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Introductions from 2010


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#1 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 09:49 AM

Welcome to the Discussion Community! Please use this thread to introduce yourself to other members of the forum.

#2 Wayne Whitmer

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 08:00 PM

Greetings,

My name is Wayne Whitmer and I and my wife reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am 39 years old and my wife and I have been married over 4 years. We are hoping God grants us with children in the near future. I grew up Fundamental Baptist and graduated with a BA in Bible from Bob Jones University in 1992. I became a "Calvinist" while there and later in my 20's embraced Reformed Presbyterianism. I am more liturgical and more affectionate toward the Sacraments and the Church Calendar than most of my Reformed brothers and sisters. As a result I consider myself more aligned with Anglicanism. However over the past year I've become increasingly interested in Orthodoxy. I think it is important to "get this right" when it comes to Faith. I'm finding by reading Orthodox writings that I'm overwhelmingly influenced by Western philosophy, thought, etc. I'm looking forward to learning as much as I can from this site, you all, as well as from other Orthodox resources. My wife and I are planning to visit an Orthodox parish soon so we can experience the Liturgy first hand. God Bless You All!

#3 Paul Cowan

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 01:34 AM

Welcome Wayne,
Try this resource for potential parish's to visit.

Paul

#4 Wayne Whitmer

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 05:20 AM

Thank You Paul.

#5 Matthew Beynon

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 07:20 AM

Hi there,

My name is Matt and I'm a new community member. My family and I are also recent converts - we were received into the Church early last year (on Cheesefare Saturday).

We are a homeschooling family who have worked the past several years with an interdenominational Christian mission agency - most recently in inner-city work with people at risk of homelessness. While it has been difficult for us (for a number of reasons) to maintain the degree of involvement in this kind of ministry to which we have been accustomed, we continue to share many of its concerns.
As my wife and I have searched the internet for info on various topics relating to Orthodoxy we have found ourselves directed (more than a few times) to relevant Monachos discussion threads. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to participate in some of these discussions.

Thanks for having me.
Matt

#6 Mike Brunner

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:46 AM

Hello all,

My name is Mike Brunner. I am a seminary student in St. Paul, MN. I initially started out as an M.Div. student but after certain events (one of which was the discovery of Orthodoxy) I switched programs and I am now in pursuit of a Master of Arts in Theological Studies program. I am hoping to pursue a Ph.D. in the future (once I learn languages) that has to do with patristics. I actually started looking in to Orthodoxy after my first history class at seminary and having to read patristics for the course. I am currently a catechumen at an Antiochian church in St. Paul. Thats about all I can think of for now--if anyone wants to know anything else, feel free to ask.

Mike

#7 Carla

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 12:56 AM

Hi! I'm 26, an educated, business owner, living in the LA area. I was baptized Catholic and went to Catholic school through 8th grade, and thereafter stopped going to Church and have not studied or practiced any religion since. I live a good life, and have a good sense of right and wrong, and never felt like religion was a necessity in my life. Except that recently I met a guy who told me he was Christian, which at the time was irrelevant to me, because I simply liked him for who he was. But, even though I told him I was not religious, he pursued me, only to tell me after I had fallen for him that he could not marry someone who was not Christian, not just Christian, Coptic Orthodox Christian. He is of Egyptian decent and his father is a pastor/priest (not sure what the technical term is). I was disheartened at the thought that he couldn't respect my beliefs as I did his and have that be enough, so I ended things. Now I can't help but think it's worth giving it a try, studying and seeing if I can make sense of it all, possibly start to believe in it, as a lot of the things I love about him, I can see derive from his love of God and his conviction... Regardless of whether it works out with him, I thought this would be a good place for me to start my own enlightenment on the subject and journey to salvation, if Orthodoxy is indeed "The Only Truth" as he stated. :(

#8 John Choate

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 01:54 AM

Hello Everyone. My name is John Choate, and I am a convert. I've been Orthodox for ten years this coming Pentecost. My wife and I live in San Angelo, Texas. We attend the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church here in San Angelo. I completed my undergrad in English and Communication, and I have my Master's in School Administration. I am a high school principal at Christoval High School which is a small school about 20 mile from San Angelo. Like Wayne, I was raised in the Fundamental Baptist faith. For many years, I studied and pursued an interest in eastern religions until I discovered Orthodoxy on one of my many searchings for some form of Truth. Needless to say, like most converts I've met, I found a 'home' in the Orthodox Church. I am blessed with a great parish and priest who have so richly blessed me. I have read Monachos for many years as a visitor. I love this online community and thank God for each one of you.

