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#290629 06/05/08 01:40 AM
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Shlomo Lkhoolkhoon,

I have created this thread since we were getting off subject on the other one.

First, I have never said that people who come into our Churches should not learn the liturgical languages, but I do say that if a foreign language is not necessary for liturgy then we need to be open to new members. Below is a posting of a friend on a Melkite site that I am on, and his words hit me very powerfully, since he just posted them today and we have been talking about it.

This quote is in response to a query about who is going to the Melkite Convention this year.

I went to the last two. Since I come from a small community that is far removed from any other parish, I was a complete total stranger. The first time - in Birmingham, AL - wasn�t so bad. The Melkite community was small there, and everyone mingled pretty well.

The second time (last year) - in Boca Raton, FL - wasn�t much fun at all. It was obviously far more of a social gathering for Arabic Melkites (which I�m not) than a conference, so everyone was fairly clannish. That meant they stuck with friends and family, and poor little ol� Southern white boy me was the odd one out.

I ended up leaving a day early.

I may try again when it comes to NJ, I may not. It was a disappointing experience.

For me, it certainly doesn�t help because of the large number of people there who have a lot in common, as opposed to me, who doesn�t.


To me it comes down to we should treat others as we want to be treated. Further, we have to be open to converts and most ethnic parishes by definition are not.

To quote Anthony Dragani (whom I would like to thank for letting me use his guide):

The tendency of Eastern Christian Churches to minister exclusively to one ethnic group, failing to "make disciples of all nations" directly contradicts the will of Christ. Christ's Church is to be universal, spreading the Gospel to all persons of every racial and ethnic background. In as much as we neglect evangelization, we fail to be Christ's Church.

Lastly, (again quoting Anthony) <s>tudies show that the typical congregation will lose 6% to 10% of its membership annually (Robert Bast, Attracting New Members (Monrovia, CA; Church Growth Press, 1990, pg. 11). This loss is attributed to parishioners dying, relocating, and dropping out. For a parish to thrive, it must annually replace these lost members - or face eventual extinction.

There is a prevalent false assumption in how these lost members are to be replaced. Most Eastern Catholic parishes wrongly assume that their children will take their place. The sad truth is that most of the children raised in our parishes will not be there as adults. In our transient societies, most of these children will either move away or join other Churches. Very often less than 10% of the children found in a parish will remain there to adulthood (Bast, pg 12)


A perfect example of this is St. John's Byzantine Catholic Church in Minneapolis. That Church will be dead in less than 20 years without new members. There are not a lot of Rusyns immigrating to Minnesota. And for those who live in Minneapolis they can tell you that both St. Maron's and St. John's were in the same boat 20 years ago, but the priests and parishioners of St. Maron's have made a concerted effort to expand our membership.

None of this is to say that ethnic Liturgies do not have there place. But to have a parish do them to the exclusion of any outsiders goes against our mission as Christ's Church.

Poosh BaShlomo Lkhoolkhoon,
Yuhannon

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Lastly, (again quoting Anthony) <s>tudies show that the typical congregation will lose 6% to 10% of its membership annually (Robert Bast, Attracting New Members (Monrovia, CA; Church Growth Press, 1990, pg. 11). This loss is attributed to parishioners dying, relocating, and dropping out. For a parish to thrive, it must annually replace these lost members - or face eventual extinction.

I would like to see the book to see how the study was conducted. For example, how many thousands in the sample base, class, race, ethnicity and economic variety reflective of the population as a whole and so forth.

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Originally Posted by Halia12
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Lastly, (again quoting Anthony) <s>tudies show that the typical congregation will lose 6% to 10% of its membership annually (Robert Bast, Attracting New Members (Monrovia, CA; Church Growth Press, 1990, pg. 11). This loss is attributed to parishioners dying, relocating, and dropping out. For a parish to thrive, it must annually replace these lost members - or face eventual extinction.

