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Check out our favorite Christian Education (and related) materials.

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.

Gleanings from a Book: "The Suitcase" by Jane G. Meyer

Orthodox Christian author Jane G. Meyer has written a new picture book called The Suitcase: a Story about Giving. The book was illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto. It is the story of Thomas, a boy who may be autistic but does not let his challenges keep him from being an active participant - even a leader - in entering the Kingdom of God while bringing others with him. Any reader, regardless of age, will be challenged to find ways to make God’s Kingdom happen in the world around them after meeting Thomas through this book. 

Here is a brief summary and review of the book:

Thomas is like clockwork. He is so precise with his preferred activities that you can almost predict what he will do each day. So, when he randomly shows up at the family supper table one night with a suitcase, declaring that he intends to leave for the Kingdom of Heaven, it catches everyone’s attention, for this is far from his routine!

Gleanings from a Book: Parenting Toward the Kingdom by Dr. Philip Mamalakis

I was so excited when I learned that this book was in the works! Before reading it, I had great expectations: I anticipated that it would be filled with gentle nudges towards godliness based both on years of education and personal experience. I knew that the wisdom in this book would be presented in a practical way backed by the in-the- trenches research that life with 7 children offers to their parents. And once I received and read the book, I was not at all disappointed! My expectations for this book were the result of personal experience. Our family had the privilege of meeting the Mamalakis family at Family Camp at the Antiochian Village years ago when they were the featured presenters for the parent sessions. We learned so much from Dr. Mamalakis (and from his lovely wife, Georgia) while we were together. My husband and I could step out of the parent sessions and immediately apply the concepts we had just discussed. Our family is the better for having learned these principles, however imperfectly we have applied them. (An aside: We also benefitted from watching the Mamalakis parents apply the principles they had shared, as they interacted with their children over the course of the family camp sessions. It is a joy to watch these parents lovingly guide their children using the principles! There is an abundance of love in Mamalakis family, and these principles allow them to parent their children in the context of that great love. It is a joy to experience.)

But I digress. Let's get back to the book. "Parenting Toward the Kingdom" outlines the principles that the Mamalakis family has followed:

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

Gleanings from a Book: Orthodox Christian Parenting Cultivating God's Creation

We recently discovered the book Orthodox Christian Parenting - Cultivating God's Creation by Marie L. Eliades, published by Zoe Press in 2012. This book is a compilation of quotes and writings about raising and educating Orthodox Christian children. The text is gathered both from Church fathers and contemporary Orthodox Christians, and is presented by theme. (An important note: the introduction to the book tells more about the project and encourages readers to discuss what they read with their spiritual father to see what is best for their own family.)

The Feast Day of Theophany

On the day of Theophany we learned that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We also learned that when Jesus stepped into the Jordan River, the water was made clean. On the feast day, January 6, we remember that one day all of nature will be made clean and new again. Here is how we celebrate the feast....

Click here to read more (PDF)!

See also Why Do We Have Our Homes Blessed by Phyllis Onest

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

2016 Regional Pan-Orthodox Education Conferences

October 8 + BRIER, WA
ORTHODOXY & HETERODOXY
PRESENTED BY: FR. ANDREW STEPHEN DAMICK
CONTACT: Leslie Atherholt (aodce_events@outlook.com)
HOST: ST. PAUL CHURCH
More information

October 14-15 + YORK, PA
LIVING THE FAITH IN THE ORTHODOX HOME
PRESENTED BY: MELISSA TSONGRANIS, Assoc. Dir., Center for Family Care (GOA)
HOST: St. John Chrysostom Church
CONTACT: Rebekah Yergo (orthodoxyorkedu@outlook.com)
More information

Attendance Certificates

Reward your staff and students by recognizing their efforts! There are two attendance certificates, one for older children and one for younger, which simply read "For Exemplary Church School Attendance." In addition, we have a "Recognition Certificate," which allows you to recognize every child for something if you wish— from a bright smile to listening well. Finally, we have an adult Appreciation Certificate. These are available both as a fillable word document and as a PDF. To use the fillable word document, simply click on the line under "presented to" or "awarded to." A gray box will appear in which you can type the name of the individual you would like to recognize. Print, sign and present!

New Activity Book from OCA

Don't miss the brand new activity book from the OCA Department of Christian Education, "Saints and the Animals That Served Them." This is the fourth in an on-line series of DCE Activity Books. Others include Saints Commemorated in Litiya Prayers, Saints in Times of Trouble, and Saints of North America. Each installment contains concise, informative, easy to read histories of the saints; detailed maps of their lives and travels; respective troparia and kontakia; entertaining word games and puzzles, and more! This free downloadable pdf of all four Activity Books can be found here: http://dce.oca.org/page/activity-books/

Online Resource List for Parents and Teachers

Here is a list of many of the sites that the Social Networking Ministry of the Department of Christian Education visits when searching for ideas and resources.

