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Especially for Directors

We've selected content from the Christian Education pages that is of special interest to Church School Directors.

Original Christmas Pageant for 2017, Available for Download

Now available for download! An original Christmas pageant entitled Light of the World written by Rebekah Yergo (Church School Director at St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in York, PA) and Bonnie Flowers, is available for use in your parish. The writing, stage preparations, and costumes will be a hit with your children, who will feel like they are in a real production!

Additionally, attached is the sheet music that is used in the production.

View the photos of the Light of the World production.

On Evaluating the Sunday Church School Year

The school year is wrapping up in North America. For many of us, this means that Sunday Church School will also be taking a summer break. A change from the usual routine is a good time for us to think and evaluate what we do and take steps toward making improvements. Let us take advantage of this time to review our classroom and lessons this year, thinking about what worked and what did not work, and then figure out steps to take to improve for next year.

Evaluating all of this at once can feel overwhelming. We recommend blocking out a few evaluation sessions in our summer schedule, concentrating on one aspect at each session. Suggested review sessions could include: classroom setup; curriculum; interactions with students; teaching style; etc. Each of us knows which areas of our Sunday Church School class experience need the most consideration, and we should schedule a self-appointed review session for each of those specific areas.

Desired Attributes of Sunday Church School Directors

By Chris Andreas

Though it would certainly be difficult to find individuals possessing all the attributes mentioned below, all are desirable for those wishing to hold the position of director of a Sunday Church School (SCS). Directors are those who must make everything “go,” and the programs will be at their best only when the leadership is equal to the tasks.

Faithful Members of the Church Sunday Church School
Directors are role models for the teachers, the students and their parents. A Director who says one should attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy and the sacramental life of the Church should also be a Director who attends and participates in them. A Director should think of her/himself as a continual learner of the Faith, reading, studying and reflecting on the Orthodox Tradition and passing along new books and ideas to the teachers. A Director should be spiritually motivated, filled with fervor and excitement.

Our Departmental Lenten Resources and Links for Great Lent

Throughout the exploration of our page, we have discovered many valuable archived articles, resources, links, and activities that pertain to Great Lent. These may prove to be quite beneficial to you in the coming weeks and months. These offerings have been gathered and organized below, for you to explore, read and utilize.

Resources

Articles

Crafts and Activities

Original Christmas Pageant Available for Download

Now available for download! An original Christmas pageant entitled Out of Egypt, written by Rebekah Yergo, the Church School Director at St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in York, PA, is available for use in your parish. The pageant was successfully performed in 2015; the writing, stage preparations, and costumes were a hit with the children, who felt like they were in a real production.

Additionally, attached is the sheet music that is used in the production.

View photos of the pageant

2017 Creative Festivals Material Now Available

The Department of Christian Education has published resources for the 2017 Creative Festivals. Creative Festival categories include Art, Creative Writing, Poetry, Photography and Media.

Several items are available for download to assist you as you introduce the theme, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." (Mark 11:17)

Lesson Plans: The plans are designed for one (or two) 40-minute classes, and written at four levels: Preschool and Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, 4-6, Middle School and High School. More than enough material is offered, choose what will work for your class.

Teachers Are the Key - So Recruit!

by Phyllis Meshel Onest, M.Div.

Who is teaching is of greater importance than what is being taught.

The late spring and summer months are the time to find and prepare teachers for the upcoming school year. We are looking for a particular type of person. Someone who participates in the liturgical life of the church on a regular basis, who interacts well with the youth, who is willing to learn more about the Orthodox faith and teaching, who may be a professional teacher.

Our Church Schools need teachers who are sensitive to both the meaning of the Orthodox faith and the message as expressed in their lives. They want to share the faith and in a way that their students can best learn.

Christ Speaks from the Cross – A Holy Friday Retreat

by Elissa Bjeletich

Lately, I have been fascinated by the idea of Family Retreats, of events that feed the parents as much as they feed the children. Orthodoxy is a way of life, and you can teach facts and ideas in a weekly class, but to truly follow Christ we must be living as His body. Sunday School teachers can plant seeds and inspire thoughts, even inspire faith and prayer — but parents have the power to do so much more. By establishing an Orthodox home with a pattern of prayer and fasting, parents can help their children develop a healthy spiritual rhythm that they’ll carry throughout their lives.

Prayer of St. Ephraim Bookmark Meditation Tool

Teach the children in your Sunday Church School this important Lenten prayer using this meditation tool (PDF). Print one for each of your students to help them understand the meaning behind each line of this prayer. Talk about the services when we pray this prayer, and about praying it at home each day during Great Lent.

Cyber Monday Sale Prices from Antiochian Village Bookstore

Christmas gifts for children and adults alike are available at discounted prices from the Archdiocese's Publications Center and Bookstore at Antiochian Village.

