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All Saints Sunday 2017

For the one who had achieved theosis, they knew the only true joy on earth, and the only way to enter into a deeper relationship with God, was to escape from the prison that was their own false self. Theirs was the way of the cross, and a life of self-denial.

Parishioner Testimonials
Nancy

After having wandered around spiritual landscapes for years and years I came upon HTOC.  I began attending services at HTOC about 15 years ago. The Divine Liturgy was truly Divine. I was Chrismated into this small, but vibrant and welcoming, Orthodox community in 2004.  

After a few years I stopped attending. Blame it on spiritual wanderlust but, because of an invitation from Fr. Marc to join in the Church’s centennial celebration in October 2016, I have rejoined the community. I took that invitation as a sign to come back to HTOC.

Everyone I remembered from HTOC greeted me so warmly, it was like I had never left. I realized how long it had been when I saw those I remember as children all grown up and in college or married; other members have passed on and were no longer physically with us. It was very good to see the people of HTOC again and rejoin and support the church in worship, ministry and mission.

Anyone in need of a spiritual home should visit Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. It is a special place amongst special places. To all who may read this, be assured, you will be warmly welcomed to HTOC and you yourself will welcome HTOC into your life.


Jason

I was born and raised Orthodox in Northeastern PA, a mecca of Orthodoxy even now.  My brother and I literally grew up at St Tikhon’s Seminary and Monastery as altar boys in the mid 1960’s wreaking havoc at services  for the present class of seminarians, especially our own father.

My father, deceased Very Rev Nestor Geeza, was a late vocation entrant into the seminary at age 39. His sons, Jason and Jeremy, then 3 and 6, were thrown into a holy world that I will never forget and always cherish.

By the time my father graduated, was ordained, and was assigned his first parish in 1968, I was already deeply involved in the church and services.  Even though I was only seven years old, I started singing in the choir in Pottstown PA.

In those days, there were choir rehearsals every week and if you didn’t go to rehearsal, you didn’t sing on Sunday.  One Sunday, there was no choir director, so I was coaxed into directing for the liturgy, I was twelve years old.  I knew the services as well as anyone, took over, and never looked back.

I witnessed firsthand the struggles and successes with various parishes that we were assigned, some of them not so pretty like the church calendar change in the late 70’s. All of our parishes; Pottstown, PA, Edwardsville, PA, Bridgeport, CT, and Norwich, CT brought with them new experiences and challenges right into the 1990’s.

Denise and I were married in Norwich in 1987 and Norwich was our home parish until 2005. We watched a once flourishing parish survive a split in 1998 by the ROCOR church, a death of a young vibrant priest in 1999, and then a steady decline after that until we left the parish in 2005.

On a much happier note, we ended up at Holy Trinity in September of 2005 after a very emotional breaking away from Norwich CT parish which we knew as home and my father’s last assignment.  Our first experience at Holy Trinity was wonderful, Fr Marc was wonderful, and once again, we never looked back.

There are so many positive things to say about Holy Trinity such as the priest, the people, the caring, the children, the participation, and the sense of community, but what’s most inspirational to me is the college student involvement.

For someone that went to Penn State University from 1978 to 1982, never even thought of going to church while I was there even though there were services on campus, somehow survived that four years to be successful in life, I was absolutely stunned by the OCF in 2005 and still am now in 2013. They are truly inspirational to me and an integral part of the Holy Trinity family.

I have a very deep rooted love of the church, its services, and its music and I am very happy to be a member of Holy Trinity in Willimantic CT.

Barbara

Born and raised in the Russian Orthodox Church in New York City, at about age 12 I asked my mother to bring my sister and me to a church where English was spoken. She chose an Episcopal church.  I attended Episcopal services intermittently for several decades, through college and the early years of marriage, and our children were raised in the Episcopal Church.  However, I maintained contact with the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection in New York, one way or another, throughout this period.

When the “empty nest syndrome” occurred in 1998, my husband accompanied me as I went “church shopping.”   At the Orthodox Church in Willimantic, I heard services in English, and it’s been a wonderful homecoming ever since. With the inspired leadership of Fr. Marc, and parishioners who gradually have become good friends, I have a new sense of community, especially after retiring from teaching at a Catholic college. I also enjoyed the opportunity to take part in the informal adult education program held after services, when adults in the parish made presentations on “The Lives of the Saints.”

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church has been an anchor for me in a changing and challenging world.


Evelyn

My conversion to Orthodoxy came to me very late in life, at age 81. Prior to becoming Orthodox, I was Episcopalian, Baptist, and Unitarian. Each was a great blessing to me. I also spent time in the wilderness, alone, without any direction or vision for longer than I would like to admit.

The chanted services is what attracted me initially to the Orthodox Church; yet when I discovered the fullness of the faith, at such at advanced age no less, how it is unchanged from early Christianity, then it became clear I must become Orthodox, and that the Orthodox Church is indeed the ancient church, the one founded by Christ.

Now I am a member of a community of Christ’s fullness, and remain thankful to God every day of my life.  

Evelyn R., 93
Valedictorian of Pittman High School (NJ), Class of 1936

Bonnie

What I have found with Orthodoxy isn't like anything else. I have debated in the past that organized religion is more of a social outlet than a viable way to pursue a relationship with God. And I felt like my argument was valid... but after attending Holy Trinity for a while, I realized something else entirely.

The knowledge of God, the reading of the scriptures, the icons, the feelings that come from being within the Church, living within a community of a shared faith from those in attendance every Sunday and the multitude that have celebrated the same Liturgy before us ~ it just isn't something I can put into words. And it isn't something that can be explained to someone living outside of this reality.
 
A friend recently posted a tag on Facebook that said, "You don't need religion. If you don't know right from wrong, you need empathy, not religion." And it was all I could do to not comment. I wanted to tell her, I don't believe you understand what religion even is. What it can offer and provide. I couldn't explain what I wanted her to understand. But even if I could have put my feelings into words, it wouldn't have mattered. It isn't something that can be explained, it has to be experienced.

Timothy

I was baptized Orthodox as an infant and it's been the only Church I've ever known.  However, when my wife and I began our search for a new place to worship with our children, we wanted to find a church that was not only Orthodox, but had a strong sense of community as well.

From the moment we arrived, the people at Holy Trinity made us feel welcome and part of the family.  Fr. Marc is a wonderful priest and spiritual advisor, and the warmth of the community is a reflection of how he cares for his people.

Our children have been baptized and participate fully in the life of the church.  They are fortunate to be able to attend Sunday School and learn about Our Lord and His church from dedicated and creative teachers.

There are a number of younger children of the same age, whom I'm looking forward to watch grow up together, as well teens, young adults and college students who are tremendous people and strong role models.

There is genuine caring amongst the faithful at Holy Trinity, and we are truly thankful to be part of the community.

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