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911Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Finding the "right" Orthodox parish

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  • Rosemarie Lieffring
    Feb 27, 2009
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      For me, had Western Rite been an option, there would have been no question I
      would have gone that route for the sake of my family but there aren't any
      Western Rite parishes even an hour or two away.

      I think WR would have been easier for my husband and he might have
      considered Orthodoxy (although he likes that "being of German descent in a
      Lutheran church" thing he has going for him--talk about ethnic!--so I can't
      say for certain he would have made the move....but I would have certainly
      considered that first).

      Now...some almost 4 years later I would find it difficult to give up the
      Eastern expressions of Orthodoxy...although I still would do it if there was
      a WR parish near by and it meant my husband would join me.

      Being WR one still gets some exposure to Eastern things...for example, a
      week from Sunday night there will most likely be a pan-Orthodox vespers
      service in your area to celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy. If you were WR
      you would attend that and it would most likely be done Eastern style. There
      are other occasions throughout the year for these kinds of pan-Orthodox/
      Eastern exposure, like clergy/laity conferences, so I suspect one would
      start to get comfortable with Eastern ways after a while even if one were

      In picking out an Eastern Orthodox church I tend to take a "bloom where you
      are planted" approach. I would go to the nearest parish...unless that
      parish is really there to specifically serve an ethnic population in the
      area. Those parishes are needed, too, but it's best when English is one's
      first language to go to a parish where English is mostly spoken. Of course
      you may choose to do it differently. I wouldn't worry so much about being
      accepted. I have found the Orthodox in general to be very hospitable and
      loving and accepting even if some cradle ethnics don't quite understand why
      in the world a German or Anglo would choose to attend a Greek or Russian or
      Serbian parish. In the end, as you already know, it isn't about the style
      of chanting (my preference is Russian though I go to a Greek parish) or the
      building or the food at coffee hour or even how kind the priest
      is...although I have to say from personal experience that having a
      wonderful, kind, holy priest is a great blessing.

      One last thing...do go to Forgiveness Vespers this Sunday evening if you
      can. It is a beautiful service.-----R
      On Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 10:53 AM, Dave W. <dkwiech@...> wrote:

      > I'm an LCMS Lutheran seriously looking into Orthodoxy and have gone to
      > many Vespers and occasional Divine Liturgy services at an OCA church
      > in my area. The reason I selected that particular church was the fact
      > that they stated a large percentage of members were converts, which I
      > thought might ease the transition. My wife has come with me from time
      > to time, but is very overwhelmed by the Eastern "foreignness" of the
      > worship. I was thinking that perhaps a Western Rite Orthodox parish
      > might be an easier transition for her, since my Lutheran and her Roman
      > Catholic upbringings are more similar to that. Trouble is, the priest
      > at the OCA parish I'd been visiting told me that Western Rite isn't
      > "quite Orthodox" and that the "real Church" is only in the East. That
      > brought to mind a point that has always troubled me about the Orthodox
      > Church: that there tends to be a nationalist bent at times, or that I
      > can't belong because I'm not Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc. I spent 2
      > years in Russia and visited Divine Liturgy often, Easter Vigil, etc,
      > and was profoundly moved, but here in the US I am not accepted into
      > the Russian parishes, since I'm not Russian, despite being rather
      > proficient in the language, even Slavonic. How do I find the best path
      > that will also be easier for my wife to accept? Worshiping separately
      > from her is not my preference.
      > Sorry about the long post, and thanks for the help.
      > Dave

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