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Author Topic: Why has the Orthodox Church done so little evangelism?  (Read 3933 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ebor
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« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2013, 06:48:11 PM »


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What's the answer to someone who can't attend a service (not a Matins / Vespers, mind you, but a Sunday Liturgy) regularly because they're too far from Church?
<some things removed to save bandwidth>

if the Orthodox Directory (http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php) is to be believed, and for example, there are ~7 churches within the state of Montana,

That doesn't have the real situation, either.  Of the seven indicated on that map, not all are parishes at least a couple are missions. All of them are located in the cities:

the capital of Helena - mission, no priest, according their page and some Sundays it's recommended that people travel to either Butte or Bozeman for services
Billings the largest city - two parishes according to the link but one is OCA, has clergy and a building and is active and on their site it says that the other one was closed some years ago.
Great Falls second or third largest city with a long established Greek Orthodox parish but no resident priest for a good number of years.  The last I knew they had a priest come in from out of state a few times a year.
Missoula and Bozeman which are both university towns - both missions, no resident priest at either according to their websites. The one in Bozeman had a priest until last spring according to their site. Both seem to get clergy visits occasionally.
Butte - the oldest parish in the state, started by Serbians who came as miners on "the Richest Hill on Earth". Has a priest.

So, just going on that information, for the entire state of Montana there are 2 parishes with services every week, both in cities and they're about 230 miles apart along the main interstate that runs through the southern part of the state.   Montana is a big place more than 600 miles long and 250 miles north to south with many smaller towns and outlying areas scattered in mountainous areas as well as high plains with long distances in between.

So even if there was someone who knew about EO or was curious, there might not be a weekly service that he/she could get to within 4 to 8 hours drive or more depending on conditions of weather, road (we still have some gravel roads there) and ability.
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2013, 09:08:49 PM »

http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php

The website is out of date...who is running it?  Perhaps they should check the websites from Orthodox Dioceses from time to time...I don't intend to sound ungrateful, they did a great job, but needs to be updated annually...
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2013, 09:17:48 PM »


Quote
What's the answer to someone who can't attend a service (not a Matins / Vespers, mind you, but a Sunday Liturgy) regularly because they're too far from Church?
<some things removed to save bandwidth>

if the Orthodox Directory (http://orthodoxyinamerica.org/lr_v10/locator.php) is to be believed, and for example, there are ~7 churches within the state of Montana,

That doesn't have the real situation, either.  Of the seven indicated on that map, not all are parishes at least a couple are missions. All of them are located in the cities:

the capital of Helena - mission, no priest, according their page and some Sundays it's recommended that people travel to either Butte or Bozeman for services
Billings the largest city - two parishes according to the link but one is OCA, has clergy and a building and is active and on their site it says that the other one was closed some years ago.
Great Falls second or third largest city with a long established Greek Orthodox parish but no resident priest for a good number of years.  The last I knew they had a priest come in from out of state a few times a year.
Missoula and Bozeman which are both university towns - both missions, no resident priest at either according to their websites. The one in Bozeman had a priest until last spring according to their site. Both seem to get clergy visits occasionally.
Butte - the oldest parish in the state, started by Serbians who came as miners on "the Richest Hill on Earth". Has a priest.

So, just going on that information, for the entire state of Montana there are 2 parishes with services every week, both in cities and they're about 230 miles apart along the main interstate that runs through the southern part of the state.   Montana is a big place more than 600 miles long and 250 miles north to south with many smaller towns and outlying areas scattered in mountainous areas as well as high plains with long distances in between.

So even if there was someone who knew about EO or was curious, there might not be a weekly service that he/she could get to within 4 to 8 hours drive or more depending on conditions of weather, road (we still have some gravel roads there) and ability.


I have a friend who was living in Billings and was interested in inquiring into Orthodoxy.  This is exactly what she described and it was very discouraging for her.  Thankfully, her family has moved back to Omaha, where she has now been visiting with a priest there.  I live in South Dakota and there are 2 Orthodox churches in the state, at opposite ends and 7 hours from one another.  I'm one of the fortunate ones and have "only" 100 miles to drive each way.  (And it's worth every mile.)
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« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2013, 09:58:56 PM »

I think it's because we're honestly more concerned with maintaining our rituals and our churches.
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« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2013, 12:54:27 AM »

ORTHODOXY IN SOUTH AMERICA
Metropolitan Amfilohije meets with Orthodox Bishops in Argentina
25. August 2012
http://www.spc.rs/eng/metropolitan_amfilohije_meers_orthodox_bishops_argentina

Metropolitan Amfilohije visits Orthodox Community in Peru
13. September 2012
http://www.spc.rs/eng/metropolitan_amfilohije_visits_orthodox_community_peru

Metropolitan Amfilohije visits Brazil
28. September 2012
http://www.spc.rs/eng/metropolitan_amfilohije_visits_brazil

Metropolitan Amfilohije in His Pastoral Visit to Chile
October 20, 2012
http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2012/10/metropolitan-amfilohije-in-his-pastoral-visit-to-chile/

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« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2013, 03:45:58 AM »

Honestly, you raise a good question. However, it may be well to mention history. Historically, the Orthodox Church hasn't really been in as fortunate of circumstances as say the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. The RC Church spread so far because it was the most powerful and influential organization in all of western Europe for quite a while, and thus was able to use its vast wealth, power and ties with colonialism to spread. Protestants were able to travel to the New World and thus develop almost unimpeded upon in the most powerful, wealthy nation on Earth, and thus likewise use their resources to spread their faith. But Orthodoxy? Really, what do we have? We've been in the hot-seat for the past 700 years. The only time we were ever really fortunate was during the Byzantine Empire era, and during that era, nearly the entire Middle East and Russia were converted, showing that we did in fact make evangelization efforts when it was possible. But then Islam rose and pretty much undid all of our work in the Middle East and made us a minority barely capable of managing ourselves, let alone make missionary efforts. Russia continued to spread the faith in eastern Europe, but then when the Bolsheviks took over, Orthodoxy in Russia and eastern Europe became oppressed as well.

