Author Topic: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy  (Read 29246 times)

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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #315 on: October 04, 2012, 09:29:16 AM »
Okay, so how to we involve the lost sheep in the life of the parish?

Probably it's like a lot of other things - it's personal.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #316 on: October 04, 2012, 09:50:19 AM »
Heck, if I knew the answer to that one, I would writing best sellers, not posting online!

That one has stumped most of the wonderful folks I have known over the years. And even within any family, if you have four kids, you will be lucky to keep two in the faith. I just don't know. We were lucky but in my wife's family only one of four. Yet all three of my adult children are active in the Church. Go figure.

But the constant bickering among us and the sense among some priests and laity that we have to be visibly 'odd' to be effective and 'authentic' is probably part of the problem. I know, call me a 'modernist' on that one.... but I doubt that the Church of the 4th, 7th, 10th, 15th or 19th centuries would 'look' or 'sound' the 'same' as our modern parishes to a would be time traveller. I think that the Church would 'feel' the same, but as to 'looking' the same - I doubt it.

Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #317 on: October 04, 2012, 10:13:50 AM »
Yet most if not all of the OCA and GOA parishes have Sunday Schools, retreats, summer camps etc. which are catechetical in nature, as well as experiential. As a Sunday School teacher, I can tell you that GOA has some dynamite catechetical materials.

So what do we need to do better?

Sunday school, retreats, summer camps, etc. are all wonderful - sadly in the UK we hardly have any of that stuff - but they're only attended by people who are already somehow involved with church. The baptism thing would target those people who would never come to any of those.

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #318 on: October 04, 2012, 11:20:48 AM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Here, it is more than sixty per cent and earlier than the college years.

We should also remember that most of these kids are given nothing whatsoever at home. If they are given anything, it's ridiculous superstition as an explanation of external rituals, things no educated person could ever entertain. My experience is that when we actually do have liturgies in English, the people who show up are never the people who complain about the language, but people who always show up to the Greek liturgies anyway. Language is important, but the mass exodus of youth is primarily a problem of catechesis rather than language imho.

Yet most if not all of the OCA and GOA parishes have Sunday Schools, retreats, summer camps etc. which are catechetical in nature, as well as experiential. As a Sunday School teacher, I can tell you that GOA has some dynamite catechetical materials.

So what do we need to do better?

(btw, I have native English-speakers, native Ukrainian/Russian and native Farsi/Arabic speakers in my class. We all speak English in class, however, since it's the only language we have in common.  ;))

I don't think any of us have been suggesting a lack of catechism, rather I think that we just need increase  our efforts continually in this direction. I sincerely applaud  :) :) :)  that you are picking up the ball to teach in your parish, and this is the core of our successes, the involvement of our parishioners.  So just keep doing what your doing, and like all of us teachers, day in and day out try to do it better and better.

We just need to increase the efficacy, advocacy, dynamic impact of our existing programs, in my opinion especially towards inclusion and social integration into parish life.  I think that we already do a good job of teaching what the Church is and what the Church does, so now in our Sunday Schools and youth programs lets build on our successes by steadily integrating our young adults into doing things in the Church (Liturgy, altar service, choir, councils, committees, ministries, etc etc)

As with ALL youth, even in secular school environments, kids look to the adults to model what the future and community expects from them.  Often young folks simply have no exposure to many things, so what we can do both as educators in our parishes and even just as parishioners is be the mentors demonstrate tangible examples of what the youth can do.  

Okay, so how to we involve the lost sheep in the life of the parish?

Probably it's like a lot of other things - it's personal.

We directly and at an individual level council and console them to include them back into the fold.  This is why I personally feel that social integration is so important, it provides a mechanism for inclusion.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 11:24:25 AM by HabteSelassie »
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline genesisone

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #319 on: October 04, 2012, 12:29:10 PM »

Yet most if not all of the OCA and GOA parishes have Sunday Schools, retreats, summer camps etc. which are catechetical in nature, as well as experiential. As a Sunday School teacher, I can tell you that GOA has some dynamite catechetical materials.

So what do we need to do better?

I like the point made earlier about requiring parents and godparents to go through a catechetical study. What you are doing does provide well for the young people, but unless this in reinforced in and by the family, its value is limited.

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #320 on: October 04, 2012, 04:07:22 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Yet most if not all of the OCA and GOA parishes have Sunday Schools, retreats, summer camps etc. which are catechetical in nature, as well as experiential. As a Sunday School teacher, I can tell you that GOA has some dynamite catechetical materials.

So what do we need to do better?

I like the point made earlier about requiring parents and godparents to go through a catechetical study. What you are doing does provide well for the young people, but unless this in reinforced in and by the family, its value is limited.

That is how a lot of Catholic parishes roll ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline genesisone

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #321 on: October 04, 2012, 04:44:37 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Yet most if not all of the OCA and GOA parishes have Sunday Schools, retreats, summer camps etc. which are catechetical in nature, as well as experiential. As a Sunday School teacher, I can tell you that GOA has some dynamite catechetical materials.

So what do we need to do better?

I like the point made earlier about requiring parents and godparents to go through a catechetical study. What you are doing does provide well for the young people, but unless this in reinforced in and by the family, its value is limited.

That is how a lot of Catholic parishes roll ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
If it's the good and healthy parishes, then I guess they're onto a good thing! (I never was RC - or investigated it with a view to becoming so.)

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #322 on: October 04, 2012, 06:31:16 PM »
That is part of the frustration of the cradle Orthodox.  Rather, we are BOTH a Great Commission church AND a church that goes after the Lost Sheep of Israel (aka, our own people), as Matthew 10 speaks to.  we can't be one or the other, which ALL of your points allude to, but we just have to remain consistent throughout our process to serve BOTH those in the great commission, AND those who Christ went to first, Himself. 

I have never really heard of an Orthodox focus on ministering to Jewish communities.  If anything, at least in our Ethiopian (and I'd guess Russian) jurisdictions, we sort of have the opposite thing going on.  This idea is very new to me, could you please clarify or elaborate and share a bit more, I am very curious.


stay blessed,
habte selassie

I don't know for sure if they do, but I would imagine that in Jerusalem they SHOULD but the political climate does not allow them to.  My whole point with it is that we should be holistic.  Minister to everyone.  Do the great commission AND go after the lost sheep of israel...in every sense of the words. 

