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irene
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« on: November 14, 2004, 05:41:15 PM »

Hi all,
I've been studying Orthodoxy for a few months, and have attended some services.  I have really felt spiritually "at home." (at the service)

This is on my mind though, it seems like a great emphasis is placed on attending the coffee get together after the service.   You don't see anyone leave (except me), and when I start going out the door, some have seemed like... where are you going???
I have to head home by that time for obligations.
I am RC, and you can pretty much do your own thing, and not be noticed.   That is good and bad.  I am not quite used to people noticing my leaving!

Anyway, the church is also very ethnic, and I am not of that heritage.   It is Albanian, and in my town.

I am a little disappointed because although I am not a snobby person (i hope not) I also don't like to explain to others why I have to come or go.   Do you know what I mean?  Afterawhile, too, will they think I am antisocial to them, although, I am not trying to be?  How much of an emphasis is on this aspect of the church?

Thx!!!!
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2004, 07:19:07 PM »

It certainly is NOT an obligation, but put yourself in their perspective.  They want to meet the new inquirer and find out about you.  Since the church is a Eucharistic community, it is good to fellowship together.  Try to make it a point to attend at least occasionally though, so you can meet your fellow parishoners.  Also, the priest may only have time to meet with you after the service as well.

Welcome to the board.
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2004, 10:06:21 PM »

Hi irene,
I do not think this is an ethnic issue-thing either. These 'coffee hours' are actually a version of the communal feast which the entire congregation enjoyed in the early Church following Divine Liturgy.
Although in Greek parishes today the 'Antidoron' - blessed bread- is distributed as a remembrance of this tradtional feast, some parishes, including mine do have an actual feast (trapeza - -ä-ü+¦-Ç+¦+¦+¦ - "table") after the liturgy. Yes, this does stress the sense of "community" bound by the Eucharist.

And, yes, the other observations about getting to know one another does play a big part, too  Smiley

Demetri
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2004, 09:45:10 AM »

Irene --

This is one of the bigger *practical* differences between Orthodoxy in North America and Roman Catholicism in North America.  The Orthodox parishes are much smaller, everyone generally knows who everyone else is, it is like a sort of extended family.  There really isn't anything near the same degree of anonymity that you have in a typical RC parish.  People do notice your comings and goings, people (including the priest) will notice when you haven't attended and so forth.  It takes some getting used to when you are coming from Roman Catholicism, and I have to admit that there are times when I wish things could be more anonymous, but it just isn't that way ... our parishes are too small for that to be the case.

Coffee hour can be trying, I agree, when one is used to the more anonymous approach in the RCC.  It's pretty important to go at least occasionally so that you can get to know the other people in the parish over time.  Other than that, however, I wouldn't worry too much about it.  There surely are folks who go to liturgy every week and don't go to coffee hour very often at all, and that's accepted.

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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2004, 12:11:14 AM »

Also coffee hout after Divine Liturgy may be a bigger deal then at other churches since most of the folks haven't eaten since the night before and are really hungry
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2004, 02:29:36 AM »

Quote
Also coffee hout after Divine Liturgy may be a bigger deal then at other churches since most of the folks haven't eaten since the night before and are really hungry

Good point Crucifer, that's very true. I know that by the time liturgy ended this past Sunday I was starving and couldn't wait to get downstairs.

In Christ,
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2004, 02:35:10 AM »

Quote
I am RC, and you can pretty much do your own thing, and not be noticed.  That is good and bad.  I am not quite used to people noticing my leaving!

This is actually one thing that I really liked about ORthodoxy and disliked about my experiences at Catholic churches. Of course, this is probably because I was not raised in a megachurch that had 3,000+ members, I was raised in protestant churches that were smaller in size. I know that I couldn't get used to the idea of becoming an anonymous face in the crowd, but if that was the kind of church that you were brought up in, then it's understandable that you would prefer that.

Quote
Anyway, the church is also very ethnic, and I am not of that heritage.  It is Albanian, and in my town.

I bet that they have some delicious goodies for you to snack on and if they are anything like my church they will encourage you to stick around and try everyone's specialty.  Grin

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2004, 07:11:00 AM »

I find church to be much easier to deal with now that I have stopped attending coffee hour.
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irene
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2004, 07:42:17 AM »

Hi--

I will check it out.  Just didn't know if I was really doing something wrong by leaving after Liturgy.  No one left but me, and people were actually standing by the door---- and when I said, "excuse me"  to go by, they seemed a bit confused that I was leaving.
Sometimes, I will  have to leave right after Liturgy because of other obligations, and will just explain.
Maybe once a month I will be able to stay, and who knows, it may become something I look forward to!
Is it about an hour?  Or, does it go long into the afternoon?  
Thanks for giving me an idea of what to expect.