Now, fast forward to modern times. We're in a state of recovery. We're picking up the pieces of ruin from the persecution and destruction we endured. We haven't quite reached the missionary stage yet. Fortunately, when/if an official, unified American Orthodox Church is ever established, we may finally see vast evangelization efforts someday.
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« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2013, 04:19:18 AM »

Russia continued to spread the faith in eastern Europe,

"Eastern Europe continued to spread the faith in Russia" - that would be more correct.
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« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2013, 06:31:44 PM »

There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...
I am confused here: if there must be a local church here in America, why must we also have churches from abroad to preserve one's root? Isn't this the heresy of ethnophiletism? And, why can't those who wish to do so cannot prosper under a local "American" church?

Quote
Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...
In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.
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« Reply #53 on: March 19, 2013, 08:13:31 PM »

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Why has the Orthodox Church done so little evangelism?


I think its because Christian T.V. programming has already claimed to reach around the world through satellite and radio.
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« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2013, 08:50:48 PM »

There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...
I am confused here: if there must be a local church here in America, why must we also have churches from abroad to preserve one's root? Isn't this the heresy of ethnophiletism? And, why can't those who wish to do so cannot prosper under a local "American" church?

Quote
Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...
In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.

I agree to an extent that I understand that most would feel they should not look to join one of these unless they have ties to those countries. So for someone looking at a directory or a phone book type list would eliminate those he feels are for people of that ethnicity.

Saying that , I also think there are good things about ethnic churches that may be good for others who are not already tied through ethnicity. From personal experience all my life I have witnessed complete strangers to our ethnic ties and Orthodoxy join our Greek Orthodox parish . I do not know all of their personal stories how they arrived there, I do know that it was not through the usual marriage into it or having distant family ties.

I have watched these families blossom in our church and never learn to speak Greek, and others have used it as a way to broaden there minds as well as souls by learning Greek through the church school. Mostly they never speak Greek as  is the case with most others there who are Greek.

There are some younger people who in the last ten years have become quite integral without having had any previous ties.There are older families who also joined that way and are still active after many generations.

 Our parish is a suburb of Chicago that does not get much in the way of fresh immigrants for a long time. So our only real means of growth is vital to these types of people . I am still amazed when i see this happen . I believe the Holy Spirit has been integral too their journey and longevity in the parish.

So do not write off the way of God in what you think should be, Go out and look around your local parish and you may be surprised at what you find, And it is there we can make a difference right now, God knows I do nothing much, but I know from those cases I have observed were from love of another at a specific locale .

Mainly I think there is very little to gain here by global politics as some would suggest just because that is what seems to the problem.
 
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« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2013, 11:50:29 PM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant
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« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2013, 12:04:05 AM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

One could use the same argument against the Anglo-Americans (or whoever) who attend "ethnic" churches and whine that they're just social clubs and no one speaks English in the Liturgy. Get over it. Worship God. Stop whining.
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« Reply #57 on: March 20, 2013, 12:15:22 AM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

One could use the same argument against the Anglo-Americans (or whoever) who attend "ethnic" churches and whine that they're just social clubs and no one speaks English in the Liturgy. Get over it. Worship God. Stop whining.

I haven't ever whined at Church. The way I see it is that each parish should take a vote on what language to have services in, and the majority vote wins. The minority group should just adapt to it.
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« Reply #58 on: March 20, 2013, 09:32:17 AM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

One could use the same argument against the Anglo-Americans (or whoever) who attend "ethnic" churches and whine that they're just social clubs and no one speaks English in the Liturgy. Get over it. Worship God. Stop whining.

I haven't ever whined at Church. The way I see it is that each parish should take a vote on what language to have services in, and the majority vote wins. The minority group should just adapt to it.

I don't know...I'm going to take up for James here a bit.  The topic is evangelism, is it not?  I read in the notes of a Denver Metropolis meeting that English speaking churches are growing faster and that some members are being lost to English speaking parishes.  Unfortunately, I didn't bookmark it so if I need to remove that sentence, please let me know and I will do so.  This simply cannot come as a surprise to anyone!  Our parish was floundering until they made the change to primarily English. If evangelism is a goal...and it should be...then the atmosphere needs to be set which will best allow that to happen.  Thinking that people can fully worship in a service that is done in another language is unrealistic...especially for an inquirer who is already being overwhelmed with change.  When given the choice of becoming a catechumen in a parish that serves in primarily English or one that serves in primarily another language, I can guarantee that the vast majority (if not all) will choose the English speaking parish.  Of course they will!  I have yet to encounter an inquirer who said, "Yippee!  I can't wait to worship in a language that I can not speak nor understand!!" We are called to *participate.*  How can that worship through participation be truly experienced when 100% of the people there speak English, but many fewer speak the other language and yet it is the other language which is being spoken?  IMO, that is not evangelism.  It is, rather, stifling growth with a "take it or leave it" approach.
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« Reply #59 on: March 20, 2013, 10:12:33 AM »

For better or worse, and this is true for all churches, not just the Orthodox, that as time goes by, the ethnic identification will become less and less, especially without new immigrants from the "old country." It's the common "normal" American pattern of assimilation.

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« Reply #60 on: March 20, 2013, 04:03:19 PM »

There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...
I am confused here: if there must be a local church here in America, why must we also have churches from abroad to preserve one's root? Isn't this the heresy of ethnophiletism? And, why can't those who wish to do so cannot prosper under a local "American" church?

