Visitors are welcome at St. George Orthodox Church. You may be new to Orthodoxy or Christianity, or maybe have no experience with either, but that's okay.
If you have never been to an Orthodox service before the experience can be overwhelming. There is a lot going on, sometimes it seems like all at the same time. You are welcome to participate as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Here we have outlined a few things to help familiarize yourself with what is going on.
All are welcome
You do not have to be Orthodox or of any particular faith to visit, nor of any certain ethnicity. All are welcome to join. While the church sign outside says "Romanian", inside you will find people from various ethnic backgrounds. All services are conducted in English. St. George is comprised of many who have grown up in the faith as well many who have recently discovered Orthodoxy.
St. George is handicap accessible with a wheelchair ramp at the front doors and an elevator inside the building.
What to expect
The first thing you will notice if you come on time for 10:00 is that the service seems to already have started. Have no fear, you are still on time. Starting at 9:30 the hours are read in preparation for the Liturgy. This is a great time to prepare for the Liturgy and enter into an atmosphere of worship. The priest also hears confession during this time.
You'll notice people standing and sitting at various times throughout the service, feel free to do the same as you are able. Traditionally Orthodox stand for services but we recognize that many are not able or accustomed to standing for long periods of time.
An Orthodox service enlightens many senses, including sight, smell, taste and touch. Candles are lit, icons are venerated and we participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion. All are welcome to light a candle and venerate the icons if you are comfortable, however Holy Communion is reserved for practicing members of the Orthodox faith who have prepared themselves appropriately.
How to behave in church
An Orthodox Church is a Holy place and should be treated appropriately. This is reflected in how we conduct ourselves. Reverence should be given while in the service, not causing a distraction or bringing attention to ourselves. Although this can be hard to achieve with small children, they are always very welcome.
While there is no dress code, attire of both men and women should reflect respect for God as well as for our fellow worshipers. Women are not required to wear a head covering or skirts, at St. George there is a good mix of those who do and don't.
We welcome any questions you may have. Feel free to ask during the fellowship hour, email or arrange a meeting with our priest, Father Michael.
Some external resources that may also be of help:
An Overview of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy
5 Differences Between Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism
5 Differences Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church
Feel free to join us downstairs (handicap accessible) after the service for some coffee and snacks.
We would love to get to know you better