the old Catholic church's such as the PNCC then the Anglicans who are not happy with what is going on there and bring them into the EOC

I have noted your assessment for consideration by the Metropolitan, thanks.

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2011, 10:04:17 AM »
My nothing comment was in reference to how other American churches go after folks.
Jurisdictional unity is a major factor. I do think that immigrant churches should have the original language, but lets be real for one moment. This isn't the roaring 20's and there arent hordes of folks offloading at Ellis Island not able to speak English.

I do not wish to grab the soapbox, but most folks (except our *ahem*....southern "immigrants") know English before they get here because they know you have to know English to be successful here.

Speak to a German who just got here and they speak English. Same with Italians, French, Arabs, Indians, etc. They all know English to at least, an operational degree. Also, since the vast majority of the Internet is in English, many folks learned enough to get by simply because of the 'net.

All in all, there should be parishes that have native language DL's but the overwhelmingly vast majority of folks speak English so therefore, the overwhelmingly vast majority of parishes should have an all English liturgy.

PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker

Offline FormerReformer

  • Convertodox of the convertodox
  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,723
    • Music and Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Convertodox
  • Jurisdiction: Netodoxy
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2011, 09:46:09 PM »
My nothing comment was in reference to how other American churches go after folks.
Jurisdictional unity is a major factor. I do think that immigrant churches should have the original language, but lets be real for one moment. This isn't the roaring 20's and there arent hordes of folks offloading at Ellis Island not able to speak English.

I do not wish to grab the soapbox, but most folks (except our *ahem*....southern "immigrants") know English before they get here because they know you have to know English to be successful here.

Speak to a German who just got here and they speak English. Same with Italians, French, Arabs, Indians, etc. They all know English to at least, an operational degree. Also, since the vast majority of the Internet is in English, many folks learned enough to get by simply because of the 'net.

All in all, there should be parishes that have native language DL's but the overwhelmingly vast majority of folks speak English so therefore, the overwhelmingly vast majority of parishes should have an all English liturgy.

PP

I will say this in favor of Greek liturgies at least: In those cases where the priest is from Greece and English is his second or third language the liturgy is often easier to understand in Greek (so long as translations of the liturgy are available) than English. Greek people sound like they are talking through a mouthful of marbles when they speak English (A problem I don't have with deciphering any other accent).
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Offline scamandrius

  • A man of many, many turns
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,372
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: DOWAMA of AANA
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2011, 10:17:18 PM »
If it is an accurate report, I would agree that the bad economy could be part of an explanation for financial problems. However, I'm not sure about the claimed drops in attendance: when things get tough people generally go to Church more, not less.
Of course, folks are less likely to attend Churches that give them a load of feel-good mush.

Precisely.  Most evangelical and mainline Protestant churches, especially those that focus on innovative worship styles and new technologies, have become glorified self help centers that focus on making you feel good for 45 minutes, but provide no food (spiritual and actual) for the body and soul.
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,347
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2011, 10:39:44 PM »
Of course, folks are less likely to attend Churches that give them a load of feel-good mush.

I disagree. Plenty of people love feces sliding down their throats.

Offline Rufus

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,337
  • Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2011, 10:56:08 PM »
I'm not say that there shouldn't be any greek etc most should be english 
I agree. Although hearing a Greek or Church Slavonic litany every once in a while is a good thing, it is very important for the congregation to be able to follow the Liturgy without having their heads buried in a book.

I think this is a balanced way of loking at the language issue. I'm a chanter in a Greek parish that does about half-and-half. I feel that we use enough English to allow people to participate in the service without following in a book, even visitors and converts.

That being said, once I became familiar with the liturgical texts, I realized what treasures are contained in them that others are missing. Many people, however, are resistant to English because they consider the beauty of the chants to be lost. I actually agree with them, especially considering the abominably low-quality translations we are given in the GOA.

