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I'm more than a little disappointed in my journey back to the RC church and my side curiosity in the EOC. I've been two EO churches, both VERY small, and obviously a visitor, little was done to evangelize me. There was a couple of nice folks there... but almost nothing done to want me to come back to that congregation...
At least RC parishes have a local radio station to evangelize, but the local parishes aren't overly friendly either.
I am scheduled to get my marriage convalidated next month.. but I figured now would be a good time to make sure that I want to get back into the RC. Whatever I choose... I want it to be the last time.
I like what I read about the EO approach to theology... but without instruction...
I kind of get a "you should feel priviledged to worship with us" from the EO & RC churches. The local Protestant churches do everything they can to get more members and follow-up with visitors, get their name, address, visit their home, give them an info packet, etc....
I came away thinking... they're not friendly, a lot of non-english speaking folks, what do I have in common with them? Why investigate changing if they're not really interested in converts...

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Were you hoping to be aggressively evangelized? Orthodox tend to concern themselves with their own salvation. The great Saint Seraphim of Sarov says "Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved." Thus, whether right or wrong Protestant style evangelization will not be found in most Orthodox parishes. IMHO, Orthodox evangelization consists of two things: One, Orthodox live their faith so that others can see the fruits of Orthodoxy. And two, they should welcome all inquires.

My advise for you is to continue to go to the Church Services and try to take it all in, ask questions, and pray that the Holy Spirits converts your heart.




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Well I just figured maybe somebody would have come over and at least said "hi" afterwards... everyone scurried off into their own directions.... maybe I forgot to put on deoderant

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The local Protestant churches do everything they can to get more members and follow-up with visitors, get their name, address, visit their home, give them an info packet, etc....


Dave,

Just out of curiosity (and I don't mean this as a criticism of anyone), do you consider this a bit much? Of course, every church should have introductory materials, and certainly someone should greet visitors and people should talk with them.

But visiting homes and getting addresses........

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Originally Posted by MarkosC
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The local Protestant churches do everything they can to get more members and follow-up with visitors, get their name, address, visit their home, give them an info packet, etc....


Dave,

Just out of curiosity (and I don't mean this as a criticism of anyone), do you consider this a bit much? Of course, every church should have introductory materials, and certainly someone should greet visitors and people should talk with them.

But visiting homes and getting addresses........


Markos,

Not at all. It might seem invasive at first glance to us, but it's classic evangelization and our Protestant brethren are much better at it than we are. 'We'll be glad to add you to our church mailing list' and 'Can I stop by and say hello' are highly successful evangelization techniques and not the invasive 'cold calls' that we associate with JW and CoJCoLDS missioners. If the 'visitor' is actually interested and not just a religious tourist passing through on his or her way to a different church next week, he or she is likely to welcome this kind of attention.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Eagerness to make converts is not exactly the Christian way. Remember what Jesus told the Pharisees about such zeal.

Jesus did not tell us to make converts, but disciples.

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Based on my experiences with Protestant family and friends, I think it is easier to be a marginal Catholic than a marginal Protestant, because of the sacraments.

For instance, there is more grace in a single Eucharist than a lifetime of reading the Bible. The Protestant has to work infinitely harder, such that the moderates and marginals tend to drop off.

So the average Protestant congregation will become more hard core. Us Catholics, poor sinners that we are, will have more introverts, lazies, and other flawed types who will be less likely to approach you immediately.

Booth,
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Last edited by Booth; 03/14/10 01:08 PM.
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In having a truly engaged parish, a parish that wants to be involved in the lives of her members and wants her members to be involved in the life of the Church, we believe that you have 6 weeks to engage somebody. That give you 6 Sundays in most places, to welcome a person into the fold and make them feel like they belong and are loved. It may take on different forms, getting names, addresses, communicating outside of services, is by far one of the most effective.

Just my own two cents after all of the Stewardship and Engagement trainings I've attended.

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Dave,

Quite frankly, what you describe happens - not everywhere and not always, thank God, but it does. The differences from congregation to congregation in this respect are substantial (and, as has been noted here on many prior occasions, inexcusable and self-defeating).

It was an easier phenomenon to understand in the Latin churches of decades ago. Huge congegations at each of several Masses on a Sunday, parish size generally precluded pastors from ever really 'knowing' their parishioners and the latter generally only 'knew' those from their neighborhood, with 'fellowship' being considered a 'Protestant thing'. In many places, it's much different now, but nowhere near in all. The 'things we need to do' after church - shop, attend a movie, grill, sports events, etc - mean that, for many, the most important thing after the dismissal is to get to one's car and get moving before the parking lot exit gets jammed.

In our churches of the East, both Catholic and Orthodox, accustomed as we long were to being ethnic enclaves, the 'visitor' was often seen as just that - a religious tourist. We especially came to feel that way in the post-VII days (before that no one even knew we were around, it seems) when we were deluged with the curious - few of whom were intending to be there for the long haul. And, even now, in very ethnocentric parishes, there is a lack of understanding as to why someone who 'isn't one of us' is in our temple, other than as a matter of curiousity.

