Especially for Parents
We've selected content from the Christian Education pages that is of special interest to parents.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our vacation plans and grow lazy in our church attendance and spiritual life during the summer months. As the following story reveals, God never goes on vacation and we shouldn’t find excuses to take a vacation from church. How can we continue on our journey with Christ during the summer months? Try implementing some of the ideas below and use them for inspiration in finding additional ways to keep your family close to Christ!
In conjunction with Conciliar Press, the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family MInistries has released two much-requested brochures for Orthodox Christians. "Crowned with Glory and Honor," a free, downloadable brochure, presents readers with a set of helpful guidelines for Orthodox marriage preparation, including such concepts as the meaning of crowning, and the purpose of the Betrothal Service. Readers will even learn about the wedding almonds: "The white coating symbolizes purity; the egg shape represents fertility and new life that begins in marriage. The hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage, and the sweetness of the sugar encourages the hope of the sweetness of future life together. Giving of three almonds signifies the union is indivisible, just as the bride and groom will remain undivided in their union with each other and with Christ."
The second brochure, "A Guide to Parish Etiquette," lists everything parishioners need to know about respectful and reverent behavior while in liturgy. Department Director Khouria Maggie Hock encourages all parishes, couples and families to make use of these valuable, free resources.
These notes are from a presentation by His Grace Bishop THOMAS at Orthodox Institute 2009, Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center, Bolivar, Pa., November 5-8, 2009. Download a printer-friendly version.
Parents, take the initiative to find out what your children are learning in Church School. Build upon the weekly lessons at home with supplemental teaching.
There are 80 cards, 8 1/2" x 11" in size. Each card features a full-color photograph on the front. The text and suggested activities printed on the reverse sides of the cards provide simple explanations of each picture and are meant as guidelines to encourage further study. The cards break up into four clearly defined sets: Sacraments, Feast Days & Services, Great Lent & Pascha, and Divine Liturgy. Packaged in its own colorful storage box, the Teaching Pictures will be useful for all grades of the curriculum. Order from the Antiochian Bookstore.
These are useful for framing when the feastdays are celebrated, and are a valuable supplement to any educational effort. The subjects include Christ, the Mother of God, saints, and major feasts of the Church year. An accompanying instructional booklet includes explanations of the theology of the icons and the spirituality expressed in each icon. The most complete and accessible icon collection for popular use. A bi-lingual edition, Vengan y alaben al Senor, includes a booklet in Spanish with the English commentary printed on the back of the icon prints.
FREE DOWNLOAD! Although each Christian generation has its own unique challenges there were those followers of Christ – in various times and places – who suffered extraordinarily for the Faith. They gave their lives completely through sacrificial service or in death, " for the sake of Christ and the Gospel." Saints in Times of Trouble bears witness to twelve such disciples.
FREE DOWNLOAD! The North American Saints Activity Book is the first in a series of online resources from the Department of Christian Education of the Orthodox Church in America. It offers biographical information about twelve saints whose lives and witness built up the Church in America.
In addition there are striking black and white drawings of each saint, based on their icons, and an array of puzzle activities which will give students a challenging and enjoyable way to learn more about each one. A special feature of the book is a map for each saint, tracing the path of his travels and witness.
Light a candle and say prayers at an online chapel. Upon entering an Orthodox Church, it is customary to light candles and offer prayers for one’s personal needs or that of a family member or friend. Candles are lit before icons as a sign of one’s faith and hope in God’s help that is always sent to all who turn to Him and His Saints with faith and prayers. The candle is also a witness of our faith, and expresses our burning and grateful love for God.
When we parents send our children out into inclement weather, we dress them appropriately. They wear jackets, hats, gloves, and boots if necessary. If rain is forecast, we send them off with a raincoat or an umbrella. We also clothe ourselves appropriately and prepare for whatever the weather forecasters predict. Most parents are conscientious in protecting their children from the elements of weather.