I would like to see the book to see how the study was conducted. For example, how many thousands in the sample base, class, race, ethnicity and economic variety reflective of the population as a whole and so forth.

Shlomo Halia,

That is why I did give the book's name and publishing house. It was well researched, and if I remember right, Anthony used it when he was getting his MA.

Poosh BaShlomo,
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The three closest Eastern churches to where I live are all Orthodox. Two are Greek Orthodox and the third one is an OCA church which strongly emphasizes the need to move beyond ethnic boundaries. After 24 years the OCA congregation is still very small, while the two ethnic churches are packed on Sundays.

I firmly believe the only way the UGCC will survive in America is if the targeted mission field is fallen away EC's.These are the people that won't need things explained to them, and nothing will have to be jettisoned to make them feel at home. And they didn't all move 100 miles away from the nearest UGCC parish either. I've met numerous RC's who have come back to be active after being away for 20 or 30 years, so people shouldn't right off lapsed EC's.

I was able to easily fit into an ethnic parish without needing to be pandered to. It's actually not that hard. A couple mentions of Khmelnytsky, Zaporozhian Kozaks and Symon Petliura and I passed the test and was accepted.

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Originally Posted by Lawrence
Lawrence:

I firmly believe the only way the UGCC will survive in America is if the targeted mission field is fallen away EC's.These are the people that won't need things explained to them, and nothing will have to be jettisoned to make them feel at home. And they didn't all move 100 miles away from the nearest UGCC parish either. I've met numerous RC's who have come back to be active after being away for 20 or 30 years, so people shouldn't right off lapsed EC's.

I was able to easily fit into an ethnic parish without needing to be pandered to. It's actually not that hard. A couple mentions of Khmelnytsky, Zaporozhian Kozaks and Symon Petliura and I passed the test and was accepted.

I really find your tone here offensive. I am in the process of changing rites and I can tell you that it isn't the easiest or most comfortable thing to do. There is much to learn and I can tell you that a little hand holding<pandered to> goes a long way in helping one along the way in making the change. Also for your information, I don't expect or want my Church to jettison anything. To say we should only concentrate on fallen way EC is denying those who are unchurched a home and it is denying that there are many of us who are Western Catholics who find that the Eastern Churches truly fill a spiritual void that we are not able to address in our original Church. Well at least for me.

In Christ:
Converted Viking

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C^BA ICYCY XPUCTY!

Why would anyone think just because we are discussing the one true church either Lawrence or Converted Viking must be wrong? A club may consist of a singular circle but a parish should not. Both of you are correct, but I possess the real answer. If you get �offended� with other�s views, I�ll just keep mine to myself.

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Originally Posted by Mykhayl
C^BA ICYCY XPUCTY!

Why would anyone think just because we are discussing the one true church either Lawrence or Converted Viking must be wrong? A club may consist of a singular circle but a parish should not. Both of you are correct, but I possess the real answer. If you get �offended� with other�s views, I�ll just keep mine to myself.

Mykhayl:

I am somewhat dense forgive me? What are you saying here? Are you saying that Lawrences views are not uncharitable? I don't think there is any charity in his view. The Byzantine Churches are not going to be around for much longer if they continue to be ethnic clubs. I apologize to everyone here on this board if I have upset them by my remarks but I stand by them. The Church is not a good old boys club.

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It's always difficult to pin down exactly what an ethnic church is. Does it mean maintaining a distinct national identity or set of customs? Is it the food? Is it the liturgy being in a language other than English? Some combination of the above? I think there's nothing wrong with a church being "ethnic", because every church has to be rooted in some culture. Every parish should also be geared to serve the community it sits in.

That said I think we mean ethnic to mean a distinct European (Eastern and/or Southern) culture tied to the Eastern Christian churches that were the points of origin for the ones here. In one sense these churches will always be ethnic, because they will probably always be outside the socio-religious norm of North America. Even if the language used is English. The problem with the ethnic idea is really that it relegates Eastern Christian churches to be niche players, whether that niche is serving recent immigrants, the 2nd or 3rd generations, or those that have fallen away.

