Monday, October 17, 2016

Parish "Cells" in our Local Communities?

We have theological disagreements with Protestantism, but that does not mean that the Protestants do everything wrong, or that they are bad people. Not by any means! And I would like to consider stealing one of their very good ideas: the formation of "cells" or groups of people in a community that belong to a larger church community, but meet once during the week (or even more often) outside of the Saturday and Sunday Divine Services.

I think this is something we need to really seriously consider. This has several positive aspects to it, not the least of which are:

  • This allows those - even those who live somewhat far from the parish church - to have fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ outside of the weekend Divine Services.
  • This allows us to reach out to our local communities in a much more focused way. Cells might meet to discuss a spiritual book, watch a spiritual movie, or read and delve into the scriptures in an Orthodox manner. But they also might perform works of mercy in local homeless shelters or food banks or other similar volunteer work and thereby provide an Orthodox Christian witness to those around them who have never even heard of the Orthodox Church before.

A cell might cover an area of a town or small city like Saline or Adrian. Or it might encompass a neighborhood of a larger city like Ann Arbor. For those who live far away a cell might cover a larger geographic area, but allow, say, all those who live on the far East Side (Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, etc.) to have fellowship on a regular basis.

Cells would work with some direction from me, but have quite a bit of autonomy. The idea is not to have the priest micro-manage these things, but rather to provide some high-level, directionally-correct guidance. Each cell might choose to do different sorts of things, but some might end up doing the same things independent of each other (or even working together sometimes). Occasionally I might visit a cell for a guest lecture or something of that sort, but since everyone in the parish already has way more than enough Fr. Gregory time this is not meant to provide more of that by any means.

Let's talk about this idea. Here on Blogtushka, but also among ourselves. This may be a brilliant idea - or it might just be abjectly stupid. I'm counting on you to help me discern whether this falls into the "great idea" or the "we will never speak about this again" category. Let's discuss!

Fr. Gregory


  1. I think it is a good idea. I would love to hear from a parish that has actually put it into practice.

  2. Me too. I'm hoping folks will post comments here so we can have a good, informed, discussion about this. I wrote above that Protestants do this - which they do. But it looks like a lot of Roman Catholic parishes do this too. Hoping for a good exchange of ideas here...