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Author Topic: Visiting a COC in Seattle?  (Read 519 times) Average Rating: 0
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RehamG
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« on: May 26, 2013, 01:00:25 AM »

OK guys, in a nutshell I have been wanting to pay a visit to the local Coptic church. However I'm pretty nervous about it since I am not Egyptian and I'm thinking 99% of those in attendance will be; I am worried I will stand out a lot....I'm a neon white redhead. Basically I'm paranoid I won't get a good welcome/not spoken to/stared at since I am white American Undecided I know what to expect service wise for the most part but anyone who wants to add in some stuff I may not know about, feel free.

Added Seattle in the title because maybe, just maybe there is someone who attends or has been to St. Mary COC in Seattle who can ease my nerves? Any other non-Egyptians who have visited a COC, how was it? Are my worries irrational? Huh
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dzheremi
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2013, 02:59:30 AM »

Hi, I am a non-Egyptian in the COC. Another non-Egyptian among us is Mabsoota, who will possibly show up to this thread once she's done sleeping or eating breakfast or whatever people in the United Kingdom are doing at whatever hour it is over there.

In the meantime, while I have not been to the church in question, I notice that they have a website, which you probably will want to visit if you haven't already. There you can listen to the liturgy, view pictures, etc. I'm listening to the liturgy as I type this, and it appears that they use English (all Coptic churches in North America do; it's just a question of the makeup of the congregation how much Arabic vs. English you'll hear), so it's reasonable to expect that there will be at least some people there who can converse with you. I would also recommend that you contact the church in question via their "Contact us" page, explain that you are exploring Orthodoxy and want to know more about their specific community in the Seattle area. That's what I did before I went to my first liturgy at what is now my home parish in Albuquerque, NM, and the contact person gave me all kinds of information on the makeup of the community, what to expect at services, etc.

If you don't get a good welcome, particularly since you've already been studying Orthodoxy, you'd probably be the first. I came to what is now my home parish in Albuquerque, NM with no background in Orthodoxy at all, and certainly not a drop of Egyptian or other African/Middle Eastern blood, but was still very warmly received. I'm not going to lie and say that you'll find a lot of people in any particular Coptic church who share your cultural background (Oriental Orthodoxy is the far less popular option for Euro-American converts, as you might imagine), but I am confident that you will be spoken to. Egyptians loooooove to talk, and the Copts are very zealous about the faith. You can expect a lot of curiosity over the post-liturgy Agape meal ("how did you like the lliturgy?" "how did you find the Coptic Church?", etc.), and anyone who doesn't talk to you might just be naturally shy around new people, or maybe less than confident in their conversational English skills. Don't take it personally. Egyptians are incredibly friendly. Have a wonderful time, and be sure to let us all know how it went, after you go.

The Lamentations of Jeremiah by Mina Mina on 5/3/2013 (Good Friday). St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church - Lynnwood - Seattle, WA (Mina Mina? That's the most Coptic name I've ever heard. I'm pretty sure that's a good sign. Cheesy)
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RehamG
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2013, 04:45:57 AM »

I've checked out the site, it is a good one actually. But I don't get a reply from the contact form, sadly. I'm giving the benefit of the doubt that maybe stuff is busy on their end Huh

We shall see. I am going to make it there sometime in June, after my schedule frees up and I'll report back!
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– St. Mark the Ascetic, Sermon, 1.6
NicholasMyra
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2013, 05:12:27 PM »

OK guys, in a nutshell I have been wanting to pay a visit to the local Coptic church. However I'm pretty nervous about it since I am not Egyptian and I'm thinking 99% of those in attendance will be; I am worried I will stand out a lot....I'm a neon white redhead. Basically I'm paranoid I won't get a good welcome/not spoken to/stared at since I am white American Undecided I know what to expect service wise for the most part but anyone who wants to add in some stuff I may not know about, feel free.

Added Seattle in the title because maybe, just maybe there is someone who attends or has been to St. Mary COC in Seattle who can ease my nerves? Any other non-Egyptians who have visited a COC, how was it? Are my worries irrational? Huh

I've been to St. Mary's for Tasbeha. I was shown a lot of hospitality and chatted with a few of the members. They also gave me a copy of the service in English; although much of it is in English anyway.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 05:13:11 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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RehamG
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2013, 05:40:35 PM »

Yeah, I knew there had to be someone who had been there before!! The world is just too small not to be....good to know people are friendly there Grin
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"A humble man who lives a spiritual life, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will relate all things to himself and not to others.”

– St. Mark the Ascetic, Sermon, 1.6
mabsoota
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2013, 05:49:39 PM »

sounds promising!
also what did u think of the midnight praise, nicholasmyra?

yes dzheremi, it is bed time and i'm off to sleep soon!

as for replying to your contact form, they may reply on egyptian time (may or may not be before you actually visit...)
so don't be too disappointed about the delay.
don't know about usa, but i'm rarely the only non egyptian/sudanese at church any more in the uk; we have a few british asians and white people and mixed race people in my current (quite big) church, and anyway if u stand out, the 'reverse racism' thing is an interesting cultural experience. it may help u empathize better with americans who are in ethnic minorities where they live / work!
 Wink
may God guide u and help u on your spiritual journey
 Smiley
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2013, 06:24:14 PM »

also what did u think of the midnight praise, nicholasmyra?
Very monastic, very nile-river rhythm.

Was quite interesting.
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Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
Gorazd
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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2013, 06:38:36 PM »

Hi, I am in EOC in the EP, not Egyptian, occasionally visit the Coptic Church and have always been very warmly welcomed!
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RehamG
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2013, 03:34:39 PM »

Thanks guys. I was kind of wondering if I was a victim of Egyptian time  Tongue

I'm going to hit up a local festival thing the Church does a few days before, to get a feel for everyone and everything and will report back after I go to service Smiley
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"A humble man who lives a spiritual life, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will relate all things to himself and not to others.”

– St. Mark the Ascetic, Sermon, 1.6
mabsoota
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2013, 05:27:00 PM »

take ear plugs.
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2013, 01:27:51 AM »

I would stop by, but I'm working through that day.
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Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
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