Personal Testimony of Reader John Wilder

Earl (now John) Wilder was raised by Southern Bapist parents in Sykesville, Maryland. John comes from a family having 5 generations of Baptist ministers. His father is a Baptist deacon, and he himself was licensed to the ministry in June of 1984, aged 18.

He began his education in Theology at Oklahoma Baptist University in August 1984. After serving as a summer missionary, and as pastor or associate pastor of several small Baptist churches in Oklahoma he realized that something was missing from the thing Baptists called "worship". John had a strong background in classic choral music and was pursuing a minor in that subject. While part of a performance group he became exposed to western liturgical music. The work of the polyphonists were of particular importance. This led to an extensive exposure to the monks of the Roman Catholic monastary of St. Gregory the Great (Benedictine).

In December of 1986 he resigned his credentials as a Southern Baptist minister, and changed his major to Philosophy (in which he eventually received a B.A.). He understood however that the Roman Church was guilty of a number of heresies. He began to seek the traditional, historical Church of Christ. Perhaps the key to this search was a question that he asked his Baptist Deacon father when he was age 12; "what happened to the Church in the city of Antioch ?". This Spirit inspired question guided his later search. For a short period of time he thought he had found his answer in the Episcopal Church because of it's claim to Apostolic Succession through the Apostole John. In time the Spirit led him to understand that the Episcopal Church had only Form, but was a house built on sand.

At this point the Spirit intervened and led him to the Holy Orthodox Church. He was received as John into Orthodoxy at the Church of St. Gregory the Theologian (AOC) in Dallas, Texas in November 1993. Shortly after this he began to date a young Southern Baptist friend from his college days. She, too realized that something was missing in Baptist life. Shortly after her becoming a catechuman they became engaged. A year later that were married and she was received. This was in 1994.

In October of 1995 John and his wife and relocated to McKinney, Texas. This placed them close to the Mission parish, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR). Since this was the closest parish after obtaining a blessing from their Priest at St.Peters AOC, Father Patrick McCauley + (memory eternal!), John and Mary joined with this parish. After participation in parish life, John, was tonsured Reader on June 30th (NS) by Bishop Hilarion (now Arch-Bishop of Australia and New Zealand). john and Mary continue active in this parish at this time.

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St Nicholas Orthodox Church
Web Editor: Fr. Seraphim Holland
Phone: 972/529-2754
Snail Mail: 2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071, USA
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