Irene   Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2004, 11:04:22 AM »

This is one of the most striking differences between Orthodox (and protestant) churches and RC churches.  I hadn't been to an Orthodox church in awhile and someone came up to me after vespers, introduced themselves and asked how I was.  As a lifelong RC, truthfully I was a bit taken aback.  Speaking generally, I don't think anyone has ever talked to me after Mass (other than a priest, of course).  

I don't quite understand why RC churches are like that.  Even smaller churches are the same way.  It seems to be part of RC culture.
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2004, 11:49:55 AM »

Coffee hour is as long as you'd like to make it.  I just about always go down for it, but if you have to leave, just staying for 10 minutes, grabbing a quick cup of joe and a bite to eat is perfectly normal. People drift out as they are ready, so it's about as fluid as most Orthodox things.  That's probably why ppl find it strange that you leave without going to coffee hour, because even if you need to go 5 minutes later, most ppl would still go just to say hi and grab something quick before heading home.
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2004, 12:02:49 PM »

Hi--

I think in the RCC, you can be as involved as you make yourself to be.  There are many small ministries, and you can meet people that way, and then when you see them in church you say hello and connect.   But, you could also go and come for years and years without ever knowing anyone.   The only way the church would ever know you were sick, etc...is if you contacted the rectory.  No one would notice your absence.  Also, there are several Masses each weekend, you might go to a 4:30 one week, and the next week, a 9:00, seeing a whole different group of people.  And now it is a larger group because churches are closing and combining with other churches in the area.  

When you do the above for years, it is different to have someone ask, "where are you going?" ( Huh? Are you speaking to me? lol)  It is nice though, too.  I think that is the way the early church was.  Once you get that mindset, it is easier to understand.  It does involve getting to know others, and have them know you.    

I am also more  familiar with a one hour service max., and now I am there almost two, maybe more.     Sometimes, I prefer the walk home right after,  we don't live far from the church, and on a nice day, that time alone to think about God and the service has been so nice.  

So, maybe the best bet all around, is to pop in every now and then, if one can't or doesn't prefer to go each week after service.   Just didn't know if I was doing something very unconventional by leaving.    

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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2004, 05:21:49 PM »

Sheesh, who in the world could talk after church?
Don't you know that every unneeded word said in church should merit you a thousand years in hell?[paraphrased from St.Gertrude]
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Ebor
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2004, 06:38:02 PM »

Sheesh, who in the world could talk after church?
Don't you know that every unneeded word said in church should merit you a thousand years in hell?[paraphrased from St.Gertrude]

Who could talk after church?  Lots of people.  It is a useful thing to remember that what one person does or does not do/like/want is very likely not the rule for other people.  Some can talk and want to be with other Christians after church.  Others do not.  Neither is wrong.  Also, it helps in the Christian community to speak with others and spend time with them.  

Also, there may be a visitor or inquirer in church.  How would being ignored or snubbed be a witness of Christianity?  

As to the  "unneeded word" paraphrase: No, I don't know that.    How do you know what is unneeded and what is very much needed?  Someone may desperately need to hear a word from another human being, (and that probably not a reprimand.)  Not that one should start discussing sports in church, but not all "words" are equal.  Which St. Gertrude is it who said that something merits Hell?   Such is God's to say.   Also, since this is a paraphrase, what did she actually say, out of curiosity?  Context is very important.

Ebor
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2004, 06:52:57 PM »

Hmmm... from what I've heard from a couple who attended church regularly all over Russia and the various republics, coffee hours are very much an American invention and very much not a part of church life in Russia. According to them, after church Russians would eat at home or friends' houses, or wherever they would typically eat lunch on a weekend. The local Russian parish here in Houston (which is all-Russian, and I mean *all*-Russian; even the homily is in Russian) doesn't have a coffee hour; they used to back when a non-Russian priest was serving, but apparently several parishioners were very vocal in opposition to it, and after a Russian priest came on a few years ago persuaded him to end it.
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2004, 09:54:16 PM »

Well. coffee hours are nice....but so is going to someone's house to eat after church.  In fact, if people can put up with having the whole parish come over after church, that's really nice.  But you know, I just wonder.  If we instituted that more here in North America, wouldn't you find that the parish was mostly going to the houses that were closest to the church after liturgy, more often than not?  I'd like to hear more about this Russian custom, and how well it works.  Thanks!
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« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2004, 03:03:16 PM »

I can see where it is intimating especially if you are attending alone. In a big RC church it's easy to just disappear if you want to. Whereas in an Orthodox church, new people are often the center of attention. Although I am aware of this, I have moved a couple of times thus changing parishes and my husband and I have been the "new young couple" in three different churches. I'm not a fan of being the center of attention either.