A few of the unique and spiritually nourishing gift items are:

  • A CD of the Choir of St. Romanos from Beirut in concert at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, singing a variety of hymns of the Church in Arabic
  • The Bible for Today’s Family - New Testament, written in clear, easily grasped English that a child can understand—yet appreciated by parents, teens, and grandparents, too
  • The children's book, Pictures of God, which brings God and His saints vividly into children's lives through icons. The colorful pages are perfect for little hands in church, for explaining the world of icons in the first years of Sunday school, and for read-aloud time with little ones at home

Major credit cards are accepted at the online store, so place your order today!

Visit The Nativity of our Lord page at the Antiochian Village Bookstore and Giftshop

Introduction to the 2015-16 Church School Year

Dear Directors and Teachers,

Greetings and blessings as you begin the 2015 Church School year!

We have a few new resources for you. As you can see above, if you are thinking of using the GOA texts as well as those of the OCEC, there is a document that compares text by text. Don't press print before reading it as it is 23 pages. In years past, we have had the request for the 100 educational standards from the 8th grade text, The Way, The Truth, and The Life; these questions and answers have been prepared according to the order in which they appear in the text. In addition, we have prepared flashcards of these same questions. These can be used with high school classes for brief reviews of the material. They can be used in a jeopardy-style game, or as simple flash-cards. Another new item is found under Resources, the listing, "Online Resources for Parents and Teachers" compiled by Kristina Wenger who does the AODCE Social Networking Ministry. All of our social network ministry sites are listed in the Convention Report, see below.

Interview with Kh. Gigi Shadid: Teaching Service Through HUGS

Khouria Gigi Shadid, wife of Fr. James Shadid of St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX, is a mother of three, a school teacher, and former youth director. Her passion is teaching with music, and she has produced five educational music CDs to date. Several years ago, she developed the Matthew 25 HUGS program, or Hands Used for God's Service, in cooperation with the Archdiocese's Department of Christian Education. The goal of the program is to nurture generous spirits in the children of our church schools, with targeted activities and lessons at every grade level until children graduate from high school. Antiochian.org asked her to explain further.

Where did the idea for the HUGS program come from, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

My cousin, Georgina, is known for giving great hugs. One day, we were talking and she began telling me about how much she wishes she could go to the NICU at a hospital and just hug on the little babies there. I told her that her loving hugs are one of the gifts that God has given her and that she should share those hugs with as many people as she can. As we talked, Georgina expressed a desire to do more with that gift... but what?

Celebrate St. Raphael! Posters Depict His Legacy

Saint Raphael left a legacy of 30 churches to the Antiochian Archdiocese. These beautiful small posters have been prepared so our children may learn about Saint Raphael. The posters show the parishes, and with vintage photos offer some clues as to how Bishop Raphael made his way around in the early 20th century. Some photographs of his parish visits still exist and were also included.

The posters are free—online only at www.antiochian.org/festivals/cf/posters-2015. Download the files (file name in quotes) onto a USB drive and take them to Staples or Office Max. (Some print centers will download from a website.) Each poster is available in two sizes, 8.5 x 14 (legal size) and 11 x 17 (ledger size). There are also posters with the troparion and logo.

Setting up a Church School

If you find yourself new to the task of setting up a church school, read the first few pages from our Church School Director manual. Each diocese has a Christian Education Coordinator to assist you and your teachers. Their contact information is below. If you wish, you may also contact the Department at aodce@aol.com, or (717)747-5221.

Curriculum. Please consult the Curriculum page for information on the texts and resources we use. (If you are a mission parish, you might consider using the "Let Us Attend" Gospel program which has helped many new parishes. The Sunday Gospel is presented with discussion questions at five levels of comprehension. See the "button" on the right side of the Christian Education home page.)

Report on the Meeting of the Christian Education Department, June 3-4, 2014, Chicago

by Catherine Sullivan, Departmental Associate

A few days before the special convention in Chicago to nominate three candidates for the position of Metropolitan, the staff of the Department of Christian Education met with Director Mrs. Carole Buleza in the same venue. Fortunately, most of the Department coming from British Columbia to the north, and South Carolina to the south, was able to attend in order to work together on recommendations for educational materials and programs for middle and high school students.

Church School Directors Manual

The Department of Christian Education is pleased to release the updated 2011 version of The Church School Directors Manual, available for download.

The manual contains important topics such as the Role of the Church School Director; A Year in the Life of the Church School Director; Recruiting, Preparing and Retaining Staff; and Parental Issues, plus helpful handouts.

Download

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Knowing Your Faith: Educational Standards for OCEC Curriculum

"Knowing Your Faith" is a program designed to work with the OCEC textbooks from grades K through 5. A minimum number of prayers, icons and content questions have been chosen from each text for the children to know. With repetition, these objectives can be met and progress can be made in the religious education of our youth. Parent and teacher letters, and teacher aids are included.

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