Offline choy

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #323 on: October 04, 2012, 07:28:19 PM »
http://theoniondome.com/2012/01/30/greek-priest-sent-to-bed-without-supper-for-translating-liturgy/

ATHENS HEIGHTS – In a move that surprised exactly no one (except perhaps Mr. Stanley Majors of Pretoria, South Africa), Father Irmanos Spartopolis of Athens Heights, Greece was sent to his room without supper by His Grace Bishop SPARTOS Irmopolis for translating the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom into modern Greek.

Editted for our copyright rules - MK
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 07:37:42 PM by Michał Kalina »

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #324 on: October 04, 2012, 07:40:04 PM »
I have incorporated so many inputs that I must go back and find their providers. Nonetheless, here is the revised summary that incorporates what Genesisone suggested above.

1a. All English services are absolutely necessary. Indeed, the official language of the future administratively united Orthodox Church of the Unites States of America should be English.

1b. The language of services should be the language of the community that is being served or targeted. Thus, although English is expected to be the language used most often, it may be necessary to use other vernaculars, such as Korean in a Korean community and Spanish in a Latino one.

2. At the same time that our jurisdictions are using all English services, we must continue to use existing liturgical languages for two reasons:

2a. Make sure that the translations to English are done correctly, particularly to convey their deep theological content.

2b. Make sure that the needs of recent immigrants are taken care of.

3. Proficiency in the liturgical languages must be maintained in order to continue to be able to pass on what we have received.

4a. There should be an increase in Liturgy specific classes and lessons.

4b. Extensive catechism should be implemented.  

5. There should be fellowship and socially integrative activities to build a sense of community amongst our young folks and converts.

6. As many of the appointed services should be served as possible to witness to the community and strengthen the parish. (I am adding this as I remembered the way that our churches in Uganda evangelized: they did not have windows so that passers by could hear the services.)

Additional recommendations:

1. Since the mission of the Church is the Great Commission, it is important to undertake our efforts in an Orthodox Christian manner. In particular, our mission is to love our communities and share the Gospel in a way that is helpful to the unchurched and unbelievers. The way we share the Gospel is primarily by demonstrating our love for Christ in the way we treat each other. We should be focused on living our ideals and norms as a palpable example to others, so that as Paul explains, we always have a justification to explain to those who ask about this Hope that is in us.

2. Parishes should have a special ministry to recent immigrants. Part of that ministry should be to educate these new Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc. in the English language by encouraging ESL classes. It would also be good for English-speaking members to partner up with non-English speakers (preferably not family members) for friendship and support during their adjustment to the new culture.

I will only add to your #1 in additional recommendations:

Part of the issue/solution is that we are not JUST a Great Commission church.  That is part of the frustration of the cradle Orthodox.  Rather, we are BOTH a Great Commission church AND a church that goes after the Lost Sheep of Israel (aka, our own people), as Matthew 10 speaks to.  we can't be one or the other, which ALL of your points allude to, but we just have to remain consistent throughout our process to serve BOTH those in the great commission, AND those who Christ went to first, Himself. 

Great idea! How about adding Recommendation 3, something like:

"While the Lord gave us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), He also tasked us to tend to "...the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:6). The latter task is particularly important in the West where many of our Orthodox, particularly cradle ones, have left the Holy Orthodox Church and become our lost sheep. Parishes should have special ministry to the lost Orthodox sheep: proactive measures that are especially important with adolescents, as well as outreach to those who have become nominal Orthodox, those who do not attend any church, and those who have joined other faith communities."

It sounds great...I just almost wondering if at this point we're being pedantic.  I more agree with Hiwot's assessment that we're creating false dichotomies.  Yet, at the same time we LIVE in those dichotamies, yet we don't have to!  It's a lot of back & forth for me.  But in general it sounds great! 

Offline choy

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #325 on: October 04, 2012, 07:41:42 PM »
http://theoniondome.com/2012/01/30/greek-priest-sent-to-bed-without-supper-for-translating-liturgy/

ATHENS HEIGHTS – In a move that surprised exactly no one (except perhaps Mr. Stanley Majors of Pretoria, South Africa), Father Irmanos Spartopolis of Athens Heights, Greece was sent to his room without supper by His Grace Bishop SPARTOS Irmopolis for translating the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom into modern Greek.

Editted for our copyright rules - MK


Ooops, apologies.  I did include the copyright tag to make it clear who owns it.

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #326 on: October 04, 2012, 07:41:59 PM »
FWIW, I have been told by a couple of GOA youth directors that 60% of Greek Orthodox young people leave the church during and after college. Of course, some will come back, when they get married or have children of their own. These same youth directors told me that they hear over and over again that the young people report that they "got nothing out of church" because it was in a language they didn't speak or understand.
Anecdotal, to be sure, but something to consider.

dear katherine, I can not tell you how many times I have heard of this from Ethiopians also. my heart has been broken over so many I knew, who left because of the language barrier making it difficult to fully participate in the Liturgical life of the Church. they were easy picks for all sorts of heretical sects. some even told me, that although they still have certain beliefs they retain from their former faith, they have a better active spiritual life in there because it is in the language they can communicate with. Lord have mercy! each time I come across such , I am gripped with grief of what has happend to the flock of Christ, I just say 'What have we done!

We have a young Ethiopian man who comes to our church b/c it's in English.  The saddest part is he had no idea we were not in communion until I invited him to lunch & "broke the news".  He still comes every sunday.  That's how much the english means to him.  just thought it was an interesting story.  

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #327 on: October 04, 2012, 07:43:54 PM »
That is what I've been saying :)

One thing I think would be very helpful is to make catechism mandatory also for infant baptisms. Making the parents and/or godparents go through an educational programme similar to what is expected of an adult catechumen would be a very good way to (re)catechise those generations which are normally absent from Church. Baptism, at least in the Greek community, is such a firmly rooted social institution that few would be put off were such a thing put in place. In thoroughly secular Norway, committed atheists happily send their children to bi-weekly catechism over a 6month period in order to have them confirmed at age 14. If they can put up with it, so can the Orthodox, I'm sure. In any case, my experience has been that uncatechised teenagers and young adults are surprisingly keen to learn once they realise that the information is available to them. The faith is there even if the interest in Church is not.

I think measures such as that one would be far more effective than simply having liturgy in English (though that is also important).

This is such an awesome idea!  I kind of feel silly for not thinking of it myself!   :-[

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #328 on: October 05, 2012, 12:50:09 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


We have a young Ethiopian man who comes to our church b/c it's in English.  The saddest part is he had no idea we were not in communion until I invited him to lunch & "broke the news".  He still comes every sunday.  That's how much the english means to him.  just thought it was an interesting story.  

