Eastern how they precede with their prayer service.

Eastern Orthodox Church Vs Pentecostal Church     A lot of people believe that Christianity is one big belief system, failing to understand that the Christian belief system have a sub units or branches like Pentecostal and Orthodox. People confuse these beliefs, thinking that since they all fall under the name of Christianity that they fallow the same rituals and prayer service. In fact, that’s not quite how it goes just because they are under the same belief system doesn’t mean they have to have the same prayer service. So, one would ask, what the difference between the prayer service of Eastern Orthodox church and Pentecostal church is? Eastern Orthodox church and Pentecostal church are totally different in so many ways, including their culture, ecclesiology, missiological strategies and their style of worship. One major issue that divided the two churches is how they precede with their Prayer services. In an Eastern Orthodox church at the center of worship and belief is the Eucharist surrounded by the Divine Offices or the Cycle of Prayer. These prayers are sung particularly at Sunset and Dawn and at certain other times during the day and night (“Religions – Christianity: Eastern Orthodox Church.”). In Pentecostal church, in their prayer service there is a growing fascination with the ecstatic experience. People want to open to God and pray to God out loud; joyfully, ecstatically, with their whole body and spirit (Alexander). Throughout this paper I will talk about how I conducted a research on three different Eritrean community based church about how they precede with their prayer service.     For my first field research, I went to St. Michael Eritrean Orthodox church which is located at 8812 Robinson church Rd, Charlotte, NC. It was Sunday morning on November 12th, church service begins at eight o’clock but I arrived there around eight fifteen. As I make my way inside the church, everything was in order and I noticed that the sitting arrangement was quite different from other churches, here there is a separate sitting for men and women. After I take my sit, Father John assisted by deacon Abraham (Deacon is the lowest degree of the major orders of clergy in the Orthodox church) had instructed the faithful to stand up and join for the opening prayer. Father John opened his prayer by the Lord’s prayer, in this part everyone has to recite along with Father John. Around 8:45 am, after the Lord’s prayer had ended Father John aided by Deacon Abraham started the Sunday Matins. In the Sunday Martins, only the priest and his deacon will only lead the prayer, the faithful are allowed to recite after them in only small parts. And all the prayer is done in Geeze language. Geez is a liturgical language of the Ethiopian and Eritrean church. During the prayer, what I observed was some younger people were not reciting the prayer, including me and Jacob who was sitting next to me. We found the Geez prayer to be difficult, only the elder people were reciting the prayer.  Half way to the prayer, I observed some people making their way to the church, it was almost 9:30 am, to my surprise people were still coming in. It was a little bit distracting as some people were looking around to see who came in to the church instead of just focusing on the prayer. After the Sunday Martins, comes the main service, which is the Divine Liturgy it starts around 10:00am. The main focus of this service is to express the Orthodox faith in a continuous song of praise and prayer addressed to God. Much of the service is the same every week, so worshipers know it and could participate by singing along or just by prayerful attention. The Divine Liturgy most of the time lasts for an hour, so roughly around 11:00 am, Father John begin his sermon for the day on Matthew 12:33-37. As Father John was preaching everyone was quiet and listing to words of God, this last for about 40 minutes. Around 11:40 am, member of the church gospel singers led by Deacon Abraham prepare three gospel songs. After the gospel songs has ended Father John told the faithful to stand up and join in the closing prayer session. Around 12:00 pm, the church service ended and everyone was socializing and greeting each other, and went their separate ways.     For my second field research, I went to St. Giorgis Eritrean Orthodox church which is located in 4421 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, NC. It was Sunday morning on November 19th church service begins early at 6:00 am, but I arrived there around 6:15am. As I made my way to inside the church, Father Markos has already begun his opening Lord’s prayer. So, I slowly take my sit hopping not to distract other church members, who were praying. Like any other Orthodox church the sitting arrangement is separate for men and women. Around 6:30 am, Father Markos and Deacon Matias, begin the prayer service with Sunday Matins. The Sunday Matins also called Orthros, consists of Fixed and Variable parts. The former are read and/or sung each Sunday except for certain feast days, while the variable parts depend on the eight tones and the church calendar (Sunday Orthros – Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church). Like every Eritrean Orthodox church this is all done in a geeze language. When it comes to the part where people have to recite the prayer only a handful of people will recite after Father Markos, this is because the geeze language is hard. So, what I observed was that only the elder people where reciting the prayer. Depending on how the church schedule their prayer service the Sunday Matins will take from an hour & half to two hours. In the case of the St. Giorgis Eritrean Orthodox church it took around 2 hours. After the Sunday Matins has ended, roughly around 8:30 am, Father Markos continued his prayer with the opening of Divine Liturgy. The Divine Liturgy is a eucharistic service. It contains two parts: the Liturgy of the Catechumens, and the Liturgy of the Faithful (Divine Liturgy). The main focus of this service is to express the Orthodox faith in a continuous song of praise and prayer addressed to God. In the second part of the Divine Liturgy, which is sometimes called Liturgy of the Eucharist, the gifts of bread and wine are offered and consecrated by Father Marikos; the faithful then partake of them in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Most of the time the Divine Liturgy will last for around an hour & half. After the Divine Liturgy has ended, right around 10:00 am, Deacon Matias started preaching his sermon about faith from John 6:35 and all this last for 40 minutes. After Deacon Matias ended his sermon, members of the church gospel singers started singing three gospel songs praising the Lord, Virgin Mary and St. Giorgis. After the gospel songs ended Father Marikos instructed us to join in the closing prayer session. At 11:00 am, church service ended and everyone was leaving.      