I doubt if there is a single committed member of the U.O.C.C. who has not asked the question, "What is it going to take to turn things around for our Church?" Sometimes they may be speaking of the Church in general and other times they may be referring to their parish.
Ah, ‘Tis the season for Parish Council elections. Every year as November and December roll around, many Orthodox parishes hold elections for their Parish Councils. In my ten year ministry, I’ve had Parish Council members who are shining examples of what it is to be an Orthodox Christian, who genuinely care for the mission of the church, who made a weekly habit of receiving Holy Communion, who came to confession, in addition to coming to Parish Council meetings, serving on committees and organizing community events.
0ne of the most controversial and potentially divisive questions for any "ethnic" parish, Orthodox or not, is the question of language. Parishes (and families) have split, harsh words have been exchanged, and whole ideologies have arisen over the question of liturgical language.
What is a pastor? In discussing "pastoral life", we understand that many particular problems or issues may not relate directly to all of the faithful, but that there is no pastoral concern which does not relate to the pastor. Who and what should the pastor be?
The parents' attitude towards Church and Sunday is the is crucial. There are parents who are habitually late for Church. The result is that children miss part of the Sunday School lesson.
Sometimes titles can be deceiving. Recently, I was given a copy of "Divine Ascent: A Journal of Orthodox Faith", published by St. John of Shanghai Monastery, in California. One of the articles in the journal discussed the nature of the Church's pastoral ministry during the time of the USSR.
When considering what is needed for outreach and mission in the Church we can say that that it begins with the personal effort of the faithful in each congregation as they strive to become what God created them to be.
"Everything is fine the way it is. Why change?" "We don't need new members. We just need to keep the ones we already have." "If too many new people join.
Of late I have been wondering about the Liturgical Life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. I have been thinking what is included in that life based the guidelines given to us by our Church as well as questioning their practical implementations according to the Life of each parish.
The center of worship for a family is often the home, perhaps the holiest place there is. The home is where you gather with family to eat, to raise a family, to read the word of God. Jesus said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14: 23).
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