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Registration Opens for Summer Sacred Music Institute, July 10-14

SPECIAL UPDATE: We have just learned that His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH will be with us for the Sacred Music Institute. We are so honored by his wish to attend, and we want to extend registration a little longer since many people will undoubtedly want to see him! Please encourage your fellow chanters, choir members and choir directors to change their plans to include a trip to Antiochian Village in a couple of weeks. We have a wonderful agenda planned that now includes our Father in Christ and Chief Shepherd! (Read the welcome letter from His Eminence)
 
The new registration deadline is Sunday, June 30. On July 1, registration will close permanently. If you have any questions, please contact Emily Lowe, the SMI Coordinator, at sacredmusicinstitute@gmail.com.

REGISTER NOW

SMI RESOURCES

Course Descriptions
Agenda
Biographies
Welcome letter from His Eminence

The Department of Sacred Music is thrilled to announce the summer Sacred Music Institute of 2019, "Sacraments and Song," at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Sessions will begin on the evening of July 10, 2019 and end with Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on July 14.

This theme offers us the exciting opportunity to learn and practice music for many of the different sacraments offered by our church, including weddings, baptisms, ordinations and Holy Unction. Of course we will also offer our usual sessions on Byzantine chant, conducting, vocal technique and music theory, as well as plenty of time for worship, reflection and building relationships.

A Team Approach to Sunday School Leadership

An Interview with Wafa Omeish and the Church School Leadership Team
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Coral Gables, FL

The Saint George Sunday Church School has an interesting leadership structure. There is a principal, vice principal, and a team of officers and coordinators. The official role and responsibilities of the Principal are defined as, “In charge of curriculum development and implementation. Maintaining a standard of student behavior designed to command respect and minimize classroom interruptions. Orienting/training staff.  Planning and conducting faculty meetings as necessary; planning and implementing Recognition Sunday Program.”

A brief description of the additional positions are as follows:

Vice Principal - Support and assist Principal in all areas.

Secretary - Take minutes of meetings, keep all Sunday School records, maintain files at Church office.

May 2019 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Pathway to Paradise: He Who is Light and Life, and is the Temple Resurrected 

From this month's Academy Booklet we read insights from St. Gregory of Nyssa:

The Holy Trinity is True Life and the Only-begotten Son is the Word of God Who became Incarnate. He is Life and Truth, and His Spirit is holy and divine. He Is the Creator of all things. Thus His creation draws its supply of goodness, from the One Who Is Creation. So it should be evident that if they have life by partaking of He Who is Life, if He dies or life stops partaking of Him, creation will stop living... Now, the meaning of 'life' and 'death' is manifold, not always understood in the same light of understanding.

(Read more in our May newsletter.)

May 2019 Newsletter (PDF)

May 2019 Coupon (PDF)

2019 Pascha Message of His Grace Bishop ANTHONY

PDF of His Grace's Message

Great and Holy Pascha ~ the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord 

April 28, 2019

Beloved Clergy and Faithful of the Midwest Diocese,

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! المسیح قام! حقا قام!

On the Praises between the verses of Psalm 119 at the Matins of Holy Saturday, we hear chanted: “Thou hast been numbered among transgressors, O Christ. Thou hast justified us, O Lamb of God, by freeing us from the devil’s work.” Christ came to do three specific things: liberate us from captivity to Satan; defeat sin in our fallen nature; and destroy death. Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection is the meaning of Redemption.

Lenten Sundays Series: Great and Holy Pascha

This is the ninth in a series of posts that focuses on the Sundays of Great Lent, and Holy Week and Pascha. Each week we have shared ideas of ways to help your Sunday Church School students learn more about that particular Sunday’s focus. (Find the Palm Sunday article and earlier articles here.)

Here’s a meditation on Great and Holy Pascha for you to ponder before you create a lesson for your students:

Great and Holy Pascha is the most important day of our entire church year. We call it the “Feast of Feasts” for this very reason. On this day we celebrate Christ’s victorious triumph over death. This is the reason He came to earth and became incarnate: so that He could trample down death by His death, and save us. 

On Holy Saturday, we heard St. Matthew’s account of the women finding the empty tomb during the Vesperal Divine Liturgy. The Paschal Gospel reading acknowledges that we know the events of the day already, having just partaken of them all week. So instead of revisiting these events on Pascha, we turn our ears to the first verses of St. John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God… In Him was life and the life was the light of men…” The passage reminds us that God created the world and has now re-created it through Christ. This Gospel reading points us to the reason for all of the events we have just witnessed, and reminds us of the truth of the hope that we have in Christ.

