News from a Prodigal Gamma Gamaliel

Dear all, very best wishes and greetings from Gamma Gamaliel who has been ashore for some time.

As All Saints is the board for news and updates, I thought it would be appropriate to post some news which may be of interest to those who have known - or avoided - me for some time.

The news is that after 25 years sitting on the fence with a numb bum I finally did what I'd threatened to do for some considerable time.

I was received by chrismation into the Orthodox Church last Sunday (27th June).

It was very raw and visceral - Orthodoxy is very physical - but also unexpectedly dramatic as the poor priest took a tumble during the subsequent Liturgy and broke his hip.

Quite apart from anything else, this meant I wasn't able to receive my first communion as an Orthodox Christian - but that was a small matter in the overall scheme of things as the priest's injury needed urgent attention. Fortunately, there was a doctor in the house, a visiting Anglican who was able to help until the ambulance eventually arrived.

I received my first Orthodox communion further from home today (4th July) at Fr Gregory's parish.

Although it felt solemn - in the old-fashioned sense, as in serious - and significant, it didn't feel that different from receiving communion in other settings - but it isn't about subjective feelings of course.

Whatever tradition we are from we are all called to seek first the Kingdom and to love our neighbour as ourselves - both areas in which I have a long, long, long way to go.

I am glad, however that I finally took the plunge - particularly as I've probably irritated the living daylights out of many of you here by chelping and chopsing on and on and on about it but doing little to get down off the fence.

I apologise to all whom I have offended - or bored - over the years and wish you all life and peace.

Lord have mercy.


  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    How very lovely, GG! (Though not the bit about the poor priest!)
    I wish you all joy in this new era
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Thanks! I had been wondering where you'd gotten to.

    And congrats on the reception. Sorry to hear about the officiant, hope the man is doing okay.
  • Congratulations, GG! I'm very pleased for you!
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Really glad to hear from you and hear this! Blessings.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Oh, that’s great news, @Gamma Gamaliel! I wish you peace in your journey onward 🕯. Also, I’m very glad to see you posting again.
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    🙏🙏 Your pilgrimage continues, @Gamma Gamaliel May you be blessed, and be a blessing with every footfall.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Congratulations @Gamma Gamaliel .
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited July 4
    Many congratulations. 🕯
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Congratulations. So pleased to hear that you are happy. Every blessing.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Congratulations, GG, and blessings on you as you start this new part of your journey! I was just wondering yesterday how you were doing. I’m glad to hear this news!

  • Many thanks folks.

    The priest is home from hospital now but still very poorly. The hip operation appears to have been a success and he's starting physiotherapy. He'll be out of action for 8 weeks and I've heard that the Archdiocese is looking to find cover and support in some form.

  • Good to hear from you, Congratulations 🕯
    And prayers for your priest 🕯
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Admin
    How lovely to hear from you. Best wishes for your ongoing journey.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    @Gamma Gamaliel I'm sorry to hear about the priest but that's great news for you. Best wishes and please could you keep us up to date with how your walk progresses.

  • Amazing and God bless!
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Great to see you back, GG! Prayers ascending for your continued blessing, and for the full and speedy recovery of your priest!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 4
    Hear, hear!
  • You really wanted to make sure that was a day never to be forgotten ... many congratulations
  • You have taken a similar route to Andrew Walker who went from Pentecostal to Othodoxy, admittedly via atheism in between.
  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    Congratulations on coming home. Nice photoset on your parish Facebook page.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited July 4
    Really glad to hear how at home you sound in your new church. Hope the poor priest recovers.
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    Glad to hear you've found your spiritual home. Say hi to Fr Gregory from those of us on the ship who remember him.
  • A slightly too memorable day, @Gamma Gamaliel. I hope your priest’s health continues to improve. You sound very much at peace at arriving at this significant point in your faith journey.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Good on you GG. You are an ornament to the Ship!
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    Glory to God! Well done GG, for taking the plunge. Don't be surprised if the devil vents his venom on you, as well as your priest, at tsome stage.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    Welcome back, and congratulations!
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited July 5
    Congratulations on taking the plunge into new waters and coming out well. Very unfortunate about the priest. Good news about Father Gregory, s it's a long time since he was here (did he make the new ship?)
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Great to see you @Gamma Gamaliel and good to hear your news. Congratulations!
    You have taken a similar route to Andrew Walker who went from Pentecostal to Othodoxy, admittedly via atheism in between.
    Interesting - is that the author of "Restoring the Kingdom"?
  • The very same. From what I remember, he was brought up in the Apostolic Church (a small Welsh Pentecostal sect), abandoned his faith while at Bible College and dropped out, dallied with atheism, but returned to Christianity after a vivid dream and interviews with Metropolitan Anthony. He was a professor at King's College, London - my wife sat under him in the early 90s. His health has not been good for many years but he is still listed as a Faculty Member.
  • Walker's father was an Elim minister in South Wales. My brother-in-law's mother used to babysit for him and his sister when their parents were out at meetings.

