Cerșetorul Japonez a devenit Călugăr ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Romanian

http://textsorthodoxy.wordpress.com

TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

Cerșetorul Japonez a devenit Călugăr

As vrea sa va dau un mic exemplu de activi­tate misionara. Noi avem un mic metoc in New York. El este asezat intr-o parte foarte saraca a ora­sului, unde traiesc in general vorbitori de spaniola si afroamericani; de jur imprejur droguri, alcool, oameni fara adapost. Cred ca jumatate din popu­latia zonei traieste din alocatiile statului. Pentru adolescenti, in aceasta zona, sa nasti un copil la 14-15 ani este un motiv de deosebita mandrie. Nu, nu sa ai grija de acest copil, ci pur si simplu sa il nasti. De aceea, in cadrul acestei populatii, foarte putini vad pentru ei anumite perspective in viata. La fiecare al doilea colt de strada se afla o biserica romano-catolica sau protestanta, o sinagoga si asa mai departe, toate goale.

In fata casei noastre este o mica adancitura, pe care noi o numim fantana. Aceasta exista pentru a se putea ajunge prin ea la subsol. Odata, pe la mijlocul lui februarie, ningea cu ploaie si era frig. Deodata, printre tomberoanele de gunoi pe care, de asemenea, le tinem in acest put, am auzit un zgomot. Eu m-am gandit ca, asa cum se intampla deseori, vreun cersetor scormoneste in gunoiul nostru si cauta sticle goale. Eu nu sunt impotriva ca cersetorii sa stranga sticle goale, dar ei, de obicei, arunca peste tot gunoiul care le cade in mana, si aceasta nu am vrut s-o permit.

Asadar, deschid usa si vad in fata mea un om cu infatisare asiatica. Il intreb:

– Ce faci?

– Iertati-ma, va rog, raspunde el, caut si eu ceva de mancare.

– Pai, de ce scormonesti in gunoi? Haidem in casa!

– Nu-nu, nu pot, zice el, sunt murdar tot si mi­ros urat.

– Haide-haide, ii zic eu.

In timpul scurtei conversatii, i-am povestit ca noi avem o incapere in care poate face dus, isi poa­te schimba hainele si poate manca.

Omul s-a speriat:

– Ce vrei de la mine? Pentru ce faci toate astea?

Eu zic:

– Nu vreau sa imi arunci gunoiul in prag. Atat si nimic mai mult.

Dupa ce a mancat, m-am asezat langa el si a inceput discutia. Parea un om destul de destept. L-am intrebat:

– Unde locuiesti?

– Niciunde.

– Adica nu ai unde?

– Ei, zice el, in fiecare noapte faceam curat intr-un restaurant japonez, si ei imi dadeau voie sa locuiesc la ei la subsol.

– Dar cum ai ajuns fara adapost?

Si el mi-a povestit ca era inginer si ca a venit din Japonia. La inceput, lucrurile i-au mers foarte bine, dar apoi a inceput sa fie atras de droguri, co­caina, heroina, si in scurt timp a pierdut tot.

Eu i-am propus sa ramana la noi.

– O, nu, nu pot, a raspuns el.

– Dar de ce?

– Pentru ca eu caut adevarul! a spus omul.

Eu zic:

– Nu trebuie sa mergi nicaieri, adevarul este aici!

– Toti zic asa, a raspuns el. Am fost la catolici, la mormoni, la martorii lui Iehova, la iudei, la budisti. Toti promit unul si acelasi lucru, dar nu dau nimic.

– Bine, zic eu, totusi, mai ramai putin!…

Si a ramas sa stea la noi cateva zile. Am ince­put sa discutam. Apoi el s-a botezat si l-am numit in cinstea Sfantului Nicolae al Japoniei. Acum s-a intors deja in Japonia si a primit acolo calugaria intr-o manastire ortodoxa. Dar totul a inceput pen­tru el cu faptul ca noi i-am dat posibilitatea sa devina o parte din obste, ca i-am ingaduit sa vietuias­ca impreuna cu noi. El a vazut Evanghelia inainte de a o auzi sau de a o citi.

