Sarah Katherine Bruce

"I would like to say that when this was written, it was in response to a question posed by a parent on an Orthodox Youth List that I am on via e-mail. The question was, why are Orthodox teens still Orthodox? I posted my response and got an email from one of the editors of this newsletter, asking me if they could add it to an issue. Well, here it is!"

The Orthodox Faith is my faith. I have not known any other faith in my lifetime, and I do not plan on it either. It is a part of my life, a part of me. Not having it that way seems completely foreign. I've had to research other religions in school, and reading about other religious beliefs only strengthens my whole-hearted feeling that Orthodoxy is what the word itself means -- truth.

My parents have stated that as long as I live in this house I will attend church, unless I am sick. But it is not because of this rule that I attend church. I am eternally grateful that they have introduced me to Orthodoxy and raised me in an Orthodox fashion. If they had not, I can truthfully say, I don't know where I would be right now.

At first, my friends at school though that I was forced to go to church on Saturday nights. They still believe this, no matter what I say. The idea of going to church on a Saturday night seems completely ridiculous to them. But I have found that not going out on Saturday has protected me from things that I would have otherwise seen or heard.

I'm not saying that it's always a breeze to continuously remind my friends that no I can't go over to their house - it's a Saturday. And that no, I can't go over to their birthday party - it's a Saturday. I sometimes find it hard to miss out on things that others around me are continually participating in.

On a different note, my friends think that my church is neat because it's so very different from what church means to them (ie - different calendar, scarves, Guardian Angels, etc.). The fact that our church is not in a constant state of change like most other churches trying to 'fit in' makes it unique (I believe this, too).

It is completely natural that we all want to be accepted to some degree. In today's society it is accepted -- almost expected -- that you rebel. I think refusing to go to church is some peoples' way of doing this. I don't think that I'd be able to cope with the world today if I did not have Orthodoxy as my shield from this earth and as my strength.

Sarah Katherine Bruce is 15 years old and lives in Victoria, BC, Canada. She is a member of the parish of St. Sophia.