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New to Christianity - Edmund - 11-02-2010 10:20 PM

Hello everybody,
I have recently asked Christ to come into my life. First, I'm just going to say something about my background so please feel free to skip to the end of the next paragraph if it's not interesting. I'll just put it down in case it may prove helpful.
I am not a member of any denomination, have never been baptised and have only been to a church on a handful of occasions. My family background is non-religious. To be honest, I've actually rejected God and Christ previously. When I say I've recently 'asked' Christ into my life I mean I've done so with guilt and shame given my past record.
I find it difficult to explain but I'm finding myself getting more and more curious about Orthodoxy in particular. Is there anyone who can explain more about it to me ? I live in Portsmouth. Is there an Oriental Orthodox community nearby ? If you don't mind I would like to meet some of you to discuss the faith.
May the peace of God be with you all,
Edmund


- Simon - 12-02-2010 05:11 PM

Dear Edmund,

There is indeed an Oriental Orthodox community near you. The British Orthodox Portsmouth mission of Saint Mary the Mother of God and Saint Moses the Black celebrates the Liturgy on the second Saturday each month - which means we're meeting tomorrow. We celebrate the Liturgy in St Faith's Church, 82A Craswell Street, Portsmouth, PO1 1HT. The Church is a few hundred metres along Craswell Street from the Tesco mulit storey car park.

Depending on how quickly we get everything set up we aim to start Morning Incense at 10 a.m. with the Liturgy following around 10.45 ish.

In addition to the monthly liturgies the British Orthodox Portsmouth mission also holds weekly prayer meetings ? Evening Prayer (the monastic office from the Book of Hours or Agbia) at 7 pm Wednesday evenings followed by instruction in the Orthodox Faith or discussion.

I have several lectures on DVD introducing Orthodox Christianity, also introductory reading material - and am happy to meet with you to discuss aspects and asnwer questions.

You can email me direct on <!-- e --><a href="mailto:fr.simon.smyth@copticmail.com">fr.simon.smyth@copticmail.com</a><!-- e -->

One quick point if you should come tomorrow. Do NOT worry about not knowing what to do or getting things 'wrong'. I always tell people coming for the first time that if anyone notices what you're doing anyway, this proves one thing for sure: they weren't concentrating sufficiently on what they were doing! Because if they had been fully concentrating on their own prayers, totally caught up in the love of God - they wouldn't have noticed what you were or weren't doing! So come along - and enjoy yourself,

Simon


- DanielM - 12-02-2010 08:44 PM

Dear Edmund.

I am a Catechumen that worships at the BOC mission of Saint Mary the Mother of God and Saint Moses the Black in Portsmouth.

I also some from a secular background, and many times rejected God and faith in general. Pease do not begin the path of faith with guilt and shame, but enter with joy at finding the strength to cast off those sins in your past through Christ.

I hope to see you at the Church this weekend if you could make it.

In Christ,
Daniel


- Edmund - 13-02-2010 09:00 PM

Thank you both !
It was very reassuring to hear your supportive messages and I've e-mailed Father Simon. Could you tell me a bit about being a Catechumen, Daniel ? I'd be grateful for any help/information I could get.
Unfortunately I didn't check my mail till late on Saturday so was too late to attend today. I very much look forward to meeting you in the future though. Whereabouts is the weekly meeting held ? Is it also at 82A Craswell Street ?


- DanielM - 14-02-2010 01:13 PM

Hi Edmund.

Being a Catechumen is the stage between being an enquirer into Orthodoxy and being Baptised.
Once you are sure you wish to join the church you become a catechumen which is kind of like a period of preparation and a chance to learn about the principles of the faith before baptism. A bit like someone being engaged to be married.
I am sure it is different for everyone, but as someone that was not brought up in a christian household I find that this time is a blessing as with every article or books that i read on Church practices and some issues in faith I have more and more questions to ask.

I hope this helps.


- Edmund - 14-02-2010 08:34 PM

Thank you Daniel,
That's very helpful. Yes, I can imagine myself having alot of questions to ask too.
Thanks again,
Edmund


- Antony-Paul - 17-02-2010 07:29 PM

Dear Edmund,

I too am a Catechumen in Portsmouth, hoping to be Baptised quite shortly. I come to Orthodoxy at a late age, so be of good cheer, there is no reason to have any misgivings about your past experiences (or otherwise). I am certain you will be delighted by the reception you get whenever you attend one of our meetings.

The Wednesday prayer meetings are not at St Faith's church, but in the home of one of our ministers. I suggest you contact him to get details. He is James-Antony Kelly, 078 5493 6328.

Sadly I shall not be there tomorrow because I am away this week, but I look forward to meeting you next week, all being well. In the meantime rest assured of my prayers.

With love and prayers,
Tony.