When I was confirmed in the Lutheran church at age 14, I never dreamed that I would ever be anything other than Lutheran. My family had attended the same large, high-church parish since I was 7, and to me, being Lutheran meant orderly services, wonderful hymns, and firmly established beliefs in all things truly Christian. When I started high school, however, my family moved to a small town in Pennsylvania and attended a new church. Here, we began to see that the traditional beliefs of the Lutheran faith – including the Eucharist – were in jeopardy. And not just in our parish – everywhere we turned we seemed to hear stories of Lutherans who willingly sacrificed the tenants of the Lutheran faith in order to attract more people to their parishes.The struggle within our parish between those of us who insisted on traditional worship and those who wanted something more “inclusive” caused relations within the church to disintegrate, and led my family to question our own place within the Lutheran denomination. On Christmas Eve, we agreed that if the church did not offer Communion we would leave for good. And we did.For a number of months, we drifted through churches, not knowing where to turn. Gradually, we realized that we had left Lutheranism behind and that in our search to find a church with a firm, unwavering grasp of the Truth, Orthodoxy seemed the only option. We entered into a high-speed catechesis, and the process of conversion brought out different feelings and reactions in each of our family members. I found myself prepared to convert after a few short months; prepared to accept on faith that this denomination was the Church, and that whatever beliefs it held, I would eventually come to hold as my own. Looking back from a logical standpoint, this seems naive and even dangerous; how could I have known whether I was truly prepared to accept all the doctrines of the Church after such a short and limited learning period? But God leads us all home in different ways. My family was chrismated on Pentecost of 2000.My greatest lessons in faith have come since my chrismation, rather than before. Although I “had no idea what I was getting into” when I become Orthodox, Orthodoxy has proved the most valuable treasure I have ever possessed. I continue to unwrap this greatest of gifts; to find new pearls of grace that allow me to become the person God intends me to be. I have to admit that for a long time, I continued to harbor anger against the people in the Lutheran church who “drove us out.” But now I see that God used them to bring my entire family home, and I can only be thankful both to Him and to them. Glory be to Jesus Christ!
– by Grete Roeber (2006)