Last night there were more people than usual at Pre Sanctified but still a relatively small crowd. I am assuming the new pastor has a lot to do with attendance.
Fr. Alex spoke to us about several things last night but one of the things I had not thought about in context was the printing of the Epistle and Gospel in the Sunday bulletin. He expressed some concern that people refer to the written text rather than devote their attention to him as he proclaims The Word.
It makes perfect sense and will probably be a hard habit to break and of course 50% of the people coming to church don't show till after the Gospel has been read. Another local priest attempted to stop people from communing if they had not heard the Gospel ( a tough decision that was met with sturdy resistance so he merely mentioned that fact that if you had not heard The Word Of God, that perhaps you should abstain. Today's society does not allow for such incrimination of self so therefore it mostly falls on deaf ears, sadly.)
Father then went on to explain that we are using the common tongue so why not listen since that is what he is here to do. I have to agree. Father also follows the Gospel with his sermon which I personally LOVE because all the kids are still in church to hear the teaching which we have deprived them of by sending them to Sunday School after communion and the homily delivered to a mostly empty house after services since most of the parents follow the children out of the church never to return for the final prayers. Sad indeed.
The other major change was the processions. They now take place around the church (YAY!) as opposed to a simple walk to the front of the altar. I have always missed this tradition since leaving the Antiochian church. It is touching to someone reach from the aisle to touch the hem of his garment as he passes with the Holy Gifts.
There was a discussion about the church's name which apparently is a sticking point for several people in the church but I cannot understand why. Folks have an issue with the word "All" in All Holy Spirit. Even tough there has been substantial evidence that this is proper as it is portrayed in hymnography and even in the Liturgy, people are still unhappy. I don't get it, at all.
I am going to enjoy these changes back to a more traditional way of performing the service and worshiping. It feels like home again to go to church in a traditional Orthodox way. I am, for the record, not happy with the Archdiocese decision to modernize the language and insist we all use it. They have destroyed some beautiful prose with silly modern interpretations that are just annoying.