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Author Topic: Back In Church after Baptism. Need Advise?  (Read 617 times) Average Rating: 0
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kzofm
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« on: November 19, 2013, 08:53:02 AM »

Hello Everyone,

I am new to these forums, so please forgive me if I post this in the wrong place.

I am in need of some advise: A couple years ago, I moved to Europe with family> then I was baptised in the Orthodox church> then shortly after, our family situation changed> We left Europe> We went home for almost 2 years (there is no Orthodox Church in my Country, so I was not able to attend church)> Now approximately 2 years after, I am temporarily back in Europe (the same country I was baptised), and I visited the church I was baptised in, hoping to get some advise from the priest.

Okay, that is my story. Now: the actual problem: In the last week I visited the church on 2 days, one time for a Matin, another time for a Vigil. I did not attend liturgy, as I live very far away from the Church's city. and my only train to go home for that weekend left the city at the same time the Liturgy started.

This is my problem. I basically never attended a Liturgy since I was Baptised. Partly because I was away for 2 years, in a country with no Orthodox Church, and even now that I am back, I was not able to attend because of the time my Train left the City.

I am making arrangement to stay in the city next week (not this weekend, the next one), so that I can attend the liturgy, but I am afraid. I know I have nothing to be afraid of, but It will be my first time and I will not know what to do. To make things worse, I know that the church will probably be full. I get panic attacks in crowds, and not knowing what to do, plus standing in a full church during the liturgy frightens me. Plus I have a number of questions. Should I go for communion, during my next (and first) liturgy? Should I do a Confession First?

When I visited the church last week, I asked the Priest if he would have time to give me some advise. He told me that he is too busy to talk, and gave me his card to send him an email, then he left the church. Thankfully he did have enough time to give me my Baptismal Certificate before he left. I called him the next day and asked if we could make an appointment to talk, but he said that he is so busy that he doesn't have any time, and again: to send him an email. I understand that he is actually busy, but I am still confused after speaking to him because he has no time to explain anything.

Sorry for making this post so long, but I really need some advise. Now my question again:

1) Should I go for communion on my next liturgy OR do I need to do a confession first? I tried asking the priest this when I met him, but he again asked me to send him an email because he didn't have time to talk. I hope that some of you here could give me advise.

I will be looking out for your replies,
Thank you!
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 08:56:26 AM by kzofm » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2013, 09:12:06 AM »

Dear kzofm,

How wonderful that you want to establish yourself in the Church again!  I pray you will find the strength to overcome your fears.  Surely your Guardian Angel  is with you at all times and will support you. 

It would be great if you could find a person established in the Church to help you out.  Do you have a godparent (sponsor) from when you were baptized who could advise you? 

I'm sorry to hear the priest could not make time for you.  I'd still e-mail him, and explain my questions just like you did here.  I'd also ask if there is another person from the church who might meet you. 

Do be very cautious about accepting advice from a discussion board concerning your sacramental life.

Love, elephant 
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2013, 09:28:08 AM »


Welcome to the Forum!

Considering it's been a few years, I would first go to Confession, and then Communion.

Do write the priest an email.  Keep it short and to the point. If he's too busy to talk with you, he's probably not going to have the patience to read through a very long and detailed email.  So, make bullet points for your questions, and wait for his reply.

I agree with elephant.  Find someone in the parish who can help you out, as well.  Someone you can talk to for support, if nothing else.  Is the priest married?  Perhaps you can speak with his wife.  Definitely speak to your godparent/sponsor.

...and of course you can ask us, however, remember that not everything people say on Internet forums is correct or even beneficial to your soul. 

...and don't get offended if someone speaks briskly or what appears to be rudely.  Smiley

Once again, WELCOME to the Forum, and back home to the Church.

(Please remember to read the RULES tab in the upper left, to familiarize yourself with Forum Rules and Policies).



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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2013, 10:40:36 AM »

First all, welcome to the forum.  One thing to keep in mind, although we mean well, this forum doesn't replace a head-to-head discussion with an Orthodox priest on matters that are of concern to you. However, we do have some interesting and challenging topics of conversation. 
Do, attend Liturgy, it is beautiful and the only place to be on a Sunday.  Being away for some time, like yourself it is to your advantage to sit down with your priest and tell him your story and being that you were away for so long it would be a good time to make a list of what concerns you and to make a life confession.  Don't worry, you are not telling the priest anything he hasn't heard before.  Be sincere and repentant.  Wait until you see what a great feeling you will have after unloading that burdensome past off your back.  Receive Communion and don't forget to say the post Communion prayers of Thanksgiving.
Again, Welcome to the forum.
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2013, 11:31:55 AM »

Do write the priest an email.  Keep it short and to the point. If he's too busy to talk with you, he's probably not going to have the patience to read through a very long and detailed email.  So, make bullet points for your questions, and wait for his reply.

I seriously don't understand this kind of garbage. If your job is to be a priest, isn't it your JOB to read through long emails and tend to the spiritual needs of your flock? And what kind of priest doesn't have time to talk after a service? Sunday is their biggest work day. Slack off on one of your many days of sitting around during the week, not responding to emails. But at least try and put in a little effort on Sunday. Maybe he had some other service to do after the liturgy for a family or something, but this is very rare. The work ethic of some priests wouldn't be tolerated in other professions. I'm of course speaking of priests without full time jobs on the side.

A half day Sunday, Vespers on Wednesday nights for an hour or so in some American parishes (if even that), maybe Great Vespers on Saturday night for an hour or so (again only in some parishes). Add in the occasional counseling session with a parishioner and the occasional wedding, baptism, or hospital visit and you have NO excuse to ignore inquiries, emails, or the needs of parishioners you approach you after services. Look at this person's example. It's so rare that he can ever even go to church, and he makes a huge effort to actually go to this church and seeks confession and he is brushed aside because the priest is too busy. Completely ridiculous.
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2013, 12:40:16 PM »


I tend to agree. 

However, as this particular priest seems to always be in a rush....if the email is succinct and to the point, they might get a reply.
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2013, 12:40:50 PM »

I seriously don't understand this kind of garbage. If your job is to be a priest, isn't it your JOB to read through long emails and tend to the spiritual needs of your flock? And what kind of priest doesn't have time to talk after a service? Sunday is their biggest work day. Slack off on one of your many days of sitting around during the week, not responding to emails. But at least try and put in a little effort on Sunday. Maybe he had some other service to do after the liturgy for a family or something, but this is very rare. The work ethic of some priests wouldn't be tolerated in other professions. I'm of course speaking of priests without full time jobs on the side.

A half day Sunday, Vespers on Wednesday nights for an hour or so in some American parishes (if even that), maybe Great Vespers on Saturday night for an hour or so (again only in some parishes). Add in the occasional counseling session with a parishioner and the occasional wedding, baptism, or hospital visit and you have NO excuse to ignore inquiries, emails, or the needs of parishioners you approach you after services. Look at this person's example. It's so rare that he can ever even go to church, and he makes a huge effort to actually go to this church and seeks confession and he is brushed aside because the priest is too busy. Completely ridiculous.

I agree, completely ridiculous (and somewhat off topic).  Obviously, you're not a priest, related to a priest, have a priest who trusts you enough as a friend to be forthcoming about his work and struggles, etc.  And yet, you know all about how lazy and unproductive they are when you don't see them working with your own two eyes.  

"Garbage" isn't even the word...
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2013, 01:09:12 PM »

I am in need of some advise: A couple years ago, I moved to Europe with family> then I was baptised in the Orthodox church> then shortly after, our family situation changed> We left Europe> We went home for almost 2 years (there is no Orthodox Church in my Country, so I was not able to attend church)> Now approximately 2 years after, I am temporarily back in Europe (the same country I was baptised), and I visited the church I was baptised in, hoping to get some advise from the priest.

Okay, that is my story. Now: the actual problem: In the last week I visited the church on 2 days, one time for a Matin, another time for a Vigil. I did not attend liturgy, as I live very far away from the Church's city. and my only train to go home for that weekend left the city at the same time the Liturgy started.

This is my problem. I basically never attended a Liturgy since I was Baptised. Partly because I was away for 2 years, in a country with no Orthodox Church, and even now that I am back, I was not able to attend because of the time my Train left the City.

I am making arrangement to stay in the city next week (not this weekend, the next one), so that I can attend the liturgy, but I am afraid.

kzofm,

I think Liza's recommendation of a bullet-point style email is good.  Basically, you want to say all of this.  If you can make it a bit more brief, even better, but this should be fine IMO. 

Quote
I know I have nothing to be afraid of, but It will be my first time and I will not know what to do. To make things worse, I know that the church will probably be full. I get panic attacks in crowds, and not knowing what to do, plus standing in a full church during the liturgy frightens me. Plus I have a number of questions. Should I go for communion, during my next (and first) liturgy? Should I do a Confession First?

I would ask the priest for an appointment to make your confession.  In a way, besides confessing your sins and preparing for Communion, this will allow the priest to get to know you and vice versa, and you can ask him about the Liturgy.  If the priest is "so busy" with other pastoral responsibilities, this may be one way to get yourself penciled into his schedule as one of those responsibilities.  Sometimes, priests have so much going on that "talking" doesn't register as "feeding the sheep" in the same way as some of the other things they are called on to do. 

Pre-emptively ask him what he recommends if your and his schedules just cannot align enough to allow an appointment for confession.  Maybe there's another priest he can arrange to meet with you or something.  And, in case the answer to that is "no", ask him pre-emptively if you can still receive Communion at the Liturgy (I'm taking it for granted that you're doing everything you can and the "hold-up" is on the priest's end). 

Two years is a long time to be away, I hope it all works out for you.  Don't worry about the Liturgy: just pray and follow along as best you can, and if possible find an empty corner (it's not as rare as you might assume).  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2013, 01:44:37 PM »

I seriously don't understand this kind of garbage. If your job is to be a priest, isn't it your JOB to read through long emails and tend to the spiritual needs of your flock? And what kind of priest doesn't have time to talk after a service? Sunday is their biggest work day. Slack off on one of your many days of sitting around during the week, not responding to emails. But at least try and put in a little effort on Sunday. Maybe he had some other service to do after the liturgy for a family or something, but this is very rare. The work ethic of some priests wouldn't be tolerated in other professions. I'm of course speaking of priests without full time jobs on the side.

A half day Sunday, Vespers on Wednesday nights for an hour or so in some American parishes (if even that), maybe Great Vespers on Saturday night for an hour or so (again only in some parishes). Add in the occasional counseling session with a parishioner and the occasional wedding, baptism, or hospital visit and you have NO excuse to ignore inquiries, emails, or the needs of parishioners you approach you after services. Look at this person's example. It's so rare that he can ever even go to church, and he makes a huge effort to actually go to this church and seeks confession and he is brushed aside because the priest is too busy. Completely ridiculous.

I agree, completely ridiculous (and somewhat off topic).  Obviously, you're not a priest, related to a priest, have a priest who trusts you enough as a friend to be forthcoming about his work and struggles, etc.  And yet, you know all about how lazy and unproductive they are when you don't see them working with your own two eyes.  

"Garbage" isn't even the word...

Absolutely.

Priest (including bishops) are like icebergs.

You only see the very tip of what they are actually doing.

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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 02:21:10 PM »

Should I go for communion on my next liturgy OR do I need to do a confession first? I tried asking the priest this when I met him, but he again asked me to send him an email because he didn't have time to talk. I hope that some of you here could give me advise.

Since it's been 2 years, I think you should do a confession before taking communion.

I know it's frustrating that your priest was too busy to talk, but you should do as he asked and send him an email.  My priest has a very small parish, but he's also very busy as he has a job and various meetings to attend.  I have had to schedule appointments to speak with him.  The good thing about scheduling an appointment is that the time is set aside specifically for you with little to no interruptions.

Also, I think you should make an effort to get in touch with your godparent/sponsor who may be able to attend the liturgy with you and help you feel more at ease or at least try to answer any other questions you may have.
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2013, 02:45:12 PM »

Where do you live?
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2013, 03:13:49 PM »

I'm afraid I don't have much to offer beyond what's been said/asked, but anyway ... welcome Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2013, 06:40:54 AM »

Thank you for your advise everyone! I tried replying yesterday, but for some reason the forum did not let me. I will take your advises, ad email the priest soon. I also lost contact with my godfather, but I will try to find him: if it is possible. Thank you again.
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2013, 07:12:26 AM »

Just some thoughts regarding your panic attacks that I hope fit you: The panic attacks are probably because of the sensibility of your personality (in addition to medical conditions perhaps) and the fact that you are not prepared for a certain situation. While this sensibility is something great and rather rare in our world (and often trampled on), it can become a weakness, so it takes a bit of work on yourself to turn it into a strength. The fact that you are not prepared for a situation (the liturgy) also depends on experience which takes time. Don't feel bad, it's ok to be a beginner. Even if you make mistakes, even big ones, it happens, and the big crowd needs to shut up and help you. Smiley
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 07:12:58 AM by IoanC » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2013, 08:21:21 AM »

Dear kzofm,

I pray all goes well for you with the Priest and your Godfather.  Keep us updated.

Love, elephant
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2013, 12:28:18 PM »

Thank you for the encouragement IoanC.

@ Elephant: I will keep you all updated.
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« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2013, 02:06:47 PM »

I dont know if anyone is still reading this: but I emailed the priest, and so far I got no reply. I guess my best option is to give him a call next week if he does not reply by then. Thank you again everyone.
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« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2013, 02:46:31 PM »

Good luck!  Give the priest some time to write back, but I don't know if I'd wait a week before trying again.  Wink
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« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2013, 02:58:50 PM »

Dear kzofm,

Keep trying.  There's nothing wrong with a phone call either. 

Seeking God is good - I bet it will eventually work out for you!

Love, elephant
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2013, 12:53:05 PM »

if u can, go to vespers this evening before liturgy tomorrow.
that way you will be prepared for liturgy and may be able to speak to someone there about tomorrow.
may God guide you and give u courage.
 Smiley
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