Sometimes people leave parishes because of cultural and personality clashes, even within their own cultures and communities. However, at an even simpler scenario, have you asked him if there is even an Ethiopian parish nearby?

In fact, as part of this discussion, we should all realize that even if young people gripe about language, often times what actually and more forcefully pushes them away is not the language barrier, but many times personality clashes and internal conflicts over misunderstandings.  The language becomes the ostensible grievance but it can be just a symbol or the last straw of a larger iceberg of a problem.  This all the more is why I so strongly emphasize bullet point addition 5, social integration and direct ministering to get to the real issues day to day at an individual level.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 12:54:58 PM by HabteSelassie »
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #329 on: October 06, 2012, 12:11:07 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


We have a young Ethiopian man who comes to our church b/c it's in English.  The saddest part is he had no idea we were not in communion until I invited him to lunch & "broke the news".  He still comes every sunday.  That's how much the english means to him.  just thought it was an interesting story.  

Sometimes people leave parishes because of cultural and personality clashes, even within their own cultures and communities. However, at an even simpler scenario, have you asked him if there is even an Ethiopian parish nearby?

In fact, as part of this discussion, we should all realize that even if young people gripe about language, often times what actually and more forcefully pushes them away is not the language barrier, but many times personality clashes and internal conflicts over misunderstandings.  The language becomes the ostensible grievance but it can be just a symbol or the last straw of a larger iceberg of a problem.  This all the more is why I so strongly emphasize bullet point addition 5, social integration and direct ministering to get to the real issues day to day at an individual level.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

There is an Ethiopian church the next exit on the freeway & they even have a bishop there.  Nothing in English though. 

I agree about the iceberg scenario, but in the case of this man he really just wanted English & through that he found a home in our parish.  Did that heal some other things he was going through? Sure! But I don't think that's why he really came to us.  He came to us in order to connect.

Offline dzheremi

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #330 on: October 06, 2012, 12:28:49 PM »
Sometimes a gripe about language really is a gripe about language. Yeah, there's probably other stuff too, but when there's something you can do about it (e.g., translating the text into a language that the people understand), you should do that, and not assume that they're really mad about something else, so you'll work on that instead of the thing they've asked for. Again, I consider myself very lucky in this regard, but if it were instead Arabic 90% and English 10%, I might still attend the liturgy every so often, but I probably wouldn't have converted, because there would be no way for me to be catechized if it were overwhelmingly in a language I barely understand. Compromise is the key. Teach the congregation the traditional language of the liturgy, sure, but teach them the faith and the language in the language that they are fluent in. There really isn't any way around it, as this is the flip-side of the "Egyptians don't become monolingual English speakers whenever a white person comes to visit" reality I pointed out earlier, which is really just common sense: non-Amharic speakers don't magically become Amharic-speakers just because they go to church, much less Ge'ez speakers.

In a perfect world, those who are committed to preserving this aspect of church life would dedicate themselves to it in proportion to their talent for it or interest in it. That's why I'm doing my thesis on Coptic, in fact, as that is what is natural in that way for a linguist who is also a Coptic Orthodox Christian. But I also recognize that for the majority of people who ever go to church, that's an arcane and probably a bit odd thing to focus on, as the riches of the Church, first and foremost found in its faith which is one even if its expressions are many, are not dependent on or confined to one culture or language. The Armenians translated the Syriac liturgy, the Ethiopians the anaphoras received by them from Egypt, and now the Egyptians and others alike are doing the work of bringing that tradition forward to the English, Spanish, French, Luo, Japanese, etc.-speaking world. We would not in the least condemn them for that, and so the translation of the liturgy into English for English-speaking Habeshi-Americans should be seen in the same light: Meeting people where they are, with the faith that deeply resonates across all human cultures.

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #331 on: October 06, 2012, 01:24:38 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


There is an Ethiopian church the next exit on the freeway & they even have a bishop there.  Nothing in English though.  

I agree about the iceberg scenario, but in the case of this man he really just wanted English & through that he found a home in our parish.  Did that heal some other things he was going through? Sure! But I don't think that's why he really came to us.  He came to us in order to connect.

So this fellow doesn't speak Amharic then?

Sometimes a gripe about language really is a gripe about language. Yeah, there's probably other stuff too, but when there's something you can do about it (e.g., translating the text into a language that the people understand), you should do that, and not assume that they're really mad about something else, so you'll work on that instead of the thing they've asked for.
I

I am not pretending language barriers don't exist, what I am trying to get at is again dispelling this notion that language is a magic bullet.  Personally, its hard for me to imagine folks leaving their cradle parishes over language gaps, even if they exist, because it takes A LOT of self-assertion to leave a person's social support system and family networks.  You and me both surely can understand this as converts.  So, yes, there indeed A LOT of Ethiopian young adults who feel language is a bit of a hindrance, however, from my experience interacting with them at many levels, a lot of cultural and personal conflicts drive their grievances more than just language alone, hence the iceberg.  The iceberg doesn't minimalize any particular aspect under another, rather asks to address the entirety of the problem, which may always be more complicated than just language.  So we can address the language issues WHILE also working on the social and personal ones too, the complete package.



stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 01:28:52 PM by HabteSelassie »
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #332 on: October 06, 2012, 02:30:56 PM »
^ not that I know of! Honestly, I never asked

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #333 on: October 06, 2012, 02:39:27 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

^ not that I know of! Honestly, I never asked

No offense brother, but how can you suggest it is even a language barrier issue in the first place, if you never even asked?  :police:


stay blessed,
habte selassie
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline dzheremi

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #334 on: October 06, 2012, 02:53:50 PM »
So this fellow doesn't speak Amharic then?

What if he was a non-Amhara? What if he wanted English because he doesn't speak any Ethiopian language/is "Westernized"/Americafied? I agree with your point that Serb should've asked before presuming a language issue, but there are other presumptions we should be careful about, too. ;)

Quote
I am not pretending language barriers don't exist, what I am trying to get at is again dispelling this notion that language is a magic bullet.
 

True enough. I think I've argued the same in this thread, or if I haven't, I meant to.

Quote
Personally, its hard for me to imagine folks leaving their cradle parishes over language gaps, even if they exist, because it takes A LOT of self-assertion to leave a person's social support system and family networks.  You and me both surely can understand this as converts.  So, yes, there indeed A LOT of Ethiopian young adults who feel language is a bit of a hindrance, however, from my experience interacting with them at many levels, a lot of cultural and personal conflicts drive their grievances more than just language alone, hence the iceberg.
 

