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Author Topic: Fellowship  (Read 1102 times) Average Rating: 0
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jerry
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« on: August 16, 2012, 09:08:12 PM »

Some of you may laugh at my terminology which is a tale-tale sign that I'm a former protestant.  One thing everyone likes in a protestant church is what we called "fellowshipping".  This usually consisted of a potluck dinner or food in some manner or simply being together in some activity.  I miss this so much since I've converted to Orthodoxy.  Do any of your churches do a lot of activities together?  What can I do to help facilitate more "fellowshipping" in my church?
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 09:39:19 PM »

Most Orthodox Churches have a meal after the Divine Liturgy referred to as Trapeza.  It may also take the form of a "Coffee Hour."

Some have picnics once or twice a year and other activities.
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 09:54:57 PM »

My parish has a "coffee hour" after the DL, which works fairly well.
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 10:07:57 PM »

My church does a coffee hour too.  It doesn't allow for much time to talk to each other and share what God's doing in each others lives and to get to know each other.  People who have kids spend most of the hour feeding and taking care of their children so you can have much of a discussion with them.

I'm just a people person and love being around other people especially my church family.  Do any of your churches do anything other than coffee hour?
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 10:23:12 PM »

I'm surprised. My parish has better fellowship than I ever had in any former church I went to, and it's not like we're a mission or very small. We're not huge, but it I wouldn't call it small either.

That's the result of Coffee Hour. Even when I was single and one of the few people my age who attends our parish I was always invited to sit with a group of people, we'd talk, eat, the kids would be running around and playing with one another. Heck we sit there for up to two hours.

I wouldn't give up so quickly on Coffee Hour. I'd offer two other pieces of advice. Don't come on too strong, just be friendly, and try and sit with the same group of people for several weeks in a row. Befriend one group and then branch out.
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 10:31:49 PM »

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I'm surprised. My parish has better fellowship than I ever had in any former church I went to, and it's not like we're a mission or very small. We're not huge, but it I wouldn't call it small either.

That's the result of Coffee Hour. Even when I was single and one of the few people my age who attends our parish I was always invited to sit with a group of people, we'd talk, eat, the kids would be running around and playing with one another. Heck we sit there for up to two hours.

I wouldn't give up so quickly on Coffee Hour. I'd offer two other pieces of advice. Don't come on too strong, just be friendly, and try and sit with the same group of people for several weeks in a row. Befriend one group and then branch out.

That sounds like what I'm use to.  After about an hour at our church though people are cleaning up and looking like they're ready for you to go...lol

I will take your advice though about sitting with groups and getting to know them.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 10:32:15 PM by jerry » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 10:48:37 PM »

offtopic: another sign of Protestant-Orthodox terminology--Protestants say 'Sermon' and Orthodox say 'Homily'.
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 11:44:53 PM »

I'm surprised. My parish has better fellowship than I ever had in any former church I went to, and it's not like we're a mission or very small. We're not huge, but it I wouldn't call it small either.

That's the result of Coffee Hour. Even when I was single and one of the few people my age who attends our parish I was always invited to sit with a group of people, we'd talk, eat, the kids would be running around and playing with one another. Heck we sit there for up to two hours.

I wouldn't give up so quickly on Coffee Hour. I'd offer two other pieces of advice. Don't come on too strong, just be friendly, and try and sit with the same group of people for several weeks in a row. Befriend one group and then branch out.

I have to agree with this; coffee hour at my parish is more like a two-hour lunch (usually with pretty good food).  Everyone sits around and talks, people help out with other people's kids and consequently I've gotten to know some parents of young children fairly well.  I wonder if the OP doesn't go to a large parish, that might have something to do with it.  My parish is about 120-150 people on any given Sunday, so it is smaller than a lot of them (but certainly not the smallest I've heard of).  
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 11:44:53 PM »

offtopic: another sign of Protestant-Orthodox terminology--Protestants say 'Sermon' and Orthodox say 'Homily'.

