And now, things begin in earnest. I was ordained into the Holy Diaconate of the Orthodox Church by His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Charleston, Oakland, & the Mid Atlantic. This took place at my home parish, St. Basil Orthodox Church in Hampton, on December 9th. All praised due to God.
About 5 years ago, I left and renounced my ministerial and pastoral credentials in the Baptist church to convert to Orthodox Christianity. It seemed crazy for me to make such a radical leap which cost me a paycheck, community status, and some friendships. This path has not been easy. But, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church opens the way to God that no other church has. My prayer life has become far deeper and more meaningful. I have the resources of the Holy Spirit through the plethora of saints and wisdom that has been handed down through 2,000 years. Some would say, “All you really need is Jesus.” I’ve tried that sort of theology and found it lacking. With the number of people leaving churches and Christianity, I’m not the only one that found the “all you need is Jesus” ideal lacking. It’s time that others knew that the faith of our African, Asiatic, and European fathers and mothers is here and available to all who are willing to come and see for themselves.
As I stood before the Royal Doors, Sayidna Thomas told me, “John, I want you to evangelize and bring more African-Americans to the Church.” I will be speaking, at least, three times in the upcoming three months. I intend to post a blog article on my three sites on a weekly basis. I may even try to hold a weekly Bible Study/Q&A session here at my town’s library. There are possibilities for me to reach out. Of course, all must be done with proper protocol and along the guidelines of canon law. But, there are possibilities for me to share this faith.
The first and most critical means of me doing this is to live and be steeped in Orthodoxy. I have to be in constant prayer and feed myself on scriptures, the lives of the saints and other spiritual writings. My thoughts, words, and actions must reflect the kingdom that I am striving for. Like the wise virgins in Matthew 25, I have to keep oil in my lamp and be ready to meet Christ when he comes. If I do this, people will see the light of God in me even before I type or speak a word. No matter what degrees I earn, this means of evangelism must come first.
Pray for me, a sinner.