Dear Carl, I assume you have gone to various different parishes and have seen a difference...just mention the few: language (which does not impact the language of the services but also the melody), calendar, types of feasts (ie. Slava is only celebrated by Serbs, while names day is not)...it is not about belonging to the ethnic clubs, but also about preserving one's root...Orthodox immigrants have tied their religious and cultural roots in the church-school congregations while non-Orthodox Christians (ie. Italians, Portugese...) have their Clubs separate from the church. Secondly, membership to such "ethnic" (how bad the label is, but...) churches is not exclusive...I know that for the fact...It does not make anyone any less American-Canadian or anything as such. It does not mean that someone puts a specific ethnicity above the other which is so wrongly perceived...eventually most of such "ethnic" parishes will cease to exist in such a manner (since second and third generation immigrants are forgetting their "mother" tongue)...so it will not any more prevent "American Church" from spreading the Gospel to others, as if that was ever the reason.  It is my belief that such view is very narrow minded and tries to abolish to beautiful diversity which Orthodoxy in North America has...I believe that the issues of a jurisdiction can be resolved in a different manner...

Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...

In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.


Do you really believe that "ethnic" churches do not evangelize?  Again, I am in awe how wrongfully such churches are preserved as a group of American hating immigrants who want nothing to do with them and first count your blood cells prior to letting you in? How have English speaking Americans become Orthodox until now? Orthodoxy did not spread in greater Austin in spite of ethnic churches, but also thanks to them...If the whole idea of Evangelizing is to spread-preserve the Orthodoxy in a manner that is most appealing to the present and future believers without changing the essence of Orthodoxy (some because of the Calendar, others language, melody, etc), then why limit the Evangelizing to only English and make it uniform...
OCA, SOC, ROCOR, GOA, etc are just different flavours of our beautiful Orthodoxy and no person right in their mind would think that belonging to a certain jurisdiction you have to became a member of that ethnicity...we have numerous examples of posters on this forum who belong to "ethnic" jurisdictions and they have not become Serbian, Greek, Russian or anything else but have remained English speaking country loving Americans...
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 04:07:07 PM by Putnik Namernik » Logged
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« Reply #61 on: March 20, 2013, 08:02:55 PM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

Ok , my turn, everyone who moves here does not have to become whatever you or uncle schmuck thinks they require to be American, and the English language is not from this country either.The Service at my Greek church is all in  english now anyway, but more importantly is why they began that way was because they did not speak English back in those days and needed people who could understand them and help them when they first came here, especially when it comes to God. The thing with the greeks especially is they have insisted on the children learning the language too, I resisted that when I was little , but now appreciate it as any other education that has definite advantages later in life.There are many scholars of Protestant, Catholic, and all who strive to understand the scriptures better , they all learn Greek to be able to read the original manuscripts and also to understand where many terms come from.

So learning an Ethnicity helps you know God better.

It also helps you love others as yourself, because usually the extreme racists in this country cannot even speak English very good.

The real issue is you have ethnic churches and the best way for the lord to utilize them is to start small and keep wprking at it, seriously, those who envy the Catholics having so much more should humble themselves and rejoice for what we have.There are reasons you do not want what they have and may be why God works better this way, on a local small level and not globally.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 08:33:57 PM by Sinful Hypocrite » Logged

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« Reply #62 on: March 20, 2013, 09:37:19 PM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

One could use the same argument against the Anglo-Americans (or whoever) who attend "ethnic" churches and whine that they're just social clubs and no one speaks English in the Liturgy. Get over it. Worship God. Stop whining.

I haven't ever whined at Church. The way I see it is that each parish should take a vote on what language to have services in, and the majority vote wins. The minority group should just adapt to it.

Orthodoxy is not democracy. It is not a majority rule...If you look at church history there are instances where minority has prevailed because its belief was rooted in the Apostolic "Tradition"...so Apostolic tradition and Canons are what we look up to when resolving certain issues...The issue with two or more bishops presiding over the same city should be resolved but there is the right way and I am sure that it will be resolved happily in one of the pan-Orthodox meetings...
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« Reply #63 on: March 21, 2013, 10:31:10 AM »

Ok , my turn, everyone who moves here does not have to become whatever you or uncle schmuck thinks they require to be American, and the English language is not from this country either.The Service at my Greek church is all in  english now anyway, but more importantly is why they began that way was because they did not speak English back in those days and needed people who could understand them and help them when they first came here, especially when it comes to God. The thing with the greeks especially is they have insisted on the children learning the language too, I resisted that when I was little , but now appreciate it as any other education that has definite advantages later in life.There are many scholars of Protestant, Catholic, and all who strive to understand the scriptures better , they all learn Greek to be able to read the original manuscripts and also to understand where many terms come from.

So learning an Ethnicity helps you know God better.

I was 100% with you up til this point. No, learning an ethnicity does not help you know God better. It doesn't have a whole lot to do with it at all. (And scholars learn koine Greek, which is not the modern Greek that is taught in afternoon or Saturday language schools.) Now I deplore our American monolingualism, and think that learning another language(s) is always a Good Thing. But contrary to what some people believe, God did not speak modern Greek.
(I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I do have some sympathy for and knowledge of language difficulties. In my former Lutheran church, it wasn't that long ago that in Lutherland (Minnesota and Wisconsin - lol) you would find several Lutheran churches in one small town: the German, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish churches, and then the English church that all their children and grandchildren attended, because they could no longer speak their parents' and granparents' language. My former church was formed as the German Lutheran Congregation of Atlanta, and up until WWII or so, had parish council meetings, catechism and services in German and English. The memorial stained glass windows are still in German. My own grandfather, despite our family being here since the 1700s, spoke a mixture of German and English at home when he was a child. Do I or any of my family speak German? No, despite my having taken it through high school and college - if you don't use it, you lose it!  Wink)
For good or ill, the common pattern of assimilation is for the second, third and fourth generations to become more "American" (whatever that may be) and less "hyphenated-American." That includes language and customs.
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« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2013, 11:10:27 AM »