Well, language itself is a cultural thing, so I don't think it's necessarily advisable or even possible to separte the two. Did anyone speak "Montenegrin" before the 2000s?

Quote
The iceberg doesn't minimalize any particular aspect under another, rather asks to address the entirety of the problem, which may always be more complicated than just language.  So we can address the language issues WHILE also working on the social and personal ones too, the complete package.


Indeed. I apologize if my response seemed like it was disagreeing with this idea. I think we're in agreement. My only point was that sometimes language issues are language issues, e.g., solvable by appeal to whatever the person needs, and not something else that may be related to it. If my priest uses an Arabic word that I don't know while switching to Arabic summarize for the benefit of those who do not follow the English sermon, I will ask him after liturgy about the significance of that word. Once I get the answer, my initial quandary is satisfied, even if it may produce further questions. Sometimes it really is about language, and not about personal alienation from the church or whatever.

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #335 on: October 06, 2012, 02:59:30 PM »
Because I asked him "why are you going to our church, a Greek church, when there's an Ethiopian one down the road?"  He said "because I talked to the priest there & he refused to have any English in the service, so I knew I had to go somewhere that would provide that & you guys were the first."

Seemed fairly straightforward to me.  Never asked him, about Amharic , because i didnt know it existed until you mentioned it .... So...  :police:

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

^ not that I know of! Honestly, I never asked

No offense brother, but how can you suggest it is even a language barrier issue in the first place, if you never even asked?  :police:


stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 03:00:19 PM by serb1389 »

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #336 on: October 06, 2012, 03:05:48 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Thank you dzheremi, we agree completely in all regards able.

Because I asked him "why are you going to our church, a Greek church, when there's an Ethiopian one down the road?"  He said "because I talked to the priest there & he refused to have any English in the service, so I knew I had to go somewhere that would provide that & you guys were the first."

Seemed fairly straightforward to me.  Never asked him, about Amharic , because i didnt know it existed until you mentioned it .... So...  :police:


That is unfortunate.  As a native-English speaker in an Ethiopian parish with ZERO Liturgical services in English, all I could say to a person in his situation is he should have hung in there.  In many Ethiopian parishes English-only speakers are an extreme fringe and minority.  MANY folks do indeed speak English quite fluently, but there are not enough folks who do not understand Amharic to warrant English services.  It has been explained to me that Ethiopian Tradition limits parishes to a single Liturgy a day, and so we make it count so to speak.  If there were increasingly more folks who needed and therefore asked for English, it just might become necessary.  However, if these folks all kindly leave the parish, they effectively solve the problem by creating a new problem.  If folks are insistent on changing the Liturgy into English, they need to (a) stand and be counted and (b) stick it out Sunday after Sunday in their parishes and get active so their voices are heard.  The parish will take care of the needs of her own in time, but they need to stick around there to receive the help :)

So I would tell that person if he expressed the same grievance in my parish as I do to others at my parish who also ask for English, that they need to stick it out until the numbers become effective.  We can't change the Liturgy on account of the needs of half a dozen people in a parish of 500-600 each Sunday, simply put that would be selfish.  If these folks continue to grow and build a consensus what they need will materialize, but if they abandon the field, they've already forfeited the game.

Just a note on language and liturgy:

Quote
Worship is not essentially an intellectual process- not a thinking exercise: it is an activity.. If the language being used is difficult to understand, you are completely free to concentrate on you presence, and this can be achieved by concentrating on staying in your body.  During prayer in the Orthodox tradition, we are encouraged to go deeper and deeper into our bodies, to be physically more and more present.  The sign of the cross and prostrations are elements of this tradition.  We are actually better off than angels, who are constantly present, even though they have no physical bodies such as ours to help them.

If the language used is not what you prefer and you have no power to change that, the only authentic thing to do is to accept the fact.  That may have some hidden benefit also, as we saw earlier in this chapter.  Once a distraction is accepted completely, it ceases to be a distraction.  In other words, once you have accepted the language being used, with all its benefits and draw backs, then you can go back to being in the presence of God. So long as you listen to your mind complaining, you might as well be at Safeway or the public library.  The minute you accept everything, you are free to be in the presence of God once more."
Bread and Water, Oil and Wine Father Meletios Webber

This is not a criticism against vernacular languages, rather some sagely wisdom and advice from a delightful father is both an English-native convert and who has served in non-English speaking ethnic parishes :)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 03:37:33 PM by HabteSelassie »
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #337 on: October 06, 2012, 11:40:41 PM »
I have never, ever, ever understood those who view the necessity to primarily, or even exclusively, use dead languages in honor of a Living God - whether that language is Latin, Koine Greek, Church Slavonic or whatever. (I can't and won't speak to the OO as I have little reference points and I don't know what is, or what is not a spoken language there.)   Seriously, I just do not get it. I understand and fully support keeping some reference points to the old ways, like singing something familiar like Christos Voskrese, Christos Anesti or the Trisagion hymn  but to somehow argue that only through the use of a dead language can one fully appreciate or participate in the life of the Church is just something I do not get.

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #338 on: October 07, 2012, 01:24:41 AM »
I don't think anyone's arguing that, though. Or if they are, I haven't read their posts correctly. An argument can perhaps be made for the preservation of liturgical tongues as part of the overall preservation of the faith as it has been passed down (i.e., its modes; cf. my earlier point that Coptic chant would not exist as it does in English had it not first existed in Coptic, so Coptic is not superfluous even if it is hardly used in any particular liturgy). In the way that the Alexandrian Church did not jettison Greek completely in its transition to Coptic (there are still hymns that are entirely in Greek), it needn't abandon Coptic completely when transitioning to English, Spanish, Xhosa, Flemmish, or whatever. There are some hymns that, rhythmically/syllabically, fit the original much better than they do English or Arabic, but I wouldn't even say that's an excuse to not translate them; if anything, it's a call for better translations and/or musical settings. I don't think anything is truly untranslatable (the faith got to us in the first place somehow, and it wasn't because everybody became magically proficient in Greek, Syriac, Coptic, or Latin), but everything must be adapted so as to resonate with the people.

