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Author Topic: If I could only make one suggestion to new converts...  (Read 2692 times) Average Rating: 0
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2012, 01:21:00 PM »

Not to diss your experience, but when we go to so-called "ethnic" parishes, isn't it kind of like being a guest in someone's home, or at least the new in-law at the family reunion. ISTM, that we are the ones that should make the first effort, and not assume that we know everything about what is going on.

To me this sums up the problem.  If you are just a "guest in someone's house" in an ethnic parish, then it wouldn't work.  A parish community should be your greater family and thus you should be one of them, not just a guest in someone's house.


Aren't we talking about people who are new to the parish?
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choy
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« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2012, 01:30:50 PM »

Never been an introvert I see.

So you feel no pitty for shy folke? Got it.

I am shy.  So much so that sometimes I do not even ask for something from the server from the restaurant.  This is why belonging is important to me, if I do not feel that connection with everyone else, I cannot come up and be open to them.

And I feel so bad when everybody is with everybody and I am in one corner not talking to anyone.
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choy
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« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2012, 01:32:10 PM »

Aren't we talking about people who are new to the parish?

I am two years in my current parish and I am still pretty much a guest in gatherings.
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celticfan1888
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« Reply #48 on: September 18, 2012, 01:32:59 PM »

Never been an introvert I see.

So you feel no pitty for shy folke? Got it.

I am shy.  So much so that sometimes I do not even ask for something from the server from the restaurant.  This is why belonging is important to me, if I do not feel that connection with everyone else, I cannot come up and be open to them.

And I feel so bad when everybody is with everybody and I am in one corner not talking to anyone.

So if you are visiting a parish for the first time, and you are shy, should the congregation not try to speak to you first?
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #49 on: September 18, 2012, 01:34:54 PM »

Never been an introvert I see.

So you feel no pitty for shy folke? Got it.

I am shy.  So much so that sometimes I do not even ask for something from the server from the restaurant.  This is why belonging is important to me, if I do not feel that connection with everyone else, I cannot come up and be open to them.

And I feel so bad when everybody is with everybody and I am in one corner not talking to anyone.

I am paralyzed by shyness myself, but if I see everybody with everybody and I am by myself not talking to anyone, I force myself to go over (preferably to an older person - I get along well with them), and say, "Would you mind if I sat by you?" and ask a couple of questions.
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"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
katherineofdixie
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« Reply #50 on: September 18, 2012, 01:37:39 PM »

Never been an introvert I see.

So you feel no pitty for shy folke? Got it.

I am shy.  So much so that sometimes I do not even ask for something from the server from the restaurant.  This is why belonging is important to me, if I do not feel that connection with everyone else, I cannot come up and be open to them.

And I feel so bad when everybody is with everybody and I am in one corner not talking to anyone.

So if you are visiting a parish for the first time, and you are shy, should the congregation not try to speak to you first?


Two things to consider:

Some people are actually shy also. It takes a lot for me to go up to a visitor at church.

Maybe they're not sure you're new. I've made that blunder also. When I did make myself talk to a stranger, it turned out that they were a member who had not attended in awhile. They got a little huffy with me.
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"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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celticfan1888
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« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2012, 01:43:00 PM »

Never been an introvert I see.

So you feel no pitty for shy folke? Got it.

I am shy.  So much so that sometimes I do not even ask for something from the server from the restaurant.  This is why belonging is important to me, if I do not feel that connection with everyone else, I cannot come up and be open to them.

And I feel so bad when everybody is with everybody and I am in one corner not talking to anyone.

So if you are visiting a parish for the first time, and you are shy, should the congregation not try to speak to you first?


Two things to consider:

Some people are actually shy also. It takes a lot for me to go up to a visitor at church.

Maybe they're not sure you're new. I've made that blunder also. When I did make myself talk to a stranger, it turned out that they were a member who had not attended in awhile. They got a little huffy with me.

'Tis true.

I don't really struggle with this problem too much. More for other people.

My problem is, I don't like dealing with people in general sometimes, that's my problem. Sad
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2012, 01:48:03 PM »

My problem is, I don't like dealing with people in general sometimes, that's my problem. Sad

I hear ya. I feel the same way a lot of the time!