Ok , my turn, everyone who moves here does not have to become whatever you or uncle schmuck thinks they require to be American, and the English language is not from this country either.The Service at my Greek church is all in  english now anyway, but more importantly is why they began that way was because they did not speak English back in those days and needed people who could understand them and help them when they first came here, especially when it comes to God. The thing with the greeks especially is they have insisted on the children learning the language too, I resisted that when I was little , but now appreciate it as any other education that has definite advantages later in life.There are many scholars of Protestant, Catholic, and all who strive to understand the scriptures better , they all learn Greek to be able to read the original manuscripts and also to understand where many terms come from.

So learning an Ethnicity helps you know God better.

I was 100% with you up til this point. No, learning an ethnicity does not help you know God better. It doesn't have a whole lot to do with it at all. (And scholars learn koine Greek, which is not the modern Greek that is taught in afternoon or Saturday language schools.) Now I deplore our American monolingualism, and think that learning another language(s) is always a Good Thing. But contrary to what some people believe, God did not speak modern Greek.
(I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I do have some sympathy for and knowledge of language difficulties. In my former Lutheran church, it wasn't that long ago that in Lutherland (Minnesota and Wisconsin - lol) you would find several Lutheran churches in one small town: the German, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish churches, and then the English church that all their children and grandchildren attended, because they could no longer speak their parents' and granparents' language. My former church was formed as the German Lutheran Congregation of Atlanta, and up until WWII or so, had parish council meetings, catechism and services in German and English. The memorial stained glass windows are still in German. My own grandfather, despite our family being here since the 1700s, spoke a mixture of German and English at home when he was a child. Do I or any of my family speak German? No, despite my having taken it through high school and college - if you don't use it, you lose it!  Wink)
For good or ill, the common pattern of assimilation is for the second, third and fourth generations to become more "American" (whatever that may be) and less "hyphenated-American." That includes language and customs.


That sentence popped out at me, also.  I'd like to clarify that I have nothing but the utmost of respect for the Greek people who are the foundation of our parish.  They have welcomed this fair-complected, former Protestant woman with open, embracing arms unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I was overwhelmed...in a good way. I see and hear the concerns they have about the "Americanization" of our parish through the language changes that have occurred in recent years and I can't help but feel a bit guilty about it.  What I believe we would all agree upon is that the Church must be carefully and diligently guard against is the degree of change beyond language.  For example, I was, at first, relieved to see pews.  Now, I'm understanding what all the fuss is about and would prefer them to be gone.
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« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2013, 06:48:26 PM »

What I was getting at was about loving others as yourself,
If by getting to know another culture you learn to love those who it involves , this is what is good .And you learn to love God by loving others.

 People tend to fear what they do not understand, and understanding and participating in other cultures is good for you, and the people who are involved.

And if you seperate it from Church is that doing the best for all, or should you not involve God in all you do.
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« Reply #66 on: March 22, 2013, 09:35:21 AM »

But non-Greek Orthodox folks (or "American", for want of a better term) have a culture just as the Greeks do. It may not look like culture to first or second generation Greeks, but it is a culture - my culture is rooted in the American South - I feed people if they show up at my house, I say "yes, ma'am" and "no, sir" to older folks, I call older people who are close to my family but no blood kin at all "Uncle" and "Aunt", I ask where you come from when I meet you, who your people are and where you go to church, if you are sick or have a death in the family, I bring you a ham or potato salad or a pound cake. I serve pork, blackeyed peas and collard greens to my Greek friends on New Year's, along with the vasilopita. (And speaking of pork, barbecue is not a synonym for cooking meat on a grill outside, and it is always pork - never "shudder" beef! ;DO)

Now you may say that these are trivial examples, and they are, but sometimes I notice what seems to be an assumption that only folks with what they call an "ethnic identity" have a culture. There are all types of culture, and everyone has one!
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« Reply #67 on: March 22, 2013, 10:12:03 AM »

There is an "American" Orthodox Church (OCA) as it should be the case in every country, but that should not mean that other parishes should join their jurisdiction...because those parishes are not simply churches but are instead church-school congregations and preserve ones root...
I am confused here: if there must be a local church here in America, why must we also have churches from abroad to preserve one's root? Isn't this the heresy of ethnophiletism? And, why can't those who wish to do so cannot prosper under a local "American" church?

Dear Carl, I assume you have gone to various different parishes and have seen a difference...just mention the few: language (which does not impact the language of the services but also the melody), calendar, types of feasts (ie. Slava is only celebrated by Serbs, while names day is not)...it is not about belonging to the ethnic clubs, but also about preserving one's root...Orthodox immigrants have tied their religious and cultural roots in the church-school congregations while non-Orthodox Christians (ie. Italians, Portugese...) have their Clubs separate from the church. Secondly, membership to such "ethnic" (how bad the label is, but...) churches is not exclusive...I know that for the fact...It does not make anyone any less American-Canadian or anything as such. It does not mean that someone puts a specific ethnicity above the other which is so wrongly perceived...eventually most of such "ethnic" parishes will cease to exist in such a manner (since second and third generation immigrants are forgetting their "mother" tongue)...so it will not any more prevent "American Church" from spreading the Gospel to others, as if that was ever the reason.  It is my belief that such view is very narrow minded and tries to abolish to beautiful diversity which Orthodoxy in North America has...I believe that the issues of a jurisdiction can be resolved in a different manner...

