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  • #1878 Reply
    Elena
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    I would like to know how, if you are a member of the Orthodox Church and go to confession, how you can tell your Priest that you are gay and married and not be thrown out of the Church? Are we all suppose to lie and not say we are gay and married? How about coffee hour after church when you are speaking with your fellow parishioners, do we lie to them too? What about the yearly blessing of the house? Do you take down all the pictures of your life and your love? How can we be a part of the Church and not live a lie?

    #1879 Reply
    Maria
    Guest

    I’m dealing with the same thing as you. But I try and think of it differently…I do not know if I am right or wrong to do this. But, I love the Church too much to stay away. It isn’t our fault that we are not welcomed fully, why should we have to pay the price? I don’t consider it lying as much as keeping the full truth to myself.. I always try not to actually speak a lie but rather remain completely silent on this topic..

    #1881 Reply
    James
    Guest

    That I’m gay and live with a partner was the first thing I told my priest after saying “I’d like to join the Church but there may be a problem”. (The second was that if I couldn’t become a member I’d hang around anyway until someone threw me out.) Of course the pressure was off both of us since I was able to say honestly that due to illness we’ve been celibate for years. So bringing up relationship issues in confession is no big deal. Still, I’d like to ask my priest round for a house (well, apartment/flat) blessing (I’m sure my Quaker partner would enjoy all the flying water) but have held off because I don’t want to put my priest in the uncomfortable position of having to bless the bedroom.

    My guess is that in many parishes the congregation is less open-minded than the clergy. But in my parish church coffee is no big deal (other than the long queues/lines). I wear my registered-civil-partnership ring on the non-Orthodox hand, so those who don’t already know generally don’t ask the family question.

    It’s impossible to generalize about how open to be in the Church context since parishes differ a good deal even in the same diocese. Still, I figure if you don’t ram your partnership down people’s throats, take an active part in parish life, make an honest effort to follow an ascetic program similar to what’s required of married heterosexuals and have an active prayer life, you’re likely to find a welcome.

    #1882 Reply
    Elena
    Guest

    I love the Church also. I go infrequently, maybe once a month or so. I feel like I’m sneaking in. Sometimes, I even go to different Orthodox Churches. No one really knows me but, it’s become something I really feel – God is calling me to come back to the Church – I must do. To become a member of the Church. I’m a cradle Orthodox but, I have not been to confession in about 30 years. I need to do that to become a member and I don’t want to lie. I feel a half truth is as good as a lie. I love the Church so much it brings me to tears every time I go. It also pisses off my wife who claims to be a recovering Catholic. She doesn’t know why I would want to be some where I’m not wanted. She just doesn’t get it. And I have no clue as to how to proceed. Any good ideas?

    #1883 Reply
    James
    Guest

    ‘Any good ideas?’, you ask. Don’t know how ‘good’ these ideas are, but here are a few to consider.

    From what you’ve written, it seems that the first step would be to pray for the strength and courage needed to start attending services regularly and get to know some of the other regular attenders.

    Although homosexuality and abortion seem to be the *only* sins people harp on these days so our sense of guilt and unworthiness may be greater than others’, everyone comes to services knowing they are a sinner just like all others in the room. (Though it might be good to check the readings beforehand and avoid days when one of the ‘clobber passages’ is going to be read out.)

    Before attending a congregation, you might want to have a look at their website. Obviously whatever is up will state official Church position, but it’s sometimes possible to judge the congregation’s unofficial position from tone, what isn’t said or links to other sites.

    Once you’ve found a suitable congregation, if you take part in the life of that church community long enough you may hear the occasional comment that will let you know how open you can be with other parishioners or Father X. Of course the ideal situation would be to use your ‘gaydar’ and find out about others’ experiences if that’s possible.

    In many churches there is no particular pressure on anyone to stand in the communion line every Sunday. Although it may feel like everyone is looking at you if you don’t join the queue, they are not. So there is no need to go to confession until you feel ready to do so. Of course that is the only way to re-establish your full participation in the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. So although the potential risks of confession are great, so are the potential rewards.

    In my view, anyone who slams the church door shut in the face of a sinner banging on it to get in has committed the greater sin. But that’s just my opinion.

    #1887 Reply
    Maria
    Guest

    At my parish, it’s usually only the children who receive Communion every week. There are some people there I have never seen receive, so I agree with James that it’s not abnormal/there is any pressure.

    In my country there are very, very few Orthodox churches. I attend the only one in my city. So for me, I am currently going with complete silence on this issue. I don’t think my marriage is a sin, so I don’t feel a need to confess it.
    I did tell my last priest and it ended very badly. I am not strong enough to go through that again.

    #2184 Reply
    Sophia
    Guest

    I think I need to find a new perish and remain totally silent in the back and just sneak in and out. I have accepted that I might never take communion again. It makes me really sad, but my priest explained to me that I would be lying to God and to myself if I try to approach the chalice. any thoughts?

    #2187 Reply
    James
    Guest

    Sophia, sorry I can’t suggest a way to resolve your problematic situation, but both you and your priest are in my prayers.

    #2195 Reply
    Elena
    Guest

    Sophia, I do the same thing. I sneak in and out, never going to coffee hours. It also makes me sad to the point where I don’t go very often, never go up to take communion. Sometimes, it makes me cry during the services. I long to be a complete member of the church that I was baptized in and love very much. Know Sophia, you’re not alone.

    #2197 Reply
    James
    Guest

    Elena and Sophia, I’ve thought a lot about your situation. Have you asked your priest if you could join the communion line and simply kiss the chalice rather than receive the elements? This might be a sort of compromise solution agreeable to both you and your priest/bishop.

    I wonder, too, if your church holds vesper, vigil or akathist services where you might feel more comfortable than at liturgy because communion is not given. I live within walking distance of a cathedral so am spoiled for choice. But even if you aren’t so fortunate, you no doubt continue to feel God’s presence thought private devotions and observing the fasts.

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