For my third field research, I went to Robohoth Eritrean Pentecostal church which is located in 4855 Albemarle Rd, Charlotte, NC. I had never been in a Pentecostal church prior to this date which was on Sunday morning on November 19th. In the Church service begins at 8:00 am with Sunday school program, and the prayer session doesn’t start till 11:00 am. I was fortunate enough to attended in the prayer service even thought I arrived a little bit late because I was coming off from another church service that I attended. As I made my way to the church everyone welcomed me in. The reception I received from the church members was so warm and inviting. One church member named Aaron, even came to me and introduced himself and gave me some good pointers about the church service and how Pentecostalism is founded on passion and dependence on the Lord. After I take my sit, Pastor Isack begun his prayer session with the call to worship, which was based upon Pslam 92: 1-4. Throughout the prayer session what I observed was very different to me because I was not used to hearing believers praying out loud together. This is unusual in an Eastern Orthodox church because only the priest leads the prayer and the people join-in in certain parts of the prayer. After the prayer has ended Pastor Isack delivered a sermon on the mount, from Matthews 5: 1-48. After Pastor Isack ended his sermon, members of the church gospel singers take the stand and everyone sing will all of their hearts. During the gospel songs, what I observed was that people were clapping and shouting unto God, followed by jumping and dancing. It was really mind-blowing experience for me as I have never experienced before. After the end of the gospel songs Pastor Isack finished the day with the Lord’s prayer. After all church programs has ended church members greet each other and use the rest of the time to socialize until everyone leaves for the day.      For my fourth and final field research, I decided to revisited Robohoth Eritrean Pentecostal church which is located in 4855 Albemarle Rd, Charlotte, NC. This time around I went early on Sunday morning on November 26th for the Sunday school program which begins at 8:00am. During this time, we talked about religion, what it means to a believer and how you further need to devote yourself to what Jesus says matters most: loving God, loving God’s people, and loving a broken world. We also learned about how Pentecostals emphasize the teaching of the “full gospel”. Which includes the four fundamental beliefs of Pentecostalism: Jesus saves according to John 3:16; baptizes with the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:4; heals bodily according to James 5:15; and is coming again to receive those who are saved according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 (Pentecostalism). And following after the school program, Pastor Isack told us to gather around for the opening of the prayer session which is the Lord’s prayer. During this time, what I observed was that the prayer service is different from an Eastern Orthodox church. In Pentecostal church the lighting of a candle during prayer is not accepted, also they reject the use of holy water and incense during prayer. And the prayer service is all done in the common language, unlike in the Eritrean Orthodox churches of St. Giorgis and St. Michael which is done in geeze. Also in Pentecostal church prayer is done out loud which is not the case in Eastern Orthodox church. After the prayer sessions ended, as always Pastor Isack will prepare a sermon for the day. Lastly after all the prayer and sermon for the day has ended, members of the church gospel singers will take the center stage and every one will follow along with them dancing and singing with joy. After all this done the church service will come to an end and everyone will use the rest of the time to socialize until everyone leaves for the day.      This whole field research experience has been an eye opener for me, I have come to understand that Eastern Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism are different in many ways including their culture, ecclesiology, missiological strategies and their style of worship. Prior to this research I didn’t have enough knowledge to think that they had so many difference between them. After experiencing firsthand I was able to differentiate them based on how they precede with their prayer service. In Pentecostal church, in their prayer service there is a growing fascination with the ecstatic experience. People want to open to God and pray to God out loud; joyfully, ecstatically, with their whole body and spirit, where us in an Eastern Orthodox church at the center of worship and belief is the Eucharist surrounded by the Divine Offices or the Cycle of Prayer.                     Work Cited”Divine Liturgy.” Divine Liturgy – OrthodoxWiki. June 13, 2014. Accessed December 11, 2017. https://orthodoxwiki.org/Divine_Liturgy.”Pentecostalism.” Wikipedia. December 9, 2017. Accessed December 12, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecostalism “Religions – Christianity: Eastern Orthodox Church.” BBC. June 11, 2008. Accessed December 09, 2017. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/easternorthodox_1.shtml.”Sunday Orthros – Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.” Go to Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. 2017. Accessed December 11, 2017. https://www.goarch.org/-/sunday-orthros.Alexander, Sharon. “How the Jewish Prayer Service Resembles Pentecostal Worship.” ZEEK: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture. April 23, 2011. Accessed December 09, 2017. http://zeek.forward.com/articles/117254/.