I see that we are somewhat in agreement. I am also looking forward to an administratively united, autocephalous church in North America, a continent that will have no other churches reporting to any other local church, except of course the representational churches. This American church can indeed have dioceses that minister to ethnic parishes, perhaps as is provided for in the OCA Statute:

"Article XII. National Groups
When the good of the Church requires that particular national groups receive an assurance of identity, the Holy Synod may establish dioceses and/or deaneries and set standards for their participation in the life of the Orthodox Church in America by mutual agreement with the group and until such time as the diocesan structure of the Church can be organized on an exclusively territorial basis. If a given group is organized as a diocese, the bishop of this diocese is a member of the Holy Synod and receives an episcopal title defined territorially. The Statute shall constitute the fundamental law for the existence of all such groups within the Orthodox Church in America."

Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...

In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.

Do you really believe that "ethnic" churches do not evangelize?  Again, I am in awe how wrongfully such churches are preserved as a group of American hating immigrants who want nothing to do with them and first count your blood cells prior to letting you in? How have English speaking Americans become Orthodox until now? Orthodoxy did not spread in greater Austin in spite of ethnic churches, but also thanks to them...If the whole idea of Evangelizing is to spread-preserve the Orthodoxy in a manner that is most appealing to the present and future believers without changing the essence of Orthodoxy (some because of the Calendar, others language, melody, etc), then why limit the Evangelizing to only English and make it uniform...
OCA, SOC, ROCOR, GOA, etc are just different flavours of our beautiful Orthodoxy and no person right in their mind would think that belonging to a certain jurisdiction you have to became a member of that ethnicity...we have numerous examples of posters on this forum who belong to "ethnic" jurisdictions and they have not become Serbian, Greek, Russian or anything else but have remained English speaking country loving Americans...
I am all for preserving different flavors; I just happen to have a cosmopolitan taste, but we are talking about evangelism here, aren't we? I do not wish to detract from the efforts made by our several jurisdictions on this continent. Indeed, I happen to believe that the Antiochian Archdiocese has been quite successful in converting folks "off the street" rather than through marriage (which is not a bad thing in itself). I know that not all OCA dioceses have had equal success in converting folks "off the street." I know less about the other jurisdictions and will not comment on the efficacy of their efforts at evangelization. What I am talking about is the best way to evangelize. I just do not think that the present level of effort and approach is as effective as it could be. Nor do I believe that the current situation is sound from  Biblical, patristic or canonical perspectives. It is what it is--a lemon, and we are making lemonade. That is good. But, I believe that we can do better and we should certainly figure out how to achieve the best.
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« Reply #68 on: March 22, 2013, 10:24:16 AM »

I don't know if it has already been mentioned, but much of the evangelism being done by protestants is often in Christianized country including Romania, Russia and other Orthodox countries.  As Orthodox, we do not typically look to prosletize RC or protestant areas.  It would probably be much more beneficial for Christendom as a whole if evangelism was focused on regions of the world that Christianity has a much more limited penetration rather than poaching each others converts.
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« Reply #69 on: March 22, 2013, 10:35:29 AM »

Here is the truth folks, the Antiochians have been mentioned as being one of the best Diocese at evangelism since the 90s when I became orthodox.  Guess what, this Sunday there will be about 27,000 people TOTAL, NATIONWIDE, in Antiochian churches. (They have about 75,000 people nationwide who call themselves members but most don't attend regularly).

We will never move forward until we face reality and deal with it.  Part of that reality is that by any objective criteria even our most evangelistic Diociose's effort is almost inconsequential on a nationwide scale. Heck it's inconsequential statistically on any scale - local, state, regional, or nationwide.

I would say the biggest problem is the perception we are an ethnic club.  For instance, when the question comes up of where I go to church, the first question out of someone's mouth is "I didn't know you were Russian."

You can confirm the above number here, http://www.hartfordinstitute.org/research/2010-USOrthodox-Census.pdf

All that being said, I praise God for the evangelism we have done.  It just needs to be done better if we are ever going to build larger, healthier Orthodox communities and truly impact those around us.
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« Reply #70 on: March 22, 2013, 09:17:27 PM »

But non-Greek Orthodox folks (or "American", for want of a better term) have a culture just as the Greeks do. It may not look like culture to first or second generation Greeks, but it is a culture - my culture is rooted in the American South - I feed people if they show up at my house, I say "yes, ma'am" and "no, sir" to older folks, I call older people who are close to my family but no blood kin at all "Uncle" and "Aunt", I ask where you come from when I meet you, who your people are and where you go to church, if you are sick or have a death in the family, I bring you a ham or potato salad or a pound cake. I serve pork, blackeyed peas and collard greens to my Greek friends on New Year's, along with the vasilopita. (And speaking of pork, barbecue is not a synonym for cooking meat on a grill outside, and it is always pork - never "shudder" beef! ;DO)

Now you may say that these are trivial examples, and they are, but sometimes I notice what seems to be an assumption that only folks with what they call an "ethnic identity" have a culture. There are all types of culture, and everyone has one!


What I am getting at as you probably gather anyway is that we all could use more culture and acceptance of others, I should try Russian or Serbian for instance .It is all in good faith , I am just a foolish man who would tell others to try what i THINK, but really I did spend much time in Europe trying different things, not all good, but I am open to all, I played drums incidentally at many Greek festivals in the South, NC, Mo.So I spent time with Greek southerners as well many times.
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« Reply #71 on: March 24, 2013, 08:45:11 PM »

I think it's because we're honestly more concerned with maintaining our rituals and our churches.

That would make sense.

