What is your Church like?


I'm just curious to know: what is your Church like?

* Do you find that its a place where you can go and pray in peace?
* Are the doors always open for private prayer (outside of liturgical hours)?
* Do you find that its more of an Egyptian centre, and if you're not Egyptian then its hard to fit in?
* Do you find peace in your Church, or has it been a place where you've inadvertently lost your peace?

* What is the relationship between you and others in the congregation? Do you lead each other into holiness, or has the long term friendships been a source where you lead each other to do unholy things? 
* Are you open with each other about your spiritual struggles, or do you find that its a place where you have to act saintly, rather than strive to be "saintly"? 
* Is it a place where you have found any sort of healing??

* Do you find that your Arabic has improved whilst going to Church? 
* Is your Church really a house of God?? or is it just a Coptic Christian club.

I'm curious to know your answers.


  • Hopefully there will be more comments soon, these are good questions!

    1. Do you find that your church improves your Arabic? Most people in my church do not speak fluent Arabic so it is difficult to have a full discussion with someone else (other than family) in Arabic.

    2. Are you open with each other about spiritual struggles? Unfortunately, no. I personally come from a very small church with very few youth who are a similar age. Also, too many 'social groups' are formed at my church. So if your not about being garrulous after mass and are looking for one on one discussions that are meaningful...those are almost impossible at my church.

    3. Is your church really a house of God or a Coptic Christian Club? I think that we're (Egytians) are just boastful in general:) ...so after liturgy you may hear things here and there about other people rather than speaking about spiritual matters.

    4. Do you find peace at your church? Yes, usually:)
  • Hey Zoxasi
    With all due respect to your questions above. But they can be seen as divisive rather than edify. Yes there are churches out there that can have faults so lets move to rectify and not rehash the same old arguments and self indulgence that has been recounted on hundreds of forums on hundreds of sites across the internet. We get that the church can sometimes be a club, a clique, a private community, etc etc. 

    What I feel happens on forums is people regurgitate their self indulgence and dissatisfaction with a million things in the church. Lets accept that it will never be perfect but we can at least aim for it. Today a 150 Christians were slaughtered in Kenya. People who dreamed to have a church of their own in a war torn country among their Muslim cohabitants. Lets be thankful and increase the knowledge that edifies rather than divide. Im not against identifying and fixing problems but when the same old topic has been discussed hundreds of times and driven people to absolute hatred and dissatisfaction then its time perhaps to converse about other things.
    Forgive my opinion. Im usually not this adversarial but frankly it gets tiring because I can see the wave of church criticism coming from people who just seem like theyre vicariously unsatisfied through others experiences or forum posts and havnt really experienced much to be disastisfied with. Just forums they read and an illusion that they themselves are victims.

  • Such things in the church are not said to degrade it's status at all..these forum questions are great as they can bring up certain issues as well as the positives. Not saying these things to generalize the church at all, or trying to form a sense of pity or appear as a victim. As a side note- I intentionally made sure to sound as if these issues are not a big deal in order to not give off the wrong vibe. @tobit As a church in general we're very unified. Peace be with you:)
  • edited April 2015
    I would hope so, Monica.
    Fortunately you haven't been made aware of people who were affected negatively by internet forums just by self-indulgent conversation that drove them to view anything and everything in the church as deficient or provided a sense of victimization. People, in my experience, are addicted to the feeling of being victims yet they'll still lament it. It's a paradox of human nature. You're simple, so pls remain that way :)
    Again, I would suggest we talk about more edifying things.
    It won't be long before you have people posting about how they felt isolated in an Arabic liturgy or someone looked at them a certain way thus all the church is judging them. As if human nature is somehow amplified in the Coptic church with the devil heightening their senses to all that's bad. 
    Don't give in to this self pity. 
    A monk warned me about this years ago and caught myself realizing how silly I was being. Sure there are problems in the church; problems that we should rectify, like being welcoming, English liturgies, etc. We get it.
    I have a friend who got in a fight with a priest because of something he read on a forum & because the priest under all his daily pressure raised his voice and said some unseemly things to the youth, the youth goes to an EO parish for a few months, because he's a victim, does the typical complaining about the Coptic church then realizes he's not happy and so returns to the Coptic church.

