Visiting Our Parish
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is a small but thriving church located at 805 Dellrose in Wichita, Kansas, on the corner of Murdock and Dellrose. Today, our church is, in reality a multi-ethnic community which proudly includes many traditionally Eastern Orthodox people and their traditions. It is a close-knit community that is growing as many people discover its friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
We invite you to come see our Church. The beautiful tradition of the Divine Liturgy, the icons, the angelic voices of the choir, the warm and hospitable people, will all welcome you with open arms to a truly holy experience.
Are You a First Time Visitor to our Church?
Coming to any church for the first time can be an intimidating event. You are entering into someone else's world and trying to find a way to fit in. We hope that these tips will help to make your first experience with us less overwhelming and more filled with the presence and love of God for you!
Our parking lot is behind the church. The Main entrance is on Murdock but many parishners enter using the door located on the parking lot side. Street parking is also allowed.
There are two ways to enter the church building. After parking your car in the parking lot, go towards the church and you will see an entrance.
If you have parked on the street you can enter from the main door on Murdock.
Both will enter in the back of the church and lead to the Narthex.
Facing the Narthex (or the back of the church) the Men's Room is on the left and down the hall, the Ladies' Room is on the far right near the entrance by the parking lot. If you see something wrong or dirty in the restrooms, please let one of the parish members know.
What is this strange Narthex thing?
Everything in Orthodoxy is meant to be a way of looking into the reality of the Kingdom of God. Even the way our churches are built and arranged tells us something about the Kingdom. One thing that the church building itself symbolizes is the world, both physical and spiritual. The Narthex, is seen as a transitional space between the fallen world of sin and death and the world of redeemed creation already participating in the Kingdom of God.
In the Narthex you will see stands with beeswax candles, candle stands filled with sand, and icons. When entering the Narthex, Orthodox Christians will take a candle (some will take more than one) after putting a donation in the basket, go to one of the candle stands, light their candle from the ones already there, and place it in the sand. They will pray for both the living and the dead. Then they will go to the icons on the stands and kiss them. Think of it as greeting your friends when you go to visit them. You are being welcomed into the house of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, where all the blessed live in the presence of God. They are inviting you to join them in their home, into God's presence.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask a parish member. We are there to help you feel more comfortable!
In the Service
Depending on your religious tradition or background, you may find the service somewhat familiar or totally bizarre. Don't worry either way! Join in praying and singing, if you like, or just put yourself in God's presence and observe the service with an open heart and mind. There is a Liturgy Book in the pew to help you follow the service. Please do not be embarrassed to ask someone to help you follow along. We are always glad to help!
Here are some things to be aware of:
Because many of our parishioners come from Greece and feel most comfortable worshipping in their native language, about half of the service employs Greek, although it is an ancient form of the language. About half of the service, then, is in English, including the reading of the Epistle and Gospel. Please bear with us as we try to accommodate the needs of all our people; for the parts in Greek, you can follow along in the Liturgy Book until you are more familiar with the service.
Much of the ritual of the Orthodox Church has its roots in Jewish Temple Ritual, although understood in a new and fulfilled way in Christ. One of these rituals is the use of incense. A various times throughout the service, the priest will come out of the main doors of the altar with a censer and incense, and cense the icons and the people. The incense has three fundamental meanings: 1) It is a sign of honor to the bearers of God's presence, the saints and the people of God; 2) it is a symbol of our prayers rising up before the throne of God; and, 3) It is a symbol of the presence of the Holy Spirit among us, who cannot be seen but whose presence can be sensed by the soul.
3) The Icon Screen
You might find the fact that the altar and the priest are "hiding" behind a big wall, filled with religious pictures. This "wall" is called an Icon Screen (in Greek, iconostasis). This wall developed over the centuries, especially because of the understanding of the awesomeness of the Holy Mysteries being celebrated. We see it, however, not as a dividing wall, but as a joining wall between heaven and earth, and the pictures (or icons) of Our Lord, His Mother and the Saints and Angels depicted on the icon screen are welcoming us to come deeper into the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven.
4) Why is the priest's back to me?
Unlike in many other Christian worship services where the sermon is given prominence, in the Orthodox Church the priest is not the center of focus. His role is to stand at the head of the people, to unite them in prayer, and to stand in the role of Christ, to bring His most holy Body and Blood to the people in Holy Communion. And so, like the whole Body of Christ assembled in worship, the priest also faces East. The posture comes from antiquity, and was the common direction which both Jews and pagans faced while praying. For the early Christians this was especially important; the rising sun was a symbol of the risen Christ bringing the light of the Kingdom into the world.