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Parish Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2011 - 05:50:02

Dear Readers,
We are happy to announce plans for a new design for our website Orthodoxy and the World. We will be diverting all our efforts to introduce our new design March 1st, and so will be unable to make new posts at this time. We have many new translations lined up that we hope you will like, so there is much work ahead! Keep us in your prayers, and continue to support our efforts at Orthodoxy and the World.

What’s Worse Than a Church Without a Web Site?
If a congregation wants to attract visitors through its web presence, that site must be as well planned and carefully done as any other public presentation of the congregation. In fact, given the sophistication of the medium and the caliber of those who surf the web to find a new church home, a poorly done congregational web site may be more of a detriment for a church than no web site at all.

Feb 4, 2011, 10:00

Revitalizing Our Parish Life
Recently, I met a pastor of a local independent, Protestant church. He was curious about Orthodoxy and had a lot of questions. He asked me how many times a year we held revivals. For those who are not from this tradition, a revival is a series of emotionally charged services meant to bring a new excitement about personal salvation and a greater degree of commitment to Christ.

Dec 17, 2010, 10:00

Be not Afraid to Get Creative!
“Artsy, hands-on stuff” to perk up any lesson

Some Church school teachers dismiss craft activities as being merely “busy work.” Others feel uncomfortable with crafts because they “just aren’t good at that artsy, hands-on stuff,” as one teacher put it. And there are a still few teachers who genuinely believe that if it can’t be memorized, it isn’t worth learning!

Oct 28, 2010, 10:00

More Parish Website Suggestions
For Vibrant Parishes, an Effective Website Can Help Attract Visitors

We continue to believe that effective, neat websites are useful in many ways in helping parishes to establish a clear presence in their community and to attract visitors. We all know the importance of first impressions and for many visitors there first impression is formed before they walk through the door -- by visiting your parish website.

Oct 4, 2010, 10:00

Toward Better Parish Websites
I am not a web design expert. However, like many of us I spend a fair amount of time on the web. I also have little bit of background and experience with describing & communicating complex topics – having been a part of creating a few brochures in my time. If your parish is planning to develop a new website or if a major refresh of your site is on your short term agenda – the following observations may be useful.

Oct 1, 2010, 10:00

Volunteerism or Stewardship
Over the years, I have seen many of us in the church struggle to get more and more people to participate and “volunteer” to do what needs to be done to keep our churches going. Whether it be helping out once a year at the annual whatever, or being a part of the weekly and monthly life in the Church, we always seem to find ourselves, sooner or later, lamenting the fact that we do not have enough people “volunteering” to do all of the tasks and fill all of the roles that need to be done and filled.

Sep 15, 2010, 10:00

Cultivate Your Parish Website
An average Internet surfer, potential visitor or local resident certainly isn't going to go the extra mile to uncover your community's vitality if they are unimpressed with what they find on your parish Web site. And that's more than an opportunity for evangelism lost. In today's online culture, a poor Web site could even affect your parish's ministry to existing parishioners.

Sep 6, 2010, 10:00

How Do Visitors Experience Your Parish?
Most of us have wondered how our parish appears to visitors. Do we overwhelm and smother visitors or ignore them? And which is worse? Is a visitor, particularly a non Orthodox, totally lost when joining our parish for Liturgy or vespers? What do they experience? Do they have any idea what is going on?

Aug 6, 2010, 10:00

Starting a Parish Lending Library
This article is written in the hope that you, with God's help, will pray for and build a parish/mission lending library for the good of your own community and for your own edification as well. Enough details will be set forth so that you can actually get started with the information given to you.

Aug 2, 2010, 10:00

Orthodox Parish Life in the Contemporary West and the Role of the Laity
In our interactive age, some are critical that Orthodox laity appear to have no role to play in church life, and seem to be mere passive spectators of services. This impression is sometimes founded in reality, but only in dying parishes where laity may indeed have reduced their role to that of passive spectatorship. It is not the natural role of laity. Laypeople can only be passive if they wish to be passive.

Jul 31, 2010, 10:00

Youth Ministry: Meeting the Challenges
As I travel across the country leading teen retreats and activities, adult workshops, and assisting camping programs, I am blessed to talk with many clergy and laity about our Church’s youth ministry efforts Church-wide as well as locally. During our conversations people always bring up the obstacles they face.

Jul 22, 2010, 10:00

Parents Evening Out
Our church community, like so many others, includes a number of families who have moved from various areas and find themselves lacking nearby relatives or a reliable babysitter. The church becomes their family. "Parents Evening Out" was designed to help this particular group of people.