    He had a Pentecostal experience at an Apostolic Church service. Elim always regarded the Apostolics as rather too full-on.

    I had friends among the Apostolics but was never a classic Pentecostal - more one of those more middle-class neo-pentecostals or charismatics.

    'Restoring the Kingdom' was a classic of its kind and had a profound effect on me when it first came out in 1985. In some ways I'd say it set me on a trajectory towards Orthodoxy in a roundabout way.

    I was struck by a comment Walker made to the effect that the restorationist 'new churches' were only nominally Trinitarian. I was outraged. What?! We were fully-orbed Trinitarian Christians.

    Then I listened to how people prayed ...

    I think Walker did overstate that particular case, but there was a case to be made. I devoured his writings around 1996-97 in the wake of the 'Toronto Blessing' and the revivalism of the mid-90s.

    I met him at a conference in 2003 and in private conversation he discouraged me from exploring Orthodoxy as he felt I should stay put and bloom where I was planted. By then, I was happily involved with a Baptist church which I still hold in high regard. So I think his advice was sound at that time.

    Now, after my wife's death in December 2018 and with lockdown, I'd found myself pretty much disconnected from churches of any kind - other than occasional visits. So it's not as if I have had to rescind membership of any other church.

    I have caring responsibilities for my old mother-in-law so won't be able to get to Sunday services that often. Our priest is likely to be out of action for 8 weeks but there are moves to provide cover. I'm hoping the midweek communion will restart once it's safe to do so.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited July 5
    Lovely to read this @Gamma Gamaliel steady steps at just the right time. Congratulations 🎉
  • Many congratulations @Gamma Gamaliel, and all prayers and best wishes for this next step in your journey of faith.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    It was very good to hear from you. I'm glad you've found your spiritual home.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    Good news that you've found what's right for you. Sympathies for your poor priest!
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Welcome back and congratulations, @Gamma Gamaliel, prayers for your continuing journey.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    It's good and interesting to hear a bit more of your story, @Gamma Gamaliel . I had (fairly tenuous) links with the "R1" stream at university and read "Restoring The Kingdom" subsequently on the recommendation of a university friend who declared (somewhat over-dramatically I now feel!) that "This is going to make the Reformation look like a mad hatter's tea party!" I haven't read any of Andrew Walker's other books and, with hindsight, probably should have at the time but things were what they were (and are).

    Every blessing on your onward journey, GG - please keep checking in here if and when you feel able.
  • It was something of a Mad Hatter's Tea Party but on a storm in a tea cup scale rather than a seismic Reformation one.

    Walker later wrote that he worked fast and furiously to get the whole thing down as the scene morphed and changed every few weeks it seemed. No sooner had he drafted one chapter than it was out of date.

    I suppose that's one of the reasons why I've gravitated to a Church where a recent innovation is anything less than 500 years old ...
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    It's really good to hear from you, @Gamma Gamaliel . Blessings on your continued journey - I look forward to hearing about it when you have a mind....
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Congratulations, Gamma Gamaliel! May this be a good spiritual home for you.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    ... Now, after my wife's death in December 2018 and with lockdown, I'd found myself pretty much disconnected from churches of any kind ...
    I can sympathise with that; having lost David about six months before the plague set in, and with moving somewhere where I don't have any church connections, I've gone from being a pillar of the choir to a complete non-attender.

    I'd like to think that I'll return one day, but I can't imagine getting any "spiritual uplift" from church services until they can have proper music.
  • You might be waiting a long time. Plenty of churches - of all stripes - didn't have 'proper music' even before the pandemic.


    But seriously, sincere condolences on your loss.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Thanks, GG!
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Oh how wonderful GG ...
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    I saw you mention being Orthodox in Purg and came here to find out more - very happy for you (though🕯for your priest). I actually know other former Pentecostals from the NW of England (an area I know has a lot of Welsh links) who have converted to the Orthodox Church, and when I visited an Orthodox service I could really see the way it would appeal to that church background. I can also see how both traditions would connect to a sense of 'hiraeth'.

    I'm also in the rudderless position re church since before Ye Plague, but the lockdown definitely hindered it - but I know Orthodoxy is not a fit for me 😉 But I think it's a great fit for you GG and wish you the best of luck.
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