Author Topic: Orthodox Church Drawing Converts  (Read 3371 times)

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Offline Orthodoc

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Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« on: September 26, 2004, 05:37:49 PM »
Orthodox Church drawing converts from other branches of the faith


AN ENDURING FAITH. The Very Rev. John Peck, pastor at Holy Assumption
Orthodox Church in Canton, ministers to many converts of Orthodox
Christianity like himself. Peck said Orthodoxy attracts people who are
tired of congregational splits and denominational infighting.

  By CHARITA M. GOSHAY Repository staff writer

CANTON -- The Very Rev. John Peck calls his faith "a religion off the
radar." The pastor of Holy Assumption Orthodox Church at 2027 18th St. NE
for three years, Peck is overseeing a growing congregation that includes a
sizable number of Christians who grew up in non-Orthodox denominations.

  Peck said Christians are growing tired of churches that constantly change
their doctrine or are splitting as a result of bitter divisions.

  In contrast, Peck said, the essence of Orthodoxy has remained unchanged
since it was born in the first century.

  The Christian Church was a single entity until 1054, when it split into
two parts, Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Protestantism was created as a
result of a split from Catholicism in 1517.

"I wasn't looking for Orthodoxy," said Kim Krajci, a member at Holy
Assumption for nine years. "It was the people that drew me in. My husband
was Catholic and I was with the Friends. We weren't worshipping together. I
told him, 'Wherever you go, I'll go.' A nun with whom he worked and a
friend of his from college told him about this church. The people here are
very loving. They manifest Christ. I find that irresistible."

  Unlike many Orthodox parishes that have strong ethnic identities, Holy
Assumption does not. Peck, whose first parish was in Fairbanks, Alaska,
conducts the liturgy in English.

  "I don't know Latin. Apart from (Eskimo), English is the only language I
know," he said with a smile.

  A smiling Diane Wilkinson said that when she told her father she was
converting to Orthodoxy, he asked her if she were becoming Greek.

  Raised Catholic, Wilkinson said she joined the Charismatic movement,
which led her to several Protestant churches in search of the truth.

  "It irked my husband that there were so many denominations," she said.
"He was looking for the one true church, if it existed. I was looking for a
real worship experience. People are really struggling with what is worship.
They're not looking for a make-it-up-as-you-go-along church. Everything you
could want for your life is in Orthodoxy. You just have to take advantage
of it."

Peck said that like himself, about 60 percent of his members are converts.
Most recently, the church has produced the Very Rev. Stephen Frase of
Tuslaw, a Protestant convert and Malone College graduate who recently
became a priest.

  Peck himself grew up a Lutheran, then joined the Episcopal Church with
his wife. They left Protestantism 12 years ago. Peck has been a priest for
seven years.

  Though Orthodoxy remains somewhat of a mystery, Peck said there's less
ignorance about the church these days.

  "In Orthodoxy, there's no arguing about basic Christian things that have
been taught," he said. "The tether of slicked-up Christianity has been
turned loose in terms of theology and worship. We just don't go for that."

  Peck said Orthodoxy requires commitment of its members. For example, the
Orthodox are required to fast much more often than other Christians.

  "It's off the radar," Peck said of his faith. "It takes a long time to
complete the conversion process. That's not popular."

  "This is a practice of faith that asks you to live a certain way, to act
in a certain way," Krajci said. "When I became a Christian, I was looking
to live the Christian lifestyle. I even looked at several Christian
communities. I didn't understand until I came to Orthodoxy that I'd found it.

  "There are a lot of people who think the guys in black do it all.
'Liturgy' means 'work of the people.' You work to worship. It's not
entertainment," she said.

  After attending one of Akron's largest nondenominational churches for
years, Kalle Obeng said she lost faith when the church changed its doctrine.

  "When a church changes its doctrine, there's a rift in that church," she
said. "People become disillusioned."

  Obeng said the experience sent her on a quest to study early church history.

  "I visited different denominations and finally asked myself, 'What am I
supposed to be looking for?' " she said.

  Obeng said a friend invited her to Holy Assumption, and that during the
second time she attended, she had a revelation of the Virgin Mary as the
mother of God and of the church.

  That was eight years ago.

  "It hasn't been an easy thing, but it's been a great thing," she said.

  Obeng, who is biracial, said she feels comfortable with Orthodoxy, which
has deep roots in Africa.

  Peck said Orthodoxy is appealing because it cuts across cultural
boundaries though its doctrine remains unchanged.

  "To the Orthodox, Catholicism is the Protestant Church," he said. "It's
Orthodox-lite. I don't mean that in a bad way. The framework of Catholic
services is Orthodox. The Roman Church doesn't do anything the way they did
100 years ago, let alone 500 or 1,000 years ago."

  "Continuity is a tremendous aspect most Protestants don't understand,"
Krajci said. "Repeating the same things week after week is an anathema in a
culture that wants change."

  "There's freedom in accountability," Peck said. "Our newest liturgy is
1,300 years old."
http://www.cantonrep.com

========

Orthodoc
Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.