Jul 20, 2010, 10:00

The Youth Friendly Parish
Everyone wants to see youth involved in the Church and there are many reasons for this. Clergy see them as a sign of parish vitality and growth. The elderly see them as a guarantee for the Church's future. Parents hope and pray that their children will find an example in the Church by which to live their life. Youth look for peers who share their faith to affirm that they really do belong in the Church. But how does a parish actually get them involved? The real questions are: What characteristics do parishes need to be places where youth do come and participate in the life of the Church?

Oct 5, 2009, 10:00

Caring for Our Parish Family
Taking care of our Lord in the person of our sisters and brothers is at the heart of what the terms "Church" and "Parish" are all about. Our charity truly does begin at home. And then, in the spirit of true Christian love, we are called to responsibility for the rest of our community, especially for the poor. Yet, there is so much confusion and even embarrassment when it comes to addressing the idea of stewardship, another name for our financial obligation, to our Church and parish. The questions: "How much should I give?... How often?... Why?" are sometimes painful to ask and difficult to answer.

Sep 30, 2009, 10:00

One Family, One Church
In my present parish—Saint Mary Orthodox Church in Omaha, Nebraska—several non-Orthodox spouses have recently converted to Orthodoxy. Many of these spouses had been involved in the parish for many years prior to coming to the Faith. When asked what it was that brought them to their decision to become Orthodox, the most common answer they gave was, “I was not ready before, but now I am.”
What are some of the factors that make a non-Orthodox spouse “ready” to convert? Are there certain key elements in the life of the parish that can help to create an environment for a spouse to consider conversion?

Aug 17, 2009, 22:00

"Look At How Much They Love Each Other"
The Development of Church Social Life

The social life of the early Christians is not like our own. Many of us travel some distance to get to Church. And already Church on Sunday takes up much of the day. But there are ways to develop a Church-based social life today, a social life so fundamental to effective and efficient Christian education programs in our Orthodox parishes. It can be done but first it must be willed and planned to happen. Our North American lifestyle is too complicated to let it happen "by accident."

Jul 20, 2009, 10:00

Earth and Sea: Images of the Church for Every Age
Thirty years ago on a seminary choir trip an Orthodox priest told me that his work consisted primarily in trying to prepare his parishioners for the Kingdom of God, and having them in various ways respond – that they were not interested. It’s not that they were necessarily not interested in “the Church,” its culture, or programs. They would never stop being Orthodox Christians, coming to liturgical services, or helping at various affairs and festivals. But they were just willing to go only so far; there were questions about themselves and God they were just not willing to ask, things they just didn’t want to know. There were doors they were not willing to go through. It may well be that not wanting to know about God’s Kingdom is that which is worse than death.

Jul 14, 2009, 10:00

What To Do About A Bad Priest
We had a good priest; but he was transferred to another parish. In his place came another, who is a grief to the soul. In his serving the services, he is careless and hurried; when conversations occur, he talks only about trivial things; if he starts to talk about the things of God, then it is all with a kind of limitation and truncation of the strict truth. How is one to escape from such a temptation?

Jun 8, 2009, 10:00

My Visit to an Orthodox Church
My young daughter and I received the Antidoron from the priest but he said nothing to us. We passed dozens of people in the vestibule of the church and no one said anything to us. We finally found my wife sitting in a chair outside of the restroom and found she had a similar experience: dozens of people had passed her and no one said a word. While I could smell the aroma of coffee emanating from somewhere, no one welcomed us to join them.

Oct 2, 2008, 10:00

Coworkers with Christ. A Practical Look at God’s Plan
I have never met a person who tithes and was not on fire for the Lord.
If you don't tithe, you may not really trust God. Or, put another way: if you don't trust God with your wallet, do you really trust Him with anything else? Tithing is a faith issue, a spiritual issue. It is not a money issue. If you are on fire and seek to love God and serve Him with all your heart, mind and soul, you will tithe.

Sep 3, 2008, 10:00

Tithes and firstfruits
With regard to our material blessings, we confess that He is their true source by returning a portion to Him, to be used for His purposes in this world. These works include the maintenance of worship, the support of those called to His special service, and aid for the poor. By thus giving a portion of our wealth for His purposes, we sanctify the remainder. Through offering a part, we bring the whole of our lives into harmony with God’s will.
Jul 30, 2008, 10:00

Fr. Alexander and His Twelve Children. In the Steps of the Apostles.
The family of fr. Alexander holds strong moral and religious traditions. His wife matushka Maria, a pediatrician, who raised twelve children, comes from a religious background. Her grandfather – fr. Vladimir Ambartsumov - was a hieromartyr who was murdered for his faith in 1937. His son, Evgeniy Vladimirovich, also wasn’t scared to accept priesthood, even though he had to leave his native Moscow . He had eight children. Three of them are now also priests…

Mar 15, 2007, 21:31

Elder Paisios the New of Mount Athos (Part 1)
Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts."

Mar 25, 2005, 01:00

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