What you Need to Know About the Intermarriage Challenge
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What you Need to Know About the Intermarriage Challenge. Two Basic Statistics. 62% in last 20 years 80% or more intermarry . How many have remained connected? . ?. I can’t answer this question. . However… The following story might provide us with some important hints and clues.

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What you Need to Know About the Intermarriage Challenge

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What you Need to Know About the Intermarriage Challenge


Two Basic Statistics

  • 62% in last 20 years

  • 80% or more intermarry


How many have remained connected?


?

I can’t answer this question.


However…

The following story might provide us with some important hints and clues.


Meet The “X” Family


A Four Generational Case Study

  • Trends over four generations (125 subjects)

  • Not to be generalized to the GOA

  • How pervasive?

  • Further research is needed

  • Everyone here knows a family like this one


WW I Generation

  • In 1914, Costa and Eleni immigrate to the USA.

  • They settle in a large city in the Northeast.

  • They intend to stay for a few years and return to Greece.


Costa peddles newspapers, sells fruit and eventually works in a factory.

They have eight children.


WW II Generation

  • After WW II all eight children marry in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA).

  • Six of eight couples move into the suburbs.

  • Two of the eight intermarry (25%).

  • They have 22children.


Baby Boomers (1946 – 64)

  • Of these 22 children:

    14 would intermarry (64%)

  • Of these 14 children:

    8would marry outside of the GOA


In addition…

  • Four would intramarry –

    (Greek Orthodox to Greek Orthodox)

  • Two would remain single

  • Two would cohabit and never marry


  • The EIGHT Greek Orthodox Christians who would marry outside of the GOA and the TWO cohabiters do not attend a Greek Orthodox Church.

  • That’s a45% Attrition Rate by the third generation.


Further…

The others who attend (54%) report a low to moderate level of connection to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA).


32

This generation would have

a total of 35 children.


Generations: X (1965 - 81)Y (1982 – 2000)

  • Of these 35 children,…

  • 16 were uncertain if they would marry in the GOA


In addition…

  • 22 (63%)would either be baptized outside the Orthodox Church or remain un-baptized.

  • ~ This is a 63% attrition rate ~


Two Salient Statistics

  • In four generations, the retention rate drops from 100% to 37%.

  • In three generations the intermarriage rate increases from 0 to 64%.


Marriages: 1996 - 2010

In 1996

3855in GOA

  • Inter-Christian: 2588

  • Orthodox/Orthodox: 1267

    In 2010

    2709in GOA

  • Inter-Christian: 1631

  • Orthodox/Orthodox: 1078


GOA’s Stats from 1996 – 2009


Between 1989 – 2009 (20 year period)

Nearly 2 or every 3 marriages (62%) that took place in our Archdiocese were categorized inter-Christian marriages.


The S.W.O.T. Survey

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

This needs assessment survey was done in 2006. It’s objectives were to identify…

S = Strengths

W = Weaknesses

O = Opportunities

T = Threats


The S.W.O.T. Survey

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

Over 300 clergy and lay leaders responded.


Two valuable observations…

The S.W.O.T. Survey

  • Under the category Opportunities…

    • Respondents ranked outreach to intermarried couples and their families as the “#1 Opportunity.”

  • Under the category Weaknesses…

    • respondents indicated that the GOA was failingto take advantage of this opportunity.


These results, along with previous research studies such as…

The S.W.O.T. Survey

  • The Interfaith Research Project (2001, 2006)

  • The Gallup Needs Assessment (1980’s)

…suggest that at all levels we’re not doing enough and we could be doing more


Newest Research Project (2009)

The Orthodox Family in America at Home and in the Church: A Study of Families in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America


Among the perceived needs…

Respondents from this study identified outreach to intermarried couples as “an urgent need.”


Big question…

What are the implications of all this research?


“…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1)”


Running the race…

We’re running a marathon and a relay race.

Let’s focus on the relay race.


Passing the batton

What’s critical to any successful relay race?


“Couples get married in our churches,

  • and we don’t see them again.”

  • Archdiocesan Council Member

    Don’t assume they’ll come back! Many drift away.


A good first step

What do you know about

intermarried couples?

A self evaluation exercise


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