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

For To Us A Child Is Born

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.

Heaven on Earth: Divine Liturgy

Heaven and earth meet in the Church through the Divine Liturgy. The newest full-color zine from the Greek Department of Religious Education begins with a brief history of worship in the Orthodox Church and then details each section of the Divine Liturgy.

A Visual Catechism of the Orthodox Church

The book provides the basic tenets of Orthodoxy from creation to the Church in 58 pages each with a sentence and full-color illustration. The second part of the book gives a fuller analysis of the 58 statements, and is suitable for adult classes. The book is a handy general resource and has been used with children who have had no prior classroom introduction to the faith to help them "catch-up" with their classmates. Available from the Antiochian Bookstore or from ArchangelsBooks.com.

Teaching Pics: A Resource for All Ages

Published by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC), Teaching Pics is a resource consisting of 80 cards, 8 1/2" x 11" in size. The cards highlight visually four aspects of Orthodox Christianity, 1) Sacraments, 2) Feast Days and Services, 3) Great Lent and Pascha, and 4) the Divine Liturgy. Each features a full-color photograph on one side, with explanatory text, guidelines to encourage further study, and ideas for activities on the reverse. They are easy discussion-starters and great for reviewing units of study, not to mention illustrating lessons. Packaged in its own colorful storage box, Teaching Pics is useful as a tool for exploring Orthodoxy with Preschoolers through Adults. A sample, "Sacraments. Holy Matrimony—Procession," is provided here. On the back of this page is the Table of Contents. The set is available for $35.00. Order from the OCEC, (800) 464-2744.

 

Come Bless the Lord Icon Packet

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.

Vacation Church School

1. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has published the first of three VCS programs: The Twelve Great Feastdays, available only in print. It is designed for five half-day sessions for ages 5-11, but includes suggestions for adapting it to different schedules and ages. It is available for purchase at 800-566-1088. 

2. The Hub describes many details, such as choosing a theme, daily schedule, choir rehearsal, and more.

Answering Christ's Call to Love Your Neighbor (Project Mexico)

If you are looking for a fun, hands-on way to teach young people about the importance of doing acts of charity, Project Mexico has developed a three-lesson Church School Curriculum that is available at no cost. The three lessons give students an opportunity to examine what it means to be poor, hear what Christ instructed us to do for those in need, learn about Project Mexico's ministry to the poor and orphaned of Mexico.

Please click here to order Project Mexico curriculum materials.

Mini Units

FREE DOWNLOAD! Modules of 1-2 lessons for 3-4 different age groups. Some of the lessons are based on the Orthodox Church in America’s Youth theme of the year, such as Champions of the Faith. Other topics are suitable for seasonable emphases such as stewardship, charity, and missions, and may work for retreat settings.  

FOCUS Units

FREE DOWNLOAD! FOCUS is a series of modules of 5-6 lessons for 5 different age groups. Topics covered are the Journey to Pascha, the growth of Orthodox Christianity in North America, the Theotokos, and the Nativity season.

 

Living in an Orthodox World (Fr. Michael Shanbour)

Youthful energy and theological soundness adorn this disc by former KERYGMA member, Fr. Michael Shanbour. Each song, directly or indirectly, focuses in on a liturgical service or theme in a way that is simple, singable, memorable, and educational. Some songs incorporate portions of prayers, hymnography and melodies from the liturgical services in order to implant a familiarity with and desire for the services of the Church. Features a choir of well-tuned young singers!

JOY (Junior Orthodox Youth) Club

These pre-teen clubs focus on fellowship, instruction, community service projects, arts and crafts, etc.


Volume 1 of the JOY curriculum can be ordered from Orthodox Marketplace


Volume 2 of the curriculum can be downloaded from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

Saints in Times of Trouble

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.

Saints of North America

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.

 

Drama

Here are some plays that are heavier on narration than on dialogue, which is easier for young children. Older students may enjoy the book (#4), which has more dialogue/memorizing lines.