Except, of course, for the Orthodox who say sermon because then people know what they're talking about.
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2012, 12:44:19 AM »

It doesn't allow for much time to talk to each other and share what God's doing in each others lives and to get to know each other. 
Jerry, honestly some churches just don't do a good job of it. Even in the veritable Solla Sollew of Orthodox Christianity. The best way, in my opinion, to do something about it as an individual human being: Just hang out and force people to make time. But then again, I thrive on awkwardness and inserting myself into unwanted situations, so I'm biased!

Side note: The "what God is doing in my life" thing might weird some people out, though, if people there don't speak what I once dubbed "Pidgin evobapticostal".  Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2012, 11:29:53 AM »

offtopic: another sign of Protestant-Orthodox terminology--Protestants say 'Sermon' and Orthodox say 'Homily'.
I guess you never went to an Evangelical Bible college where you might have studied "homiletics". "Homily" is relatively rare, agreed, but not unknown especially in some denominations that still adhere somewhat to historical Protestant tradition.
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2012, 06:20:03 PM »

offtopic: another sign of Protestant-Orthodox terminology--Protestants say 'Sermon' and Orthodox say 'Homily'.
Sometimes I wonder if you post this kind of thing just to get a response.

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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2012, 06:41:28 PM »

offtopic: another sign of Protestant-Orthodox terminology--Protestants say 'Sermon' and Orthodox say 'Homily'.

Every single one of my RC priests (all of whom were cradles, most of whom born before V2, some even priests before the Council) always called it a "sermon."

There goes your theory, Mr. Man.
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2012, 09:30:10 PM »

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Side note: The "what God is doing in my life" thing might weird some people out,

Really?  So Orthodox Christians do not edify each other by how God's blessing them?  In what way would that weird them out?
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« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2012, 02:28:19 AM »

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Side note: The "what God is doing in my life" thing might weird some people out,

Really?  So Orthodox Christians do not edify each other by how God's blessing them?  In what way would that weird them out?
It is hard to explain the distinction here.

"Glory to God, X happened."

 vs.

"God told me to do X and it turned out he had a plan for me, I'm so blessed by God."
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2012, 02:41:24 AM »

If I may add, it's a thing of what you emphasise. In Orthodoxy there is a tendency to emphasise cooperation or synergy with God. So someone might say "By God's grace I did X" but not "God did X for me" or "I was struggling but God fixed X". God's grace is always necessary, even to begin, but our cooperation is also necessary, not that we can boast about doing good things, but because God doesn't want to violate our free will and so works with us.
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2012, 02:46:02 AM »

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Side note: The "what God is doing in my life" thing might weird some people out,

Really?  So Orthodox Christians do not edify each other by how God's blessing them?  In what way would that weird them out?

Well, for one thing, it is a not-uncommon belief that all things - the good and the bad - come from God.
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« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2012, 09:28:46 AM »

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It is hard to explain the distinction here.

"Glory to God, X happened."

 vs.

"God told me to do X and it turned out he had a plan for me, I'm so blessed by God."

Maybe theres a misconception about it.  To talk about what God's doing in my isn't about boasting or about "what God told me to do and I did it".  Even though we all know that all good and perfect things come from God, to simply hear God meeting needs and sometimes even performing miracles can sometimes help someone who might have a similar issue but scared or embarrassed to ask for prayer or council can help them make the right choices for themselves and family's.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

I just don't believe in keeping the works of God a secret.  I believe that many need to hear it.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 09:41:20 AM by jerry » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2012, 01:20:35 PM »

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Side note: The "what God is doing in my life" thing might weird some people out,

Really?  So Orthodox Christians do not edify each other by how God's blessing them?  In what way would that weird them out?