Orthodox Sites

1. Ancient Faith Ministries: www.ancientfaithministries.com
This site offers a mix of audio and publishing ministries to Orthodox Christians. Ancient Faith has talk radio, Orthodox Christian music, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, and even an online bookstore. Podcasts of particular interest to parents and teachers include:

Jesse Tree and St. Nicholas Vignettes

Kh. Linda Funk of St. Vincent of Lerins Church in Saskatoon, Saskatachewan, Canada contributed the attached resources with the following explanation:

Last year, for the first time, we started a Jesse Tree. I used the material from your website, as well as several other websites and blogs. I presented it as a history of salvation and made some slight revisions to reflect our typology. For example, I made the symbol for the flood to be the ark, not the rainbow because the ark is a type of the church in our theology.

Pinterest and AODCE

by Shelley Seifarth

http://pinterest.com/aodce/

If you've not heard of the website, Pinterest, it is an online social pinboard image sharing site that allows users to create a bookmarking system based on specific themes. These boards are organized into collections of photos (pins) under titles such as food, DIY, travel, hobbies, etc. These pins can be captioned and in many cases, link to a website for a recipe, or more details/information for the idea or interest depicted in the image. Registered users of pinterest can follow other users, whose pins appear on their main Pinterest page in a "pin feed". Users can choose to repin any image of interest onto their own collection of images. Once an account is set up, users can also browse, like and comment on other pins.

The Antiochian Department of Chrisitian Education has a Pinterest account with categories of pinboards that may be of interest to you, such as Lent, Pascha, Pentecost, Fasting, Photos, Quotes, Saints, Learning/Lessons/Education, Crafts, Icons, Feast Days, Articles and Resources, and Great Ideas. You can check out the site through this link. If you are a Pinterest user, you are welcome to follow our boards. If not, joining Pinterest will provide you with a valuable organized resource tool for Orthodoxy!

Featured Resource for February 2013

The following resources coordinate well with our current Creative Festivals theme: The End of History – The Last Judgment - “I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” ~Matthew 25: 35-36

In reading these articles and exploring these links, we hope that you will be inspired to use this theme throughout the year and encourage our Orthodox youth to make a lifelong commitment to charitable giving, whether through acts or monetarily.

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry
theorthodoxprisonministry.org/articles/minister/

UNICEF Tap Project
www.unicefusa.org/news/news-from-the-field/a-new-well-offers-hope-for-children-in- kenya.html

Food for Hungry People
www.antiochian.org/fellowship/FFHP

IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities)
www.iocc.org/getinvolved_homepage.aspx

Orthodox Perspective: Why Christmas?

An Orthodox Christian Worksheet and activity for teens and children on the Nativity and Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Visit www.orthodoxeducation.blogspot.com for more resources.

www.scribd.com/doc/24334286/Orthodox-Perspective-Why-Christmas

The Story of the Holy Hierarch Nectarios the Wonderworker

by Catalin Gregore, Illustrated by Cristina Ionescu-Berechet.

Little Anastasios was a meek child, thirsting for knowledge. As a young man, he decided to serve God in a Monastery and became a monk. For his love and obedience, he received many gifts from God, among which was the gift of wonderworking. His pure life showed him to people as a great Saint of the church, a protector of children and healer of ailments of all kinds: St. Nectarios of Aegina.

Click here to purchase!

Gigi Shadid, Orthodox Musician and Educator

Gigi is a mother of three and an award-winning educator. Her experience includes teaching in public and private schools as well as working as a full-time Orthodox Youth Director. She has been involved in summer church camping programs since 1992 and helped in the founding and formation of three Orthodox summer camps. Gigi is the founder of Music Learn, an educational music company, and has produced four albums including: ”Fruits of the Spirit,” “Celebrate the Feasts,” “Middle School Math Music,” and “The ABCs of Orthodoxy.”

Her music can be purchased here:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/gigi-baba-shadid/id484810205

Click on link to read more about Gigi Shadid and her work!
www.orthodoxbiz.com/20090710405/interviews/interview-with-gigi-shadid-orthodox-musician-and-educator.html

A Lenten Message for All Orthodox Teens

St. Ephraim the Syrian (by kind permission of Come and See Icons)St. Ephraim the Syrian (by kind permission of Come and See Icons)You are in the springtime of your life…Lent is the springtime of the Church, bringing new life in nature and renewal to all who follow Christ. 

 

TIME TO REFLECT ON LENT

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? WHAT’S EXPECTED OF ME?  WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

Food for thought:  “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”  ( Mark 2:23 – 3:15)

Divine Liturgy and Sunday school – a special time and space in your life during this Lenten season and Holy Week.