Ideally, since I recognize a need for balance in such things, I would love to see Coptic preserved to whatever degree within English-translated hymns, as here: Coptic Saturday Theotokia in Coptic and English by 'Heritage of the Coptic Orthodox Church' Choir, Canada

The Coptic very easily establishes the rhythm of the chant, and thus the English is nicely adapted to it (something which is not easy to do; we've had many a "Hiteni" fall apart here in Albuquerque because not every setting of it fits English syllable structure and the cadence that is natural for that language, which is itself not really an obvious property for our Egyptian-born deacons and priests, just like how some of the twists and turns of the Arabic in the liturgy still surprise me and cause me to make mistakes, even with about 14 months of attendance under my belt at this point).  
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 01:26:12 AM by dzheremi »

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #339 on: October 08, 2012, 01:23:47 AM »
So here's what I got from your post, but it could be a gross misinterpretation:

You would like for this man to go back to a church where he is not spiritually, pastorally, theologically or actually fed, in any way, just for the sake of heritage? 

Correct me if I understood you incorrectly

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


Thank you dzheremi, we agree completely in all regards able.

Because I asked him "why are you going to our church, a Greek church, when there's an Ethiopian one down the road?"  He said "because I talked to the priest there & he refused to have any English in the service, so I knew I had to go somewhere that would provide that & you guys were the first."

Seemed fairly straightforward to me.  Never asked him, about Amharic , because i didnt know it existed until you mentioned it .... So...  :police:


That is unfortunate.  As a native-English speaker in an Ethiopian parish with ZERO Liturgical services in English, all I could say to a person in his situation is he should have hung in there.  In many Ethiopian parishes English-only speakers are an extreme fringe and minority.  MANY folks do indeed speak English quite fluently, but there are not enough folks who do not understand Amharic to warrant English services.  It has been explained to me that Ethiopian Tradition limits parishes to a single Liturgy a day, and so we make it count so to speak.  If there were increasingly more folks who needed and therefore asked for English, it just might become necessary.  However, if these folks all kindly leave the parish, they effectively solve the problem by creating a new problem.  If folks are insistent on changing the Liturgy into English, they need to (a) stand and be counted and (b) stick it out Sunday after Sunday in their parishes and get active so their voices are heard.  The parish will take care of the needs of her own in time, but they need to stick around there to receive the help :)

So I would tell that person if he expressed the same grievance in my parish as I do to others at my parish who also ask for English, that they need to stick it out until the numbers become effective.  We can't change the Liturgy on account of the needs of half a dozen people in a parish of 500-600 each Sunday, simply put that would be selfish.  If these folks continue to grow and build a consensus what they need will materialize, but if they abandon the field, they've already forfeited the game.

Just a note on language and liturgy:

Quote
Worship is not essentially an intellectual process- not a thinking exercise: it is an activity.. If the language being used is difficult to understand, you are completely free to concentrate on you presence, and this can be achieved by concentrating on staying in your body.  During prayer in the Orthodox tradition, we are encouraged to go deeper and deeper into our bodies, to be physically more and more present.  The sign of the cross and prostrations are elements of this tradition.  We are actually better off than angels, who are constantly present, even though they have no physical bodies such as ours to help them.

If the language used is not what you prefer and you have no power to change that, the only authentic thing to do is to accept the fact.  That may have some hidden benefit also, as we saw earlier in this chapter.  Once a distraction is accepted completely, it ceases to be a distraction.  In other words, once you have accepted the language being used, with all its benefits and draw backs, then you can go back to being in the presence of God. So long as you listen to your mind complaining, you might as well be at Safeway or the public library.  The minute you accept everything, you are free to be in the presence of God once more."
Bread and Water, Oil and Wine Father Meletios Webber

This is not a criticism against vernacular languages, rather some sagely wisdom and advice from a delightful father is both an English-native convert and who has served in non-English speaking ethnic parishes :)

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #340 on: October 08, 2012, 01:31:13 AM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our and Savior Jesus Christ!

So here's what I got from your post, but it could be a gross misinterpretation:

You would like for this man to go back to a church where he is not spiritually, pastorally, theologically or actually fed, in any way, just for the sake of heritage? 

Correct me if I understood you incorrectly



Its not primarily about heritage, what if that is the parish or jurisdiction he was Baptized into? Should folks not respect their Baptism?

Its not necessarily about heritatge, but what I am saying is that folks have to understand that if they want their communities to move, they have to be there in force to move their communities.  So however the cake is sliced, if folks within the Ethiopian parish want English services, they have to represent and hold it down and build a grass-roots consensus.  It takes work, what else can I say? As an native-English speaking member of several simultaneous committees, I can of course say it is hard, but that is the pragmatic reality of what it takes.  The Church is very much a social institution, and organization of people.  One person's voice is not more than the majority, and when English speakers are visibly present and their needs are visually  obvious, such will occur.  Have you ever twisted it to not also think about how even native-English speakers need to be concerned about the same spiritual needs of the majority of other-language speaking members of the parish?  Again, I am only talking in this instance about specifically the ETHIOPIAN jurisdiction.  We have a lot of things available in English to fill in plenty of gaps, including powerpoints of the Liturgy following perfectly along in  Ge'ez, Amharic and English.  If folks can't pick up their effort in the meantime, what honestly can they expect? Like I tell my students, in life you get what you give.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #341 on: October 08, 2012, 01:40:44 AM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our and Savior Jesus Christ!

So here's what I got from your post, but it could be a gross misinterpretation:

You would like for this man to go back to a church where he is not spiritually, pastorally, theologically or actually fed, in any way, just for the sake of heritage? 

Correct me if I understood you incorrectly



 Have you ever twisted it to not also think about how even native-English speakers need to be concerned about the same spiritual needs of the majority of other-language speaking members of the parish?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I have personally never done any such thing, much less twisted much of anything ever.  To your point though, this is one of the things that frustrate me the most about pro-English talk.  It's "English or bust" with no real concern about the other members of the parish.  I truly think there is a way to make it all work.  Not necessarily everyone happy, but really do something to appease everyone.  But then again, I'm just an assistant, so obedience before personal whims. 

Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #342 on: October 08, 2012, 04:53:21 AM »
This is such an awesome idea!  I kind of feel silly for not thinking of it myself!   :-[

If you ever decide to implement it, I look forward to hearing how it goes.

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #343 on: October 08, 2012, 04:57:35 AM »
If I'm in Spain, I speak Spanish.  If in Japan, Japanese.  If in China, Chinese.  Why is it so difficult to speak English in America since that is the primary language?

I thought one of the missions of Christianity was to spread it through the world.  It's tough if no one understands what you're saying.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 04:58:45 AM by Kerdy »

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #344 on: October 08, 2012, 08:02:42 AM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our and Savior Jesus Christ!

