Clergy and Laity healing the soul and renewing the Spirit of the Church
Mark 4:8 And other fell on ground and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased, and brought forth, some thirty, sixty, and some a hundred.
Seeds of Hope, OCHC, www.orthodoxchristianhealing.com is celebrating their 1st year anniversary as a 501c3 national foundation. Our ministry serves those who have left the Church and their Faith. This includes being subjected to spiritual misconduct, financial misappropriations, or exploitation of authority. Seeds of Hope offers Orthodox licensed counseling, healing, and reconciliation within the life of the Church to guide and support – First heal the soul. Our process is about restoring Faith and Spirit.
Pascha is a time of renewal where the spiritual essence of our souls is cleansed. Spring has washed the earth from impurities and seeds are planted in hope of growth, germinating into fragrant flowers. That is if the vessel is strong, protecting the soil.
The vessel represents the Orthodox Hierarchy. Laity are the seeds that germinate in the soil of a parish within the church vessel. Priests tend the soil within the vessel nourishing the Laity with the Holy Gospel and Church traditions. The Laity – faithful seeds will either blossom within the vessel or wither away and die.
Today, Laity are not blossoming within the Church. Sadly, they are losing their Faith, leaving parishes. Parishes are not thriving within the vessel. The Spirit is dying. WHY? The vessel is fractured and cracked, with the Greek Orthodox Church in need of grave repair.
In years past our Metropolitans and Bishops were beloved. Our leaders were held in the highest esteem, respect, and reverence – true holy servants of the Mother Church. Some continue to be true holy servants. In recent times, they were enthroned to positions of control, and power, entrusted to make all the decisions for parishes across America. Most had very limited, if any experience as parish priests. Trust has eroded with Laity and Priests as our Metropolitans dictated unrealistic demands to the parishes. Before, Laity gladly contributed their hard earned money for the Church. Now they are fleeing, recognizing it is less about nourishment of the soul and far more about the monies. Devoted priests who were ordained into the priesthood for the right reasons are now weary and disillusioned.
The Orthodox have been bestowed a great vessel “The Church”. Unfortunately, some leaders have forsaken Christ for money and power. Some leaders hide behind their vestments using our money to fund their glorification without regard to the critical nourishment of holy parishes. These same leaders continue to demand more funding as Laity and parish priests look on with disgust and disbelief as parishes and Faith crumble.
Honorable priests in their mission of faith guide their flock. Yet, our leaders are making it ever more difficult for the faithful clergy not to become distracted from their purpose and mission. There are Priests and Laity working fervently to keep their faithful parishes alive and thriving. When one comes across such a parish it’s a breathtaking experience. The parish is filled with uplifting spiritual warmth, and the essence of HIS presence is revealed.
What’s the solution for the fractured vessel – the Church?
It is the renewal of parish life by an active participating Laity guided by humble holy Priests. More decision-making is necessary within parishes with less power and control by Metropolitans and Bishops. This can begin with parishioners participating in choosing their priest. Also being involved in the allocation of funds to the Metropolises with enhanced spending accountability.
We Orthodox are bound together in one Faith – successors to the first Laity the Twelve Disciples. It’s time for the Laity not to be passive any longer. Now is the time to muster the strength by worshipping together, regenerating our Faith in an unbreakable vessel – The Church.
Luke 8:15 As for those in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.