1. The Trial of Jesus – an enactment of Jesus’ trial; includes two scenes and narration. Role-playing like

this could be easily adapted for any topic. 

2. A collection of plays written and produced by local parishes.

3. Christmas plays (click on Resources – Christmas Plays)

4. Playing It up for Christmas – a book of 5 Christmas plays.

 

Oriental Trading Company

Those of us who teach Sunday school to young students often face the dilemma, “What craft can the children do this week??!” A coloring page, of course, can be used as a last resort, but if you’re like me, you prefer using a variety of arts and crafts that are easy, fun, and inexpensive.

Saint Anthony the Great, Angel of the Desert

The book, with its beautiful illustrations, depicts the life of Saint Anthony. St. Anthony is often referred to as the “father of monastics” as he sought time in the desert on his journey towards asceticism and humility. It would be enjoyed by older children (12 and up) who want to explore the difficulties and temptations that even our holy fathers have faced. Older children would also be less likely to stumble on the unfamiliar style of open verse, and the oftenchanging point of view. The book demonstrates why Saint Anthony is recognized as an important leader of the church. Available from www.orthodoxpage.com, and www.orthodoxpress.org.

Translated from the Greek by Thomas Arnis. Published by Etoimasia Publications.

Reviewed by Carol Federoff

Hear Me

Thea: I loved the book Hear Me! I like the section where the author gives her own advice on pressures and questions most teens face. My favorite part is the “Guide to Confession” in which the author goes over all the commandments God has given us and lists a bunch of things that have to do with that commandment. It helps you figure out things that you might forget to say at confession. It’s an awesome book you can use every day.

Aislinn: This book not only contains prayers that are included in most Orthodox prayer books, such as morning and evening prayers, but it also contains a section on saints and what you can pray to them for. Another interesting part of this book is toward the end – a question-and-answer section about the church and life, with issues that teens frequently wonder about but are not quite sure who to ask. I think that this book is appropriate for pre-teens and teens. Available from Ancient Faith Publishing.

Compiled and edited by Annalisa Boyd. Reviewed by middle schoolers Aislinn Alexander and Thea Federoff.

Saint Catherine

In selecting a picture book to share with an audience of children, my first criterion is that the pictures should invite me in – make me want to turn the pages. In this respect the Potamitis’s book far exceeded my standards, with its stunningly beautiful full-color iconographic-style illustrations on every page. I welcomed the opportunity to sit down with my 8-year-old son recently to read this story aloud. In short, the book tells the story of St. Catherine’s life, beginning with her childhood and conversion to Christ as a young adult, and continuing with her challenge to the cruel and hard-hearted ruler of Egypt, Maximinus, God’s preservation of her through many tortures, and finally ending with her martyrdom. I noticed my two older sons, ages 12 and 15, joined us somewhere during the story and by the end even they were obviously impressed with this heroine. I’d highly recommend this title as an excellent resource for families and teachers to share with young people ages 5 and up. Available from wwworthodoxchildrensbooks.com.

By Dionysios and Egle-Ekaterine Potamitis. Illustrated by Egle-Ekaterine Potamitis.

Reviewed by Mrs. Barli Brown.

St. Moses the Ethiopian

St. Moses The Ethiopian is a wonderful book for any child who would like to learn about a saint and experience adventure at the same time. The book starts out with St. Moses as a slave and tells about his journey to Christianity and all the struggles he had to overcome as a Christian. The author does a good job showing the reader through many examples how Moses’ life was transformed by continual repentance and Christ’s love. I enjoyed reading it. Available from www.reginaorthodoxpress.com.

Written and illustrated by Fr. Jerome Sanderson

Reviewed by Ethan Alexander.

Saint of the Day

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

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.

The Orthodox Kids Corner (Potamitis Publishing)

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.

Praxis

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.

Children's Bible Reader

Children's Bible Reader

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.

Keeper of the Light

Keeper of the Light: St. Macrina the Elder, Grandmother of Saints  

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.

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