Where Have Our Orthodox Youth Gone?

Research by Rev. Fr. Charles Joanides, Ph.D., LMFT indicates an alarming demographic trend in American Orthodoxy that applies to all jurisdictions: we are losing our youth.

Below are presentations and links to more articles where Fr. Joanides quantifies these trends and suggest how ministry to interfaith couples is essential for the future viability of Orthodoxy in America. Most of the information can be found on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website and deals with trends in the GOA. Nevertheless, it is clear that the decline in young people in American Orthodoxy affects more than the GOA.

Presentation to Leadership 100

Part 1. February 9-12, 2012

[youtube=http://youtu.be/SErC0H9zLPc&w=420&h=315]

Part 2. February 9-12, 2012

[youtube=http://youtu.be/12VUFV7Q020&w=420&h=315]

Papers by Fr. Joanides

A Brief Description of the Interfaith Marriage Challenge

Approximately two of every three (66%) marriages conducted in our churches over the past several decades have been inter-Christian. Some estimates suggest that as many as 80% of our adults are intermarrying.

We’ve Got the Research, Now What Do We Do With it?

Practical strategies for reaching our to the non-Orthodox spouse.

Strategies for Interfaith Couples — Dating, Marriage and Family

Articles address many timely issues that relate to intermarried couples – especially intermarried couples who have some association with the Greek orthodox Archdiocese. Intermarried spouses, couples, clergy, lay leaders and lay persons should find the information in these articles of value. (Articles are off site, new window will open.)

Questions We Need to Address

  • What adjustments do we need to make in order for us to stop the drifting that is taking place away from our churches by our young adults?
  • What have we done about the interfaith marriage challenge? BTW: Currently around 80% of the GOA’s young adults are intermarrying.
  • How many inter-Christian marriages that take place in our churches remain connected to one of our churches?
  • How many intermarried couples are opting to marry elsewhere? Why?
  • Why do most young adult Orthodox lack a rudimentary understanding of Orthodoxy?
  • How many young adults who have been baptized in our churches are ignorant of who Christ was and why He came?
  • Why do our churches continue to celebrate a substantial part of the Divine Liturgy in a foreign language when we know that intermarried couples feel more comfortable with English inside and outside of our churches?
  • Do our present pastoral guidelines related to interreligious marriage require a careful examination by our best and brightest? Why hasn’t this been done?

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