Well, for one thing, it is a not-uncommon belief that all things - the good and the bad - come from God.
That's it, James
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« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2012, 01:30:18 PM »

i understand yr terminology problem here.
people will generally share more spiritual things with u once u get to know them better.
so u have to get used to more small talk first, then the spiritual stories will come out.

there is this big effort to avoid pride in orthodoxy, which is hard to understand at first if u come from one of those protestant churches that force u to make every conversation into a 'mini preach' or to go in depth into 'miracles i have seen close up'.

i have actually heard of more miracles happening in the orthodox church than when i was a protestant, but people are shy about this, so it took many months before i got into spiritual talk with my friends. we feel that if we orthodox were to talk about spiritual stuff with just any passing person, we could fall into pride. eg. we would feel like we are boasting if we mentioned how well we meditated on the sermon (i have no problem using the latin term!) or if we discussed what miracle we saw. we will talk about these things after we get close to people, trusting those people not to 'boast' on our behalf.
eg. there are a few monks and other holy people who, even today, are given the gift from God to travel spiritually very large distances and come back. but people will not say who it is who did it, they will tell their friends 'one of the monks from there did this or that'. the more shocking the miracle, the more closely the secret is kept. secrets tend to 'come out' after the respective person has passed on, and then they become known more widely. u can send p.m. if u want to discuss this more.

remember the devil's sin was pride. also we want people's faith to be built on the Bible and the teachings of the church fathers, so we don't give such a major platform for discussing personal experiences.
the orthodox Christian faith is very much a large steady ship and not at all like an emotional rollercoaster.
 Smiley

so it's best to talk about places u have travelled, food etc, and then gradually over several weeks gauge how open someone is to 'spiritual chat'.
u can comment on things from the sermon or ask questions like 'i didn't understand that reference to the saints in the intercessions, can u explain it to me? (ask questions of someone u know fairly well as people are easily embarrassed by their lack of knowledge and they are more likely to judge themselves as ignorant, because of the avoiding pride thing).

ask in yr church if there are any Bible study groups. here it is easier to get into spiritual discussion.
but there is no rush. u will learn more by staying and meditating on what u hear in church than by trying to reason it all out straight away. remember the european 'renaissance' was largely an atheist thing, so it is not necessary for us to use our minds so much while our spirits are learning at a slower pace.
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« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2012, 02:03:31 PM »

I'm not just speaking about gifts God gives.  I'm also speaking about Him answering prayers about healing our family or sharing about a tough situation God helped you through.  I know that sometimes non-believers may be around and are unaware that God is active in our lives and could lead them towards conversion.  I'm new to Orthodoxy but I think too if someone had faith issue's and they hear these things that it could help them.

I understand what many of you are saying.  I know sometimes spiritual experiences are personal and not shared with everyone.  I also understand that sometimes someone could speak boastfully about the blessings they've received.  Again, I know I'm new but I just can't imagine right now being silent about what God's doing in my life.
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« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2012, 02:16:00 PM »

But would you equally say:

"I just wanted to share how God is working in my life: Today, I found out I have terminal cancer."

The problem here is the idea that you can label some things "God's working in my life" and leave out others. From an ancient Judeo-Christian perspective, God prepares everything to ultimately somehow lead to the salvation of the world.

When St. Paul says: "the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power" that word "work" is, in the Greek, "energeion"; energy, like the use of the word energy when physicists speak of energy needed for something to be moved. The entire universe is sustained by these Energia, both the good and the evil cannot happen apart from God.

« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 02:21:15 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2012, 02:18:22 PM »

I said in my post that I understand that some things are personal and not shared.  I didn't say that you should share every single aspect of your life.  The intent is that you share positive things God's doing to edify others.  Obviousely sharing that you found out you have cancer isn't a blessing from God that would edify anyone.  No need to be condescending.
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« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2012, 02:22:28 PM »

The intent is that you share positive things God's doing to edify others. 
Perhaps we are misunderstanding you. Can you give an example?
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« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2012, 02:34:34 PM »

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29
And one of the good things that proceeded from the mouth of St. Paul was his story of a thorn in the flesh which God did not remove.
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« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2012, 02:38:22 PM »

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Perhaps we are misunderstanding you. Can you give an example?