    He decides that he won't pray any liturgies with said priest and avoids that church all together. Now he's considered himself an outcast yet still Coptic. He's convinced himself that he's a victim. As if an Abouna can't make a mistake and exempt from human nature. The level of self-assertive ego that controls our thoughts is lamentable yet we're convinced we're in the right because we're 'victims' and we're 'wronged'.
    Anyway, I'm sure there are people in the church who are genuinely hurt and I won't assume that about everyone, but ego plays a peripheral role that we either avoid or are blinded to. Just by asking some of the questions as the first post does, the cycle's already begun again and I can almost predict the responses.

    Simplicity of faith; let's continue reminding ourselves of that and not involve ourselves in all quarrels. People will learn just by observing a simply man or woman entering church, exercising their Christian vocation and leaving in silence. No 'lookout' for problems or fights. No over-intellectualization of everything, just observance with a simple eye and heart. 

    Blessed Holy week to everyone. Lets keep our minds on Christ.

  • For me, my current Church is beautiful.

    1. Congregation Factor

    The congregation are all people looking for peace. Searching for peace, calmness in their lives. Their sufferings and stories impact us in a very positive way. They are the Iraqi/Syrian & Egyptian Orthodox Christians who have fled from their homes because of ISIS. 

    Their homes and businesses were stolen from them. They have nothing.

    2. The priest

    The priest is a good man. Whether 1 person attends his Church, or 1000; he still does the mass. He is very honest and sincere in his service. His sermons don't make any sense, but that's maybe because of his age. 

    In Canada, I found the people a huge problem. There were many fights and outrageous behaviour between them. The Church in Canada was a Coptic Club. That's it. 

    After Church, the youth used to go Strip clubs, Shisha bars... awful. 

    How does that affect you? Well, there's no fellowship. is there?? You can argue and say: "well.. just go and attend the liturgy and just leave" - yes, that's all you can do. But attending the liturgy becomes a problem when people around you hate you. You'd have to make peace with people who aren't interested in making peace with you.

    The Servants in the Church are so Egyptian that they treat you as if they are the master, and you are the slave. You have to be obedient to them. Them personally.

    The Church in the UK is different. - why? Because England isn't a land of Immigration. The youth in England tend to even want to keep the Church open 24/7 for personal prayers. There's a prayer meeting nearly every day. Its a very nice envionment, except , as I've mentioned before, its every protestantised. 

    Praying out loud, praying with your hands in the air... talking in tongues etc.. 

    The Church in Paris is a bit problematic. The head deacon INSISTS on singing with the microphone 1 cm from his mouth. He plays the cymbals close to his mouth, and of course, he has to sing loudly to subdue the sound of the cymbals. You cannot pray there.

    Of course you can pray there if he didnt open his mouth. 

    The Church in paris is very Orthodox in the sense that the protestant movement hasn't become part of the norm there; but unfortunately, the Church has been in the papers for the fights going on. 

    You see? How can there be fighting in a Church? One Sunday, no problem, 2 sundays, its OK.. but nearly every Sunday to the point there is a security guard with a guard dog being paid to stand at the entrance???

    Is this normal??

    Again, you can argue that you just go in, pray and leave. But this affects your prayer. It affects your peace. 

    Going to Church and losing your peace, is like going to a brothel to help you stay a virgin. Its pointless. 

    Its best to just go to the park. 

    It really is.

    The best Church I've ever ever ever been in is in Belgium. This is amazing. Why?

    1. The people are to themselves. Very polite. They'll say hello. Leave you alone. The Church is quiet.
    This is the secret.

    The Church really is quiet. 

    If people talk aloud at Church, it no longer becomes a house of prayer, it becomes a high class market place. It loses its sanctity. 

    Can you pray in a market place?? Can you go to a Cattle Market and pray?? Is there anything wrong with Cattle ? No!! Nothing.. but its not a place/environment for prayer.

    2. The priest: I don't believe my spiritual life is in the hand of a priest. If the priest is bad/good - that's none of my business. But he really works hard at keeping the mass quiet. I have to say, he's very very Orthodox and does amazing liturgies - especially on feast days.

    The deacons are OK. There's just one head deacon that's new to the job. He needs to pray slowly a bit. He rushes the mass so much, and for stupid reasons.

  • sorry, i disagree the churches are 'very protestantised' in uk.
    this is not a big problem in the more than 8 churches i have visited / been a member of over the last 6 years.

    maybe it was a problem in one or two churches several years ago, but really our churches are beautiful.

    and, of course going to church improves my arabic, but as the years go by, i have to work harder to find smaller and earlier liturgies where there is not so much english!

