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Author Topic: Priest shortage taking it's toll  (Read 11889 times) Average Rating: 0
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jude
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« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2003, 11:25:08 AM »

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... even former Orthodox who have "returned" to the 'folk and gods' sects of ancient Hellas
Were they ever Orthodox to begin with? I can't remember their website address but I do recall that they were loudly and offensively anti-christian.

John.

To say they are anti-christian is an understatement. But I don't believe they are anymore anti-christian than other neo-pagan cults in Europe, of which there seem to be many.

Sincere people can lose their faith. At least that has been my experience.

Jude
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« Reply #46 on: November 25, 2008, 03:12:42 AM »

In bringing back this thread after nearly 6 years, the Priest shortage in the GOA is so desperate that a Priest, formerly suspended for sexual misconduct, has been reinstated and assigned to a small Church in VA.  Article from Pokrov.

According to the National Herald, <Name redacted> was suspended for sexual misconduct. In 2008, he was assigned to the Nativity of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in the Metropolis of New Jersey. Earlier in the year he served as a substitute priest at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Weston, Massachusetts, in the Metropolis of Boston.


A few weeks ago, I visited this Community for a social function and my blood turned cold when I saw this Priest.
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« Reply #47 on: November 25, 2008, 08:23:29 AM »

I don't know if the "shortage" is indeed that desperate.  I think this was an exercise in poor judgment and not an act of desperation or necessity.  Of course, the Metropolis of New Jersey may indeed be having a shortage problem, as they don't have many of their young men attending the seminary, which is a problem.  (How is it that the lowly metropolises of Denver, Detroit, and Pittsburgh - the smallest and poorest of the Metropolises of the GOA - each send more seminarians than the Metropolis of New Jersey which encompasses some major population areas?)
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« Reply #48 on: November 25, 2008, 11:19:53 AM »

Well, this thread was orginally about a shortage in the RC but reading the last post got me wondering.  If there isn't a shortage of priests in various EO jurisdictions, why are, for example, most of the EO parishes in Montana without one?  The Greek Orthodox parish in Great Falls has to import a priest a few times a year and hasn't had its own clergy in a good number of years. I mean nothing disrespectful with this question. I am wondering as to the "why" of the situation.

Ebor
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« Reply #49 on: November 25, 2008, 11:36:35 AM »

Every once in a while I hear that there are shortages, though I don't know if that's really the case, or if some parishes are just too small to support a priest.
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« Reply #50 on: November 26, 2008, 11:27:57 AM »

Or do priests not want to go to unfamiliar, out of the way areas or places that aren't like what they're used to? Or is it not permitted for a priest to have a 'day job' in some other area so that he and any family can live and still hold a post in a parish?

The Great Falls parish was once large enough to build the church and last for decades.  Now it's, I'm told, about 8 families; there was a baptism in August when the imported priest was there so there's some younger people, I'd guess.  Also, there have been a number of people in Montana come to this forum and write of the lack of EO clergy/parishes/support so there is some interest.  But that isn't been addressed/tended to... I'm trying to find the right words.. sorry.

 
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« Reply #51 on: November 26, 2008, 12:25:03 PM »

Ebor,

If a church only has eight families in attendance then obviously there aren't enough people in the parish to support a full time priest. And most Orthodox parishes were never wealthy enough to develop legacy funding, which is the mode of operation which keeps dying Episcopal churches in the black and with an assigned priest. (An ex-Episcopal friend share that information with me several years ago.)

There may be some priests who are willing to go to these dying parishes and work a second job, but I don't think you will find priests in the Greek Archdiocese who are willing to do this when there are so many other parishes within the GOA, that are thriving and in need of at least one priest. Some GOA parishes have two in order to take care of all of the families.

I haven't heard there is a shortage of priests in the Antiochian Archdiocese. In fact, Metropolitan Philip finally tightened up the requirements on when a man can go to seminary to study for the priesthood because there were so  many requesting to go. The new requirement states a man must be an Orthodox Christian for at least five years and an active member of an Orthodox parish community during that time. 

At our last retreat, I spoke to one of our priests, who is from Washington State, about this subject. He was explaining to me how he and his brother clergymen were planting missions in rural areas in that state. The missions do not have priests yet but are served by priests who have established parishes not too far away. Eventually, once the missions are large enough, a priest will either be assigned to the parish but sometimes a member from within the new mission will eventually become the priest for that parish.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 12:27:20 PM by Tamara » Logged
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« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2008, 12:02:38 PM »

Ebor,

If a church only has eight families in attendance then obviously there aren't enough people in the parish to support a full time priest.

