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Author Topic: Greek parishes? Friendly?  (Read 3510 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rufus
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« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2013, 09:50:22 PM »

Dear Hurdle,

Attending a new church can be a very uncomfortable experience, especially if it's very different from what you're used to. I will leave the decision of whether you want a Greek parish up to you, but here's how I would go about things:

Try just visiting one parish at a time, and if it seems to have potential, stick around; if it doesn't, move on. This way you won't waste time, miss opportunities, or pick a parish based on prejudices. Don't forget to include small parishes in your search.

I've known parishes, Greek and otherwise, that were very friendly, very exclusive, and everything in between. Having personal connections at a church makes a big difference.

Try to be as outgoing and positive as you can be. If you have a very introverted personality, making friends can be sort of like fishing...it requires patience and some luck. Definitely stick around for as long as you can after the service is over for coffee hour, if the church does that.

Unfortunately, making friends (as opposed to mere acquaintances) takes a long time, but in a good setting it should happen eventually.

Ruf
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Rufus
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« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2013, 09:56:27 PM »

One big reason why I have not thought about OCA and Antiochian Jurisdiction is it will give me a feeling that Orthodox is not "Catholic" or universal, as I have said.

Here are also some other things relating to Greek parishes that I am also concerning. Why every time His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch seems only visiting Greek parishes when he is in the United States? I know Ecumenical Patriarchate is also not just caring Greek Americans since it also has work in Hong Kong and South East Asia, but I still do not understand why.

Based on these two statements, I'm wondering if you don't have some misunderstanding about how the Orthodox Church is organized...?
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Theodore S
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« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2013, 10:27:16 PM »

As a recent convert attending a Greek Orthodox parish, I can relate.  I've only attended two different Orthodox churches, both of which are Greek and I attend the one that is the most "ethnic".  There are far fewer converts where I attend, the liturgy is about 50% Greek, and the chattering at coffee hour is mostly in Greek.

When I first started attending, I was told there might be some who aren't as friendly to converts, but I honestly haven't noticed them.  The priest told me early on not to be discouraged if I should encounter any that aren't accepting of us.  He said to stake my claim and I had as much right to be there as they did.  As someone who has never attended an Orthodox church in the 30+ years that I've considered myself a Christian, I can tell you that it was a tad intimidating in the beginning.  I could tell you a few stories of friendly Greeks at my parish, but that doesn't really help you where you're at.  I'm sure there are churches that are super friendly as well as those that aren't.  What I will tell you, is that when I made the decision to convert, it wasn't based on how friendly the church was, although I know how much that can play a part in one's life.  So, if there are some who aren't exactly thrilled that I'm there, that's their issue, not mine.  I'm there to worship and that's what I do.  Fortunately, there are books in the pews that have the liturgy written in Greek and English so I can follow along even when I don't fully understand what is being said.  I can still worship.  I've also learned some Greek and I think they appreciate that I'm making that attempt.

I do feel for you if you're struggling to find friendly people though.  It helps to have a community around you, to walk with you through life's valleys and celebrate life's peaks.  I've had that at every other church I've attended and we were very much involved in each others lives.  So what am I to do now?  If I want friends, be friendly.  Not everyone will connect with me, but the friendlier I am towards others, regardless of their response, the greater the chance of befriending someone.  All it takes is one and then it snowballs, but you've got to put yourself out there.  As cliche' as it sounds, don't focus on the potential negative, anticipate the positive and you'll likely find what you're looking for.
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mrsdalloway
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« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2013, 01:05:41 AM »

I recommend St. Eleftherios in Chelsea, Manhattan. I've attended some Greek parishes before that are rather stuck up and won't associate with you if you aren't Greek... this parish is quite different. The people are friendly and the priest (Fr. Al Demos) is gentle, welcoming, and understanding.
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Hurdle
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« Reply #49 on: June 23, 2013, 08:21:35 PM »

Many thanks to everyone's encouragement and response.
@Thedore S: Thank you!
@mrsdalloway: Thank you! I will visit that particular parish when I have a chance.
@Rufus: Thank you for sharing you experience! Perhaps different jurisdictions have different agendas for people, like Greeks are more focused on intermarriages and OCA focuses more on the general Americans, but they should not mind for people to come at least for the service.Definitely, there are parishes more accepting for an individual person than the others.

Update:
Today I talked to the priest in Greek parish about a parish that I wish to visit to visit one day. He gave me a little bit information about that particular parish then said he will be more happier to talk to me next time since he is busy today. This time I stayed in the parish a bit longer and waited to talk to someone. When the priest was approaching from the altar, I waved hand toward him just wanted to say bye. He asked me what was being going on for me, I said that I was waiting for someone. When I walked out the stairs of the Church, I said "thank you Father," but the priest responded impatiently with "Bye Bye." I think it is not good to read everything, but sometimes I had a feeling that Fr. did not care about my spiritual progress and treated our conversation more like business follow-ups(not responding to emails). Sometime I saw he was a bit hesitated to talk to me, He does not seem have time problem with other Greeks and professional people (maybe I am a student and have no establishment at all)? There were times where I just felt Fr. was trying to say some polite words than bringing something that is meaningful. I hope I did do anything wrong, I just stayed in the church longer than expected today (when everyone was about to leave) and talked to more people.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 08:47:42 PM by Hurdle » Logged
Martyr Eugenia
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« Reply #50 on: June 26, 2013, 12:50:11 AM »

I think it is not good to read everything, but sometimes I had a feeling that Fr. did not care about my spiritual progress and treated our conversation more like business follow-ups(not responding to emails). Sometime I saw he was a bit hesitated to talk to me, He does not seem have time problem with other Greeks and professional people (maybe I am a student and have no establishment at all)? There were times where I just felt Fr. was trying to say some polite words than bringing something that is meaningful. I hope I did do anything wrong, I just stayed in the church longer than expected today (when everyone was about to leave) and talked to more people.

When you say you stayed "in the church" longer do you mean in the actual church or somewhere else for coffee hour? Its not correct to talk and have conversations in the actual church. I see people smile and nod their heads as an acknowledgement or greeting in church. We talk in the fellowship area.

I have also found Fathers aloof you might say. I figure they are busy with their own congregation and dont have time to spare for inquirers or visitors. To 'talk' to one and get meaningful conversation you may have to become an 'official' catechumen. Then you get their attention. Just trying to be helpful.
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