That said, coffee hours is not a requirement for being Orthodox. It is a nice way to get to know people but, there are other options for getting to know people. There are usually womens groups, parish council, sunday school etc. Other ways to meet people without hanging around the parish hall.

If someone asks, a simple: I would love to stay but I have another appointment (obligation) immediate following liturgy. Thank you for inviting me!
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« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2004, 12:35:42 AM »

Typically I just leave after the service....quite a few people do. So if you left right after the dismissal I don't think there should be much of a problem.
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2004, 05:09:59 PM »

Sometimes I stay for coffee hour sometimes I don't. At my Episcopal parish coffee hour was the biggest of deals, sometimes it was essentially a brunch and everyone stayed for about an hour afterward.
I don't always feel like socializing w/ a bunch of people, or have to get home etc.. in which case I just say "hello" to a few people and leave.
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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2011, 03:18:52 AM »

Hi irene,

I am Roman catholic also.

I think the way you describe the church must be an American thing, I am from the Uk and if i missed a service the priest would call me on the phone to see if I was ok, or one of the sisters would.

There was always coffee and food afterwards and there was always lots of half day events like visiting priests giving talks etc.

it is a small community.

now I live in Athens, Greece and it is how you describe it. it seems very wierd and cold.

But in your orthodox church when you get used to it, you will be part of there family, and they will care about you.

That must make you feel good to be part something more than just sitting in church for 1 hr, being part of a big family. being able to talk to the ones with experiance and drawing on there faith.

I hope you get used to being part of a caring community.

I also wish you well in the orthodox church, I am also looking into converting to orthodoxy.

God Bless

Hi all,
I've been studying Orthodoxy for a few months, and have attended some services.  I have really felt spiritually "at home." (at the service)

This is on my mind though, it seems like a great emphasis is placed on attending the coffee get together after the service.   You don't see anyone leave (except me), and when I start going out the door, some have seemed like... where are you going???
I have to head home by that time for obligations.
I am RC, and you can pretty much do your own thing, and not be noticed.   That is good and bad.  I am not quite used to people noticing my leaving!

Anyway, the church is also very ethnic, and I am not of that heritage.   It is Albanian, and in my town.

I am a little disappointed because although I am not a snobby person (i hope not) I also don't like to explain to others why I have to come or go.   Do you know what I mean?  Afterawhile, too, will they think I am antisocial to them, although, I am not trying to be?  How much of an emphasis is on this aspect of the church?

Thx!!!!
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2011, 03:35:28 AM »

This is a seven year-old. I don't know if Irene even posts here anymore.
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« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2011, 12:03:19 PM »

For what it's worth, I am extremely thankful for the coffee hour.  We moved to a new city and knew next to no one here, outside of a few work acquaintances.  The coffee hour gave us a chance to connect with others in the church.  We consider those folks as our "church family" in this city, and while at coffee hour we make plans to get together, go out to dinner, etc.  It helps break down boundaries so that we get to know one another as complete human beings (made in the image of God) and provides opportunities for fellowship with other Orthodox Christians.  Meeting folks there made us comfortable enough to ask them about the choir, and invited to join, where we now sing.  It also helps emphasize the nature of church as not just "me-and-God" but that we are indeed part of the Body of Christ, not just when we worship God in the Liturgy but at all times and in all places.  "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35).  It also makes the church itself seem even more like our "home" with our "family" there, a place where we long to be and are excited to go.  "I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord."  (Psa. 122:1).  This time of fellowship has really helped build up my relationship with God and with His people.  Just my two cents.
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« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2011, 02:15:07 PM »

We just had a wedding, the couple having met and talked in preparing the coffee hour.
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« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2011, 08:01:45 PM »

For what it's worth, I am extremely thankful for the coffee hour.  We moved to a new city and knew next to no one here, outside of a few work acquaintances.  The coffee hour gave us a chance to connect with others in the church.  We consider those folks as our "church family" in this city, and while at coffee hour we make plans to get together, go out to dinner, etc.  It helps break down boundaries so that we get to know one another as complete human beings (made in the image of God) and provides opportunities for fellowship with other Orthodox Christians.  Meeting folks there made us comfortable enough to ask them about the choir, and invited to join, where we now sing.  It also helps emphasize the nature of church as not just "me-and-God" but that we are indeed part of the Body of Christ, not just when we worship God in the Liturgy but at all times and in all places.  "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35).  It also makes the church itself seem even more like our "home" with our "family" there, a place where we long to be and are excited to go.  "I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord."  (Psa. 122:1).  This time of fellowship has really helped build up my relationship with God and with His people.  Just my two cents.

