Witnessing to the Nonreligious

Witnessing to the Nonreligious

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The “Speaking to Secular America” conference was in its second day and in full swing at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Father Theodore Dorrance wanted to create an outline and an honest witness for “Creating a Church that Reaches Out to the Nonreligious” and the view he wanted to give was that of his own two eyes, a parish priest. In order to see this though, we have to develop the mindset of the Church that is aware of the increasingly secular society around us. Those who claim no religion generally are very inexperienced in true Orthodox Christianity, as it is the fullness of the Truth and if witnessed properly it can be the living Gospel. The only true way to witness is by being holistic and vigilant in being, as Father Dorrance said, “little Christs.” The thing that Father could most attest to for his own conversion when he was a college age Colorado-boy was the unbroken continuity of Christ from the apostolic age to current times. It is the fullness of the Truth to understand the continuity within the faith and take the Spirit that liturgy gives us and make the connection between the Gospel and communion through the way we live our lives.

In delivering the Christian message to the nonreligious it has to be the entire experience of Orthodox Christianity; we live in a country with many shallow wells that leave people thirsting for more. Father Theodore says, “Christ is the greatest Lover.” He loves us in His completeness, the completeness of the truth. We need to convey this fullness in our everyday actions in understanding the all inclusive mission-minded essence of Orthodox Christianity, as it was taught by the Apostles. We need to be mission minded in the way we approach everyday life as Christians. There is always an opportunity to witness no matter what we are doing.

Father Dorrance has guided a small mission parish of six families in Portland, Oregon on its course to the current parish of one hundred and thirty families. He says that it really grew own its own through the vivifying nature of the Spirit. We just need to understand the gifts of each individual and give them the means to multiply their talents through Faith. Trust in the Lord is ever-growing in missionary endeavors as He constantly shows Himself to give us what we need according to His will. In this fashion, we come to understand ourselves and that He is our Truth. In witness of this Truth we can create a Church in Body that reaches out to the nonreligious.

For more information on the “Speaking to Secular America” Conference visit: www.hchc.edu

For more information on Fr. Theodore’s Parish of St. John the Baptist visit: http://stjohngoc.org/

 

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Dean Franck

Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.