Personal testimonies about our journeys to Orthodoxy
A Life Journey Through Protestantism to the Historical Church
I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, and have many fond memories from the 1960's of childhood Sunday School classes taught by all of the grandparents in the church. From them, I learned that Jesus is my friend. After moving to Dallas in 1970, my family stopped attending church, with only a brief period in which I was finally baptized (age 14). I had many friends who all were Roman Catholic (I must be some sort of magnet!) and when I attended Mass with them, I was exposed to a much more reverent atmosphere, which I loved. However, I never converted, since my ex-husband was the son of a Baptist preacher. Somehow, all the years of going to Baptist churches and raising my son and daughter in them, I never learned anything substantial other than the original lesson: that Jesus is my friend...I felt that there must be more to church and worship than what I had experienced, but had no idea where to turn.
About ten years ago, inspired by my (ex) in-laws, I joined the Anglican faith. This seemed more like it! It was reverent, and the people were real...BUT...so many divisions, schisms, and worst of all, LAWSUITS!!! How could this be the true church, when so much discord reigned?
THEN, the Lord orchestrated a meeting! I was out running errands with my wonderful husband, Ed, that God brought into my life seven years ago. We noticed a young man wearing a priest's collar, and asked, "Hey, Father! Are you Roman Catholic, or Anglican?" To which Father Peter replied, "Try another guess--I'm Orthodox! You should come and visit St. Benedict's sometime!" The next Sunday, we were there for Mass, and we knew that we were finally HOME...Why? Because we have learned that the Orthodox Church is the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ. As Christ is historical, so is His Church, dating all the way back to the events recorded in the Book of Acts. And, as the Lord is "The same yesterday, today and forever", so is His Church. It is the fullness of the faith, with nothing removed or added.
Rather than only learning the bare bones of belief, instead we are immersed in the complete Church faith and life; we are not left to our own devices, but instead are surrounded by ministering ways to grow closer to God--prayer, tradition, sacraments, confession, and Church guidance in Holy Scripture. And the worship in the Orthodox Church! The Mass is true worship, involving all of our senses in its beauty, and all of our hearts and souls as we are fully worshiping The Holy Trinity in Spirit and in Truth. And the Orthodox Church is where we come into communion with the angels, and with the saints who have gone before, and with God Himself--and celebrate the Mass as heaven on earth.