I agree! In fact, I almost feel "slighted" if a visitor comes to the liturgy then dashes out afterwards instead of staying to share the meal and fellowship, as if a family member dropped in and left without saying hello or goodbye. I understand there could be prior commitments, but all the same it is a disappointment when it happens. Am I out of line?
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« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2011, 03:54:31 AM »

OUT of line? no I don't think you are.

it is important for people to mix and socialise after a service. especially if the church is like a family.

but some people don't like it, there is another thread like this here http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37606.0/all.html#top

as you will see, some are against it, but reasons not so good.

I am all for it, but unfortunately the church I go to is anti social.

For what it's worth, I am extremely thankful for the coffee hour.  We moved to a new city and knew next to no one here, outside of a few work acquaintances.  The coffee hour gave us a chance to connect with others in the church.  We consider those folks as our "church family" in this city, and while at coffee hour we make plans to get together, go out to dinner, etc.  It helps break down boundaries so that we get to know one another as complete human beings (made in the image of God) and provides opportunities for fellowship with other Orthodox Christians.  Meeting folks there made us comfortable enough to ask them about the choir, and invited to join, where we now sing.  It also helps emphasize the nature of church as not just "me-and-God" but that we are indeed part of the Body of Christ, not just when we worship God in the Liturgy but at all times and in all places.  "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35).  It also makes the church itself seem even more like our "home" with our "family" there, a place where we long to be and are excited to go.  "I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord."  (Psa. 122:1).  This time of fellowship has really helped build up my relationship with God and with His people.  Just my two cents.

I agree! In fact, I almost feel "slighted" if a visitor comes to the liturgy then dashes out afterwards instead of staying to share the meal and fellowship, as if a family member dropped in and left without saying hello or goodbye. I understand there could be prior commitments, but all the same it is a disappointment when it happens. Am I out of line?
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« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2011, 07:39:53 AM »

I am not sure if it possible to merge the threads, as this one is almost 7 years old.

I shall ask the moderater if it is possible.

OUT of line? no I don't think you are.

it is important for people to mix and socialise after a service. especially if the church is like a family.

but some people don't like it, there is another thread like this here http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37606.0/all.html#top

as you will see, some are against it, but reasons not so good.

I am all for it, but unfortunately the church I go to is anti social.



For what it's worth, I am extremely thankful for the coffee hour.  We moved to a new city and knew next to no one here, outside of a few work acquaintances.  The coffee hour gave us a chance to connect with others in the church.  We consider those folks as our "church family" in this city, and while at coffee hour we make plans to get together, go out to dinner, etc.  It helps break down boundaries so that we get to know one another as complete human beings (made in the image of God) and provides opportunities for fellowship with other Orthodox Christians.  Meeting folks there made us comfortable enough to ask them about the choir, and invited to join, where we now sing.  It also helps emphasize the nature of church as not just "me-and-God" but that we are indeed part of the Body of Christ, not just when we worship God in the Liturgy but at all times and in all places.  "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35).  It also makes the church itself seem even more like our "home" with our "family" there, a place where we long to be and are excited to go.  "I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord."  (Psa. 122:1).  This time of fellowship has really helped build up my relationship with God and with His people.  Just my two cents.

I agree! In fact, I almost feel "slighted" if a visitor comes to the liturgy then dashes out afterwards instead of staying to share the meal and fellowship, as if a family member dropped in and left without saying hello or goodbye. I understand there could be prior commitments, but all the same it is a disappointment when it happens. Am I out of line?

These two threads are so similar they could be combined. If it's allowed I'll post what I said there here, too:

How truly sad if the social hour at a parish is perceived only as "gossip hour". If that is the case, perhaps finding a different parish family is in order? If Christ is truly in a parish, the members there love each other and attend not only for their own nourishment but to nourish each other in whatever way God chooses to use them/you. Some parishes, during the fellowship hour at one table or corner of a table, hold informal discussions on Christian topics.
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