I stopped by the festival at Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church today, the last day of a three-day event that raises money for the church building. The congregation meets in what used to be a private home near the corner of Lake Otis Parkway and O'Malley Road. The parish is building a new church on the same grounds to accommodate its services, and the festival is a key fundraiser for the construction.
The church is served by the Rev. Fr. Leo Schefe, who if you plucked him out of his black robes might have fit in at a Dio concert. He was amiable and eager to talk about the Greek Orthodox faith, to which he converted after much study. He was offering tours of the current church, which occupies what used to be the living room of the large home. The parishioners also helped with the tour. I stopped there first, and was touched by how earnestly the members of the congregation spoke of their church and the festival as a way to explain to others what it means to be Greek Orthodox. We lit a candle to celebrate the birth of a cousin on my husband's side of the family.
I couldn't help but think other places of worship should hold similar festivals and invite the public into their space. The Greek Orthodox have the benefit of having delicious food—we walked away with several pastries and bread—and a rich culture. But surely other congregations could go a long way to explain who they are and share a bit about what draws them to their faith tradition.
If you are interested in attending service, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. The church also offers a morning vigil called Orthros on Sundays at 9:15 a.m. And vespers service is at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays.
If you are interested in learning more about the Orthodox Christian faith, check out the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It has clearly written explanations about the faith, including history and the church's stand on controversial issues.