I mentioned some examples below but say a member of my family was very ill and through prayer God healed them.  Or lets say I was about to have my house foreclosed on, which did almost happen to me, and God blessed me with a raise a work that allowed me to keep my home.  Or maybe I lost my job and God provided new employment so that i could provide for my family.

Again I know that sometimes these things are too personal to share with others which is ok but now I'm worried about me sharing my stories with other Orthodox members for fear of what they'd think about me.

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« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2012, 02:48:00 PM »

I'm not just speaking about gifts God gives.  I'm also speaking about Him answering prayers about healing our family or sharing about a tough situation God helped you through.  I know that sometimes non-believers may be around and are unaware that God is active in our lives and could lead them towards conversion.  I'm new to Orthodoxy but I think too if someone had faith issue's and they hear these things that it could help them.

I understand what many of you are saying.  I know sometimes spiritual experiences are personal and not shared with everyone.  I also understand that sometimes someone could speak boastfully about the blessings they've received.  Again, I know I'm new but I just can't imagine right now being silent about what God's doing in my life.

But it isn't just the healing of your family that is according to the will of God, but also the cancer your uncle develops, the car that runs over your nephew, the theft of your car, etc.
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« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2012, 02:48:00 PM »

I said in my post that I understand that some things are personal and not shared.  I didn't say that you should share every single aspect of your life.  The intent is that you share positive things God's doing to edify others.  Obviousely sharing that you found out you have cancer isn't a blessing from God that would edify anyone.  No need to be condescending.

How do you know it isn't a blessing from God?  How do you know something you perceive as being a good thing won't actually wind up causing you great spiritual harm? 
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« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2012, 02:48:12 PM »

Quote
Perhaps we are misunderstanding you. Can you give an example?

I mentioned some examples below but say a member of my family was very ill and through prayer God healed them.  Or lets say I was about to have my house foreclosed on, which did almost happen to me, and God blessed me with a raise a work that allowed me to keep my home.  Or maybe I lost my job and God provided new employment so that i could provide for my family.

Again I know that sometimes these things are too personal to share with others which is ok but now I'm worried about me sharing my stories with other Orthodox members for fear of what they'd think about me.



But you cannot see into the future, and you do not know the mind of God; so how do you know these things are beneficial and blessings from God, but cancer isn't?  That's why it is a not-uncommon belief that one should say "Glory to God" (or another, similar, statement) whenever anything, whether you perceive it as good or bad, happens.
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« Reply #29 on: August 18, 2012, 02:59:07 PM »

This topic is getting WAY off topic.  It centered around simple fellowship with other believers.  I believe in sharing the blessings of God while some of you believe in keeping it secret.  I'm just agreeing to disagree.
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« Reply #30 on: August 18, 2012, 03:05:01 PM »

Our church has a coffee hour after liturgy, which is when the kids go to sunday school, so that the adults are left alone to talk. There is also a discussion meeting once a week to just discuss spiritual stuff/bible/etc. The parish feast is also coming up soon as well. Not a ton of potlucks or the like like I experienced in Protestantism though. Not that I generally stay for the coffee hour, so I guess I can't really talk.
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« Reply #31 on: August 18, 2012, 03:06:51 PM »

I believe in sharing the blessings of God while some of you believe in keeping it secret.
My opinion is to share all the blessings without discrimination.
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« Reply #32 on: August 18, 2012, 03:40:48 PM »

This topic is getting WAY off topic.  It centered around simple fellowship with other believers.  I believe in sharing the blessings of God while some of you believe in keeping it secret.  I'm just agreeing to disagree.
Not secret, but private. There is a difference. It's important. Reflect on it for awhile.
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Faith: Anglican
Jurisdiction: Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Posts: 5,103


I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine


« Reply #33 on: August 18, 2012, 10:59:53 PM »

I believe in sharing the blessings of God while some of you believe in keeping it secret.
My opinion is to share all the blessings without discrimination.

As is mine.
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I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011
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