Saturday, April 11, 2015

Visit #170 ~My Pastor came to Church!

Pastor Del Bieber
Church of the Nazarene

Pastor Del Bieber (no relation to you-know-who) came to Church on Great and Holy Friday Matins with Lamentations which we celebrated at 7pm.  I had been meaning to invite him for years, ever since he learned that I was a big fan of Vespers :). I asked Tami via email earlier on in the week which service on Friday would be better. She recommended the evening one because the procession with the Shroud is pretty impressive.

On the drive to Church, I asked Pastor Del if he had ever been at an Orthodox Church. He said once for a funeral and about half of the service was in English. I told him how, when I was looking for an Orthodox Church that I bypassed the much closer Greek Church because most of the liturgy was not in English.  At my parish it is completely English, except for some Lord have Mercy's in Greek and Slavonic. I told him when we got to Church that he shouldn't do anything he wasn't comfortable doing, like prostrations, ect.

Pastor Del has been my Pastor for twenty years (give or take) and he is a man who takes his walk with Christ very seriously and someone who is concerned about the lack of holiness with Christendom today.  He believes that Christians should not emphasize their differences but rather how they have Christ in common. It is for this reason that he has been a very good example for me in following Christ. I was honored that he should come to Church with me.

I had purchased a service book earlier that day so we could follow along. I wanted to buy another one so that we both could have one but they ran out. We ended up sharing.  Pastor Del paid very close attention to what was going on and sang along on the hymns. Later he told me how much he thought the hymns and multitude of Scripture within the Service was a perfect teaching tool for the laity.  As we sang, he pointed to one of the hymns in the book and quietly asked me, "I know who Mary is but who is this Theotokos?"I explained that Mary is the God-bearer. He remarked how he should have remembered the Greek.

It was pretty impressive how we processed around the Church, as the teens rang the Church bells.  Later on, he told me that one hymn he really liked was the "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One," I had to agree with him. What's not to love about the Trisagion?

At the end of the service, I knew it would take a long time for everyone to venerate the Shroud so Tami suggested I got with her husband Reader John to venerate and then quietly slip out.  (Reader John is one of the first to venerate since his is an honored position in the Church.) I did the triple prostrations with John and then grabbed Pastor Del and headed to the car.

On the car ride home, he told me everything he liked about the service.  He joked that Fr. Gary got off easy because all he seemed to do is chant "Wisdom" and the choir did the rest of the work. I chuckled and then said Fr. Gary didn't have it that easy and I told him about the number of services that had to be done during lent and especially Holy Week.  Fr. Gary will be one tired priest by the end of next week! Pastor Del said he was going to ask me something during the service but didn't want to make me laugh. You see, he wanted to know "What is it with Pokemon and the Service?" I laughed. I then explained that prokeimenon is a Psalm that is said before the readings.
That's my bald head on the right. Pastor Del is on my right so you can't see him
Picture taken by Tiffany Martin
On the car ride home we both chatted about Jim Martin's journey to Orthodoxy and I explained how my blog introduced Jim to the Parish.  I knew it was the Holy Spirit who had led Jim to Orthodoxy and Pastor Del said he had spoken with Jim two weeks before he passed away.  Jim was driving by and passed his old church and decided to stop and chat for a while. Pastor noticed, in his conversation, that Jim had really grown in Christ since becoming Orthodox! Glory be to Jesus Christ!

As I dropped Pastor Del at his house, I told him to keep the service book. Wouldn't it be great if in his worship service, he introduced the Trisagion Hymn? I doubt his congregation would go for it but a person can dream, can't he?

Well let me sign off now. I have to get some sleep before I go to the Feasts of Feasts!


  1. I am just now reading this, what a blessing.

  2. The next day, my pastors wife said, "what did you do to my husband?" I said "what do you mean?" She went on to tell me that he went around the house singing the hymns he had just heard....that made me smile