Orthodox Christian Singles [No Longer Active]
By Natalie Sidel
Orthodox Christian single people, while very much a part of our parishes, often find it difficult to be full participants when the traditional activities of the parish center around families, youth, and senior citizens. As a result, it is not easy for singles to meet and get to know one another.
Many singles are also parents who are raising children alone and have special needs for support. While the single parent family functions, most single parents find it incomplete and usually seek to marry again. If they don’t meet anyone Orthodox, they will remarry outside the faith.
One response to the plight of Orthodox singles came from a lady in our parish, herself a divorced single mother. An article she had read about Orthodox single parents in the Jan/Feb. ‘84 issue of The Vigil (newspaper of the Mid-West Diocese) reinforced her concern and confirmed her thinking that nobody meets enough Orthodox singles in their usual social routine. She came up with the idea of a singles network that caters exclusively to single Orthodox Christians. Called “Orthodox Christian Singles,” the organization is compiling a list of Orthodox singles who wish to meet other singles of their faith. There are other types of organizations for unmarrieds, single parents etc., but this one is for those to whom their Orthodox faith is an important part of their lives.
Begun in the Spring of 1984, the group’s membership already is over 100, with a wide range of ages and ethnic backgrounds including Russian, Ukrainians, Greeks, Serbians, etc. The service is for all single Orthodox, whether widowed, divorced, or never married, who want to meet one another. Those who would like to find pen-pals and simply establish friendships with others living in similar circumstances can also use this network.
An interested single fills out an information sheet, including the parish he or she attends, and writes a sketch describing him/her self. This information is sent to members, who can then choose with whom they wish to get in contact. More information is available by writing to:
Orthodox Christian Singles
P.O. Box 14904
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
1. Think about the singles in your parish - the unmarried, divorced, widowed. Are they actively involved in your parish life? In what ways? If not, why do you think not?
2. Are there any groups within the parish that particularly help them to meet one another? Any events that would encourage them to get together?
3. Are there single parents in your parish? Is there opportunity for them to get together to share problems and concerns particular to single parents and parenting in general from an Orthodox Christian view?
4. Do you think the idea proposed in this article would appeal to Orthodox singles in your community? What other ways might help Orthodox singles find each other in the Church?
5. What are ways that a parish can include singles more in its life, tapping their talents, the greater time and energies they may have to share?
6. Would some aspects of the parish life, as it now is, have to change to make singles feel more eager to accept an active role?