Offline Anastasios

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2004, 05:46:27 PM »
I like articles like this but object when these types of statements are made:

"Peck said Christians are growing tired of churches that constantly change
their doctrine or are splitting as a result of bitter divisions."

Point one is valid but point 2 is not; Orthodox constantly suffer Church divisions.

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Offline Orthodoc

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2004, 05:52:22 PM »
["Peck said Christians are growing tired of churches that constantly change
their doctrine or are splitting as a result of bitter divisions."

Point one is valid but point 2 is not; Orthodox constantly suffer Church divisions.]


I think the implication here is that these divisions are a result of doctrinal changes.  Orthodox Catholic divisions are a result of cultural and ethnic identities for the most part.

Orthodoc
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Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.

Offline Anastasios

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2004, 06:53:44 PM »
Yeah, that's true.

Anastasios
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Offline Arystarcus

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2004, 11:48:02 PM »
Quote
The people here are very loving. They manifest Christ. I find that irresistible

I feel the exact same way about the Orthodox church I have been attending over the past few months. I visited several different Orthodox churches of various jurisdictions while trying to find the one that was right for me, then I decided to go back to one that I hadn't been to since Pascha of this year just to give it another try and I am definitely glad I did, because today I can honestly say that I have found the one and I couldn't be happier!!!  ;D I just felt that I should visit there again one last time and I am thankful to God that I did.

May God's Holy Name be praised!

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Aaron - now a catechumen!

Offline Doubting Thomas

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2004, 04:48:13 PM »
Reading articles like this makes me desire that much more to be Orthodox.  I just wish I could get my wife to see what I see.  :-";"xx
« Last Edit: September 28, 2004, 04:48:33 PM by Doubting Thomas »
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Offline ByzantineSerb

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2004, 06:29:41 PM »
I think the implication here is that these divisions are a result of doctrinal changes.  Orthodox Catholic divisions are a result of cultural and ethnic identities for the most part.

Orthodoc


   With exception to Old Believers, Old Calendarists, etc., right? Those are doctrinal.
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2004, 11:06:48 AM »
  With exception to Old Believers, Old Calendarists, etc., right? Those are doctrinal.

Doctrinal? I am not so sure about that.
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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2004, 11:13:08 AM »
Quote
Doctrinal? I am not so sure about that.

From the perspective of the Old Believers and the Old Calendarists, they most assuredly are.
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Offline lellimore

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2004, 11:21:03 AM »
On the other hand, if you count those as doctrinal disputes, you still have a number of groups claiming to be Orthodox that you can count on one hand.  Whereas, the number of Protestant sects, on the other hand....

Offline Fr. David

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2004, 02:41:02 PM »
On the other hand, if you count those as doctrinal disputes, you still have a number of groups claiming to be Orthodox that you can count on one hand.  Whereas, the number of Protestant sects, on the other hand....

AMEN, Lellimore!  This is exactly the point I try to make to friends of mine who, when the subject of countless Protestant denominations comes up, like to point to the RCC, the Non-Chalcedonians, the splinter groups off "World Orthodoxy," and say, "Ah-ha!  See, you're no better off with Scripture AND tradition to settle doctrinal disputes than you would be with Scripture alone!"

And yet...which is more telling?  A few substantial splits in 2000 years?  Or (by the most conservative estimates) several hundred splits in 400 years?  It's not really an arguable point; the (little c) catholic tradition makes for stronger unity and more doctrinal stability over longer periods of time than does the stronger clout of the individual's interpretation of Scripture within Protestantism.

And it is this stability, I think, that is drawing converts out of the cluttered scene of Protestantism to the "more spacious place" the catholic traditions provide.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2004, 02:42:56 PM by Pedro »
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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2004, 03:07:03 PM »
BTW, being an Old Calenderist in ROCOR, I don't see the New Calander as being doctrine issue, but a matter of tradition.  I personally like it better, because it enables me to concentrate on prayer rather than comercialism during the Easter & Christmas seasons.  I'm just used to it, I know the dates, etc... if my church however decided to switch tomorrow, I would by an OCA calander & figure out when the major feasts are.  I can't speak for everyone, but I know quite a few people who feel the same way.
Now where were we? Oh yeah - the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

Offline Arystarcus

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2004, 03:59:25 PM »
Quote
And yet...which is more telling?  A few substantial splits in 2000 years?  Or (by the most conservative estimates) several hundred splits in 400 years?  It's not really an arguable point; the (little c) catholic tradition makes for stronger unity and more doctrinal stability over longer periods of time than does the stronger clout of the individual's interpretation of Scripture within Protestantism.

And it is this stability, I think, that is drawing converts out of the cluttered scene of Protestantism to the "more spacious place" the catholic traditions provide.

Excellent point Pedro!

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Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2004, 10:49:10 PM »
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 // Re:Orthodox Church Drawing Converts
-½ Reply #5 on: Tue, September 28, 2004, 04:48:13 PM -+  

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Reading articles like this makes me desire that much more to be Orthodox.  I just wish I could get my wife to see what I see. //