So here's what I got from your post, but it could be a gross misinterpretation:

You would like for this man to go back to a church where he is not spiritually, pastorally, theologically or actually fed, in any way, just for the sake of heritage? 

Correct me if I understood you incorrectly



 Have you ever twisted it to not also think about how even native-English speakers need to be concerned about the same spiritual needs of the majority of other-language speaking members of the parish?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I have personally never done any such thing, much less twisted much of anything ever.  To your point though, this is one of the things that frustrate me the most about pro-English talk.  It's "English or bust" with no real concern about the other members of the parish.  I truly think there is a way to make it all work.  Not necessarily everyone happy, but really do something to appease everyone.  But then again, I'm just an assistant, so obedience before personal whims. 

I would urge our non-Slav brothers to speak with some of their OCA or ACROD priests and parish council members who are long term members, probably over sixty years of age for some advice. It was a common experience in most of our parishes to have had English gradually supplant the Slavonic over the course of a generation, beginning for many in the 1960's and coming to the point of nearly 'all English' by the mid to late 1970's and early 1980's. In ACROD at least, and in many OCA 'old time' parishes, there is still a vestigial use of Slavonic such as the choir singing some responses in  Slavonic, Christmas kolady, congregational responses of Christos Voskrese, the Christmas Troparion and Many Years.

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #345 on: October 08, 2012, 09:27:02 AM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our and Savior Jesus Christ!

So here's what I got from your post, but it could be a gross misinterpretation:

You would like for this man to go back to a church where he is not spiritually, pastorally, theologically or actually fed, in any way, just for the sake of heritage? 

Correct me if I understood you incorrectly



 Have you ever twisted it to not also think about how even native-English speakers need to be concerned about the same spiritual needs of the majority of other-language speaking members of the parish?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I have personally never done any such thing, much less twisted much of anything ever.  To your point though, this is one of the things that frustrate me the most about pro-English talk.  It's "English or bust" with no real concern about the other members of the parish.  I truly think there is a way to make it all work.  Not necessarily everyone happy, but really do something to appease everyone.  But then again, I'm just an assistant, so obedience before personal whims. 

I would urge our non-Slav brothers to speak with some of their OCA or ACROD priests and parish council members who are long term members, probably over sixty years of age for some advice. It was a common experience in most of our parishes to have had English gradually supplant the Slavonic over the course of a generation, beginning for many in the 1960's and coming to the point of nearly 'all English' by the mid to late 1970's and early 1980's. In ACROD at least, and in many OCA 'old time' parishes, there is still a vestigial use of Slavonic such as the choir singing some responses in  Slavonic, Christmas kolady, congregational responses of Christos Voskrese, the Christmas Troparion and Many Years.


This is pretty much how it's done in my parish, although it must be pointed out that it was founded 72 years ago as the "English" daughter of the local MP parish.  From my understanding, it wasn't "All English, All the time" from the get-go but was gradually shifted in that direction so that nowadays, we have a few vestiges of Slavonic left as podkarpatska noted. 

And we have immigrant Russians, Ukrainians and Romanians (most of whom have little to no English) in our parish even though the first two have parishes which have services entirely in their respective native tongues within walking distance of my parish.  They like the English because they know the liturgy in their native tongue and having it in English is helping them learn the lingua franca of their new home.

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #346 on: October 08, 2012, 10:56:19 AM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our and Savior Jesus Christ!

So here's what I got from your post, but it could be a gross misinterpretation:

You would like for this man to go back to a church where he is not spiritually, pastorally, theologically or actually fed, in any way, just for the sake of heritage?  

Correct me if I understood you incorrectly



 Have you ever twisted it to not also think about how even native-English speakers need to be concerned about the same spiritual needs of the majority of other-language speaking members of the parish?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I have personally never done any such thing, much less twisted much of anything ever.  To your point though, this is one of the things that frustrate me the most about pro-English talk.  It's "English or bust" with no real concern about the other members of the parish.  I truly think there is a way to make it all work.  Not necessarily everyone happy, but really do something to appease everyone.  But then again, I'm just an assistant, so obedience before personal whims.  

I would urge our non-Slav brothers to speak with some of their OCA or ACROD priests and parish council members who are long term members, probably over sixty years of age for some advice. It was a common experience in most of our parishes to have had English gradually supplant the Slavonic over the course of a generation, beginning for many in the 1960's and coming to the point of nearly 'all English' by the mid to late 1970's and early 1980's. In ACROD at least, and in many OCA 'old time' parishes, there is still a vestigial use of Slavonic such as the choir singing some responses in  Slavonic, Christmas kolady, congregational responses of Christos Voskrese, the Christmas Troparion and Many Years.


This is pretty much how it's done in my parish, although it must be pointed out that it was founded 72 years ago as the "English" daughter of the local MP parish.  From my understanding, it wasn't "All English, All the time" from the get-go but was gradually shifted in that direction so that nowadays, we have a few vestiges of Slavonic left as podkarpatska noted.  

And we have immigrant Russians, Ukrainians and Romanians (most of whom have little to no English) in our parish even though the first two have parishes which have services entirely in their respective native tongues within walking distance of my parish.  They like the English because they know the liturgy in their native tongue and having it in English is helping them learn the lingua franca of their new home.



A tough pill for some to swallow is that always in the shadow of the old Metropolia and ACROD through at least the 1970's were our Greek Catholic cousins of the Ruthenian BCC.  As they slowly implemented English beginning in the late 1950's, many across the street (us - the Orthodox) were curious and followed suit - or vice versa! After all we were always 'boasting' that unlike the 'Romans' we used 'vernacular' in our Church - even though no one really spoke or understood Slavonic without a side by side prayerbook as a guide - the first English ones being printed in the 1930's and 1940's even though no one yet sang in English . (the Chlib Duse/Our Daily Bread printed by Vestal Publishing in Perth Amboy was a fixture at both Metropolia and ACROD parishes back in the day.)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 10:59:35 AM by podkarpatska »

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #347 on: October 08, 2012, 11:09:32 AM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #348 on: October 08, 2012, 12:29:57 PM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 

Which people are we talking about?  Those who are in the Church or those who desperately need it for salvation?  It seems to me that this attitude can lead to evangelistic stagnation and most definitely does not fulfill the Great Commission.