But once it was a lot bigger I would guess since they were able to build a church and all.  So one question is "Why did the last priest leave?"  Was it because there wasn't enough to sustain a full time priest?  Or is the lack of a priest a contributing factor in the parish shrinking?  I don't know.  But these seem to me to be pertinent questions.

Quote
There may be some priests who are willing to go to these dying parishes and work a second job, but I don't think you will find priests in the Greek Archdiocese who are willing to do this when there are so many other parishes within the GOA, that are thriving and in need of at least one priest. Some GOA parishes have two in order to take care of all of the families.

I don't know the numbers for how many GOA parishs and how many priests they have. I'd have to do some research. But how will a parish thrive if there is no priest one wonders?

Quote
I haven't heard there is a shortage of priests in the Antiochian Archdiocese. In fact, Metropolitan Philip finally tightened up the requirements on when a man can go to seminary to study for the priesthood because there were so  many requesting to go. The new requirement states a man must be an Orthodox Christian for at least five years and an active member of an Orthodox parish community during that time. 

Sounds like a wise thing.

Quote
At our last retreat, I spoke to one of our priests, who is from Washington State, about this subject. He was explaining to me how he and his brother clergymen were planting missions in rural areas in that state. The missions do not have priests yet but are served by priests who have established parishes not too far away. Eventually, once the missions are large enough, a priest will either be assigned to the parish but sometimes a member from within the new mission will eventually become the priest for that parish.

Circuit riding pastors are an old tradition out west.  There are Episcopal priests in Montana, Wyoming and other areas who have the cure of two or more parishes and do the same thing.  Sometimes it's because a parish is too small to support clergy on its own, but other times it's been the case that new priests want to stay in the more populous areas and not go out to the hinterlands as it were.  And then how are people to be reached?  Undecided

Ebor
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« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2008, 01:46:34 PM »

Ebor,

If a church only has eight families in attendance then obviously there aren't enough people in the parish to support a full time priest.

But once it was a lot bigger I would guess since they were able to build a church and all.  So one question is "Why did the last priest leave?"  Was it because there wasn't enough to sustain a full time priest?  Or is the lack of a priest a contributing factor in the parish shrinking?  I don't know.  But these seem to me to be pertinent questions.
Maybe it was large at one time due to jobs. But over time, those jobs disappeared so the families either moved away or they left Orthodoxy due to intermarriage with other Christians. In American Orthodoxy, once you no longer have enough funds to maintain a priest then the parish will lose its priest. And if certain jurisdictions are experiencing a priest shortage, then those dying parishes would be the last place any priest would want to go. Ten minutes away from my home is a large, thriving Greek Orthodox parish. They probably have 800 families on their list. For a while the elderly priest had a young priest to assist him. But a mere two years later the young priest was sent to a booming area outside of Sacramento that had 300 hundred young Greek Orthodox families waiting for a priest. If I remember correctly, they had built a large Byzantine Church within a few years after the young priest arrived. If you were that young priest, why would you ever choose to go to a small rural and perhaps depressed area when there are places with large Greek Orthodox populations waiting to be served?

I think it becomes very clear why dying parishes are ignored. We may see this begin to happen in the Rust Belt. Many of the parishes in that region are losing membership rapidly due to loss of jobs, intermarriage out of the faith and lack of welcoming in those who are not Orthodox.

Quote
There may be some priests who are willing to go to these dying parishes and work a second job, but I don't think you will find priests in the Greek Archdiocese who are willing to do this when there are so many other parishes within the GOA, that are thriving and in need of at least one priest. Some GOA parishes have two in order to take care of all of the families.

Quote
I don't know the numbers for how many GOA parishs and how many priests they have. I'd have to do some research. But how will a parish thrive if there is no priest one wonders?
It won't thrive without a priest.

Quote
At our last retreat, I spoke to one of our priests, who is from Washington State, about this subject. He was explaining to me how he and his brother clergymen were planting missions in rural areas in that state. The missions do not have priests yet but are served by priests who have established parishes not too far away. Eventually, once the missions are large enough, a priest will either be assigned to the parish but sometimes a member from within the new mission will eventually become the priest for that parish.