Sursa:

(Schiarhimandrit Ioachim Parr, Convorbiri pe pământ rusesc, Editura Egumenita, 2015)

ttps://marturieathonita.ro/cersetorul-japonez-devenit-calugar/

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Μοναχός Νικόλαος: Ο Ιάπωνας άστεγος της Νέας Υόρκης που έγινε Ορθόδοξος Μοναχός στην Ιαπωνία

http://textsorthodoxy.wordpress.com

TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

Μοναχός Νικόλαος:

Ο Ιάπωνας άστεγος της Νέας Υόρκης που έγινε

Ορθόδοξος Μοναχός στην Ιαπωνία

Θα ήθελα να δώσω ένα μικρό παράδειγμα ποιμαντικής δραστηριότητας. Εμείς έχουμε ένα μικρό μετόχι στην Νέα Υόρκη. Βρίσκεται σε μία πολύ φτωχή συνοικία της πόλης όπου ζουν κυρίως ισπανόφωνοι και μαύροι: Παντού ναρκωτικά, αλκοόλ, άστεγοι. Πίστευω πως πάνω από τους μισούς κατοίκους της περιοχής ζουν από τα επιδόματα του κράτους.

Για τους εφήβους της περιοχής το να γεννήσεις ένα παιδί στα 14-15 σου χρόνια είναι λόγος να υπερηφανεύεσαι. Όχι να το φροντίζεις, απλώς να το γεννήσεις. Γι᾽ αυτό πολλοί λίγοι ατενίζουν το μέλλον με κάποια προοπτική. Σε κάθε δεύτερη γωνία θα βρεις μία Ρωμαιοκαθολική ή Προτεσταντική εκκλησία, μία συναγωγη, αλλά όλες είναι άδειες.

Μπροστά από το οίκημά μας βρίσκεται ένα βαθούλωμα, το οποίο εμείς ονομάζουμε “πηγάδι”. Χρησιμεύει για να κατέβεις σ’ένα υπόγειο μέρος. Μία φορά, μέσα Φεβρουαρίου ήταν, έριχνε χιονόνερο και έκανε κρύο. Ξαφνικά ανάμεσα στους κάδους των σκουπιδιών, που επίσης βρίσκονται σε αυτό το βαθούλωμα, άκουσα ένα θόρυβο. Σκέφτηκα πως κάποιος ζητιάνος ψάχνει μέσα στους κάδους άδεια μπουκάλια και όπως συνήθως γίνονταν, θα πέταγε τα σκουπίδια έξω από την πόρτα μας. Αυτό δεν ήθελα να το επιτρέψω.

Ανοίγοντας την πόρτα είδα έναν άνθρωπο με ασιατικά χαρακτηριστικά…

-Τι κάνεις;

-Συγχωρέστε με. Ψάχνω κάτι να φάω.

-Γιατί ψάχνεις τα σκουπίδια; Έλα μέσα

-Όχι. Δεν μπορώ, είμαι βρώμικος και μυρίζω.

-Έλα, έλα μέσα, του λέω εγώ

Κατά την διάρκεια του σύντομου διαλόγου μας του εξήγησα πως έχουμε ένα δωμάτιο όπου μπορει να κάνει μπάνιο, να αλλάξει τα ρούχα του και να φάει κάτι.

Ο άνθρωπος φοβήθηκε:

-Τι θέλεις από μένα;

Του λέω:

-Δεν θέλω να πετάς τα σκουπίδια στο κατώφλι μου. Αυτό μόνο, τίποτα περισσότερο.

Αφού έφαγε, κάθησα κοντά του και αρχίσαμε να συζητάμε. Φαινόνταν ένας άνθρωπος έξυπνος. Τον ρώτησα

-Πού μένεις;

-Πουθενά

-Δηλαδή δεν έχεις που;

-Να, κάθε βράδυ καθάριζα ένα γιαπωνέζικο εστιατόριο και μου επέτρεπαν να κοιμάμαι στο υπόγειο.

-Πώς έφτασες χωρίς στέγη;

Μου διηγήθηκε πως ήταν μηχανικός και πως ήλθε από την Ιαπωνία. Στην αρχή τα πράγματα πήγαν καλά, αλλά έπειτα έμπλεξε με τα ναρκωτικά, κοκαΐνη, ηρωίνη και σύντομα τα έχασε όλα.