Note, I'm not saying YOU have that attitude, just that it can become a real problem.
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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #349 on: October 08, 2012, 01:28:12 PM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 

Which people are we talking about?  Those who are in the Church or those who desperately need it for salvation?  It seems to me that this attitude can lead to evangelistic stagnation and most definitely does not fulfill the Great Commission.

Note, I'm not saying YOU have that attitude, just that it can become a real problem.

I realize that Christ said the Good Shepherd will leave the other sheep to go find the lost sheep, but I reckon there can be some level of balance between the two that we must strive for.  The Good Shepherd can do both at once, we have to work at it.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #350 on: October 08, 2012, 02:07:21 PM »
This is such an awesome idea!  I kind of feel silly for not thinking of it myself!   :-[

If you ever decide to implement it, I look forward to hearing how it goes.

I do too actually.  I really can't believe we've never really thought about it or had serious conversation about it. 

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #351 on: October 08, 2012, 02:09:57 PM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 

Which people are we talking about?  Those who are in the Church or those who desperately need it for salvation?  It seems to me that this attitude can lead to evangelistic stagnation and most definitely does not fulfill the Great Commission.

Note, I'm not saying YOU have that attitude, just that it can become a real problem.

I realize that Christ said the Good Shepherd will leave the other sheep to go find the lost sheep, but I reckon there can be some level of balance between the two that we must strive for.  The Good Shepherd can do both at once, we have to work at it.

Exactly my point as well.

As for creating problems that don't exist...try wearing the priest hat for a while. 

Ever think that when people ask for everything to be in english, yet there are people in their church who clearly do not speak english, that the request is petty & selfish? 

Just trying to brainstorm here. 

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #352 on: October 08, 2012, 02:23:36 PM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 

Which people are we talking about?  Those who are in the Church or those who desperately need it for salvation?  It seems to me that this attitude can lead to evangelistic stagnation and most definitely does not fulfill the Great Commission.

Note, I'm not saying YOU have that attitude, just that it can become a real problem.

I realize that Christ said the Good Shepherd will leave the other sheep to go find the lost sheep, but I reckon there can be some level of balance between the two that we must strive for.  The Good Shepherd can do both at once, we have to work at it.

I can agree with that.  I've no problem with "services for immigrants," so to speak, but I strongly believe that services in English (and Spanish in certain parts of the country) must be an integral part of an American Orthodox church. 
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #353 on: October 08, 2012, 02:30:20 PM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 

Which people are we talking about?  Those who are in the Church or those who desperately need it for salvation?  It seems to me that this attitude can lead to evangelistic stagnation and most definitely does not fulfill the Great Commission.

Note, I'm not saying YOU have that attitude, just that it can become a real problem.

I realize that Christ said the Good Shepherd will leave the other sheep to go find the lost sheep, but I reckon there can be some level of balance between the two that we must strive for.  The Good Shepherd can do both at once, we have to work at it.

I can agree with that.  I've no problem with "services for immigrants," so to speak, but I strongly believe that services in English (and Spanish in certain parts of the country) must be an integral part of an American Orthodox church. 

Totally agree with this.  I just think there's GOT to be a way to appeal to EVERYONE. 

Offline vamrat

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #354 on: October 08, 2012, 04:59:42 PM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 

Which people are we talking about?  Those who are in the Church or those who desperately need it for salvation?  It seems to me that this attitude can lead to evangelistic stagnation and most definitely does not fulfill the Great Commission.

Note, I'm not saying YOU have that attitude, just that it can become a real problem.

I realize that Christ said the Good Shepherd will leave the other sheep to go find the lost sheep, but I reckon there can be some level of balance between the two that we must strive for.  The Good Shepherd can do both at once, we have to work at it.

Exactly my point as well.

As for creating problems that don't exist...try wearing the priest hat for a while. 

Ever think that when people ask for everything to be in english, yet there are people in their church who clearly do not speak english, that the request is petty & selfish? 

Just trying to brainstorm here. 

My issue is that I just don't want to see this issue dogmatized.  If some churches have a problem then it would be good for them to talk it over with their Bishops or even brainstorm ideas amongst themselves.  I have no horror stories from my church about people not being able to understand things or divisions based on ethnic lines.  I think that having both Slavonic and English frequently used and a priest who can speak English, Serbian, and Russian is a great benefit for our parish.  I recognize the importance of having a priest who can speak English in the US so he can communicate with "lost sheep" or convertsi.  We also enjoy the fact that we have a priest who knows his congregation well enough that he can gauge how much English and how much Slavonic to use in any given service.  We also have a congregation that knows enough that thye can get by whichever language is being used.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #355 on: October 08, 2012, 05:13:39 PM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 

Which people are we talking about?  Those who are in the Church or those who desperately need it for salvation?  It seems to me that this attitude can lead to evangelistic stagnation and most definitely does not fulfill the Great Commission.

Note, I'm not saying YOU have that attitude, just that it can become a real problem.

I realize that Christ said the Good Shepherd will leave the other sheep to go find the lost sheep, but I reckon there can be some level of balance between the two that we must strive for.  The Good Shepherd can do both at once, we have to work at it.

Exactly my point as well.

As for creating problems that don't exist...try wearing the priest hat for a while. 

Ever think that when people ask for everything to be in english, yet there are people in their church who clearly do not speak english, that the request is petty & selfish? 

Just trying to brainstorm here. 

My issue is that I just don't want to see this issue dogmatized.  If some churches have a problem then it would be good for them to talk it over with their Bishops or even brainstorm ideas amongst themselves.  I have no horror stories from my church about people not being able to understand things or divisions based on ethnic lines.  I think that having both Slavonic and English frequently used and a priest who can speak English, Serbian, and Russian is a great benefit for our parish.  I recognize the importance of having a priest who can speak English in the US so he can communicate with "lost sheep" or convertsi.  We also enjoy the fact that we have a priest who knows his congregation well enough that he can gauge how much English and how much Slavonic to use in any given service.  We also have a congregation that knows enough that thye can get by whichever language is being used.

I don't know where your parish is, but I suspect that most parishes have no need for a priest fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian etc... Better to have a priest capable of being a pastor, one who trained in liturgics, some theology and possessing a great deal of counseling, organizational and human relation skills along with a forgiving nature.

Between the 'convert' parishes in the OCA and the old line former Metropolia parishes there are few communities outside of perhaps the major cities where any significant, non-English speaking immigrant or first generation population is present. I know this is true in ACROD and I suspect that this is also the case in the UOC.  I can't speak for the non-Slavic experience as I have no real contact with the non-Slavic Orthodox except on a neighborly basis in my community.