Lenten Sundays Series: Palm Sunday

This is the eighth in a series of posts that focuses on the Sundays of Great Lent (and Holy Week and Pascha). Each week we will share ideas of ways to help your Sunday Church School students learn more about that particular Sunday’s focus. We will share each blog early, so that you have time to read it before the forthcoming Sunday, in case you find any of those ideas helpful for your particular class.

Here’s a meditation on Palm Sunday for you to ponder before you create a lesson for your students:

On this sixth Sunday of Great Lent, we will be celebrating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as we prepare to enter into Holy Week. We usually refer to this feast as the Entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem, but we also call it Palm Sunday.

From the beginning of time, victorious kings have ridden joyously into their home cities after battle, surrounded by cheering crowds celebrating their success. The celebrations have changed over the years, but at the time of Christ, such a parade would have included palm branches being waved and laid on the road.

Things to See and Do in Holy Week

Download "Things to See and Do in Holy Week"

Each day of Holy Week, there's a special service (or more than one!) that we Orthodox Christians celebrate together. As you attend each service, encourage your children to spy out the following items/events. Print these pages, cut them in half, then stack and assemble them into a little booklet, and staple it together. We purposefully did not number these, so that you can add pages for services you will attend that are not listed here, and/or exclude the pages of services you will not be able to attend. Encourage your children to follow along, marking the icon following each item after it happens. (They could use colored pencils, markers, pens, small dot stickers, or whatever works best for your family.)

2019 Pascha Message From His Grace Bishop THOMAS

PDF of His Grace's Message

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2019

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen! Glory to Jesus Christ, glory forever!

In the resplendent feast of Pascha there is a seeming contradiction. However, it is a contradiction only to the worldly-wise. Throughout the Great Fast, we are exhorted to make the effort to struggle ascetically, to put forth the effort to fast, to pray, and to give alms. The kontakion of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete exemplifies this exhortation, "My soul, my soul arise! Why art thou sleeping? The end is drawing near and you will be confounded. Awake then and be watchful, that you may be spared by Christ God, Who is everywhere and fills all things."

2019 Act of Mercy is "Education Support for School Children"

 

 

 

 

 


“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it…”
  Proverbs 22:6

Your Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, & Sisters in Christ, 

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

I hope everyone had a blessed Nativity and Epiphany!

As a recap, the NAB’s 2017-2018 Act of Mercy was a continuation of the FOCUS on Love campaign, which helps fund the Feeding Hungry Children program. In total, we raised $8,224.10 for this wonderful cause. With our help, approximately 9,939 hungry children across the country were provided fresh, nutritious meals! I would like to thank everyone for your contributions and support towards the “Act of Mercy,” “FOCUS ON LOVE.

For the 2018-2019 year, we will continue working with FOCUS. The Act of Mercy will expand to another area that is more encompassing of children’s needs. This year, our efforts will go towards FOCUS’s “Education Support for School Children.” Children are the building blocks of our future and it is important to help them along the way. Providing an education and resources for a child to receive a fruitful education will forever have an impact on them. This Act of Mercy will help provide educational access, food, books, supplies, tutoring and more to disadvantaged children in the United States. Attached to my email is also a brochure that provides additional information on this Act of Mercy.

2019 Project: Building a New Cathedral

"What is more precious to all of us than the Antiochian Village?"

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH asked the members of the NAB and Spiritual Advisors this question as he prepared to tell us the theme of our 2019 NAB PROJECT.

The question immediately brought to mind what His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, of Thrice-Blessed Memory, used to say about the Antiochian Village:

"The Antiochian Village is the HEART of our Archdiocese."

When Metropolitan JOSEPH told us of his inspiration to build a new and beautiful cathedral on the grounds of the Village, we all immediately understood why this is such a wonderful vision. Not only does the building of a new cathedral give form to Metropolitan PHILIP's metaphor of a beating heart in the center of our Archdiocese, but a new and inspiring cathedral will also satisfy several practical and pressing needs. This vision of Metropolitan JOSEPH is one that I'm sure the Antiochian Women will be eager to help bring into reality.​

Lenten Sundays Series: The Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

This is the seventh in a series of posts that focuses on the Sundays of Great Lent (and Holy Week and Pascha). Each week we will share ideas of ways to help your Sunday Church School students learn more about that particular Sunday’s focus. We will share each blog early, so that you have time to read it before the forthcoming Sunday, in case you find any of those ideas helpful for your particular class.