Του πρότεινα να μείνει σε εμάς.

-Ω, δεν μπορώ, απάντησε.

-Γιατί;

-Επειδή ψάχνω την αλήθεια!, απάντησε ο άνθρωπος

Του λέω τότε:

-Δεν πρέπει να πας πουθενά, εδώ βρίσκεται η αλήθεια!

-Όλοι έτσι λέτε, μου απάντησε. Πήγα στους Καθολικούς, στους Μορμόνους, στους Ιεχωβάδες, στους Βουδιστές. Όλοι υπόσχονται το ίδιο πράγμα αλλά δεν δίνουν τίποτα.

-Καλά, του λέω εγώ, Μείνε ωστόσο λίγο..!

Έμεινε λίγες ημέρες σε εμάς. Αρχίσαμε να συζητάμε. Έπειτα βαπτίστηκε και πήρε το όνομα του Αγίου Νικολάου Κασάτκιν, του Φωτιστή των Ιαπώνων. Τώρα επέστρεψε στην Ιαπωνία και έγινε Μοναχός σ’ ένα Ορθόδοξο Μοναστήρι. Όλα όμως άρχισαν επειδή του δώσαμε την δυνατότητα να γίνει μέρος της Αδελφότητάς μας και του επέτρεψα να μείνει μαζί μας. Είδε το Ευαγγέλιο πριν το ακούσει ή το διαβάσει.

Από το βιβλίο του Μεγαλόσχημου Μοναχού Ιωακείμ Πάρρ
«Συνομιλίες στη Ρωσική Γη»
Απόδοση στα ελληνικά π. Γεώργιος Κονισπολιάτης

Πηγή:

https://proskynitis.blogspot.com

https://proskynitis.blogspot.com/2016/02/blog-post_51.html

ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΗΤΗΣ

Sherie Mercier, USA: Called To Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith

http://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

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Called To Orthodoxy

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith.

by

Sherie Mercier, Michigan, USA

Where do I begin? I was born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan, on the shores of SW Lake Michigan – across the lake from Chicago, 61 years ago. My parents were not very religious, in fact, they attended a Methodist church in my hometown. The pastor was a medical doctor and eventually left the active ministry and set up shop as a General Family practitioner. My parents stopped attending church and after that I never remember them ever stepping into a church at all, even to this day. My mother is deceased but my father is still alive and I have never seen him enter a church.

So, eventually, around the age of 7 or so, I went to a Baptist church with my neighbors and continued to do so until my teenage years. I then set out to check different denominations, usually joining them, then leaving because something didn’t “feel right”. Of course, our home town had a huge Roman Catholic following, plus my maternal grandmother had been Roman Catholic herself.

I remember seeing statues of Mary and crucifixes. Our public school in that day followed the Roman Catholic system of meatless Fridays, usually fish sticks or mac and cheese. So, Continue reading “Sherie Mercier, USA: Called To Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith”

Fr. David, New York, USA: From Protestant to Orthodox

http://conversionstoorthodoxy.wordpress.com

CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY

Fr. David, New York, USA: 

From Protestant to Orthodox

Source:

http://fromprotestanttoorthodox.blogspot.com

FROM PROTESTANT TO ORTHODOX

Monday, March 20, 2006

This will be the only post on this blog, and it’s for the sole purpose of sharing my testimony of how I converted from Evangelical Protestantism to the Eastern Orthodox Church. After the text of the testimony, there are two appendices: the first is a breakdown of the earliest bishops in the Christian Church and their beliefs, and the second is a brief defense addressing from Scripture certain issues Evangelicals have with Orthodoxy. Enjoy.

”If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” II Cor. 5:17

BEGINNINGS

When I talk with people “who knew me when”—during my first twenty years of life as an Evangelical Protestant—I usually am met with a variety of reactions when I tell them that, in the middle of my time at one of the nation’s foremost charismatic universities, I decided to convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some are offended, as though I were rejecting everything I’d been taught to believe as a good Protestant; others react with genuine, open curiosity, since the Orthodox Church is still relatively unknown to many Americans; still others react with dismay, convinced that I’ve traded in biblical, relationship-based Christianity for the rules and regulations of the Pharisees, the exotic “smells and bells” of Orthodoxy’s “foreignness,” and the off-base traditions of men that only serve to take a soul away from a true, unadulterated relationship with Jesus Christ. It is my hope that this essay will help to shed light on the issues that were central to my conversion, as well as provide insight both to those who are thinking about converting to Orthodoxy and to those who have a loved one on the way into (or already in) the Orthodox Church and are concerned for their spiritual well-being. The Orthodox Church has been, for me, the ultimate revelation of what it means to be “in Christ”; my upbringing in Evangelical Protestantism has not only helped me appreciate this now, but was very much preparing me for this all along [1].