Nonetheless, my ultimate goal is to work towards an all-English liturgy sometime in the future. I know that some others here share share my sentiments when I say that I am bothered when the entire congregation is looking at a book instead of facing the Altar. Maybe I'm just prejudiced, but it seems like it is not quite worship.

Offline Rufus

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,337
  • Nafpliotis with sunglasses and a cigar.
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2011, 11:16:23 PM »
Well, if I had control over it I would first study the problem. People in the US are starting to realize that American Protestantism is hollow with no substance. Its anything goes and whatever feels right. I think The Orthodox Church should do absolutely nothing. Allow me to explain.

Every spiffy branch of the American churches all do studies and commercials trying to get folks to attend and more importantly to them, give $$$. Orthodoxy drew me in not because of a marketing strategy but by offering stability, tradition, historical legitimacy, closeness to the Lord, and could back up the claims of being the one true church handed down.

The folks who simply want the Christianized version of everything worldly or those who want Christianity with no discipline (what I like to call fire-and-forget spirituality) or no repercussions for their actions dont even understand the basic tenets of the faith. These folks need to come to the real church on their own time.

Those that are ready should be informed and those that arent will only be ready once the Spirit leads them.

PP

I wouldn't say "nothing". The one thing the Orthodox Church in the States can do that would help growth without being a gimmicky marketing technique is bring about jurisdictional unity. Disaffected Roman Catholics and Protestants both tend to believe that Orthodoxy is either a loose union of nationalistic churches or the same thing as RCism but with a different Pope. Opening the phone book (or going on Google) and seeing "Russian Orthodox", "Greek Orthodox", "Serbian Orthodox", "Antiochian Orthodox", etc reinforces this misapprehension.  We need to finally get to the point where there is just an Orthodox Church that just happens to have a high number of people of particular ethnic groups.
I agree with most of what you said but the names is not a big deal breaker. The first step should be that they all use english for the DL. Second step would be to work out the jurisdictional unity. Third step would be to show that they are not RC church and lay the line in the sand so to speak even at the risk of talk's with the Pope and go after what they call the old Catholic church's such as the PNCC then the Anglicans who are not happy with what is going on there and bring them into the EOC

If our plan to evangelize the country is to wait for our hierarchs to agree on something, we are never going to get started. What can WE personally do to spread the Gospel and bring people into and back into our churches? I think this is what it comes down to for us laymen.

Offline TheodoraElizabeth3

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 342
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2011, 11:42:07 PM »

I wouldn't say "nothing". The one thing the Orthodox Church in the States can do that would help growth without being a gimmicky marketing technique is bring about jurisdictional unity. Disaffected Roman Catholics and Protestants both tend to believe that Orthodoxy is either a loose union of nationalistic churches or the same thing as RCism but with a different Pope. Opening the phone book (or going on Google) and seeing "Russian Orthodox", "Greek Orthodox", "Serbian Orthodox", "Antiochian Orthodox", etc reinforces this misapprehension.  We need to finally get to the point where there is just an Orthodox Church that just happens to have a high number of people of particular ethnic groups.

As far as I know, pretty much only OCA parishes are the ones in the US without any ethnic qualifier in the name just "St. So and so Orthodox Church."

But let me tell you, it confuses the IMMIGRANTS to no end! ;) My suburban OCA parish is in an area with a high number of Eastern European and Russian immigrants, many arrived, it seems, within the last ten years or so. We get plenty of them coming by to check us out, and trying to explain the OCA in a minute is a difficult task. "Daughter of Russian Church, we got independence from Moscow 40 years ago, very multi-ethnic (at least my parish, we've got everyone!), many converts, services in English." But once they come for a service, they see much that is familiar - Russian liturgical tradition, and especially the music (we use the Obikhod common chant and many settings by the major Russian Church composers - Arkhangelsky, Bortniansky, Kedrov, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc.).