#9 Mick Curran

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:22 AM

My name is Mick Curran. I’m an Englishman – a Londoner, born and bred. I was born in North London (Holloway) in 1949 into a Catholic family. My dad was an informed and knowledgeable Catholic who knew what he believed and why he believed it. My mother was from Southern Ireland. She had a trusting and unquestioning Catholic faith. She’d been born into an Irish Catholic family and she’d grown up in a country wherein the overwhelming majority of the people were Catholics. From the time she could understand the spoken word her parents and teachers had consistently told her that the Catholic Church was the One True Church and the one Ark of Salvation for all, that the pope was infallible, and that therefore the Catholic Church was also covered with a protective veneer of infallibility. She had no reason not to believe what she was told so she believed it and wanted to do whatever the Catholic Church taught. She gave no thought to what she believed or why she believed it. As far as she was concerned it was just true and that was the end of the matter. It’s a stance that I daresay is found amongst people of every religion.

Despite the strong Catholic faith of both my parents plus the fact that I attended Catholic schools throughout my formative years I rejected the Catholic faith in my teens. I did this not for any doctrinal reasons – although if there had been doctrines that I might have questioned (as they were by most of the kids in my class) it would have been the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the doctrine that some sins were mortal sins – but because I was very much influenced by a schoolmate who had decided to become an atheist (so I wanted to be one, too).

My “wannabee–an–atheist” stance lasted until my early twenties and at the age of 22, having spent several years in the British Army and having worked my way up to a more sensible and mature outlook, I decided to return to the faith of my father. However, I perceived a decline of the sacred inside the post–conciliar Catholic Church – the imposition of the Novus Ordo Missae was particularly troubling. I did my best to adapt but found it impossible. My dad went to his grave in 1979 and the last years of his life were very sad from a spiritual standpoint as he struggled to accept within the Catholic Church what had been formally condemned prior to Vatican 2. Convinced that the Catholic Church had lost its way, I attempted to rediscover the One True Church via the SSPX and although I was very impressed with and much influenced by Michael Davies, I couldn’t sustain the effort and around 1982 (or thereabouts) I walked away in disgust from religion of any kind.

I came to live in the States in 1990 (I married a Southern girl) by which time I guess my worldview had defaulted to hovering midway between agnosticism and deism. My conversion to Evangelical Christianity ten years later was remarkable in that there was enough about the whole thing to convince me that God was calling me away from the pointlessness of a life with no spiritual content. So I became an enthusiastic and committed Evangelical Christian. Not unnaturally, I had to deal with the idea of the One True Church that had been hammered into me throughout my early years inside Catholicism and which naturally resurfaced whenever I came face–to–face with the notion that the Authority for Evangelicals was the Bible of 66 books. The way in which I made sense of the Evangelical position (that the Bible and not the Church was the Authority for living) was to revisit Catholic teaching and reaffirm to myself that there was no such thing as the One True Church – and that while the Catholic Church may be said to have “discovered” the Bible, it certainly didn’t own it. In other words, I came to accept the notion that the Bible was an Authority in its own right just because it existed.

This meant that I adopted the standard Evangelical view that the Catholic Church had no right to impose upon people “non–biblical” or “extra–biblical” doctrines such as salvation by works. Indeed, it even occurred to me that given the Novus Ordo Missae with all its concessions to Protestantism and which had been imposed upon Catholics in the West as a result of the perceived need to “update” the Catholic Church it might even be concluded that there was a strong case for supposing that the Reformers had been right all along. And so I was able to accept American Evangelical Christianity with its attendant post–Reformation SOLO Scriptura approach without any great intellectual difficulties presenting themselves.

I had no problem living with that understanding for several years since Evangelical Christianity is more about living the Christian life than disputing and defining the finer points of doctrine so I concentrated upon involving myself in lots of church activities and tried my best to live a life that I thought was pleasing to God. However, after some five years as an Evangelical the Sunday morning worship at the Evangelical Church I was attending turned into a theater performance and I was forced out. It was at that time that I first began to consider Holy Orthodoxy. I’d been introduced to an Orthodox Christian some three years earlier – he was the father of a young woman I’d been working with at that time and she thought we could be friends. Not long after she introduced me to him he developed cancer and was given a year to live. I’d visit him regularly and we’d talk about lots of things including religion and that’s how I gained a small insight into Orthodoxy from the Orthodox viewpoint (as opposed to what I’d been told during the time I was inside the Catholic Church). At the end, just before the hospice moved in, he liked to lie quietly on his bed and listen to me read the Bible to him. He preferred the King James Version describing the language therein as “majestic.”

