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Wonders of the Small Church

The small church has incredible importance and value, although it may not carry the pomp of churches in Europe and elsewhere. I have one particular small church in mind: ours.

Have you ever wondered what people outside of Orthodoxy think of a worship service? How about first impressions? Recently Holy Trinity had the unique opportunity of welcoming a number of students from ECSU to experience Divine Liturgy as part of their coursework on Eastern Religions. Read more to learn about the class and their experience as seen through their eyes. Many thanks to the students for attending and allowing us to post their essays.

Reproduced with permission by Dr. Roland C. Clark:

To give you a bit of background:

The essays were written as part of an upper-level undergraduate History course at Eastern Connecticut State University entitled “Lived Religion in Russia and Eastern Europe.” The course explores the religious beliefs and practices of peasants, workers, monks, and rabbis from the Balkans to the Ural Mountains over the past two hundred years. In the process students grappled with a range of theoretical questions of interest to scholars of religion, including how broad structural changes to societies in the region altered lived religion, how orthodoxy was reinforced and challenged, what role religion played in forging group identities, and how people related to the divine through a range of different religious traditions. As part of the course, students assembled an online museum describing beliefs, customs, and rituals associated with the religions they were studying. Students were also required to visit a worship service from one of the major religious traditions in the region and write a sociological report describing what they observed. A number of students visited the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Willimantic for this assignment and were very impressed by what they saw.

Link to: Essay 1

Link to: Essay 2

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