Interested in inquiring further into the Orthodox Faith? The first step is to experience the services and life of the church first hand. There is no formal commitment made by the Inquirer. Attend church regularly; a multitude of services are offered throughout the year in addition to Saturday evening Vespers and Sunday Orthros and Liturgy. At St. John there are two ongoing adult educational opportunities: a weekly Bible Study and during the school year, a “Theology 101” discussion after Sunday services. Check the parish calendar for events and other educational opportunities that can help you learn about the Faith and get to know the community better.
Take the time as an inquirer to familiarize yourself with the beauty and order of the services and the people who worship alongside you. Also during this time, it is helpful to meet with the priest for discussions about any questions you may have about the Faith. Your priest can advise books to read to supplement your initial observation of Orthodoxy in practice.
You may eventually decide, with the guidance of your parish priest, to become a Catechumen. There is a special catechumenate service, done when an inquirer decides to seriously pursue becoming Orthodox. This step can be likened to a betrothal or engagement to the Church–you are not yet a member, but you have made an intentional commitment to pursue that goal. Before you become a catechumen, you can choose a sponsor (godparent) who serves as an example and guide as you grow in the Faith. You can also choose a patron saint as an intercessor and example to set before you. Both of these relationships become integral to rooting you more firmly in your spiritual community. You will also prepare a lifetime confession, which helps both you and your father confessor gain a better understanding of where you are coming from into the Faith. During Great Lent, Basics of Orthodoxy classes are available to get you even more acquainted with the meaning of the sacraments as well as a fuller understanding of Orthodox theology.
Usually after at least a full liturgical cycle (one year), a catechumen, together with their priest, may decide that it is time to be brought into the Church via Baptism and/or Chrismation. This beautiful service represents a renewal and official beginning of your life in Christ as a member of His body, the Holy Orthodox Church and a full participant in the Eucharist and other sacraments of the Church.
Becoming an Orthodox Christian is a life changing experience. There is a unique beauty in parish life and joy in finding your own personal way to contribute to it. The best part about the Christian life is that there is no limit to an individual’s growth in Christ. Each member of the body of Christ is called to be a saint, that is, a person who becomes united with God by grace.