Well, with some slight knowledge of Orthodoxy and with much dissatisfaction at what was happening inside the American Evangelical world, I began to wrestle with where I ought to be spiritually. As far as my difficulty with the London Palladium style pap that so many American Evangelicals were gushing over on Sunday mornings, Orthodoxy gave me great hope. From my earliest encounter with Orthodox worship I was attracted to and moved by the chanting and singing – so much so that during the week when I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular I would suddenly realize that parts of chants and sequences of notes were running though my head. There was one in particular that for a time seemed more “insistent” than the others. It was “O Gladsome Light,” which in the OCA is sung at Great Vespers.

I’m not in the least bit musical. At primary school, during singing, I was (along with another unmusical kid) usually told to stop singing whereupon the rest of the class would continue minus the unwelcome handicap we apparently brought with our discordant tones. So from an early age I’ve always felt that singing is something that other people do and that my place is to listen and not mess it up by joining in. The only time I’ve ever sung is if it’s expected and not to sing would seem to churlish to the rest of the company – for example, singing along in a pub to a cockney song when everybody else is singing along or singing “Happy Birthday” to somebody in a group setting.

However, Orthodox singing and chanting seemed to me to be ethereal and finding myself actually moved by it was nothing short of extraordinary. So, eventually, despite the fact that I was only a visitor I plucked up enough courage to tell the choir director at the mission church I’d found that although I wasn’t any good at singing I’d been trying join in during the Divine Liturgy and at Great Vespers and that I was wondering if I could come to choir practice and listen – as well as perhaps learn more about the music (I secretly hoped that I might even be allowed to stand with the choir and then I’d be right next to the singers). He told me I was more than welcome to come join in with the choir at any time – and since then I’ve stood with the choir and joined in as well. I can’t read music but I think I’ve gotten hold of the basics. I’m apparently a bass and as the choir director is also a bass (he has a stentorian voice and is pretty much a bass section all on his own) whenever I ask him he’ll sing stuff into my tape recorder and I toddle off home with a photocopy of the commensurate sheet music and practice singing whatever it is several dozen times following which I almost get it.

But I still had to wrestle with ideas and concepts. I guess the amount of religious baggage I’d picked up along the way made such a struggle inevitable – in fact, a little over a year ago I was seriously considering returning to the Catholic Church. But eventually I began to see my way more clearly and on April 26, 2009, some two months after I’d first approached the choir director, I became an Orthodox catechumen.

In turning to Holy Orthodoxy I’ve been able to revive my hope and belief in the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and it now seems to me that I’ve reached the end of my spiritual journey. My wife, who initially suspected that Orthodox Christians were weirdoes, now comes with me to the Divine Liturgy every Sunday morning. But although she has no great objection to Orthodoxy she has no great interest in it, either. The most surprising thing about Orthodoxy I’ve so far encountered is this beautiful music – plus the fact that I can actually join in and sing. And, undoubtedly, the most challenging thing about Orthodoxy is the fasting.

My priest says he’s encountered Orthodox Christians that regret not spending more time as a catechumen but he’s never met anybody who is sorry that they were in no hurry to leave the catechumenate. I don’t want to have any regrets about Orthodoxy so I may well remain a catechumen for the next couple of years – my understanding is that if I were to shuffle off the mortal coil at any time from now on I’d be given an Orthodox funeral.

I’m glad to be here on this forum and a Happy New Year to all.

In Christ,
Mick

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 04 January 2010 - 09:57 AM.
Removed broken formatting tags


#10 Carla

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:17 PM

Thanks, Mick. I really appreciated you sharing so much of your story. Very encouraging :)

#11 Gloria

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 12:18 AM

Hello,

My name is Gloria and I was raised a Methodist. I have a friend who is Greek Orthodox. Through her I have become interested in the Greek Orthodox religion, which explains why I became a member of this website.

If I feel I have something to contribute, I will post.

Take care and stay well.