I hate to say it, but in the end, I think that in 21st century America, excepting for the small number of areas where Slavic speaking immigrants have settled in the last two decades, the attachment to any conversational use of for example, Russian, Ukrainian or Serbian is more of a cultural thing than a religious necessity. The use of Slavonic in most (formerly) Slavic parishes is a throwback or homage to the past and not a practical necessity.

Offline vamrat

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #356 on: October 08, 2012, 05:41:25 PM »
I think if a town is large enough to have more than one Church there is no reason that some should not be in English and others in another language.  We have some recent immigrants that go to the all-English Antiochian church in town and others that go to the half-Slavonic Serbian church.  I notice that a lot of people jump back and forth between our two churches as well.  Basically, my view on the matter is, why make problems when none exist?  If the people are happy and services to God are being performed, why make an issue of it?  Now if there is a problem then deal with it, of course, but dealing with nonexistent problems is one of our American peculiarities, methinks. 

Which people are we talking about?  Those who are in the Church or those who desperately need it for salvation?  It seems to me that this attitude can lead to evangelistic stagnation and most definitely does not fulfill the Great Commission.

Note, I'm not saying YOU have that attitude, just that it can become a real problem.

I realize that Christ said the Good Shepherd will leave the other sheep to go find the lost sheep, but I reckon there can be some level of balance between the two that we must strive for.  The Good Shepherd can do both at once, we have to work at it.

Exactly my point as well.

As for creating problems that don't exist...try wearing the priest hat for a while. 

Ever think that when people ask for everything to be in english, yet there are people in their church who clearly do not speak english, that the request is petty & selfish? 

Just trying to brainstorm here. 

My issue is that I just don't want to see this issue dogmatized.  If some churches have a problem then it would be good for them to talk it over with their Bishops or even brainstorm ideas amongst themselves.  I have no horror stories from my church about people not being able to understand things or divisions based on ethnic lines.  I think that having both Slavonic and English frequently used and a priest who can speak English, Serbian, and Russian is a great benefit for our parish.  I recognize the importance of having a priest who can speak English in the US so he can communicate with "lost sheep" or convertsi.  We also enjoy the fact that we have a priest who knows his congregation well enough that he can gauge how much English and how much Slavonic to use in any given service.  We also have a congregation that knows enough that thye can get by whichever language is being used.

I don't know where your parish is, but I suspect that most parishes have no need for a priest fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian etc... Better to have a priest capable of being a pastor, one who trained in liturgics, some theology and possessing a great deal of counseling, organizational and human relation skills along with a forgiving nature.

Between the 'convert' parishes in the OCA and the old line former Metropolia parishes there are few communities outside of perhaps the major cities where any significant, non-English speaking immigrant or first generation population is present. I know this is true in ACROD and I suspect that this is also the case in the UOC.  I can't speak for the non-Slavic experience as I have no real contact with the non-Slavic Orthodox except on a neighborly basis in my community.

I hate to say it, but in the end, I think that in 21st century America, excepting for the small number of areas where Slavic speaking immigrants have settled in the last two decades, the attachment to any conversational use of for example, Russian, Ukrainian or Serbian is more of a cultural thing than a religious necessity. The use of Slavonic in most (formerly) Slavic parishes is a throwback or homage to the past and not a practical necessity.

You are missing my point.  All I am saying is, we don't need language to be dogmatized.  I'm not saying every church needs to have a multilingual priest, I'm just saying that if this is one of his "talents" as it were, why not utilize it? 
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #357 on: October 08, 2012, 06:22:41 PM »
^ Language has never been dogmatized in the Orthodox Church, so why would it be so now? I agree, if there is a need for services in the 'old' languages, of course it should be met. However, many - and I don't mean you - tend to elevate the 'old' languages to a level of veneration approaching 'dogma' and that is where I have a problem. Keep in mind, I learned to read and chant in Slavonic long before I could chant in English and although we rarely use Slavonic, just point me to the page and it's off to the races. I love singing in Slavonic and I understand that it is for reasons of nostalgia, memories of loved ones who have passed on etc....

It's funny, LBK will offer the correct statement that we shouldn't be tied to old interior Church paintings etc.. which are not truly icons just for sentimental reasons or because we have venerated them for centuries...I have an internal problem with that which I recognize, yet I offer a similar point of view on the equally emotional issue of language, I suspect that our attachments to these things probably stem from the same internal source - sort of like cooking smells reminding one of one's mother or grandmother..... In think in the final analysis, neither of these issues should become an insurmountable barrier to faith for any of us. Sorry if I sound conflicted, but I suppose I am.....

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #358 on: October 08, 2012, 06:55:31 PM »
^ Language has never been dogmatized in the Orthodox Church, so why would it be so now? I agree, if there is a need for services in the 'old' languages, of course it should be met. However, many - and I don't mean you - tend to elevate the 'old' languages to a level of veneration approaching 'dogma' and that is where I have a problem. Keep in mind, I learned to read and chant in Slavonic long before I could chant in English and although we rarely use Slavonic, just point me to the page and it's off to the races. I love singing in Slavonic and I understand that it is for reasons of nostalgia, memories of loved ones who have passed on etc....

It's funny, LBK will offer the correct statement that we shouldn't be tied to old interior Church paintings etc.. which are not truly icons just for sentimental reasons or because we have venerated them for centuries...I have an internal problem with that which I recognize, yet I offer a similar point of view on the equally emotional issue of language, I suspect that our attachments to these things probably stem from the same internal source - sort of like cooking smells reminding one of one's mother or grandmother..... In think in the final analysis, neither of these issues should become an insurmountable barrier to faith for any of us. Sorry if I sound conflicted, but I suppose I am.....

I agree with Vamrat in general, and I'll only add for Podkarpatska that if you even look through this thread, you will see JUST how dogmatic people are about this subject & English in general. 

I will also mention another caveat to this.  The real argument IS that we need to be open to all languages & serve as many people as possible.  Period.  I think that obviously English is the language that everyone should share, as the language of the majority in america, but if you have a Spanish neighborhood around you, that should be considered, as part of our church life, but also throw in Greek for the old ladies in the front

Offline Kerdy

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Re: Journey to Orthodoxy: Why Americans Need An All-English Liturgy
« Reply #359 on: October 08, 2012, 09:03:35 PM »
In my hometown there is a Greek parish which only speaks Greek.  Very few attend the liturgy.