Anna Larsen Book Reviews

by Shelley Pituch

Glory to God, An Amazing Pilgrimage, and Life in the Shed are three books in a series of The Adventures of a Little Ringtail.  The books are adapted from The Amazing Story of a Little Hedgehog, originally written in Russian by Monk Lazar.  In the first book, the characters learn a lesson about the importance of prayer and what life is like without it.  They discover how God guides and helps them by working together for the “Glory of God” in prayer.  The second book, the characters set out on a pilgrimage to an Orthodox monastery.  Along the way, they meet obstacles that could tempt them, but they are not worried.  Finally, in book three, the characters learn that good deeds and love can turn old enemies into friends.  This books series would be appropriate for preschoolers through grade 4.  The themes and lessons taught in the stories could be adapted for the multiple age levels and would be excellent for Sunday School, Homeschool, and personal home use. 

Feasts of the Orthodox Church:  an educational coloring book, covers the 12 major feasts of the Orthodox Liturgical calendar.  With each feast, there is a description and information about the feast, as well as a coloring sheet and provided lines for student responses.  Sunday school teachers and homeschool teachers are permitted to copy the sheets for non-commercial use, making it a useful resource in instruction.  This book would be perfect for Kindergarten through Grade 2.

Orthodox Inspirational Posters

Immortal Conqueror Poster SampleImmortal Conqueror Poster SampleThe Holy Land Poster Project

by Carole Buleza, Chair, Department of Christian Education

Connecting us to Jesus Christ

When I was young, I found a book about the Holy Land; the images of the holy sites fascinated me—Bethlehem, Golgotha, Cana—these were the places where Jesus walked and lived! He was real!

Images of all sorts surround us today. If your children text, tweet, and Facebook, they live in a world of distraction—is Jesus even on their radar? Let’s get back to basics—our faith, and our life itself, rests in a person who lived 2,000 years ago and lives still. Donate a poster to your church school and begin to surround the children with images that remind them of the reality of Jesus!

The Department of Christian Education plans to offer a few posters each summer for homes, classrooms, church hallways, and offices. A limited amount has been printed. They are available for a donation of $5, and come safely to you in a mailing tube. The smaller poster photo prints will be sent in a cardboard mailing envelope. Please print out the order form and send a check to the Antiochian Department of Christian Education. The address is on the form.

Click here for the order form.

Interview with Amy Mary Ries of Orthodox Christian Craft Supply

Today we interview Amy Mary Ries, the creative force behind Orthodox Christian Craft Supply, the online source for craft kits specifically for Orthodox Christians.

Sullivan: When you became involved in church crafts, can you tell us the setting? Were you in a parish program, or were you home schooling Christian Education for your children?

Amy: I’ve been involved with church crafts my entire life. I enjoyed them as a child and went on to use them as an adult teacher and volunteer. When we came to our parish as converts, I immediately got involved with children’s activities, since it is something I truly enjoy. We have one child in public school and two children who are homeschooled. Whether we school at home or take advantage of public and private school options, all Christian families homeschool, because we all live the Faith at home and teach it to our children. I try, then, to provide materials for all educational needs. Homeschoolers, families, schools, and parishes. Big groups or individuals. There’s something for everyone.

Resources on Creation, Wonder and Ecology

Listen to or read the following podcasts and articles for further illumination on the subject of Creation and our role in it as Orthodox Christians:

Featured Resources for Holy Week and Pascha

1: Journey through Holy Week

http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/religioused/zines/holyweekzine

Follow Christ and the Church through each stage of Holy Week—from the Saturday of Lazarus to the Agape Vespers service—with this new full-color guide from the Department of Religious Education. In the zine-style booklet, author Stephania Gianulis pinpoints the relevance and meanings of the services, hymns, and scripture readings. Special features on each page illuminate icons, traditions, and history.

Feed your Spiritual Hunger with Easy Bible Studies!

Fr. Lawrence Farley, Coffee Cup Commentaries

Have you ever wanted to read scripture, but didn’t know where to start? Begin with a cup of coffee and your Bible. Go to your computer and log on to Ancient Faith Radio and go to Podcasts where you’ll find the Coffee Cup Commentaries. Father Lawrence is presently in the book of Acts of the Apostles. Listen and follow along as he reads and upacks a small portion of scripture each weekday with something interesting to be learned each time. Allow about 10 minutes each day to grow closer to God and the Church.


Dr. Jeannie Constantinou, Search the Scriptures

A second choice for Bible Study is offered by Presbytera Eugenia Constantinou. She offers an introduction to the Bible in Search The Scriptures, and is presently in the Old Testament book of Judges. Going back through her archives will allow you to find the books before Judges so that you can access information on the books of the Bible that she has already addressed. She does a fine job of teaching just enough, and clearly, on the Old Testament. Knowing the people and the stories of the Old Testament will open your eyes to why Jesus is indeed the Messiah, or “Christ.”

Extensive Online Resource Guide for Teachers Available

Don't miss our Online Resources guide for Orthodox Christian Education, available HERE.

Listed are numerous programs from helpful general websites to camping programs to online lesson plans and craft ideas.

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