Gloria

#12 Mick Curran

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:40 PM

Thanks, Mick. I really appreciated you sharing so much of your story. Very encouraging :)


Hey Carla,

I'm chuffed that I was an encouragement to you. I hope you'll find what you're seeking sooner rather than later. As you embark upon your inquiry feel free to pose questions to me if you think I might be able to help. And may God bless you all along your spiritual journey.

Cordially,
Mick

#13 Marge Kostas

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:05 PM

Hello all,

My name is Marge Kostas. I was Raised Roman Catholic. I married a Greek man. That should say it all. We've been married since 2007 - no kids yet. Trying. Plan to raise them Catholic, but I attend Orthodox services when I can with my husband. I see there is a lot in common with both faiths. I see postings here already of those who've left Catholicism and become Orthodox. Maybe I will some day....Hope I can contribute to this forum. Happy New Year!

#14 Father David Moser

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:43 PM

I'm chuffed that I was an encouragement to you.


Interesting word, "chuffed". Is that a regional/national expression? The only context that I have heard that word used before is by my daughter (a zookeeper) describing the sound that tigers make when expressing interest in something or in sorting out dominance. In any case welcome.

Fr David Moser

#15 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:50 PM

Dear Father, you wrote:

Interesting word, "chuffed". Is that a regional/national expression? The only context that I have heard that word used before is by my daughter (a zookeeper) describing the sound that tigers make when expressing interest in something or in sorting out dominance. In any case welcome.


Spend a few days in casual company here in England, and you'll have the word echoing through your ears with great frequency. It is a particularly common, informal expression in British English meaning 'to be very pleased' (though my computer's dictionary makes a point to stress that in American English, by contrast, it means 'the sound a steam engine makes whilst moving, with a regular sharp puffing sound'!).

To all our new members of the first days of 2010: welcome! May your time here be fruitful; we all look forward to your contributions.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#16 Father David Moser

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 06:23 PM

It is a particularly common, informal expression in British English meaning 'to be very pleased'


Yes, that makes sense - it is what tigers seem to when they seem to be particularly amused or pleased with themselves.

Fr David

#17 Alexandros Ryan

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 06:29 PM

Hello everyone,

My name is Alexander. I was born and raised Roman Catholic and only started to learn about Orthodoxy while I was engaged to a Greek woman. I went through many different emotions before deciding to be baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church - the best decision I have ever made in my life! I felt it was a great blessing to be able to learn about Orthodoxy as an adult. Glory to God for leading me on the path to the true, holy, catholic and apostolic church!

I originally heard about this website through some podcasts that I subscribe to. I’m excited to be joining this community so I can continue to learn and read about the experiences of others. May God have mercy on all of us as we continue our struggle in this earthly life.

#18 Matthew Alan

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 06:21 AM

Hello everyone! My name is Matthew. I am a catechumen in the Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States of America. I have been attending services for about a year and a half now, and am waiting to join the Church to see if my family (wife and child) will convert with me. Please pray for us to be fully united as a family with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The Orthodox faith has given me a new hope and a renewed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that my time on this board will prove helpful for my own salvation and those around me.

#19 Daniel E.

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:26 PM

I am glad to see others with similar experiences about the process of becoming Orthodox. I finally had a formal talk with the priest of the church I have been visiting for awhile (about 4 months!), and with his help and wisdom, I am now able to see better where I am in my journey. I haven't made my final decision but basically I am approaching the point to be ready. My priest has presented to me both options in order to be incorporated to the Orthodox Church, and I have decided that if my process goes well, I'll receive all the sacraments under the principle of akriveia. I submit to our God for help and guidance. Your prayers are also welcome!

#20 Richard A. Downing

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:06 PM

Hello,
I'm Richard Downing. I was baptised a Catholic, brought up an Anglican, practiced atheism for most of my life, then when I retired, my wife and I moved to Cumbria (North of England) and I started to go to the local village church with her. This led to my meeting the newly arrived Orthodox Deacon, and I helped him borrow a church for his ordination. We became friends. He introduced me to orthodox thinking, I attended some Divine Liturgy, Matins and Vespers. I started to read the Holy Fathers.
At Vespers on Tuesday (Vespers of the Theophany, by the new calendar) I asked to be received as a Catechumen, and was accepted.
I listen to Fr Matthew's podcasts, along with others from Ancient Faith Radio and OCN, which led me here.
Before I retired, I was a director of an international IT company, so my natural 'habitat', so to speak, is in the internet, and I am keen to encourage and foster it's use for Christian dialogue and learning.




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