Choosing a Local Church

Discussion in 'Personal Advice, Care & Prayers' started by Celtic1, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    What are the criteria you would use in trying to choose a local church to be a part of?
     
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  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    1. Checking with the diocesan records to make sure there are no invalidly-ordained clergy.
    2. By hearing sermons, determine the orthodoxy & conviction of the Priest.
    3. Find out the feelings & factions of the congregation; if there are any animosities, see if they can be lived with.
    4. No overtly-superstitious practices.
    5. BCP main Sunday service (as opposed to "alternative" service books).
    6. Learn whether the Catechist teaches the children from the Catechism & 39 Articles.


    Usually if I see wacky rainbow vestments, I know it's going to be theologically unorthodox.
     
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  3. Servos

    Servos Active Member

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    Do we have a right to choose a church at all?
    I think we should go to our parish no matter what priest and people who coming are there.
    We constitute the local church and we can not leave it.
    Can some concrete bishop with concrete diocese say: "I don't like people or priests in my diocese, I'll go in some other diocese to find a flock I like more"? I think no.
    Can some priest say:"I don't like people in my congregation, I'll go in another church to serve Eucharist where are people whom I like more "?
    The same is, I think, for believers.

    ps. Except, of course, in some extreme case like schism, heresy or something like that.
     
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  4. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dear Servos, these two things are the only reason any of us want to be able to choose which parish we go to. :)
     
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  5. Servos

    Servos Active Member

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    :)
     
  6. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you Servos - In my opinion if a person needs a checklist as our Brother Consular has said above then they are missing the point as to why they are going to worship in the first place. There will always be people who may or may not like us and visa versa. I am not sure how you determine invalidly ordained clergy maybe it is different in North America to what it is here in Australia. That said I would go where I was made feel welcome...
     
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  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    What do you do when you move to a city with 3 Episcopal churches nearby, all extremely liberal, and 4 different Anglican churches too, ranging from ACNA to ACA? Sometimes, there's more than one parish so choices must be made. Sorry if that sounds too protestant.
     
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  8. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest there are major problems in the Church as a whole if that is the case.
     
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  9. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    First of all, thank God we have choices, unlike our Roman counterparts who are assigned a parish by demographics (the local practice around here anyway). Obviously we're not going where the fated calf and/or virgins are sacrificed on the altar, yet my checklist is far shorter than brother Consular's. I spent many years in our local Cathedral, and while their budget allowed world class choirs, organists and recitals, I much prefer a small local Parish. I'm blessed to be in a conservative Parish of about 100 people with a scholarly Priest who preaches with "fire in his belly"!;)

    Celtic............ Personally, I would look for a Parish in need of your gifts, not what they can provide for you!
    Jeff
     
  10. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent!
     
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  11. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Member

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    I have been part of four different churches during my adulthood, in addition to others chosen for me during my youth. I have yet to find a church where I agree with everything or everybody. Then what are the things that matter? I attend church for the experience of worship and because I think we are called to worship alongside other believers. I have no interest in church as a place to find friends or a support group. I don't care if there is bickering among the body. In all likelihood, I will never know about it since I now leave church governance to others and am disinterested in the church dinner. I choose a style of worship that is structured, reverential, sacramental, traditional, and predictable. I do not try to judge the heart or validity of a priest. I presume all are human and sinners like me. I grew up in a parsonage; I know first-hand the humanity of clergy. A priest having a different belief than I do, has no bearing on me for I know what I believe. I do prefer a priest who is a good theologian who knows more than me and enhances my learning about the faith and the Church.

    I detest video or power point. I dislike contemporary worship. I dislike innovation where the goal each week is to top last week's entertainment rating. I dislike worship that is self-promoting for worship leaders rather than focused on worship of the Risen Lord. The things I want and don't want drove me to my Episcopal Church.
     
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  12. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    I agree with the above, you can't choose your parish church but there are times when you need to go somewhere else to be fully fulfilled such as if your a teenager and want to get to know someone your own age, in England anyway, you won't find many young people in rural churches which is a great shame. of course this is based on the area I live in only it could be different elsewhere, it is also common in my area to attend several local churches as there is a team ministry.
     
  13. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    The religious situation in England is quite dire. Secularism pervades the whole country, even the Church.
     
  14. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    The religious situation in England is the same as elsewhere in the world, secularism within the church affects every church in every country in various degrees, when choosing a church to attend in any country, regardless of denomination, you have to be sure that you feel happy in it and that it follows christian/biblical teaching.
     
  15. Lux Christi

    Lux Christi Active Member

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    I feel very blessed that my parish is socially liberal (we are 'Affirming Catholics'), or at least tolerant, yet theologically conservative. Which means that they preach the Gospel of Christ, the Sacraments, etc. as is (our rector never fails to exuberantly highlight the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent, and how its so oft neglected). Some are more liberal than others, some are more conservative than others, but that is what makes a community diverse.

    At least for a convert, we have the blessing of choice. I chose my parish because I like High Mass, and it is closest to my own roots. Some of the other parishes have interesting practices or are more liberal and 'modern' in their Liturgical rite: that may work for some. I prefer otherwise! I thus have to take the bus for a half an hour ride to get to Mass, but I do not mind if for a little incense, holy water, and Marian devotion!

    Thus, while the local church is important still, I do not think it does as it did in the past. Perhaps for small towns it is important to build up a congregation, but in these days where the cities provide public transit and one can drive, one can choose a parish of their liking.

    1) Does the way the liturgy is celebrated appeal to you? Does it center on God, or the minister?
    2) Do you prefer a low church service, a broad church service, or High Mass?
    3) Will the congregation help build your spiritual Rule of Life, and do you feel comfortable giving your time and service to upbuilding the congregation?

    I feel that the congregants' behaviour in the service shows how serious church can be. I've been to one parish where they were chatty before the service, and chatty after. It wasn't my thing. I love the Blessed Sacrament so much that I believe in the Real Presence of Christ and its adoration in Holy Communion.

    When I walked into the Anglo-Catholic parish, it felt like angels were in the midst of me; the Divine Liturgy, or the Mass, is standing and kneeling before the Eternal of eternals, and a glimpse of the Banquet of Heaven where the angels and archangels circle round. People were reverent before Mass, people prayed after Mass, and the Eucharist was worshipped and adored in absolute awe and devotion. My Lord and my God!
     
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