Here’s a meditation on the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt for you to ponder before you create a lesson for your students:

On this fifth Sunday of Great Lent, we focus on the life of St. Mary of Egypt. St. Mary was born in Egypt, left home at the age of 12, and spent the next 17 years taking advantage of men for her own physical pleasure. Not until she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (for all the wrong reasons, but God works even through our wrong choices) did she begin to question the path she was taking. It was when she was unable to enter the church to venerate the Holy Cross that she realized something was wrong. The Theotokos herself helped Mary to understand the severity of her sins, and she repented. She repented so completely that she spent the rest of her days in the desert, fighting against her own fleshly desires and sins.

2019 Paschal Greeting From His Grace Bishop Basil

Pascha 2019

When Thou hadst fallen asleep in the flesh, as one mortal, O King and Lord, Thou didst rise again on the third day, raising up Adam from corruption, and abolishing death: O Pascha of incorruption! O Salvation of the world! (The Exaposteilarion of Pascha)

To the Right Reverend, Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, the Christ-loving Monastics, and the Faithful Laity of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of our Risen Saviour. Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Al-masih qaam! Христос Воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Cristo ha resucitado!

April 2019 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Lazarus and the Divine One Who is Resurrection and Life—John Chapter 11 

As we enter April, we highlight Jesus, the Word – our Father and our Christ – re-entering Jerusalem. Yet to better appreciate its significance and what follows, Jesus - through His Spirit of Grace and Truth – first raised Lazarus from his Tomb, after a four day burial. John 11:41- 43 provides insight, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew You always hear Me, but I say this for the benefit of the people standing here, so they may believe that You sent Me." This event is a comfort to those seeking Him and of great hope to be revealed through His Cross.

(Read more in our April newsletter.)

April 2019 Newsletter (PDF)

April 2019 Coupon (PDF)

Original 2018 Christmas Pageant Available for Download

Now available for download! An original Nativity Pageant created by Rebekah Yergo (Church School Director at St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in York, PA) and Rosemary Shumski (Administrative Assistant at the Department of Christian Education) is available for use in your parish. The writing, stage preparations, and costumes will be a hit with your children, who will feel like they are in a real production!
View the photos of the 2018 production.

RESOURCES

Nativity Pageant script
Commitment Form for parents

YouTube video of "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" Cambridge performance
"Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" lyrics
"Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" audio file

Nativity Kontakion lyrics

"Heaven and Earth" lyrics
"Heaven and Earth" music score
"Heaven and Earth" audio file

Lenten Sundays Series: The Sunday of St. John Climacus

This is the sixth in a series of posts that focuses on the Sundays of Great Lent (and Holy Week and Pascha). Each week we will share ideas of ways to help your Sunday Church School students learn more about that particular Sunday’s focus. We will share each blog early, so that you have time to read it before the forthcoming Sunday, in case you find any of those ideas helpful for your particular class.

Here’s a meditation on the Sunday of St. John Climacus for you to ponder before you create a lesson for your students:

Today we commemorate St. John Climacus and his work “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” both of which have had a great impact on the Holy Orthodox Church through their influence on the monastic community and on the Church at large.

St. John was given the name “Climacus” because of his writings. “Climacus” means “ladder” and thus his name is a nod to the work by that name. From a very young age, John desired to serve God with all of his heart. He became a monk at the Mt. Sinai Monastery when he was only 16 years old, and he served there faithfully for years before going into the desert to live a hermit’s life.

Lenten Sundays Series: The Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross

This is the fifth in a series of posts that focuses on the Sundays of Great Lent (and Holy Week and Pascha). Each week we will share ideas of ways to help your Sunday Church School students learn more about that particular Sunday’s focus. We will share each blog early, so that you have time to read it before the forthcoming Sunday, in case you find any of those ideas helpful for your particular class.

Here’s a meditation on the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross for you to ponder before you create a lesson for your students:

On the third Sunday of Great Lent, we celebrate the Sunday of the Holy Cross. We’re halfway through Lent at this point, and perhaps some of our determination and eagerness for the Lenten journey is waning a bit. That is exactly why the Church Fathers chose this Sunday for us to commemorate the Holy Cross.