Honestly, you raise a good question. However, it may be well to mention history. Historically, the Orthodox Church hasn't really been in as fortunate of circumstances as say the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. The RC Church spread so far because it was the most powerful and influential organization in all of western Europe for quite a while, and thus was able to use its vast wealth, power and ties with colonialism to spread. Protestants were able to travel to the New World and thus develop almost unimpeded upon in the most powerful, wealthy nation on Earth, and thus likewise use their resources to spread their faith. But Orthodoxy? Really, what do we have? We've been in the hot-seat for the past 700 years. The only time we were ever really fortunate was during the Byzantine Empire era, and during that era, nearly the entire Middle East and Russia were converted, showing that we did in fact make evangelization efforts when it was possible. But then Islam rose and pretty much undid all of our work in the Middle East and made us a minority barely capable of managing ourselves, let alone make missionary efforts. Russia continued to spread the faith in eastern Europe, but then when the Bolsheviks took over, Orthodoxy in Russia and eastern Europe became oppressed as well.

Now, fast forward to modern times. We're in a state of recovery. We're picking up the pieces of ruin from the persecution and destruction we endured. We haven't quite reached the missionary stage yet. Fortunately, when/if an official, unified American Orthodox Church is ever established, we may finally see vast evangelization efforts someday.

Yeah this makes sense. I agree with the hope of a unified American Church, with one bishop per city like it's supposed to be - like you say, it could be a very powerful force.

I don't know if it has already been mentioned, but much of the evangelism being done by protestants is often in Christianized country including Romania, Russia and other Orthodox countries.  As Orthodox, we do not typically look to prosletize RC or protestant areas.  It would probably be much more beneficial for Christendom as a whole if evangelism was focused on regions of the world that Christianity has a much more limited penetration rather than poaching each others converts.

Thanks for mentioning this Smiley.
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« Reply #72 on: March 24, 2013, 11:11:01 PM »

http://orthodoxmissions.wordpress.com/

New Church for Chile

MK was here
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« Reply #73 on: March 25, 2013, 05:52:12 PM »

300 years of Orthodoxy in China

The main problems of the first task:
 ■Legislation of China, Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church is legally unformed and therefore unrecognized by the authorities;
 ■Renewal and strengthening of ties between Russian Orthodox Church and Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, which were significantly weakened in the 1950s;
 ■Lack of Orthodox priests among the Chinese;
 ■The establishment of institutions of theological education and training of the clergy, as well as the question of the recognition of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church by world Orthodoxy, which is absolutely impossible without substantial support from outside.
 
Solving these problems is seen in three main directions:
 1.Awareness of the mission in the Chinese world as the problem of the whole Church;
 2.Development and coordination of programs for church institutions, aimed at normalizing the situation of the Orthodox Church in China;
 3.Establishing mechanisms of regular financing of missionary projects concerning preaching of Orthodoxy in the Chinese world.

The whole text can be read at http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/02/25/300-years-of-orthodoxy-in-china/
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« Reply #74 on: March 27, 2013, 03:43:37 PM »

300 years of Orthodoxy in China

The main problems of the first task:
 ■Legislation of China, Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church is legally unformed and therefore unrecognized by the authorities;
 ■Renewal and strengthening of ties between Russian Orthodox Church and Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, which were significantly weakened in the 1950s;
 ■Lack of Orthodox priests among the Chinese;
 ■The establishment of institutions of theological education and training of the clergy, as well as the question of the recognition of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church by world Orthodoxy, which is absolutely impossible without substantial support from outside.
 
Solving these problems is seen in three main directions:
 1.Awareness of the mission in the Chinese world as the problem of the whole Church;
 2.Development and coordination of programs for church institutions, aimed at normalizing the situation of the Orthodox Church in China;
 3.Establishing mechanisms of regular financing of missionary projects concerning preaching of Orthodoxy in the Chinese world.

The whole text can be read at http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/02/25/300-years-of-orthodoxy-in-china/

At this point the Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church, as an organization, really exists only on paper. They have no bishops; the few faithful and clergy are very elderly and many live outside China. There are of course Chinese Orthodox Christians in China but generally they are being served by clergy of other jurisdictions. It's not so much a matter of "renewing ties" between the Russian Church and the Chinese church, but of rebuilding the Chinese church from the ground up. And it might be better this time for the Church to be dependent, at least officially, on a different church from Russia to avoid PRC suspicions of the church being a tool of Russian foreign policy.
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« Reply #75 on: March 27, 2013, 11:50:23 PM »

300 years of Orthodoxy in China

The main problems of the first task:
 ■Legislation of China, Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church is legally unformed and therefore unrecognized by the authorities;
 ■Renewal and strengthening of ties between Russian Orthodox Church and Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, which were significantly weakened in the 1950s;
 ■Lack of Orthodox priests among the Chinese;
 ■The establishment of institutions of theological education and training of the clergy, as well as the question of the recognition of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church by world Orthodoxy, which is absolutely impossible without substantial support from outside.
 
Solving these problems is seen in three main directions:
 1.Awareness of the mission in the Chinese world as the problem of the whole Church;
 2.Development and coordination of programs for church institutions, aimed at normalizing the situation of the Orthodox Church in China;
 3.Establishing mechanisms of regular financing of missionary projects concerning preaching of Orthodoxy in the Chinese world.

The whole text can be read at http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/02/25/300-years-of-orthodoxy-in-china/

At this point the Chinese Orthodox Autonomous Church, as an organization, really exists only on paper. They have no bishops; the few faithful and clergy are very elderly and many live outside China. There are of course Chinese Orthodox Christians in China but generally they are being served by clergy of other jurisdictions. It's not so much a matter of "renewing ties" between the Russian Church and the Chinese church, but of rebuilding the Chinese church from the ground up. And it might be better this time for the Church to be dependent, at least officially, on a different church from Russia to avoid PRC suspicions of the church being a tool of Russian foreign policy.

