Monday, February 7, 2011

Standing next to friends

With the onset of winter, getting our tiny little Chevy up the dirt road to the monastery for Sunday Liturgy.  We tried one Sunday a few weeks ago and got about three-quarters of the way up and had to turn back round.  The result, missing Liturgy three Sundays in a row!  Exhausting.  The need for finding an alternate parish home was growing on our small family.  We also wanted to find a place where we wouldn't be the youngest adults present by thirty years or more.

The search began rather unsuccessfully.  I [Peter] visited the Orthodoxy in America parish locator for parishes in our area.  I wasn't being overly particular.  Primarily, we wanted a place we could visit when the roads were bad and might have the opportunity for meeting some younger families with children the age of our girls (or thereabouts) so we wouldn't be quite so lonely.  Visiting one parish last week was a blow to confidence and emotional stability.  With no children to speak of and the average age closer to 70, we were not succeeding in our efforts.  The drive home was very discouraging, and Felicity and I spent a very stressful week, fearing that we'd be stuck visiting every parish in the area week after week.  Exhausting.

When Br. S. came over for our house blessing, we had an opportunity to sit and talk about our catechesis and life in general.  He recommended a parish not far from where I work and told us it was probably the "youngest" parish in the district.  Relatively new building, former mission church, broad range of ages.  It didn't disappoint.

Walking into that building was like coming home again.  The room was simple, the icons were few, but the atmosphere reminded me of Holy Cross and other younger parishes.  I don't know how else to explain the situation.  It was like standing in a room full of old friends.  The icon display of the saints of North America, the young children running about, the old ladies inviting us to come up and get "church bread".  Though we won't be making an hour long trip each week, it was refreshing to find a place to go when we can't get up the hill.  We left in much better spirits, and wondered why we had to go through all of that pain from last weekend.


  1. Hi Peter and Felicity,

    I would have sent you an e-mail, only I didn't see an address. :) I have really enjoyed reading your blog, as my family is in a similar situation. Unfortunately there is no Orthodox parish that we can get to, only a wonderful priest-monk who has welcomed us to his chapel for the Liturgy whenever we like. We are involved in our parish Anglican church (we live in the UK) because of the need for Christian community, yet I discovered Orthodoxy last year and am longing for the 'fullness' of worship! Anyway, thank you for writing about your journey, it is helpful to know that the process is often long and winding, and we don't always know how long the journey will take. God bless!

    -Chris Bryan

  2. God's blessing on you as you, too, find your way into the Church!