I'm a catechumen. Before I visited an Orthodox Church for the first time, I found an online "helpful things to know" list (which I found very helpful!) I would have been much more shocked by the things I saw were it not for the list (things like the veneration of icons, the bowing and kissing, the candles, the many things I had never experienced as a Southern Baptist). I was thankful for preparation.
Now I'm getting ready for my first Pascha, and for some reason I feel almost as nervous as my first visit. Part of this probably has to do with the fact that I will not be at my "home" orthodox church for Pascha. I have to be traveling this weekend. Although I normally attend an orthodox church from the Russian tradition near where I live, I'm considering celebrating Pascha with a Greek church instead. I figure since I'll be traveling anyway it will be a good time to experience another culture's way of doing Pascha, so to speak. But I haven't even ever experienced my own church's "culture" with regards to Pascha yet!
I do know that, allegedly, "we" do a potluck dinner. People drop off their food in the kitchen before the service. Does that sound right? Apparently some even bring alcohol because it is a pretty big feast (so I've heard). That last part is the "strange" bit to me. I say that not because I have anything against alcohol; I love beer and wine as much as the next guy. The thing is, if I were to bring my own beer or wine to anything at my former Southern Baptist churches I would get a stern rebuke from one of the pastors. So...
... basically, do you have any suggestions for me? The Church I plan to visit is Greek Orthodox Church in America, and it is not a small one. What I should bring to Pascha? Obviously I should bring a prepared heart before God well before the liturgy. Any suggestions on the type of food or drink to bring for the actual feast?
Should I even go to a Greek Church? Do you think I would be more welcome at an OCA church while traveling? (Although I have Sicilian roots, I'm not Greek at all. I'm a second generation American.) Sorry if these last questions offend. I'm just not sure how any of this orthodox stuff works yet... and obviously my own background is a bit, um, screwy.
thanks for any insights,