Especially for Priests
We've selected content from the Christian Education pages that is of special interest to priests.
Graduation Day- we look forward to it with great anticipation. It’s a rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood. This rite of passage maybe true for Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Most great teachers will tell you that the schooling received prior to graduation is only a preparation for “learning to learn” and a lifetime of learning. And so it must be with Christian education.
Dear Pastors and Church School Directors,
Ten years ago we surveyed our Church Schools to learn their needs, and the numbers of students and teachers we serve. Once again we are asking for a few minutes of your time so that we may determine the usefulness of the programs we offer, your needs, and the numbers we serve. We need only one survey per parish, preferably completed by the Church School Director, but in his or her absence, by the parish priest.
The survey results will be made known through our website, and also in our newsletters in The Word. I would like to call your attention to our newest endeavor, namely, a listserv, so that we can offer news updates via email. Thank you, as always, for your efforts in the Orthodox Christian Education of our children.
Your servant in Christ,
Carole A. Buleza, Director, Department of Christian Education
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.
When it comes to good coffee, caffeine lovers may be familiar with the “House Blend”—each restaurant’s or coffee roaster’s recipe for brewing the “perfect cup” that appeals to the greatest number of people. Not some exotic specialty roast like Mocha Java, Sumatra, or Jamaican, the house blend is designed to be a happy meeting ground, something that will accommodate the widest variety of tastes and appetites.
Unwrap the story of Christ’s birth to reveal the fullness of the Incarnation behind the “Christmas story” of pageants. This full-color zine from the Greek Department of Religious Education begins with the Annunciation and then follows the seasonal calendar through the Nativity, Theophany and the Presentation of the Lord. The text unpacks the meaning of the Incarnation through icons, scripture readings and hymns for each feast.
Special features on each page illuminate traditions (such as the Vasilopita and home blessings) and lives of saints involved in the celebration.
Suitable for ages 12 and up—for use in the classroom, during retreats or at home.
On Sunday, December 6, 2009, St. Nicholas Day celebrations at St. John Chrysostom Church in York, Pennsylvania were featured in the York Daily Record. The article highlights the local tradition of the parish's children commemorating the feast day through charitable giving:
...at a local church, children swapped roles with the beloved saint Sunday, presenting him with gifts instead -- gifts that will ultimately be distributed to needy families by Access-York and the Victim Assistance Center.
"I can see you've been teaching the children to love others by giving to the poor," St. Nicholas told the Rev. Peter Pier, pastor of St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in Springettsbury Township...
A member of St. John Chrysostom church suggested the idea of children giving gifts to St. Nicholas years ago.
"It is definitely a good message to the children because they so often hear Christmas is about getting, getting getting," said parishioner Mike Buleza.
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.
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.
My son Timothy, you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, my sufferings, what befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, what persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived.
The tithing theme for 2009-2010 is To Tithe Is To Show That We Care for the Church. On this web page you will find a set of parish posters, Teacher Notes, Student Booklets, and other materials.
Additional materials supporting the Department of Christian Education Tithing Program, designed for Priests, will be placed here as they become available.