While I am shy, I realized that if I didn't get up off my posterior anatomy and reach out to folks, I would be sitting in a corner for the rest of my life. It's actually pretty easy - you act interested and ask questions. People love to talk about themselves.
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"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2012, 01:49:34 PM »

So if you are visiting a parish for the first time, and you are shy, should the congregation not try to speak to you first?

They do in my case.  I think my issue is far beyond that first "hello".  Because like I said, I am two years into the parish and I have pretty much done everything to integrate myself into parish life.  Unfortunately a lot of parish life involves cultural stuff, something that alienates me.
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celticfan1888
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« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2012, 01:52:20 PM »

Unfortunately a lot of parish life involves cultural stuff, something that alienates me.

Tell me about it! laugh
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choy
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« Reply #55 on: September 18, 2012, 01:54:33 PM »

Unfortunately a lot of parish life involves cultural stuff, something that alienates me.

Tell me about it! laugh

Even in the OCA?  The OCA parish I visit is very ethnic-neutral.  Although the membership is very Caucasian, most have a diverse background (Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Germans, Canadians, etc)
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celticfan1888
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« Reply #56 on: September 19, 2012, 04:09:08 PM »

Unfortunately a lot of parish life involves cultural stuff, something that alienates me.

Tell me about it! laugh

Even in the OCA?  The OCA parish I visit is very ethnic-neutral.  Although the membership is very Caucasian, most have a diverse background (Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Germans, Canadians, etc)

No, I mean every other parish outside of OCA.
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #57 on: September 19, 2012, 04:23:57 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Just wana say to the "new" converts~look at it through others eyes also.
God bless you all but you sure do ask allot of questions and make a lot of suggestions and demands, sometimes.
Look at it through the old/cradle Orthodox eyes sometimes. it can get to be unbearable or at the least exhausting.
thy come to church to worship and sometimes are bombarded with "why" or 'why not".


I always felt like I had the opposite problem, people were always trying to teach me Orthodox and accommodate for me when all I wanted was to enjoy their company and make friends. I wasn't necessarily looking for a translator, if I needed English I wouldn't be attending an Ethiopian-speaking parish in the first place Wink

So I just become more visibly involved with the clergy and folks got the hint that I was in good hands in regards to my Church education and indoctrination, and we could get back to just meeting each other over coffee or lunch rather then forcing folks into giving impromptu catechism Wink

I consign with the Achronos..

The most important thing in a parish is to become part of the parish.  You don't have to become the most popular person there, but you should be meeting new people and making friends.  The parish is a family, it takes time, but relationships and social support networks are crucial in this spiritual life.  We experience all our ups and downs of life in the Church, we collectively celebrate our joyful accomplishments and we also mourn our mutual losses together.  Converts tend to suffer from being a bit disconnected from all the normal social activity of the Church, and a major part of how we as Orthodox Christians learn to express and live our Faith is by doing it together.  

I would add this, converts don't feel discouraged if it takes years, even if you were a "local" or even a direct family member of the parish it would still take several years to build to kinds of relationships within the parish to feel less like a visitor or outsider and more like a involved member.  New members are new members, converts or not, and new membership takes time to establish and develop.

That being said, I recommend all converts get out of their comfort zone, Orthodox is about pushing you closer towards God, and when we get closer to God we inherently have to get closer and closer to each other Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 04:26:02 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: September 21, 2012, 03:57:29 PM »

It would be get involved with the parishoners and things going on at the parish. My relationships with people at the parish helped me tremendously in the spiritual life.

And if you can't develop any relationships, find a different parish. I had to leave my Greek one behind because I felt too alienated. Not their fault at all but it wasn't helping me regularly attend liturgies. I just didn't gel well with everyone else since I'm not Greek and sorry to say but it was an ethnic club. I used to attend Bible studies there, Wednesday nights and I got tired of being stared down night after night and nobody wanting anything to do with me.

Oh well bad experience, it happens so if you're experience isn't a good one I would suggest going around to different parishes until you feel comfortable in one.

Unless you are introverts that hate socializing with the people they do not know and talk with them about unimportant things.

*high-five*
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