    (we have more and more people joining who don't speak arabic, from other cultures...)
  • edited April 2015
    mabsoota said:

    sorry, i disagree the churches are 'very protestantised' in uk.

    this is not a big problem in the more than 8 churches i have visited / been a member of over the last 6 years.

    maybe it was a problem in one or two churches several years ago, but really our churches are beautiful.

    and, of course going to church improves my arabic, but as the years go by, i have to work harder to find smaller and earlier liturgies where there is not so much english!

    (we have more and more people joining who don't speak arabic, from other cultures...)
    Yes, you are right. The Churches are beautiful. When I went, the youth used to go straight to HTB after mass. Then in the Friday meetings, it would be Kumbaya M'Lawd time: guitar playing, deacons with long hair singing, girls doing solo acts of Amazing Grace - and "Humble yourself before the Lawd" ... Oh my goodness!! 

    The Psalmody would be there, the agpeya would be there... and then BOOOM: "Humble yourself before the Lawd" would just start. 

    The words are like this:
    "Humble yourself before the Lord and He, will lift, you up"
    Then when someone is singing that, another one will start the same verse but a few words out of sync.


    Absolutely stupid stuff... the words to these songs were just dumb. 

    These are just love songs with a Christ's Name being replaced by that of a girl. That's it. 

    Here's another one: "It all about You". 

    That's right. The hymn is called: "Its all about you". 

    Thats the song they sing to God. He is the star, He is my everything.. and I can't live without Him. Yeah, its all very nice... lovely chuckly warmy, fuzzy, feel good stuff - but ultimately, when I go to Burger King and ask for Double Cheese Whopper, I want a whopper, not a pizza. If I wanted a pizza, I'd have gone to Pizza Hut. 

    If I wanted these songs, I'd have gone to HTB myself and had a sing along with the Alpha Team there.

    OK.. so we all know which Church that is... what about Golders Green?? Its the same, except its in arabic.

    Now, I'm not criticising someone's spirituality - not at all - but, as I said: its all good stuff - except if you are attending, you wouldn't know whether you were in an Anglican Church, or a Coptic Church.

    Is it better than Canada? Yes. In Canada, it seems the youth are very devout, yet at the same time, there are youth who attend, who are very disruptive.. all under the same roof. What unites me with a Christian in the UK is Christ. What unites me with a youth in Canada is EGYPT and Christ. One cannot go without the other. You would have a very very hard time doing anything unless you spoke Arabic there, and understood Egyptian/Muslim traditions. Its a fact.

    Australia seems way better. They seem quite devout over there. Its also a land of immigration, but I get the impression that the youth there are very much focused on Spirituality rather than Egypt.

    I cannot generalise, but from what I've seen from the Aussie bunch, I am quite taken aback by the spirituality and zealousness in serving. 
  • ma'alish, dear brother, it is ok now!
    pray for us
  • mabsoota said:

    ma'alish, dear brother, it is ok now!

    pray for us
    lol...you like that stuff - don't you?? 

    "Humble yourself before the Lord"?

    Arrrggh.. if i hear that song again....!!

    Yes, its ok now because the youth that started this crazy HTB are all married now with kids. 
  • no, i don't listen to any non orthodox Christian music!
    i don't even know the song you mean.
    for 2 years before i was orthodox i was going to anglican and catholic churches so i was already not listening to that music.
    i had experienced orthodox music and it was more beautiful and meaningful.
    i was an enquirer for 2 years, then waiting to join (like a catechumen) for 1 year,
    so i have been away from that for 9 years now. i don't know the new songs.
    ok, i sometimes visit protestant churches when invited by friends and relatives, but i compare the songs with 
    'Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal (Agios) and thank God for His mercy.

    what i meant was the churches are ok, people are becoming orthodox Christians, 
    just keep praying for us and don't worry about it.

  • Excuse me,but do you attend a Coptic Orthodox Church or a British Orthodox Church?

  • coptic. was always in the main stream coptic church (3 years intermittently, then 6 years as a member).
    won't say where publicly, but you can send p.m.
    i will not be on line for Holy Week.
    not coz i'm holy, but i have no internet!

    'see' you after the Resurrection Feast
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