Father Alexander Schmemann, in his book Great Lent, reminds us that throughout Great Lent we are crucifying our own self, trying to live up to this week’s Gospel reading. The Gospel reading for the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross is from Mark 8 and 9, and reminds us of Christ’s command, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34). Schmemann goes on to explain that it would do us no good to take up our cross and follow Christ if it were not for Him taking up the Cross in the first place. “It is His Cross, not ours, that saves us. It is His Cross that gives not only meaning but also power to others.” (1, pp 76-77)

Update on Parishes in the Midwest Flood Region

March 21, 2019

A brief flood update from His Grace Bishop Basil:

This is but a brief note to let you know that I have personally spoken with both Fr. Donald Hock (frdon@stmaryomaha.com) of St. Mary in Omaha and Fr. Theodore Eklund (tleklund@gmail.com) of St. Vincent in Omaha. While there indeed is severe flooding throughout the metro Omaha region, neither of our church temples nor any residences of parishioners have sustained any flooding. Should I receive any updates I will certainly pass them along to you.

IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) is sending response teams to the area. You can keep up-to-date on these efforts by visiting the IOCC web site.

40 Activities for Great Lent

by Sylvia Leontaritis (used with permission)
Follow her blog

While we are already moving along the path to Pascha (this is published during the second week of Great Lent), it’s never too late to find fresh ideas for enhancing the journey with our families. Sylvia was generous enough to grant permission to share this list of activities with our Orthodox Christian parents. (from the archives of Adventures of an Orthodox Mom)

One of the things parents constantly ask is how to keep their children involved during Lent. It’s a tricky business, this Orthodox child rearing. As parents we struggle with finding balance between regular every day activities (both theirs and ours) and making sure our children keep in mind the seriousness of what we’re preparing for. Involving them should be a process everyone enjoys, a special time to pass on spiritual lessons in a way a child will both learn from and have fun with.

Jennifer Buchko and Samia Zolnerowich: Partnering as Friends and Co-Directors

Jennifer and Samia have been co-directors of the Sunday Church School at Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD, for 10 years. They have actually been friends for over 25 years! They even co-taught the 2nd-3rd grade Church School class for 3 years, including their first year as co-directors.

Please share with us a little about yourselves and the Church School Program. How long have each of you served as Church School Director? Please describe how the Church School program responsibilities are divided and shared between co-directors. This is our first interview with co-directors, and I am very interested in learning.

When we began as directors, we split our duties where Samia would be the contact person for the priests and teachers and Jennifer would take care of the paperwork, registration, emails and newsletters. Now we both jump in and do whatever needs to be done.  This helps when one of us is really busy with our families; there is someone that can take over for the other one. We love working together. We can plan together, brainstorm together and support the teachers. It also allows one of us to help out in a class when needed and leaves the other one in the office to be ready to answer questions for parents or church members.

Lenten Sundays Series: The Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas

This is the fourth in a series of posts that focuses on the Sundays of Great Lent (and Holy Week and Pascha). Each week we will share ideas of ways to help your Sunday Church School students learn more about that particular Sunday’s focus. We will share each blog early, so that you have time to read it before the forthcoming Sunday, in case you find any of those ideas helpful for your particular class.

Here’s a meditation on the Sunday of St. Gregory of Palamas for you to ponder before you create a lesson for your students:

On this second Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate St. Gregory of Palamas’ successful defense of the Orthodox belief that humans can both know and experience God. He asserted that we can know with our minds that God exists, and we can also experience Him through His uncreated energies. This flew in the face of the teachings of Barlaam, a critic of St. Gregory’s and of Hesychasm in general.

St. Gregory was born in 1296 to a prominent family in Constantinople. His father died when Gregory was still young. The youth was so bright and hardworking that the emperor himself took interest in Gregory, helping to raise and educate him in the hopes that he would one day hold a high government position.

Church School Teacher Development Workshop

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, West St. Paul, MN, will welcome AODCE Director Carole Buleza to conduct a teacher development workshop this spring. Please join us on Saturday, May 4, 2019, to learn more about serving your parish community as a church school teacher or substitute.