Quote
Circuit riding pastors are an old tradition out west.  There are Episcopal priests in Montana, Wyoming and other areas who have the cure of two or more parishes and do the same thing.  Sometimes it's because a parish is too small to support clergy on its own, but other times it's been the case that new priests want to stay in the more populous areas and not go out to the hinterlands as it were.  And then how are people to be reached?  Undecided

Ebor

The priests in our Archdiocese aren't exactly circuit riding but by splitting their time with their established parish and a mission within driving distance, they are able to meet this need and bring more into the faith. However, these men came from evangelical backgrounds so they are used to spreading the word, regardless of parishioners' ethnicity. Most ethnic priests in all the jurisdictions have the mentality of only serving a specific ethnic group. Once that group moves or stops attending, the parish usually folds no matter where it is located.
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« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2008, 02:04:44 PM »

Maybe it was large at one time due to jobs. But over time, those jobs disappeared so the families either moved away or they left Orthodoxy due to intermarriage with other Christians. In American Orthodoxy, once you no longer have enough funds to maintain a priest then the parish will lose its priest. And if certain jurisdictions are experiencing a priest shortage, then those dying parishes would be the last place any priest would want to go. Ten minutes away from my home is a large, thriving Greek Orthodox parish. They probably have 800 families on their list. For a while the elderly priest had a young priest to assist him. But a mere two years later the young priest was sent to a booming area outside of Sacramento that had 300 hundred young Greek Orthodox families waiting for a priest.

Tamara, What do you mean by "young?"  Could "young" be defined by how many Folk Dance Federation teams exist within that one community?  Why not say "300 Greek Orthodox families?"
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« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2008, 04:28:02 PM »

Maybe it was large at one time due to jobs. But over time, those jobs disappeared so the families either moved away or they left Orthodoxy due to intermarriage with other Christians. In American Orthodoxy, once you no longer have enough funds to maintain a priest then the parish will lose its priest. And if certain jurisdictions are experiencing a priest shortage, then those dying parishes would be the last place any priest would want to go. Ten minutes away from my home is a large, thriving Greek Orthodox parish. They probably have 800 families on their list. For a while the elderly priest had a young priest to assist him. But a mere two years later the young priest was sent to a booming area outside of Sacramento that had 300 hundred young Greek Orthodox families waiting for a priest.

Tamara, What do you mean by "young?"  Could "young" be defined by how many Folk Dance Federation teams exist within that one community?  Why not say "300 Greek Orthodox families?"

The priest who serves that church described it as young. He came to a Bible study at the Greek Orthodox Church near my home, after a visit to the new parish.  He shared with us that many of the young Orthodox folks, who grew up in the bay area, had moved to the Roseville area due to good job prospects and cheaper home prices. It is a vibrant new parish and not only because they have dance groups. This particular priest is very devout and his leadership is taking the young parish in the right direction.
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« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2008, 06:18:07 PM »

OK, I am familiar with the Church and the Priest in Roseville, CA for said Priest has come East on numerous occasions.   Smiley

Still, I'm troubled by the Priest referring to his flock as "young" especially in an era where a good number of "said flock" made their money in the Internet Economy and are faced by economic downturn.

Maybe I've become so jaded that I don't know what a "young" Greek Orthodox family looks like because very few of them go to my Church.   Huh
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« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2008, 08:04:42 PM »

OK, I am familiar with the Church and the Priest in Roseville, CA for said Priest has come East on numerous occasions.   Smiley

Still, I'm troubled by the Priest referring to his flock as "young" especially in an era where a good number of "said flock" made their money in the Internet Economy and are faced by economic downturn.

Maybe I've become so jaded that I don't know what a "young" Greek Orthodox family looks like because very few of them go to my Church.   Huh
Then come out here for a visit and be reassured that there are many!  Smiley
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« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2008, 08:05:31 PM »

OK, I am familiar with the Church and the Priest in Roseville, CA for said Priest has come East on numerous occasions.   Smiley

Still, I'm troubled by the Priest referring to his flock as "young" especially in an era where a good number of "said flock" made their money in the Internet Economy and are faced by economic downturn.

Maybe I've become so jaded that I don't know what a "young" Greek Orthodox family looks like because very few of them go to my Church.   Huh
Then come out here for a visit and be reassured that there are many!  Smiley
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« Reply #59 on: November 29, 2008, 03:51:23 AM »

^ With my luck, all of them will be at a FDF Competition in SF when I come to St. Anna's (which is the only GOA Church named after St. Anna).

BTW, you double-posted.  I don't have that problem; Maybe your browser is doing strange things with cookies?
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« Reply #60 on: November 29, 2008, 02:17:46 PM »

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In American Orthodoxy, once you no longer have enough funds to maintain a priest then the parish will lose its priest. And if certain jurisdictions are experiencing a priest shortage, then those dying parishes would be the last place any priest would want to go.

Well, that would then seem to guarantee that EO would not survive there.  But then how does that go along with the Great Commission and Evangelization, one wonders.

Quote
If you were that young priest, why would you ever choose to go to a small rural and perhaps depressed area when there are places with large Greek Orthodox populations waiting to be served?

Well, there have been clergy who did go out to such places to take the faith to others, to "go into all the world".  Fr. DeSmet, and Bishop Tuttle and Brother Van Orsdel didn't go out to Montana Territory to minister to lots of RC or Episcopalians or Methodists but to take Christianity to the unchurched.

I'm not trying to be difficult, but if there are only 2 priests for 1100 families between the two parishes, that kind of looks like a 'priest shortage' to me.

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I think it becomes very clear why dying parishes are ignored. We may see this begin to happen in the Rust Belt. Many of the parishes in that region are losing membership rapidly due to loss of jobs, intermarriage out of the faith and lack of welcoming in those who are not Orthodox.

I'm sorry, I don't quite understand the last bit.  Do you mean that the EO parishes that are dying are not welcoming to non-EO or that the non-EO local people are not welcoming to EO.  I apologize for being dense.

Quote
Quote
I don't know the numbers for how many GOA parishs and how many priests they have. I'd have to do some research. But how will a parish thrive if there is no priest one wonders?
It won't thrive without a priest.

That seems to be clear and it doesn't seem like a good thing.


Quote
The priests in our Archdiocese aren't exactly circuit riding but by splitting their time with their established parish and a mission within driving distance, they are able to meet this need and bring more into the faith.

That's how it works in Montana, actually, from what I've read.

Quote
Most ethnic priests in all the jurisdictions have the mentality of only serving a specific ethnic group. Once that group moves or stops attending, the parish usually folds no matter where it is located.
 

And then other Christian Churches may minister to those people, may be, but not EO...?  Undecided

Ebor
« Last Edit: November 29, 2008, 02:19:06 PM by Ebor » Logged

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« Reply #61 on: November 29, 2008, 03:26:27 PM »

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In American Orthodoxy, once you no longer have enough funds to maintain a priest then the parish will lose its priest. And if certain jurisdictions are experiencing a priest shortage, then those dying parishes would be the last place any priest would want to go.

Well, that would then seem to guarantee that EO would not survive there.  But then how does that go along with the Great Commission and Evangelization, one wonders.
Yes, you are correct. For example, the Ukrainian Orthodox church in Canada have lost 90% of their membership in the last forty years due to what I have described earlier. Unfortunately, many ethnic-centered Orthodox Churches have no idea Christ even gave us the mandate to go out and evangelize. Those churches will eventually pass away.

Quote
If you were that young priest, why would you ever choose to go to a small rural and perhaps depressed area when there are places with large Greek Orthodox populations waiting to be served?

Quote
Well, there have been clergy who did go out to such places to take the faith to others, to "go into all the world".  Fr. DeSmet, and Bishop Tuttle and Brother Van Orsdel didn't go out to Montana Territory to minister to lots of RC or Episcopalians or Methodists but to take Christianity to the unchurched.

I'm not trying to be difficult, but if there are only 2 priests for 1100 families between the two parishes, that kind of looks like a 'priest shortage' to me.
I don't have the numbers for the Greek Archdiocese, but from what I have heard through the Orthodox grapevine is, they are in the midst of a priest shortage.

Quote
I think it becomes very clear why dying parishes are ignored. We may see this begin to happen in the Rust Belt. Many of the parishes in that region are losing membership rapidly due to loss of jobs, intermarriage out of the faith and lack of welcoming in those who are not Orthodox.

Quote
I'm sorry, I don't quite understand the last bit.  Do you mean that the EO parishes that are dying are not welcoming to non-EO or that the non-EO local people are not welcoming to EO.  I apologize for being dense.
Yes. There are EO parishes which are dying because they have not welcomed non-EOs and because their own children have left Orthodoxy through intermarriage with non-EO Christians.

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Quote
I don't know the numbers for how many GOA parishs and how many priests they have. I'd have to do some research. But how will a parish thrive if there is no priest one wonders?
It won't thrive without a priest.

Quote
That seems to be clear and it doesn't seem like a good thing.
It isn't a good thing but if you have a priest shortage it only makes sense to send the few priests you do have to growing communities that also have growing economies.


Quote
The priests in our Archdiocese aren't exactly circuit riding but by splitting their time with their established parish and a mission within driving distance, they are able to meet this need and bring more into the faith.

Quote
That's how it works in Montana, actually, from what I've read.
Well, as I said before, these priests were former evangelicals so they just seem to know how to establish more missions. Thank God we have them. I just wish we had an official diocese mission fund to help them along. These men are doing this work all on their own. Its really quite amazing for me to see them work.

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Most ethnic priests in all the jurisdictions have the mentality of only serving a specific ethnic group. Once that group moves or stops attending, the parish usually folds no matter where it is located.
 

Quote
And then other Christian Churches may minister to those people, may be, but not EO...?  Undecided

Ebor
Exactly, Ebor...that is what happens quite often.
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