Welcome to MyOrthodoxFamily.com! Tell us who you are.
Thank you for the invitation to share. I’m a convert from New Hampshire. I grew up Baptist not knowing that there was an Orthodox church right next door to the library (where our youth group played ultimate frisbee back in the day). I was introduced to an extremely Greek parish. My very first encounter was a church dance in high school; my new boyfriend assumed I knew what I was getting into! We shared events and services at each other’s churches. Eventually and after lots of debates (and an intro course) I was Chrismated in 2005. Now I’m married and the mother of three small Orthodox kids.
What do you most enjoy sharing? What do you feel most called to share?
I guess when people ask about joining the church I often share because I was not “warmly welcomed into the bosom of the faith.” It was a very ethnic parish of mostly older people, and they were not sure what to do with a young “girl” who had no family ties (I’m not of Greek descent). Luckily, my Granny knew some of them just from being around and my now-husband’s dad was the priest. So they let me participate, and I found ways to fit in.
The world of social media is complex. What do you see as difficult and as redemptive about sharing your journey in this way?
Since we’ve lived in very rural places, I’ve joined many Facebook groups over the past many 5 years and recently joined Instagram to help promote my own blog.
Redemptive – As an isolated mom with little help from family who were 2 hours away and no long lasting parish mom-friends, I sought out connections in Orthodox Facebook groups. Some of them are very helpful, other moms sharing stories and a place to ask kid questions especially about bringing them up in the faith. I’ve joined a bunch from homesteading to teaching.
Difficult – I tried joining some discussion groups to keep the adult side of my brain active. I found these almost combative. Some people want to explain the finer points of theology and can come across very legalistic. As a convert, I found a lot of the language off-putting-sounding to people who are seeking a place to start.
What is your earliest, distinctly Orthodox memory?
Please remember I grew up in a Baptist church. The culture is very different. We used everything from the organ to rock, all with live musicians. We even had a projector with the lyrics for everyone to belt out their praise. I was a teenageer and had never even heard of the Orthodox church. My very first service, my boyfriend and I went up to the empty choir loft and peered down at an infant baptism -completely in Greek. It was culture shock, and I had a lot of questions. He was happy to answer them – and that’s how we spent the next couple of years. Locked in teen-theological debates!
What do you hope will be the mark you leave on the world as you pass through it?
I hope that parish life will be easier for my “non-ethnic” children than it was for my husband growing up. I do my small part to support other moms looking for English materials by creating the blog. I just want my kids to grow up feeling like it’s normal to be Orthodox.