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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.

On the New Martyrs of the Middle East: An Orthodox Christian View

by His Grace Bishop Thomas (Joseph), Ed.D.

Beloved in Christ,

Last weekend I visited parishes and college students in the Baltimore, MD area. While I was there, Orthodox clergy and faithful asked that I offer a response to what's going on in the Middle East. Attached is my response. Special thanks to Fr Andrew Damick for his contribution to what you'll read here.

To introduce this, I'll simply ask you to pray "for the peace of the whole world, the good estate of the Holy Churches of God, and the union of all men."

In recent months, images and stories of Christians being killed for their faith in the Middle East have flooded our news sources and dominated our social media. We see beheadings and shootings, sometimes available as gruesome videos on the Internet that are intended by their makers to inspire some to join their cause and others to cower in fear. We have seen bishops kidnapped, priests shot in the street as they ministered to the suffering, and innocents lined up and had their heads sawn off with knives.

Christians are not the only ones suffering in the Middle East—Muslims, Druze, Yazidis and others are also being targeted by the armies of takfirism. They are also dying for their faith, and even though we Christians do not share their religion with them, we still suffer with them in solidarity, because Christ still died and rose from the dead for them, even if they do not believe it.

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.

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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