My childhood was one of sharp contrasts between my mother’s and father’s homes—they divorced when I was an infant—for while my mother (with whom I spent most of my time growing up) was devoutly religious and marked the week with several outings to Church, my weekends spent with my father were quite devoid of any religious observance. This is not to say that my mother was a saint and my father a horrible person; I thank God for both of the loving, morally sound parents He gave me, and I feel the debt of gratitude that any child raised by good parents (even separately) feels upon reaching adulthood. Since, however, my religious environment was shaped almost completely by my mother’s influence, we’ll begin there.

My mother became a Christian around the time I was born, and was extremely devout and passionate about knowing God through reading the Scriptures. From the time I could understand what was going on, my mother and I read a chapter out of the Bible each night, almost without fail. My mother made it clear to me that this Bible was “God’s book,” and that in it He told us the story of His Son, Jesus, and how we could be forgiven of all our sins. It’s perhaps not surprising that a small child would believe all this unquestioningly. What was surprising was how naturally I took to Scripture memorization and things having to do with Church, worship, etc. From the most impressionable years onward, I was given the steady example of a person who knew that, if God had Continue reading “Fr. David, New York, USA: From Protestant to Orthodox”

Which Came First: New Testament or the Church? – Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA

http://orthodoxweb.blogspot.com

ORTHODOX WEB

USA WASHINGTON FFFF

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Which Came First: New Testament or the Church?

by Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

Which Came First: New Testament or the Church?

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

A convert to Christianity from Judaism, Fr. James was a teenage chess champion whose dramatic conversion experience at the age of 16 led him to Christianity, and is also one of the founders of Jews For Jesus. His journey led him directly to the Orthodox Christian faith, and his journey is recounted in his book “Surprised By Christ,” the story of a man searching for the truth and unable to rest until he finds it. He is the priest at St. Paul Church in Brier, WA.

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

As a Jewish convert to Christ via evangelical Protestantism, I naturally wanted to know God better through the reading of the Scriptures. In fact, it had been through reading the Gospels in the “forbidden book” called the New Testament, at age sixteen, that I had come to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our promised Messiah. In my early years as a Christian, much of my religious education came from private Bible reading.

By the time I entered college, I had a pocket-sized version of the whole Bible that was my constant companion. I would commit favorite passages from the Scriptures to memory, and often quote them to myself in times of temptation-or to others as I sought to convince them of Christ. The Bible became for me-as it is to this day-the most important book in print. I can say from my heart with Saint Paul the Apostle,

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

That’s the good news!

The bad news is that often I would decide for myself what the Scriptures meant. For example, I became so enthusiastic about knowing Jesus as my close and personal friend that I thought my own awareness of Him was all I needed. So I would mark verses aboutJesus with my yellow highlighter, but pass over passages concerning God the Father, or the Church, or baptism. I saw the Bible as a heavenly instruction manual. I didn’t think I needed the Church, except as a good place to make friends or to leans more about the Bible so I could be a better do-it-yourself Christian. I came to think that I could build my life, and the Church, by the Book. I mean, I took sola scriptura (“only the Bible”) seriously! Salvation history was clear to me: God sent His Son, together they sent the Holy Spirit, then came the New Testament to explain salvation, and finally the Church developed.

Close, maybe, but not close enough.

Let me hasten to say that the Bible is all God intends it to be. No problem with the Bible. The problem lay in the way I individualized it, subjecting it to my own personal interpretations-some not so bad, others not so good.

A STRUGGLE FOR UNDERSTANDING

It was not long after my conversion to Christianity that I found myself getting swept up in the tide of religious sectarianism, in which Christians would part ways over one issue after another. It seemed, for instance, that there were as many opinions on the Second Coming as there were people in the discussion. So we’d all appeal to the Scriptures.

