Community

The Mass offers services

Father Theo Obrastoff - Courtesy photo
Father Theo Obrastoff
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Father Theo Obrastoff has nothing but kind words for the churches that are already established in the Marysville and Arlington areas, but he hopes to provide local Christians with a unique avenue of worship.

Obrastoff was an evangelical pastor for 21 years before he started “The Mass,” a church based in no small part on his own experiences during those years. According to Obrastoff, The Mass is intended to incorporate aspects of the Catholic, Protestant and even Orthodox branches of Christianity, in ways that honor all of their common values. Obrastoff is also a big believer in the visual and physical touchstones of religion, which is why he wears a priest’s collar.

“As a child, I was raised around ‘the bells and the smells’ of faith, and I miss their presence,” Obrastoff said. “People will say that a church is not a building; it’s the people within. I agree, but to me, it’s about both, and about including the architecture and artistry of a church so it’s not just a warehouse. Not that I have anything against the warehouses, since I played in church bands for plenty of those.”

Indeed, Obrastoff praised the community charity work of Foursquare and Turning Point, citing their significant donations of food and school supplies to those in need. At the same time, Obrastoff offered The Mass as an alternative that allows Christians to “worship without barriers” between the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox branches, the latter of which he described as unfamiliar territory for many Americans. Obrastoff seeks to integrate the practices of these various branches into his services, which he feels should not simply center around his own preaching.

“Don’t just tell me about love for others, but show me,” Obrastoff said, again citing donations to charities such as food banks as an example. “This church may not be for you, so the best place for you to see if you’re interested is on the Internet. I tell people to grab some bread and wine, or juice, meet me at their computers and turn on their speakers.”

Obrastoff’s Web site, at http://the-mass.org, includes live streaming of his services Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Obrastoff noted that these services have had viewers from as far away as Australia. The Mass Web site also offers a blog of Obrastoff’s thoughts throughout the week. For more information, you may e-mail Obrastoff at info@the-mass.org.

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