The issue when you have immigrants from many different countries is what specific language to use? We've got Russian, Georgian, Ukrainian, Moldovan, Greek, Polish, German immigrants, and others I'm sure I don't know about. My priest's concern is that when it gets that multi-ethnic, then the language thing turns into chaos. We keep to English and go wild with the language thing on Pascha!  ;D

Offline jewish voice

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 886
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Still dont know yet
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2011, 12:31:48 AM »
Well, if I had control over it I would first study the problem. People in the US are starting to realize that American Protestantism is hollow with no substance. Its anything goes and whatever feels right. I think The Orthodox Church should do absolutely nothing. Allow me to explain.

Every spiffy branch of the American churches all do studies and commercials trying to get folks to attend and more importantly to them, give $$$. Orthodoxy drew me in not because of a marketing strategy but by offering stability, tradition, historical legitimacy, closeness to the Lord, and could back up the claims of being the one true church handed down.

The folks who simply want the Christianized version of everything worldly or those who want Christianity with no discipline (what I like to call fire-and-forget spirituality) or no repercussions for their actions dont even understand the basic tenets of the faith. These folks need to come to the real church on their own time.

Those that are ready should be informed and those that arent will only be ready once the Spirit leads them.

PP

I wouldn't say "nothing". The one thing the Orthodox Church in the States can do that would help growth without being a gimmicky marketing technique is bring about jurisdictional unity. Disaffected Roman Catholics and Protestants both tend to believe that Orthodoxy is either a loose union of nationalistic churches or the same thing as RCism but with a different Pope. Opening the phone book (or going on Google) and seeing "Russian Orthodox", "Greek Orthodox", "Serbian Orthodox", "Antiochian Orthodox", etc reinforces this misapprehension.  We need to finally get to the point where there is just an Orthodox Church that just happens to have a high number of people of particular ethnic groups.
I agree with most of what you said but the names is not a big deal breaker. The first step should be that they all use english for the DL. Second step would be to work out the jurisdictional unity. Third step would be to show that they are not RC church and lay the line in the sand so to speak even at the risk of talk's with the Pope and go after what they call the old Catholic church's such as the PNCC then the Anglicans who are not happy with what is going on there and bring them into the EOC

If our plan to evangelize the country is to wait for our hierarchs to agree on something, we are never going to get started. What can WE personally do to spread the Gospel and bring people into and back into our churches? I think this is what it comes down to for us laymen.
I agree with you on this. There are simple things that you can do example if you have facebook way not like or link Ancient Faith radio to it. I have friends that don't go to church that aren't family on there. If a group of people at work or somewhere are talking about faith church talk about being Orthodox that's not putting a gun to some ones head and forcing your views just sharing. this is no lie I live close by to over 4 different Orthodox Church's and never head of them till just 2 yrs ago to me something is wrong with that

Offline Alveus Lacuna

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,347
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2011, 10:54:43 AM »
As far as I know, pretty much only OCA parishes are the ones in the US without any ethnic qualifier in the name just "St. So and so Orthodox Church."

In the Kansas City metro we have an Antiochian church that simply reads: "St. Basil Orthodox Christian Church". Also, my Serbian mostly convert parish simply reads: "St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church".

I personally like this direction for things but I'm also not opposed to the ethnic identifiers, because I'm not all about crushing culture for America.

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: A rough decade for American congregations
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2011, 01:10:14 PM »
As far as I know, pretty much only OCA parishes are the ones in the US without any ethnic qualifier in the name just "St. So and so Orthodox Church."

In the Kansas City metro we have an Antiochian church that simply reads: "St. Basil Orthodox Christian Church". Also, my Serbian mostly convert parish simply reads: "St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church".

I personally like this direction for things but I'm also not opposed to the ethnic identifiers, because I'm not all about crushing culture for America.
Same here. I go to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (shameless advertisement - http://www.orthodoxlynchburg.org/) and actually lots of folks come by and see what we're all about. There is a Greek Orthodox Church in town that dosn't get nearly the visitor traffic we do.


PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker