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#208833 - 07/20/06 02:44 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Cathy Offline
Orthodoxy or Death

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 185
Loc: USA
Dear Wondering.....

Your post is right on! No church should be closed, the parish should evangelize! If the church is struggling, the parishioners only need look to themselves. If we aren't going to get any help from the Eparchy, we've got to take matters into our own hands regarding our individual parishes. Study after study has been done, and they all come back to say if a visitor isn't welcomed the first time they come, they rarely come back. First impressions count!

JMHO--Cathy
_________________________
Orthodoxy or Death

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#208834 - 07/20/06 02:46 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Carson Daniel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5784
Loc: Walled Lake, Mi
Wondering,

I'm still troubled by the motivation for getting younger people into Church. The things you mentioned don't seem very noble let alone very Christian. If the level of spirituality is so low that the only things that will motivate people to evangelize is a. self service or b. self service what kind of organization is that? It doesn't seem like a Church to me. Why is something like that worth saving? I would think the Elks club would be at least as beneficial and probably would cost less.

It is possible for an old goat to change so some really strong sermons on conversion aimed at the people in the Church might have some effect. Strong catechesis might do the trick but that assumes that they've never really heard the Gospel before. That's possible I suppose.

As a former pastor I've butted my head against enough congregations like that. Sometimes they catch fire. It does work sometimes.

Re: Mega Churches

I don't mean to be insulting but the idea that the Byzantine Catholic Church would ever have a mega-church strikes me as rather odd. Moreover, to think that I came to the BC Church rather than the RCs because I wanted a mega Church also strikes me as very humorous. If the stats are correct one could combine all of the BC Churches in the US into one and one would have a respectable mega-Church. How would that happen? But if we had predominately self sustaining Churches that could afford to pay a full time priest and have a deacon and cantor and maybe even a choir and did not have to take mission money but could send out some mission money each year now that would be a healthy Church. Imagine that most of our Churches had at least 50-60 families most were between 50 and 500 families. Imagine as well that for every two or three of those Churches there was a mission that they were supporting. Imagine also that each of those parishes had one candidate for holy orders every two or three years. Imagine that we were working together with other Byzantine Churches so that we had one solid seminary with 50-100 students with 8-12 faculty. That's closer to my vision.

I can't imagine one BC Church with 10,000-50,000 families. Can you? There are RC Churches that large. There are some Independent Protestant Churches that large but I cannot imagine a BC Church that large.

But thanks for the chuckle.

CDL

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#208835 - 07/20/06 03:12 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Wondering Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1407
Loc: USA
Quote:
Originally posted by carson daniel lauffer:
Wondering,

I'm still troubled by the motivation for getting younger people into Church. The things you mentioned don't seem very noble let alone very Christian. If the level of spirituality is so low that the only things that will motivate people to evangelize is a. self service or b. self service what kind of organization is that? It doesn't seem like a Church to me. Why is something like that worth saving? I would think the Elks club would be at least as beneficial and probably would cost less.

It is possible for an old goat to change so some really strong sermons on conversion aimed at the people in the Church might have some effect. Strong catechesis might do the trick but that assumes that they've never really heard the Gospel before. That's possible I suppose.

As a former pastor I've butted my head against enough congregations like that. Sometimes they catch fire. It does work sometimes.
I believe that it is possible to change the mind through the actions (psychologists say it is actually easier to change the actions first which will then bring the thoughts into alignment than to do it the other way around, though both methods are effective), and that a pastor sometimes has to find a way to make the medicine go down a little smoother. As the father of the church, it is his job to know what they need. Perhaps they are just being good to get the lollipop, and I agree that it isn't the end goal, but I also believe that it has to start somewhere, so why not meet them where they are? Yes, you are right. It is not ideal. But it is better than the current situation.

I also believe that the church, as a group of believers, is inherently good and worth trying to save. Of course, sometimes it is best to close a parish. But sometimes you must meet them where they are and grow their zeal over time. I would rather think that the average parish in this situation is able to be saved and to grow than to think the only way to deal with it is to combine resources, weed out the not-so-committed through various struggles and trials in simply getting to the church, and eventually allowing the parish to die off anyway by being absorbed into Orthodoxy (which probably will have a much closer parish than 60-120 miles away), the Latins (which assuredly will have a closer parish), or the secular culture at large.

This solution is not the best for the short-term, but it meets the people where they are, it utilizes the gifts they have, it encourages their growth to where they ought to be, and it provides a long-term plan for evangelization, integration, outreach, and the survival (and not only survival but flourishing) of the church and the faith.

If the situation is so dire, I think this is worth a shot before packing up the rectory and sending the priest on to new frontiers. There isn't a whole lot to lose if they are going to die anyway, and there are a lot of souls to gain (both those in the church already and those in the future). Just my two cents.

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#208836 - 07/20/06 08:18 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Carson Daniel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5784
Loc: Walled Lake, Mi
It would be helpful to have stats or examples. In one Church this may have been given a serious shot and nothing has happened. In another this may never have been tried. It's hard to imagine given Little Green Coats example that the church had not noticed that they were growing older and that they had no cantor. It wasn't a secret was it? But maybe another shot in the arm would do it. Who can say?

CDL

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#208837 - 07/20/06 10:39 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Job Offline
Cantor
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 1429
Loc: Connecticut
Quote:
A mega church is usually defined at 10,000 or above. So, I'm not sure what you are talking about.
Sorry Carson...I forgot your Protestant background...the BCC could never have a "megachurch" by protestant definition (or Roman Catholic) of over 10,000 people...a Mega Church as I see it by definition (granted my own) is over 100 families. The Byzantine/Greek Catholic Churches history was smaller parishes in most areas (30 - 50 families) anything above that is very rare...this is how things have been done for centuries...it works...it's not until the scandals where the Eparchies needed $$$ and the "wisdom" that we could close parishes and the faithful would follow...the number of families is not the issue...can the parish support themselves...I KNOW in the case of most parish closings in the Ruthenian Church they were sustainable without this mindset to close and merge...these parishes were driven, I have to believe from the Bishops level (or the garbage that has been pulled wouldn't be allowed) into the ground purposefully...I always believed that and now see that first hand...There are 3 ACROD parishes in a 20 minute radius...the one I chose (and many others was comparable in size and feel to my old parish...(Large Churches to me are a cold place.) One thing I asked was how much it cost to run their parish...the last thing I wanted to do was once again become nothing more than a fund raiser...the answer about $60,000 and 1/2 that was the priests salary...now if something comparable was less than 1/2 of what was being spent/wasted at Holy Trinity with a priests salary of $30,000 included in that figure it just goes to show what the parishioners of HT had been saying all along was correct. It could have cost alot less to run the parish...You get more people willing to attend and participate if they feel like they matter...Large merged Churches don't give that (for the most part/maybe to a few hand picked people) getting back on the topic at hand...the 20 parishes His Grace closed were handled, as I see it, exactly how this "new version of the DL" is being handled...have a few people do it then force it on people...All these things should be done with gentleness and love...the OCA had it's problems when the "New"/Revised Julian Calendar was imposed from above. If the people wanted the "New" calendar they could be brought to move toward it...ACROD leaves it up to the parish to decide and they have approximately 1/2 of the parishes on the Julian Calendar and 1/2 on the Revised Julian Calendar...

As an Orthodox Christian my view is let the BCC destroy itself and let the Orthodox pick up the true faithful and let the "part time Christians" who only go out of a sence of "duty" go to the Latins...I guess that's my 4 cents smile can you tell I have not posted in a while...alot to get out...let's move away from this and back to the original thread

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#208838 - 07/20/06 10:46 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Job Offline
Cantor
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 1429
Loc: Connecticut
Quote:
But thanks for the chuckle.
One more thing Carson...

This condecending attitude is exactly what the issue is with the people behind the "close em and merge em" crowd. (We know what's best, even if reality doesn't prove that to be the case.)

I don't know you, so I don't know if you actually have that type of attitude, or if you are "hanging out with the wrong crowd" and just picking up their contemptable lingo...To me that simple phrase I quoted above smacks of the direction that the BCC Heirarchy has gone in...the direction that has ruined the BCC...

Chris

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#208839 - 07/20/06 11:01 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Carson Daniel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5784
Loc: Walled Lake, Mi
Chris,

How soon you forget your friends.

The point is by any reasonable standard a mega Church is not 100 people. I suppose if $60,000 will actually pay for a priest and his family so pani doesn't have to work, and insurance, housing, and utilities plus pay for icons, incense, maintenance etc. for the Church then fine. I don't believe it, but if you have seen the books then I won't doubt it.

I don't believe that Bsp. Pataki needed to behave in the way he did and does. I do believe your testimony about how he acted in your former parish. It is very sad and infuriating.

I do not believe a household except in severe poverty can run on $60,000 if you count all the costs. But even if a Church could run an entire parish on $60,000 and they covered it all themselves without help from the Eparchy what of the mission responsibilities of the parish? How is that handled?

In any event I'm glad that you have found your way to a good parish. Who knows? Your hope for the BC and ACROD may come to be. Many of us here now may follow your lead. God works in mysterious ways.

CDL

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#208840 - 07/20/06 11:24 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Job Offline
Cantor
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 1429
Loc: Connecticut
Quote:
I do not believe a household except in severe poverty can run on $60,000 if you count all the costs.
Sorry Carson...these quotes continue to tell me you are not part of reality...I live in Fairfield County CT...one of the highest priced areas of the country...a family can run without severe poverty on $60k...they may not be "keeping up with the Jones'" In the case of the "Jones'" with the BCC they are the RCC and the "Jones'" for the RCC are the Protestants...

I have no idea why any Eastern Christian Church would compare themselves to any of the western churches...it's like comparing an apple to a watermellon...there is no comparison...

Quote:
mission responsibilities of the parish? How is that handled?
I need to know what your definition of "mission responsibilities is? Are you speaking locally? are you speaking on a Diocessan or Patriarchial level?

I do appreciate your "sympathy" when HT closed...but you are espousing much of the same language they utilize...

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#208841 - 07/20/06 11:35 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Elijahmaria Offline
Member

Registered: 02/11/06
Posts: 1625
Loc: New York
Quote:
Originally posted by Job:
Quote:
But thanks for the chuckle.
One more thing Carson...

This condecending attitude is exactly what the issue is with the people behind the "close em and merge em" crowd. (We know what's best, even if reality doesn't prove that to be the case.)

I don't know you, so I don't know if you actually have that type of attitude, or if you are "hanging out with the wrong crowd" and just picking up their contemptable lingo...To me that simple phrase I quoted above smacks of the direction that the BCC Heirarchy has gone in...the direction that has ruined the BCC...

Chris
Dear Chris,

I believe that you have hit an unpleasant nail on its unpleasant head.

There is something in the leadership style in our Church that has become over the decades, I believe, the primary cause in any Church, and for this particular Church, for empty seminaries and shrinking parish numbers and enthusiasm for an evangelical life.

That cause is an attitude that breaks out into view and is manifest in public tempertantrums and public sneering on the part of clergy and hierarchs, but it begins in private and it is there, in its private expression, where it begins to erode that which is good.

I don't think there are any Ruthenian Byzantines here who have not either witness such sneering, or such a tantrum or heard about one at a close second hand.

Now I do not know if that is a problem exclusively for the Holy Spirit, or if enough of us can get past the gate-keepers long enough to make it clear that it is a problem, out here in the pews, where it counts, so as to turn the hearts of the those who are overly and unduely convinced of their own personal rightness.

There was a time, under bishop Elko, when the seminary was full to bursting and we were opening parishes all over the place.

That growth died, when Bishop Elko was forcibly removed and reassigned and the authority in the Church took overt anger and sneering as marks of virtue and superior knowledge and spirituality. You can track that development in the stories of the people.

Out of the mouth, the heart speaks.

I am sorry you felt that you had to leave. Your family, most likely, is not. Thank God you had a place to go. Remember those who remain.

Also for those who manage to read this far, it is still the case in the Catholic Church, statistically, that the bulk of our vocations come out of small intimate parishes where priests stay for a generation, rather than being shuffled around to a new place ever six years.

In those circumstances, even what we might think of as ineffectual men, live lives of holiness sufficient to inspire the young who are called. That is the Catholic way and has been for two thousand years. It is the way of kenosis.

Eli

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#208842 - 07/20/06 11:47 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Carson Daniel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5784
Loc: Walled Lake, Mi
Chris,

Hmm... don't you support any missions outside your local parish? Don't you help start new Churches here and there? Don't you fund mission work in other countries? Hmm...I must think on these things.