I cannot find the thread right now, but there was a wonderful series of blog postings by a Protestant minister (from TX, as I recollect) about his very positive experiences in attending the Divine Liturgy at an Orthodox church near his home over a period of several weeks. What he experienced (absent any attempt to evangelize) is much more what you had hoped to encounter. We are learning - not so quickly as one might hope and more so in some places and parishes than others - that we need to be out there, to be inclusive rather than reclusive or exclusive, to reach out and embrace, because - if we don't, we shall have failed to 'go forth and teach all nations'.

I'd suggest to look around a bit more - or to keep on coming back. It's a month since you joined here, not sure how long you've been making your odyssey to these parishes, but it seems to me - from your early posts - that it only began about that time. If so, you can't have visited more than once, by the number of parishes you describe as visiting. Repeat visitors are more likely to be greeted with 'hail, fellow well met' than the one-time drive-by.

Keep in mind also, that this is the Lenten Season, when many are, hopefully, very focused on their prayer and religious life and less observant of distractions from same. On the other hand, it is also a time when church calendars are replete with events such as Lenten suppers; watch for and attend some such - at a parish where you've been to Liturgy more than once. I can almost assure that you'll be noticed and approached - from curiousity if nothing else.

Quote
they're not friendly, a lot of non-english speaking folks, what do I have in common with them? Why investigate changing if they're not really interested in converts...


Finally, I'd try to lose some of the attitude that the closing sentences of your post convey. Mike is right when he asks if you expected to be aggressively evangelized - and when you reply that you thought someone might come over and say 'hi' - did you?

I don't know if you're a native Texan but, in my experience there, you're in a part of the country where there are two widely divergent attitudes toward those one doesn't know. It's either 'hi, partner, let's have a drink and some ribs' or 'fences make good neighbors - you keep on your side and I'll keep on mine'. Figuring out the prevailing one in any given situation or setting was always a challenge.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Sorry didn't mean any attitude...

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I just responded to you elsewhere. I'm so glad you've found your way to this Forum! I hope it will be more helpful to you. Folks here have been a great help to me.
pax- Mary Louise

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I once was approached at an Orthodox parish after Liturgy. Even though it was a very large parish and I think I was following the DL closely they still picked me out. (I had had email and phone contact a week or so before the trip to confirm the time and the parking, so maybe they were alerted to looking for me.)

I was greeted and invited to coffee hour, I had a conference elsewhere to get back to, and given a small, attractive, bag with a parish coffee mug, a coupon for a cup of free coffee, I forget the details of that since I wasn't going to be in the area to follow-up on that part, and some familiar tracts on Orthodoxy. There were a number of these bags set out so it seemed to be something they normally do. Perhaps it's not surprising that this is a parish which is made up largely of converts from evangelical backgrounds. smile

Materials on Orthodoxy are usually out and visible but I've never before or since been approached with other than a warm smile when visiting an Orthodox parish (and definitely not at a Latin Catholic Church, except for teeny rural weekday Mass type settings).

We struggle at my parish with what to give visitors to take home with them and ever since that visit I've had a commitment to putting together some new mock ups of possible materials for visitors to take. I mentioned to Dave elsewhere that I do think we are good about greeting our visitors at my ECC and many do stay for our agape meal after Liturgy. But navigating the DL is another story. We don't have service books, and neither does the Orthodox church I also go to, and I agree with that. Watch, listen, respond as you can during DL and then get more information outside of Liturgy. We're blessed with so much great stuff on line now.

Is anyone here familiar with St. Basil's ECC listed as Irving Metro Area: Dallas? It seemed like a possible ECC option in the Dallas area, with a newly assigned priest

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Sorry if I have came across as a (&^$#&. I am very frustrated over the past few months. I feel I am in a whirlwind and not getting clear spiritual direction from God... (ok it's probably me not listening or not wanting to hear the answer :) )
My kids are rejecting Christianity altogether and I feel rotten for being lead to the Protestant churches in the first place...
Anyways I apologize for a tone I may have...

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Dave,

We all get frustrated at times and my tone at the end of that post was, itself, harsher sounding than it should have been, for which I apologize. Instead of focusing on your closing comments or mine, instead consider some of the other points.

As I suggested earlier, try repeat visits in successive weeks to one or more of the parishes. And spiritually feed yourself with prayer and some reading in the interim. As to your children's rejection of Christianity, that's an ongoing problem for many. You don't mention their ages - but I'm guessing either teens or young adulthood. One can hope and pray that it's a phase and that renewed commitment to Chrisianity on your part might bring about changes in their own thinking. We'll pray with you for that to happen, as well as for your own spiritual journey, regardless of where it takes you.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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There was a time (not that long ago) when everyone, Catholic and Protestant, sought their social interaction and support NOT from their Churches, but the broader community: neighbors, school, and the like.

So-called ethnic churches (Eastern or Western) once provided this community for their members once swimming in an alien sea of monoglot anglophone Americans.

By and large, in my observation, neighborhood parishes of any confession didn't have to do this. They were PART of the social support, but not all of it.

But with the dissolution of neighborhood churches, even Latin parishes, and the rise of independent Evangelical mega-churches, more and more these congregations ARE becoming the social network, especially as many of them develop a siege, if not separatist, mentality.

A note about evangelical megachurchism--they are very firm these days about one or two doctrinal points and especially socio-political issues, but there will generally be a wide range of belief and disbelief among their members about other spiritual matters--more than you would think.

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