Monthly Archives: April 2014

“As the Father Has Sent Me, I Also Send You…”

During the Agape Vespers service, we hear this passage from St. John’s Gospel (perhaps even in many languages): “So Jesus said to them again, ‘…Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you…’ ” John 20:21 With this fresh in our minds, it seems like this is a good time for us to speak with our church school students about missions, if we have not already been doing so. Since Jesus has promised to send us, what/where does that mean?

Take time to teach your students about missions. There are a number of ways to do so:

Learning about missions/what it means to “be sent”:

  • Select a passage from scripture of one or more of St. Paul’s missionary journeys and focus on that story.
  • Tell the life story of a missionary saint, perhaps a “local” one (such as St. Herman of Alaska, for American children) and study the saint’s life.
  • Invite a missionary from your parish to speak with the class about his/her experience.
  • Visit the OCMC’s website for Sunday schools (http://www.ocmc.org/resources/sunday_schools.aspx) or the IOCC’s interactive world website (http://www.iocc.org/kidsmap_frameset.aspx) to see what Orthodox missions looks like today.

Practicing “being sent”:

  • Take the class to a soup kitchen or shelter to serve others food or other necessities.
  • Gather items for needy people (ie: food for a local food bank) and deliver them.
  • Help the students create a plan of action of how they will interact with their family members and friends in ways that will help point their family and friends to Christ.
  • Together, do a fundraiser to support your parish’s missionary(ies); or to send to the OCMC or the IOCC.
  • Help the children learn about missionary opportunities that lie ahead for them, in which they can participate when older (ie: RealBreak in college).

Let us be faithful in helping our students know how important it is that we as Orthodox Christians share our beautiful faith with others. Let us teach them how others before us have done so. Let us also show them the options of ways to do so, today. Best of all, let us take them by the hand and lead them into the service for to which we all have been sent by Christ.

Advertisements

The Cross of Christ

As we approach our Lord’s crucifixion, let us prepare our hearts and the hearts of our students for this great wonder: that the King of Heaven and Earth, the Lord of Creation, would bow Himself to not only take on flesh, but also to be crucified for us and for our salvation. This week’s resources will be related to the cross. Once a symbol of death, it has for us as Christians become at once a symbol of Christ’s humility and of His power over death.

Here are a few suggested resources related to the cross, to use with children:

A short animated retelling of the crucifixion can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3UKd6LQKng

A longer version, also animated, is found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndh7cfM7geQ

Find a variety of cross crafts for younger children here: http://www.catholicicing.com/cross-craft-for-preschoolers-a-bible-craft-for-the-letter-c/

Find a variety of cross crafts for older children here: http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/crosscrafts.html

Throughout Holy Week, look for additional resources that can be used to help children learn about the cross of Christ. Please comment, post, and share any resources that you have found helpful, as well! May these resources help us to focus on His great love for us; and also assist us in helping our precious students on the journey through our Lord’s death on the cross.

Holy Week and Pascha

We are very nearly ready to celebrate the bright sadness of Holy Week, and the glorious resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ! As Sunday Church School teachers, this may mean that we will not see our precious students as often in the classroom, but we can still support their learning!

Here are a few ideas of learning activities which can happen at home. Some of these may be helpful to pass on to the parents of our students, either via email or in a brief note handed out during this week’s class:

A suggestion for creating a Pascha tree laden with icons of the miracles of Christ, to be decorated as the week goes on: http://goodbooksforyoungsouls.blogspot.com/2012/04/holy-week-miracles-of-christ.html?m=1

Suggestions of things “not to miss!” with children during the services of Holy Week and Pascha: http://orthodoxeducation.blogspot.com/2010/03/holy-week-for-kids.html

A link to a page of ideas that could be used in creating a Holy Week scrapbook with (and for) kids: http://orthodoxeducation.blogspot.com/2009/03/holy-week-scrapbook.html

Suggestions for parents to maximize the week as a family:

http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/religioused/holyweekguide

Let us, as SCS teachers, engage our students as often as possible, throughout Holy Week and Pascha. We will see them at services, and should greet them with joy. Besides conveying our delight at their presence at the service(s), we can also ask each student a question related to that particular service which will strengthen their learning and encourage them to keep growing in their faith. Here are a few sample questions appropriate for varying age levels: “Who is the Bridegroom that we were singing about tonight? How are we like the servants with the lamps?”; “What happened to you when you were anointed with the Holy Oil?”; “Which part of the Royal Hours service meant the most to you this year? Why?”; “Did you remember the Lamentations songs? Which is your favorite? Why?”; “What does Pascha mean to you? How does Christ’s resurrection affect your life?”; etc.

Thy sufferings we adore, O Christ!
Make us to behold thy glorious Resurrection.