Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The All Important Coffee Hour!

Coffee (wallpaper)
photo by flickr user, used under the creative commons license. check out more photos at:

Last week, because of the Business Meeting, I did not stay for the Coffee Hour. Fr. Gary and the Church Council made the call to delay the Coffee Hour until half way through the meeting so that their Quorum wouldn't leave. So, last week, I left right after the Liturgy. But this week, I stayed and made some new friends. But more on the Coffee Hour later...

I found it easier to enter into Worship, my second time at the Divine Liturgy. I had said that the Divine Liturgy was just like Vespers with Communion but I think I was wrong on that account. There seemed to be a different dynamic going on that I hadn't realized. As a result, last week I was a bit more "shell shocked" than I had thought meaning that everything seemed a bit foreign to me and, thus, I was less able not to be distracted by its newness. This week, however, I was able to "enter in." And, by the way, when I complained about the Cherubic Hymn "droning on" last week, I found that if you actually concentrate on Worshiping God, the "drone" becomes a Hymn of Praise. At least, that is what happened this week! :)

One of my new friends is someone I have seen for a year at Vespers but never talked to. His name is Matthew. We were actually in the Narthex when he introduced himself and, at the time, the hours were being prayed in the Nave. It seemed strange to be having a conversation while prayers were being offered. (I guess Orthodox like to multitask) but we weren't the only ones having a conversation. What was funny was he stopped the conversation completely when the Lord's Prayer was being recited. (we all joined in) and then went right back to the conversation. This happened twice, since as I said last week, they pray two different "hours" before the Divine Liturgy. Our conversation also stopped when Fr Gary came back to the Narthex to incense the Icons. It was certainly a different perspective than what I am used to.

Later on, Matthew joined me at the table for Coffee Hour.

The first thing I noticed when I came into the parish hall was a sign made out of bread that said, "Go Pats". Since it was Superbowl Sunday that seemed appropriate although maybe the Giants fans would disagree with me! Presbytera Mary said, "Why don't you take a picture of this for your blog?" So here it is:

Tami shepherded me to a table where her husband John and Matthew (with his little boy James) were sitting. Tami, ever the gracious hostess, introduced me to the new reader, named Jack, who was from Wisconsin and took the name Innocent (Do readers get a new name when they are tonsured or is that his baptismal name?). It turns out he has only been at this parish for three weeks. We got to talking and I met my first evangelical convert at the parish. (All the other converts were from the Roman Catholics). When I asked Jack more about his background he asked, have you ever heard of Jack Hayford? You bet I have! He is a famous Four Square Gospel Pastor and one or two of my friends actually went to his church on the west coast back in the day.

"Well," Jack continued, "I am his son."

Wow, I am meeting all sorts of people in Orthodoxy!

I was fascinated talking to Jack, listening to his story and learning (but I think I already knew this but forgot) that his father wrote the famous Worship Chorus "Majesty". What I didn't know is Jack Hayford wrote it while he was in England and he had witnessed the Pomp and Circumstance of the Queen for a special anniversary so he decided to write something for the King of Kings. It is a great song. Here it is!

I asked Jack how his father reacted to his conversion to Orthodoxy and he said his father was always very ecumenical so he was cool with it.

I really enjoyed the coffee hour. I have been worshiping with these people for over a year but it was nice to actually sit down and get to know them. I hope to do that more and more.


  1. I'm so glad that you got to enjoy Coffee Hour, and I like the perspective change of the second Liturgy.

    Love the bread, that's very blue!

  2. Mimi,
    thank you!
    As for the bread that said, "Go Pats", I guess it didn't work since the giants won the game! :)

  3. When people ask about Orthodoxy, I tell them first to attend services and then to make it a point to attend coffee hour...That's where you can get a real feel for the parish, and it gives you a glimpse at life lived outside the liturgy. A lot of inquirers get a good dose of reality when they go to coffee hour and find out that Orthodox people also like to talk about football, home improvement projects and community news, and not just theology...No matter the impression the Internet gives you. ;-)

    It's also a place where you can make friends and find people other than the clergy who can answer any questions you have. Oh, and Greek and Lebanese food.

  4. agabus,
    that is really what I have been missing for over a year and I knew it at the time, too. I know from my protestant experience that living the Christian life as a community requires that you have relationships with other Christians. Simply attending services is not enough! But, because I only attended Vespers and then usually had to leave quickly to pick up my son from work, there was very little socialization. That of course is important!

  5. I knew you had a situation that — while not entirely unique — presented its own limitations. You do what you can. It is best not to force anything.

  6. Yes, it is best not to force anything...although, at times, I wish it went quicker!