Courses for the day include "Overview of Orthodoxy," during which we’ll review the foundational doctrines of our Faith and interactive ways of teaching our children as they grow. "New Methods in Teaching" will have us discussing lesson planning, productive classroom environments and brain-based learning. Our final course, "Moral Issues," will allow us to explore topics our older youth face and the Orthodox perspective on each.

To register for this event, please see the attached documents or contact Christina Worrall at worral.christina@gmail.com or 571-334-2306.

If you are interested in hosting a teacher training for your parish, please contact Leslie Atherholt at aodce.events@gmail.com or 717-747-5221.

Registration form
Download the flier
Course descriptions
Workshop schedule

Spring 2019 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2019 issue of DIAKONIA, the newsletter of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, is now available online. This issue features the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, and includes a message from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. Sayidna writes, "Every year, the Metropolitan gives the Antiochian Women a project for a charitable and worthy cause. Over the decades, we have helped those within and those without the Archdiocese, both here and overseas. This year we have a special project that will touch the lives of both adults and children in our Archdiocese. That project is the building of a new Cathedral at the Antiochian Village.

In this issue, Bishop Basil also reflects: "The ministry of women within and to the Body of Christ, whether to Our Savior personally or to the least of His brethren, has been shown forth in so many lives of the saints—most especially of the Most Holy Mother of God, the Myrrh-bearing Women, and other female saints of the Church."

Also included are messages from Spiritual Advisor Fr. Christopher Morris, President Jaclyn Al-Hanna-Ferris, introductions to the diocesan board, and reports and photos from diocesan chapters. Read the issue here!

Lenten Sundays Series: The Sunday of Orthodoxy

This is the third in a series of posts that focuses on the Sundays of Great Lent (and Holy Week and Pascha). Each week we will share ideas of ways to help your Sunday Church School students learn more about that particular Sunday’s focus. We will share each blog early, so that you have time to read it before the forthcoming Sunday, in case you find any of those ideas helpful for your particular class.

Here’s a meditation on the Sunday of Orthodoxy for you to ponder before you create a lesson for your students:

On this first Sunday of Great Lent, we celebrate the return of icons into the life of the Church. In 726, the Iconoclastic Controversy began. The iconoclasts were people who were convinced that icons did not belong in the church. They considered the icons to be heresy, because they believed that the Orthodox were worshipping the icons, and God commanded us not to worship graven images.

But Orthodoxy has always clearly taught that we worship God, and no one - and nothing - else. We venerate icons, because we respect and honor these people who have loved God so completely, and we also honor Christ as we see Him reflected in their life. And that is not the only reason that it is proper to have and venerate icons. More importantly, since Christ took on human flesh, He has become visible and tangible. As a result, we can make an icon of Him, because we know how He looks. (In fact, He Himself made the first icon, the “Icon-not-made-with-hands”!) Icons help to solidify for us the incarnation of Christ.

St. George Class Enjoys Creative Workshop

March, 2019

Anna-Sarah Farha, Christian Education Coordinator for the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, attends St. George in Jacksonville, FL. Recently she shared these photos (click "Read More") of the Kindergarten and First Grade class at St. George, busily writing and decorating in a creative workshop featuring this year's Creative Festivals theme. Students were introduced to the theme—"Antiochian Village: Past, Present, & Future; 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' (Philippians 4:13)," and then were able to decorate sugar cookie arches resembling the arch at Antiochian Village. "Of course, the boys ate their arches at the end of class," Anna-Sarah said with humor. Students also worked on their written entries.

2019 AWE Lenten Retreat is March 29–31, 2019

Dear Sisters in Christ!

Christ is in our Midst! He is and ever shall be! It is that time again, for our Women's Lenten Retreat. We had such a wonderful turnout last year at the retreat. I am excited for this year's retreat. I hope you are too.

This year, the 2019 AWE Lenten Retreat is entitled, "Pray, Fast, Give" with Keynote Speaker, Fr. Charles Nicholas Baz, in loving memory of all of our Hierarchs who have fallen asleep in the Lord and are laid to rest at the Village from March 29–31, 2019, at Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA. Join us for a weekend of prayer, fellowship, and learning.

Please see the attached flyer and the attached schedule.

We want you all to attend! The deadline is March 22, 2019. REGISTER HERE!

We had such a wonderful time last year, meeting each other, spending time together in worship and fellowship. I really pray that many of you will plan to attend this year as well!

Your Sister in Christ!

Rula Khoury
AWE President

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