‘IT’S NOT OUR CHURCH, IT’S GOD’S CHURCH,’ ORTHODOX PRIEST REMINDS

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Father Joseph Huneycutt of Houston, left, led a retreat Feb.6-7 at St. Luke Orthodox Church, led by Father Philip LeMasters, center. Among the visitors was Father Mark McNary, right, of St. Peter Orthodox Church in Fort Worth. Photo by Loretta Fulton

By LORETTA FULTON

Father Joseph Huneycutt sometimes has to fight back the urge to say what’s on his mind, like when a teenager asks why there are no longer any miracles.

“I want to say, ‘you are a miracle,'” Huneycutt, pastor of St. Joseph Orthodox Church in Houston, said during a talk Feb. 6 at Abilene’s St. Luke Orthodox Church.

Huneycutt conducted a two-day retreat at St. Luke on evangelism. What the teenager really means, Huneycutt said, is “Why aren’t prayers answered?” People die despite fervent prayers. Why?

“God’s normal is not our normal,” Huneycutt said.

A person looks the same after confession, Huneycutt noted, but he or she is a new creation in Christ. Ordinary bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ and humans are changed by partaking in the Eucharist.

Huneycutt answered questions from the audience about the struggles the Orthodox church, and others, are facing for members. Huneycutt said there are seven churches in his deanery and all but one are suffering financially. But the church must continue to serve.

“It’s not our church,” Huneycutt said, “it’s God’s church.”

Huneycutt was asked if he sees people going deeper into ancient worship. Huneycutt’s own faith journey shows that he did. Raised in a Southern Baptist home, Huneycutt became an Episcopal priest and then converted to Orthodoxy. Everyone has to go deeper, Huneycutt said.

“For me,” he said, “I have to go to a monastery from time to time to recharge.”

 

 

 

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