Your First Visit to Our Church
Are you undergoing a spiritual search? Are you looking for a place where God is worshiped "in spirit and in truth"? Or do you want to reconnect with your Orthodox roots?
We invite you to visit our church for a service. Take the plunge and do it! It's the best way to learn. You are most welcome to visit us at any time, and especially when there is a scheduled service.
If you believe in God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—pray to Him to guide you and help you not to be scared away by what may seem at first sight to be different and strange. Our Orthodox Christian practices might appear that way because they are ancient and original—dating back as far as 2,000 years to the time of Christ and His apostles, and even further, to the Old Testament.
You will not offend us by being unfamiliar with these practices. We do not expect visitors and newcomers to know about them ahead of time. Many of our parishioners found the church by doing exactly what you are thinking of doing, and we remember clearly what it was like to encounter the Orthodox Church for the first time. Orthodox traditions are different from what Americans expect from a church service, so we have a lot of sympathy and understanding for anyone "trying it out" for the first time.
Many actions in the church service may seem strange to you, such as people making the sign of the cross, bowing, and then kissing an icon. They also light candles near these icons. Of course, you don't have to do these things. After the service we will be happy to explain these ancient traditions to you—they all have a deep spiritual meaning. (For an example, read this explanation of the meaning of vigil lamps by a 20th century saint.)
When you come, just enter the church. By tradition, men usually stand on the right side and women on the left, but this is not a rigid rule. Actually, none of our rules are rigid. Men and women (spouses or friends) can certainly stand together. Wear comfortable shoes! The Sunday morning liturgies last about 2 hours, and 90 minutes on weekdays. We usually stand during the services, but there are benches around the back and sides where you can sit down to rest your feet.
A simple "dress code" reflects our desire to show respect for the holiness of God in an Orthodox church. Dress conservatively: e.g. for men and women, no shorts or sleeveless shirts or blouses; for women, a dress or skirt knee length or longer.
The priest, and other parishioners, will be happy to talk with you after the service. We also invite to stay for the shared meal in the church hall, served after every Liturgy.
We look forward to meeting you!