About the $60,000...if you say so.

I'll repeat it once again and let it go...I supported your cause because I believed what you and Sam wrote about Bsp. Pataki's secretive ways. I believed your report because I've read about his activities with other parishes including ones here in Parma. I believed your report because I know some other things. I don't know why you would wish to cast aspersions upon me. But I guess the anonymous forum sometimes encourages that.

CDL

Eli,

I think the story about Bishop Elko is more complex than what you say from what I hear.

CDL

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#208843 - 07/20/06 11:54 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Elijahmaria Offline
Member

Registered: 02/11/06
Posts: 1625
Loc: New York
Quote:
Originally posted by carson daniel lauffer:
Chris,

Eli,

I think the story about Bishop Elko is more complex than what you say from what I hear.

CDL
Do you believe everything you hear? That is a general inquiry.

And I have made no other comments about Bishop Elko as a person or Bishop Elko's time as bishop than you see in my note. It was, objectively speaking, a time of record growth.

Eli

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#208844 - 07/20/06 11:59 AM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Carson Daniel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5784
Loc: Walled Lake, Mi
Eli,

I don't even believe all that much that I read on this forum. I guess my concern was not so much about Bsp. Elko but your assertion about his successors. I heard some pretty intriguing stuff about the way he was moved. But who knows. Chris may be right about his predictions for the future of the BCC. I do not know.

CDL

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#208845 - 07/20/06 03:26 PM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Carson Daniel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5784
Loc: Walled Lake, Mi
Chris,

When I left the United Methodist ministry in 1999 the cost to a Church for pastoral support alone ran to over $50,000. This included: Housing maintenance and repairs, mortgage* (if there was one) or housing expenses, utilities, transportation, a small stipend,insurance (on the house, on health, and perhaps life) and retirement. If the Church wasn't able to cover these expenses the judicatory covered them and the expenses became hidden to those who did not investigate. Due to inflation I suspect those basic costs are closer to $60,000. Add to that the cost of building, maintenance, utilities, repairs, religious items, educational materials, etc. which surely comes to $20-30,000 and one already has $80,000 to $90,000 for just the basics. We haven't even begun to talk about mission. Churches generally are asked to give to the Eparchy. That is anywhere from $5-15,000. Lively parishes also give to various other causes like Crisis Pregnancy Centers, New Church developments, mission help to people outside the USA. If a Church has a building and isn't inward looking, and doesn't get monatery support from the judicatory the costs of almost any parish is at minimum $100,000. This is true whether the Church has 5 or 50 families.

I would suspect you aren't counting all of the costs of running a parish when you say it can be run on $60,000 a year. I suspect that many of those tiny congregations, those under 40 families, are not giving to causes outside the confines of their members and are probably being subsidized in some way by the Eparchy.

CDL

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#208846 - 07/20/06 04:05 PM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Job Offline
Cantor
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 1429
Loc: Connecticut
What ever happened to giving the priest a salary and if possible insurance and having him not live the "high life" on someone else's dime. If a parish has a rectory and the priest is being given a $30k salary why would the parish pay his living expenses...heating, utilities etc...if his salary is not covering those expenses he is doing nothing more than taking a very large allowance...and people wonder why some priests do things like collect cars...they have nothing better to spend their "allowance" on...

In regards to mission work...the dues that each parishioner is required to pay cover things such as Eparchial expenses and missionary work is taken in separate collections that have nothing to do with the "parish finances" and neither do personal giving outside those collections...

Quote:
I suspect that many of those tiny congregations, those under 40 families, are not giving to causes outside the confines of their members and are probably being subsidized in some way by the Eparchy.
That is the fallacy that you are continuing to put forward...my experiences say it can be and in many areas (outside the BCC) is being done...

A side note...on Bishop Elko...I am too young to have lived during his tenure...the one thing I do know is the stories the priests tell seem to be very different than the common faithful tell...I have to believe that there is a bit of truth to both sides but growth did occur so something right must have been done...

Chris

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#208847 - 07/20/06 04:07 PM Re: The Nutshell Version, Please
Job Offline
Cantor
Member

Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 1429
Loc: Connecticut
Quote:
they have nothing better to spend their "allowance" on...
Before it becomes an issue...I apologize...I should have said some have nothing better...

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