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there is nothing wrong with a parish honoring its ethnic heritage. what is wrong is when a parish closes in on itself to the unspoken exclusion of people different than themselves. this is why parishes, churches, whatever, shrink and die.
Much Love,
Jonn

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Originally Posted by JonnNightwatcher
there is nothing wrong with a parish honoring its ethnic heritage. what is wrong is when a parish closes in on itself to the unspoken exclusion of people different than themselves. this is why parishes, churches, whatever, shrink and die.
Much Love,
Jonn

To quote Servant of God Fulton Sheen, "A Catholic who does not strive to spread his Faith is a parasite on the life of the Church."

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Dear Converted Viking,

What was uncharitable, specifically? Lawrence was giving his view of a specific situation as he found it, how he coped and how he thought it could be improve. He did not say other options were not valid, just his talents (interests) could best serve in this fashion. His profile states he is from around Chicago so I have an idea of the surrounding mindset he is dealing with. You on the other hand give me no clue of where you are coming from. You may have one church in a hundred miles while the three parishes he is speaking of could be in walking distance from each other. You may not have the same advantages he does. He told us his realities of life. He told us his game plan that can work in his area. You may not have the same options to deal with in yours. He is most probably not dealing with the same people you are. Do you not think the church need different groups to deal with different issues even in the same parish? He didn�t say if we don�t play the game his way he would take his ball and go home. (Matt 7:3). Personally I prefer reality TV to a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Church Lady skits. Both deserve Emmys.

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I never suggested EC Churches should be EXCLUSIVE ethnic clubs, and there is no excuse for rudeness to visitors, but like it or not, the EC Churches are ethnic. You begin eliminating that because it has no appeal for non-Ukrainians, non-Ruthenians, non-Lebanese, etc, and you will lose alot more people than you could possibly hope to attract.

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Dear Lawrence and Mykhayl,

The post came across to me in a bad way due to the fact that I am not of any of the ethnic stock that one finds in the Eastern Rite Churches. Also, I am in Raleigh, NC. That being said the Church that I am a member of<St Nicholas UGCC>is made up of of a mixed bag of folks. I wonder how large of an ethnic population we have down here in the South? Rather small I bet. What I am trying to say is that in order for us to grow we have to forget about where folks come from. We shouldn't change anything,what is the point of becoming an Eastern Catholic if we do that. So if folks want to become Eastern Catholics then they need to accept the Church as it is. I just don't want to see us take on a siege mentality and exclude those who should be in our Church.

Lawrence. Please accept my apology for going off. I tend to be over sensitive about certain issues and this process I am going through is a big deal for me. Please forgive me. It took my family years to finally understand that my being outside of the Byzantine Rite was killing me spiritually and that they had to let go.

In Christ:
Converted Viking

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No offense taken at all CV, and I hope you'll have no problem fitting in at the UGCC parish you attend.

At the UGCC parish I attend, Ukrainians and a few Ruthenians, make up by far the biggest group, followed by non-Ukrainians who are there by marriage, and a sprinkling of Traditional Latins like myself, who come for the reverence. For me, fitting in was actually easy, because I grew up in the same neighborhood where the parish was originally located, so as soon as we broke the ice we had alot to talk about. At least 3 guys I regularly talk with during coffee hour, graduated from the same grammar school as me, and another elderly man's son once threatened to beat me up in High School. We laugh about that though.


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If our parish were purely ethnic,

1) I wouldn't be there,
2) The rest of the folks teaching ECF wouldn't be there (Every last one is actually RC, although several of us will be changing rite en masse,
3) Our Melchites wouldn't be there,
4) Our Orthodox members wouldn't be there,
5) Probably 2/3 of the church wouldn't be there,
6) We, err, they wouldn't be at risk of running out of pews if a few more families join . . .

Our RC members aren't even disaffected or tradionalists; we just kind of got gathered in . . .

hawk

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