As adults, we struggle with repentance. We are often afraid to confess our sins to our priest even though we may be truly sorry and committed not to do the same thing again. Why do we need to confess to our priest? We need to recognize that our sins, even the most personal, represent a wound to the Church as well as to ourselves, and that Jesus Christ is the Divine Physician of our souls and bodies. St. John Chrysostom wrote, “By sin, we separate ourselves both from God and from His Church…Did you commit sin? Enter the Church, repent for your sin, for here is the physician, not the judge. Here one is not investigated, one receives remission of sins.”
As Orthodox parents, we want to teach our children the “right” way to be. We want them to behave themselves in public, treat others with respect, use their talents, and live fulfilling lives. More importantly, we want them to orient their entire lives toward salvation. We want them to be disciplined Orthodox Christians, Disciples of Christ. This is no easy task, especially since we need to be disciplined ourselves. Our journey and struggle though Lent is a perfect opportunity to discuss this with our children.
Throughout our lives, we commit to many things. As parents, we need to pay close attention to what our children commit themselves to. We also need to teach our children though our example as well as though specific instructions how to commit, or pledge to something. Learning about commitment will benefit children as they journey though their lives. Here are some ideas to help you guide your children.
Summer has drawn to a close. Most parents and children are adjusting to the beginning of a new school year. Hair is freshly cut and styled; shopping for school clothes, shoes and supplies is done. Children are getting familiar with new teachers and/or new schools. With all this accomplished, the children are set for success, right? Not necessarily! This is only the beginning.
The day has been called: “Christmas,” “The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” “The Day Santa Comes,” “Baby Jesus’ Birthday,” “The Day We Give/Get Presents.” As parents, we have the responsibility of “naming” the day for our families. Orthodox Christians celebrate the nativity, or birth, of Jesus Christ.
The Saint of the Day, from Ancient Faith Radio, briefly tells the story of one of our venerable Saints we are commemorating for each day. It is heard eight times daily Monday—Friday, and is also available as a podcast. Our reader is a professional actor and an ordained Deacon in the Orthodox Church, Dn. Jerome Atherholt. Our source is www.abbamoses.com.
Under the Grapevine Podcast: Readings for Children by Chrissi Hart
Inspirational Stories for Children of All Ages
Enjoy readings by Dr. Chrissi Hart, author of Under the Grapevine and The Hermit, The Icon and The Emperor published by Conciliar Press. This program concentrates on Orthodox Christian books and other classic literature from a variety of sources.
At their Orthodox Kids Corner website, Potamitis Publishing offers hundreds of free coloring pages (including icons), dot-to-dots, mazes, puzzles, and other activities, available for free download for personal and Sunday Church School use. You can also send e-cards. NOTE: you'll need to set up a log-in to access the Kids Corner.
Potamitis Publishing publishes Orthodox children's books, in both English and Greek. Filled with lush and vibrant images, praised by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the 1st, these books offer engaging stories that make Orthodox teachings accessible for little ones and adults alike.
In the Orthodox Church, there are a lot of customs and traditions that are important parts of our worship. Some are cultural; some are pious customs. Some are essential; some are not. From time-to-time, we need to address some of these various etiquette issues to inform our communities how we can best understand each other and work together to worship the all-holy Trinity.
Praxis is a magazine published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Religious Education. The magazine's format focuses on total parish education and includes catechetical material, religious home school lessons, leadership development, internet reviews and continuing education for Orthodox Christians. To subscribe, visit www.goarch.org, or call 800-566-1088 or 617-850-1218.
We finally have an Orthodox Children's Bible Reader in full-color, and wonderful quality. The Old Testament selections number 75 and include seven of the stories of redemption heard on Holy Saturday. I was pleased to see these as they form the context for understanding Christ's death and resurrection.
Once wealthy Christians, Macrina, her husband Basil, and her son Basil (whom she calls, "Mus," meaning "mouse") are forced to leave their home and run away from Roman rule. For seven more years, Christians are arrested and executed. Macrina must work hard, with her good husband Basil at her side, to provide for their small son.
Fruits of the Spirit. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this production. Renowned youth worker Gigi (Baba) Shadid produced this awesome folk CD to teach children and to help them grow in their faith in Christ and their love for His holy Church.