“I believe in the Bible. If it’s not in the Bible I don’t believe it,”

became my war cry.

What I did not realize was that everyone else was saying the same thing! It was not the Bible, but each one’s private interpretation of it, that became our ultimate authority. In an age which highly exalts independence of thought and self-reliance, I was becoming my own pope! The guidelines I used in interpreting Scripture seemed simple enough: When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. I believed that those who were truly faithful and honest in following this principle would achieve Christian unity.

To my surprise, this “common sense” approach led not to increased Christian clarity and unity, but rather to a spiritual free-for-all!

Those who most strongly adhered to believing “only the Bible” tended to become the, most factious, divisive, and combative of Christians-perhaps unintentionally. In fact, it seemed to me that the more one held to the Bible as Continue reading “Which Came First: New Testament or the Church? – Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA”

π. James Bernstein, ΗΠΑ – Ο γιος του Ραβίνου που από Προτεστάντης έγινε Ιερέας της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας

http://orthodoxyofmyheart.wordpress.com

ORTHODOXY OF MY HEART

π. James Bernstein, ΗΠΑ – Ο γιος του Ραβίνου που από Προτεστάντης έγινε Ιερέας της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας

Η συγκλονιστική ιστορία της ζωής του Εβραίου π. James Bernstein, που έπειτα από πολλές αναζητήσεις βρήκε τον δρόμο του Θεού και σήμερα είναι Κληρικός στην Ενορία του Αγίου Παύλου, κοντά στο Seattle της Washington των ΗΠΑ.

H ζωή του π. James Bernstein, ενός Ορθόδοξου Κληρικού της Μητρόπολης Βορείου Αμερικής, του Πατριαρχείου Αντιοχείας, θα μπορούσε να αποτελεί χωρίς κανέναν ενδοιασμό ιδανικό σενάριο κινηματογραφικής ταινίας.

Ο ίδιος, μεγαλωμένος στην Αμερική και γαλουχημένος με τις Εβραϊκές παραδόσεις, πέρασε από ατέλειωτα σκαμπανεβάσματα και πολλές διακυμάνσεις, ώστε, τελικά, βρήκε τις απαντήσειςσε όλα τα υπαρξιακά ερωτήματά του στην Ορθόδοξη Πίστη.

Ο πατέρας του, ο Ισαάκ, γεννήθηκε στις αρχές του 20ού αιώνα, συγκεκριμένα το 1909, στην Αγία Γη, στην παλιά πόλη της Ιερουσαλήμ, όπου και ανδρώθηκε ακολουθώντας την Ιουδαϊκή θρησκεία. Μάλιστα, θέλησε να αφιερωθεί και να γίνει Ραβίνος.

Το 1941 και ενώ ήταν σε εξέλιξη ο Β΄ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος ο ραβίνος και η σύζυγός του, μαζί με τα παιδιά τους, αποφάσισαν να πάρουν τον δρόμο της προσφυγιάς. Διάλεξαν το τελευταίο πλοίο, που είχε προορισμό την Αμερική, και ταξίδεψαν μέσω της Αιγύπτου και της νότιας οδού της Αφρικής, καθώς στη Μεσόγειο και στον Continue reading “π. James Bernstein, ΗΠΑ – Ο γιος του Ραβίνου που από Προτεστάντης έγινε Ιερέας της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας”

Fr. James Bernstein, New York, USA: Surprised By Christ – Priest’s Conversion from Judaism to Christianity Documented in New Memoir

http://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

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Fr. James Bernstein, New York, USA:

Surprised By Christ

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Priest’s Conversion from Judaism to

Christianity Documented in New Memoir

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/04/surprised-by-christ-by-fr-james-bernstein/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

Conciliar Press Ministries is pleased to announce the release of a new spiritual memoir of a man’s conversion from Judaism to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Raised in Queens, New York by formerly Orthodox Jewish parents whose faith had been undermined by the Holocaust, Arnold Bernstein went on a quest for the God he instinctively felt was there. He was ready to accept God in whatever form He chose to reveal Himself—and that form turned out to be Christ.

