ENID, Okla. — Orthodox Christianity now has a regular presence in Enid, with the recent establishment of a monthly Orthodox Friday evening service.

After a house blessing in August, which was believed to be the first Orthodox service in the city, Father Matthew Floyd, mission priest to St. Nino Equal-to-the-Apostles Orthodox Church in Still­water and assistant priest at St. Benedict Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, started the monthly worship several months ago.

Floyd said the new service is a way to serve the three or four families that have been traveling from Enid to Stillwater for services.

“At St. Nino we have quite a few people coming from Enid and Perry,” Floyd said, “and since right now we’re only having two services at St. Nino’s per month, I wanted to offer the Enid folks a consistent time at least once a month when I would come up and visit.”

The monthly visits give Floyd more time for instruction and pastoral care with his Enid and Perry families, and also enables him to present some of the other services of the Orthodox liturgy than those represented Sunday morning.

“I see my trips coming up to Enid as trying to fill in some of those gaps that maybe they’re missing in not being in a larger parish,” Floyd said. “And, if they have friends or family that are interested in Orthodoxy, at least this gives them something in Enid they can invite people to.”

When it came to finding a space to meet in Enid, David and Elizabeth Burrows opened space in the basement at David Burrows Allstate Insurance, 1810 W. Garriott.

“We just opened up our offices because we were needing a space pretty quick,” David Burrows said.

While the space is seen as temporary until a more permanent home can be found, Burrows said the small, candlelit space offers an intimate worship space.

Ten or 12 people gather for the monthly worship service, filling the small space with ancient prayers and liturgy. Burrows said he’s not sure where they’ll go when the service outgrows the space.

“We’re stepping out on faith,” he said. “I don’t really know what comes next. I just know we’re excited to have this experience for now, and it’s enough.”

James Roberson, who has been traveling for several years from Enid to Stillwater for services, said, for now, it’s just nice to have an Orthodox priest periodically available in Enid.

“It’s great,” Roberson said. “For so long I’ve had to travel for a service, and even once a month to have a priest come up here is nice.”

Roberson also hopes the local services will give more people an opportunity to explore the Orthodox Church, which he joined almost seven years ago.

He said he was drawn to the church’s direct ties to the earliest Christian congregations.

“We consider ourselves to be the first church that everything else sprang from,” Roberson said. “I wanted to worship the way the apostles did.”

Roberson advised anyone trying an Orthodox service for the first time to “be open-minded.”

“It’s going to be a little different than what you’re used to,” Roberson said, “especially if you’re from a Protestant background.”

Burrows, who started attending Orthodox services this year as an “inquirer” — one who is not yet a joined member — said the Orthodox liturgy is both formal and “incredibly informal.”

“I expected it to be stuffy,” Burrows said. “But, it feels very organic and homey ... just an ancient home.”

If people have questions about Orthodoxy, Floyd said the best advice is “come and see.”

“The Orthodox Church is something to be experienced and lived, even more than studied,” Floyd said. “It is through the services of the church that people can really come in contact with the ancient traditions of the Orthodox Church.”

The Orthodox Church in Enid meets at 6:30 p.m. the last Friday of each month at 1810 W. Garriott. The April meeting will be the third Friday of the month. A meal follows the worship service.

Orthodox services also are available every other Sunday at St. Nino Equal-to-the-Apostles Orthodox Church, 2303 N. Cottonwood Road, Stillwater. For more information on services, visit https://stillwaterorthodox.org/.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com. He can be reached at jneal@enidnews.com.

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