Sad...very sad... Cry
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« Reply #76 on: April 19, 2013, 12:59:42 PM »

All one has to do is look at the history of the Orthodox Church.

1)  Half of all Orthodox Christians live in Ukraine and Russia.  Those 2 countries had MASSIVE death tolls from WW2 (about 30 million civilians) and maybe just as many deaths from Stalin and other Soviet leaders, combined with a program of State Atheism.  Lets assume those 2 things never happened, the Orthodox Church could probably be 100 million more people.

2)  During the age of colonization, half the the Orthodox Church was either under the control of Islam, or was being forced to convert to islam, making it impossible to spread the message to other lands.
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« Reply #77 on: April 23, 2013, 02:19:33 PM »

The spread of Catholicism and Protestantism cannot be compared to the spread of Orthodoxy, and for one main reason: The Sword.

Western Europe, under the Franks, had a powerful army, and kept the Muslims away by force, and thus Western Europe remained Catholic (until the Reformation, that is). Centuries later, powerful Western European nations began to colonize the world and brought "the gospel" with them by means of the sword as they conquered. Catholic nations like Spain and Portugal did it in Central and South America, as well as parts of Asia, and other nations like France and England did it in North America.

Orthodoxy has wielded the sword to spread the faith. We've done it by sending missionaries into nations, planting missions, and letting them embrace it themselves. Working on people's hearts can take a little more time than putting a sword to someone's throat.

That's not to say that every segment of Western Christianity is violent, nor that every segment of Orthodox is peaceful. But the sword has absolutely defined the spread of Western Christianity, while persecution and missions has defined Orthodoxy.

We've always been involved in missions. It's just that ours isn't the kind that always move quickly.
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« Reply #78 on: April 27, 2013, 05:34:55 PM »

LOL!!! You are honestly going to deny the violent sword that Orthodoxy used? I guess then that the Byzantine Empire never existed and all of those pagans that they conquered never had religion forced on them.
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« Reply #79 on: April 27, 2013, 06:44:07 PM »

LOL!!! You are honestly going to deny the violent sword that Orthodoxy used? I guess then that the Byzantine Empire never existed and all of those pagans that they conquered never had religion forced on them.

Oh, do please actually read some history.
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« Reply #80 on: April 29, 2013, 02:12:24 AM »

I did not read through the whole thread; forgive me. 

I want to add my experience to the conversation though.  Many, many people in America are coming to Orthodoxy and the internet has been a major avenue.  I can personally vouch for about 30 people coming in on this Holy Saturday to come, from only two parishes.  And in large part, it is because of converts from Protestantism sharing their journey online in various circles.  I was one of them last year.  I think it is erroneous to say that the Orthodox do not evangelize.  We may not stand at a corner and preach, or send people overseas specifically to preach the words of the Gospel, but what we do have are people finding the True Church and then *living it*.  There's no better way to evangelize, imo, than by living the commandments. 
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« Reply #81 on: April 29, 2013, 03:33:04 AM »

LOL!!! You are honestly going to deny the violent sword that Orthodoxy used? I guess then that the Byzantine Empire never existed and all of those pagans that they conquered never had religion forced on them.

Oh, do please actually read some history.

This.
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« Reply #82 on: May 20, 2013, 01:54:44 AM »

This concern has much to do with history and how the Church, over the centuries, has to rediscover its missionary roots. Over the centuries the Church has been under Islam and Communism, which curtailed much evangelization and missionary work of the Church. Only now, after taking off the yokes of Islam and Communism, has the Church slowly began to rediscover its missionary zeal. But much work is still to be done.
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« Reply #83 on: May 20, 2013, 05:40:40 AM »

Time to offend everyone here, but I think that anyone who is would complain due to ethnicity needs to get over it. You go to Church to worship and receive the Sacraments; not for a social club amongst your own kind. It's not about your personal comfort but about submitting to God. The Church shouldn't have to cater to you because you don't want to adapt to American society. You want to be around your ethnic group, then do it outside of Church. Period.

/rant

This contribution reminded me of a friend years ago. He was what might be called a Hugh Church Tory (others might better explain that than me) and being in Singapore at Christmas went to an Anglican Church. On entering his first recognition was on seeing the congregation being made up of Chinese Christians, "I can't get away from these bl..dy Chinese even in Church. The welcome again found by too many West Indians on migrating to Britain was such that an explosion of 'Black' churches followed.

The Eastern Roman Empire begat  the Slav Orthodox Churches, the Russians in their turn brought Orthodoxy to the area between the Urals to Kamchatka and Alaska beyond as well as the founding of a native Japanese Orthodox Church.. I have met Orthodox Christians including priests and monks from the Congo, Uganda and Kenya. The photographs I have seen of Chinese Orthodox clergy and people taken before the Chinese Communists took over were remarkable for the numbers of folk.

Gunboat backed missionaries was the colonial experience, whether British, French or Spanish. While the Orthodox were either exceeding restricted under the Ottomans, Venetians or faced state sponsored hostility in Imperial China, including the activities of the Boxers (affecting as they did Christians of every hue. Japan was long a hostile environment under the Shoguns relieved a little by Portugese naval muscle. Britain shut Russia out of India, fearful of Russian ambitions.



« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 06:15:03 AM by Santagranddad » Logged
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« Reply #84 on: May 20, 2013, 07:59:54 AM »

Quote
Nobody is preventing OCA of being more  missionary, neither is anyone preventing Serbian (and other "ethnic") Church from doing the same...they are not (nor could they ever be) in each other's way...
In fact, they could be in each other's way. I saw that happen in Austin, Texas where everybody went to one church: St Elias Antiochian. Then, the ethnic divisions started to happen, not to spread the word and evangelize but to preserve one's roots. Fortunately, this mess eventually ended well as Orthodoxy spread anyway in Greater Austin, but in other places the outcome has been a fractured witness to the heterodox. Fractured witness, not only because there is not a united front, but also because the ethnic parishes give the wrong idea to the heterodox--that to be Orthodox you may also need to become Serbian, Greek or Russian.
[/quote]

Luckily for Austin, a dynamic priest (Father James Kenna of blessed memory) at St Elias was very Pan Orthodox and evangelistic---St Elias became the "Mother Church that gave birth to a large Greek Orthodox Parish, several Orthodox missions--- some that have grown to full parishes in Cedar Park (St John the Fore Runner), Fredricksburg, San Antonio, and Dripping Springs (St Sophia's) jn less than 10 years. Even though "retired Father James continued to mentor new missions and was priest over a Mission (St Sophia in Dripping Springs) he reposed after an accident in bad weather as he was out blessing homes. A true priest if I ever saw one and a true Evangelical  missionary in the Orthodox Church---we miss him in Austin Area.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 02:52:33 PM by Thomas » Logged

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« Reply #85 on: May 20, 2013, 08:15:11 AM »

I'm sorry that I don't have much knowledge of the orthodox church situation in America, as I'm Australian and Protestant. But I wanted to say. Several people on this thread were concerned about the lack of one single autocephalous church in the US. And that's probably a valid concern, sounds like things would be a lot smoother if the orthodox churches could be more closely allied. What I don't understand is why people say that it is impeding missions. As a point of reference, and I don't know how appropriate it is to compare these, the Protestants in any country I know don't have an overall unity. There's no single "Protestant" church, no patriarch that governs all the churches in an area in an orderly fashion. It's hundreds and hundreds of loosely banded denominations and non-denominationals. Some of the older ones have their own archbishops, but there's always several denominations in the same place, and so several hierarchies. But none of the Protestants find it embarrassing or say that it impedes missions. Among most churches there's an implicit understanding that it doesn't matter which particular local church a convert ends up in or who's under which denominational label. So why are the Orthodox in America saying that things will be much smoother once there's a united Orthodox church? If the Protestants can evangelise with little formal unity, why not the Orthodox?

Secondly, the languages thing. I think it's great that more Orthodox churches are English speaking now. (Mostly because I recently visited a Greek Orthodox church service without checking what language it was going to be in, and sat for a couple hours trying to work out what was being said in Modern Greek from what I know of Classical Greek... it didn't work out so well Tongue) However it would be narrow-minded to say that services in minority languages are bad and should all be done away with. Mostly because it's not just young people who need to be evangelised, it's the old as well.

Case in point, I used to be part of a Pentecostal church that was made up of just one ethnicity: Malaysian Chinese immigrants. And it had services in English and Chinese. I felt the ethnic character wasn't helping the church's evangelism overall, although they were very good at evangelising more Malaysian Chinese immigrants. And some years later I moved to an Anglican church that was much more ethnically diverse (and younger demographic). But when my grandmother decided to convert, only about ten years ago, she needed the Chinese church. She has very little English up her sleeve, and spiritual matters are especially hard to grapple with in a foreign tongue. If it weren't for the ethnic Malaysian Chinese church that we were connected to, I doubt her conversion would have been so well accommodated. So there is a role for ethnic churches - not all success is measured in converting the young, mainstream of the society. Churches all have their areas of influence, just because not all of them cater to the largest part of the population doesn't mean they're failing to reach who God wants them to reach.

Having said that, I think the largest number of churches should be in English in countries where English is the majority language. But wherever there is a real need, there should also be some minority ethnic churches as long as they reach people who would otherwise have struggled to find a home church.
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« Reply #86 on: May 20, 2013, 08:17:46 AM »

So why are the Orthodox in America saying that things will be much smoother once there's a united Orthodox church? If the Protestants can evangelise with little formal unity, why not the Orthodox?

One bishop per area.
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« Reply #87 on: May 20, 2013, 09:54:14 AM »

Okay, this thought just came to me and is perhaps a bit rabid but see how it sits with you.

Perhaps inquirers are scandalized by the relative size of Orthodoxy in America because they are operating, perhaps subconsciously, under the assumption that America is this great Christian nation and that millions of sincere people are languishing in Protestantism and Catholicism and would hop into Orthodoxy if only they would stop speaking Russian and knock on their door.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 09:54:46 AM by Hinterlander » Logged
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« Reply #88 on: May 20, 2013, 10:44:24 AM »

Okay, this thought just came to me and is perhaps a bit rabid but see how it sits with you.

Perhaps inquirers are scandalized by the relative size of Orthodoxy in America because they are operating, perhaps subconsciously, under the assumption that America is this great Christian nation and that millions of sincere people are languishing in Protestantism and Catholicism and would hop into Orthodoxy if only they would stop speaking Russian and knock on their door.


The mentality among people's in Anglophone countries may also reflect a bias that only sees or understands Christianity as either Protestant or Catholic, anything else either doesn't fit or is simply categorised as smells and bells minus the Pope. Certainly when an Orthodox Church was attacked by Prods several years all they saw was smell and bells, plus plus.

Another obstacle may be the involvement in the ecumenical movement, after all if there are aspects of Orthodoxy that appeal you simply incorporate that into your own life/worship. Example, see Lady Thatcher's funeral or a Royal wedding/funeral, etc., you see a large traditional prominently displayed in the Anglican cathedral or church. Others incorporate the Jesus prayer. The lack of clear unified statements which so characterised Roman Catholic dogma prior to Vatican 2 means we appear to carry little weight other than we add a bit of colour or even legitimacy to the theological relativism that we have slid into, unfortunately.
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