But Bernstein soon perceived discrepancies in the various forms of Protestant belief that surrounded him, and so his quest continued—this time for the true Church. With his Jewish heritage as a foundation, he came to the conclusion that the faith of his forefathers was fully honored and brought to completion only in the Orthodox Christian Church.

Surprised by Christ combines an engrossing memoir of one man’s life in historic situations—from the Six-Day War to the Jesus Movement in Berkeley—with a deeply felt examination of the distinctives of Orthodox theology that make the Orthodox Church the true home not only for Christian Jews, but for all who seek to know God as fully as He may be known.

The Rev. A. James Bernstein was a teenage chess champion whose dramatic conversion experience at the age of 16 led him to Christianity. His spiritual journey has included a number of twists and turn: he was chapter president of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at Queens College, helped found the Jews for Jesus ministry in San Francisco, was a staff member of the Christian World Liberation Front in Berkeley, served as a pastor of an Evangelical Orthodox Church near Silicon Valley, and later became an Eastern Orthodox convert and then priest. He lives with his wife Bonnie outside of Seattle, Washington, where he serves as pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church. Father James is the author of the booklets Orthodoxy: Jewish and Christian (Conciliar Press, 1990); Which Came First: The Church or the New Testament (CP, 1994); and Communion: A Family Affair (CP, 1999). He was also a contributor to the Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms (Thomas Nelson, 1993).

Bringing the Orthodox Faith to the African-American Community – From the OCA Diocese of New York and New Jersey

http://usaofmyheart.wordpresss.com

USA OF MY HEART

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Bringing the Orthodox Faith to the African-American Community

From the OCA Diocese of New York and New Jersey

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

Bringing the Orthodox Faith to the African-American Community

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

“We would love to reach out to African-Americans in our community, but we don’t know how.”

“I don’t know where to begin.”

“I’m afraid we’ll be seen as too white and too exotic.”

“How do we merge the Black church and culture with [fill in Orthodox ethnic group of choice]?”

Sound familiar? Orthodox parishes across the country struggle with outreach to various ethnic groups — wishing to expand the parish’s evangelistic efforts in bringing Holy Orthodoxy to Blacks, Latinos, and Asians — but lacking the knowledge, insights, and tools to do so. With the biggest of hearts and greatest of desires, this area of evangelism … bringing and sharing Orthodoxy with ethnic minority groups … can nevertheless seem daunting enough to persuade many to never even begin the effort.

To address these concerns and provide information, ideas, and tools to train and equip clergy and laity to begin effective outreach to African-Americans, the Diocese’s Commission on Mission and Evangelism sponsored a one-day training workshop called “Bringing the Orthodox Faith to the African-American Community.” Thanks to the gracious hosting of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Manville NJ on Saturday, 16 July 2016, the workshop brought together over 40 people from across two deaneries as well as outside of the diocese to hear and learn from two outstanding speakers on African-American outreach: Father Alexii Altschul (a founder of the Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black), and Father Deacon Turbo Qualls (the Brotherhood’s Chapter Development coordinator).

Father Deacon Turbo spoke first in the morning, following a Molieben (prayer service) for the “Beginning of Any Good Work.” He addressed a powerful theme: Orthodoxy is not “the White Man’s Religion” and was never imposed on Africans brought to America via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (and, further, that Orthodoxy, unlike virtually all of Western Europe and Western Christianity, was never involved in the evil of such human trafficking). Rather, Orthodoxy is an historic African faith that has had roots in Africa since the time of the Apostles: the Acts of the Apostles notes the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by Saint Thomas; and Church Fathers, many of whom lived and were from northern African nations like Libya, Egypt, and Carthage.

Father Alexii spoke in the afternoon about his experiences as a white man married to a black woman, raising a blended family, who ultimately found and embraced the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith. He began “Reconciliation Ministries” (now known as Reconciliation Services, it continues to serve the poor and marginalized of the Troost Avenue neighborhood of Kansas City). He, his late wife, and community started Saint Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, now a parish of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North America.

After deliberating further opportunities for mutual discussion and networking, the workshop ended with another Molieben “For the Cessation of Strife” as found in the Great Book of Needs, Volume IV.

Plans are underway for more conferences in this outreach series beginning later this year.