Skip to Navigation

WELCOME!

The Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education (AODCE) supports church school directors, teachers, parents, and all who participate in the work of Christian education on the local level.

NEWS YOU CAN USE

September 4, 2020

New! Church School Resources Fall 2020
And its companion file, PDF Resource Folder
   Ideas for Teen Classes
   Important Zoom Settings
   Icebreakers
   Platforms and Resources for Virtual Classes
   Getting Parents on Board
   Fr. Tony's Advice
   Effective Zoom Lessons

Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

The new Church School year is precisely that, is it not? In July I convened a committee of our Diocesan Christian Education Coordinators to determine how we could help our parishes. We invited several Church School Directors to meet with us and began brainstorming on what our Church School personnel needed for virtual classes, and then met in task groups to research and address the needs. We were a committee of sixteen!

Our first thought was to research possible programs for virtual learning. We have presented at the outset of the resource table, “Church School Resources Fall 2020.” Some are year-long programs, and others are partial-year, useful for parishes like my own with classes once a month. Most listings are free downloads, while others have a price. In my not-yet-finished video of “Church School Resources Fall 2020” I will be showing samples of those for purchase to help your decision making. At the top of the resource table, which contains entries from Programs to Articles to Facebook pages, I explain how the listings are categorized so you are not overwhelmed.

Is it so important to have church school? Sophie Koulomzin, founder of the Orthodox Christian Education Commission insightfully wrote, “In the experience of a child, the Church School stands as an image of the Church.” (Our Church and Our Children, SVS Press, 106). The Church School is the “welcoming place” for our children on behalf of the whole Church. It provides a space for our children to share in learning and understanding their faith and their lives. It does this whether in person or virtual.

Our classes will be brief this year, no more than 25 minutes. Our primary purpose is to continue the students’ relationship with their teachers and classmates. Secondary to this is to keep the students growing in the faith. Let’s consider our classes, “Church School Lite,” and go into the year with a sense of adventure! So, brothers and sisters, can we do this? Christ is in our midst--you know we can, and we will! Expect a blessed year.

Thankful for all of you, 

Carole A. Buleza
Department of Christian Education

View our latest (1.20.2020) comprehensive ONLINE RESOURCE LIST for Teachers and Parents! 

Church School Directors, we hope to get a community together who can help one another by sharing their experiences. Check in with our Facebook page.

If you have not registered for the listserv, please email the department, at aodce@aol.com or Anna-Sarah at aodce.csdirectors@gmail.com with your name and parish.

The Christian Ed Materials and Order Form  is now available for download! Download and use this new form to order materials for your parish program! Be sure to see the revised Billing and Shipping/handling sections of the order form. Also, visit the Antiochian Village Bookstore and Giftshop for your gift needs for Sunday School and home.

Resources for Parents During Covid-19  (rev. 6/24) 
And its companion file, Printable Prayer Resources (rev. 6/1)

FEATURED EVENT

The Great Feasts: The Life of Our Lord

By Carole Buleza

The Twelve Great Feasts and Pascha, taken together, are an overview of the life of our Lord. While it is important for our children to know about His miracles and teachings, it is just as important for them to know the main events of His life story. Our salvation resides in His life. Furthermore, just as we are baptized into Him, our own story—our life—must rest on His. Jesus' life comprises the "foundational story" for Christians. A foundational story answers the ultimate questions of life, death and why we are here, and guides our thoughts, values, and actions. The Christian story provides answers to all these questions and gives us the virtues of faith, hope, and love that, even if not recognized as such, influence our attitudes and actions and curb the anxiety that comes from unexpected events and uncertain times. It is a strong foundation.

Visit The Great Feasts: the Life of Our Lord Program for curriculum and supplementary resources

 

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR DIRECTORS

An Active and Growing Sunday Church School

An Interview with Rebecca Likiardopoulos
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Wichita, Kansas

Rebecca is serving her first year as Church School Director at St. George Cathedral. There are usually 75-90 students attending each Sunday, and the program is seeing growth, especially in preschool through second grade classes. As the second half of the 2019-2020 school year has been affected by a global COVID-19 pandemic - with temporary closure of churches and church schools - this interview includes a special look back at St. George VBS 2019.   


Which curricula is used for Sunday classes?

Our classes utilize a mix of curriculums; our rubric is based on the Archdiocese’s recommendations. This year we are trying out “My Orthodox Church”, the new 7-questions middle school curriculum.

How is Church School organized for Sunday classes and how many teachers are assigned to each class?

This year we have 6 classes: pre-K, K, 1&2, 3/4/5, Middle and High school. They are usually broken up by enrollment numbers and applicable grades. Because we have so many little ones, next year we will probably have pre-K, K, 1, and 2 as individual classes. We try to have at least 2 teachers per class to help share the load and provide coverage. The goal is to have those with teaching credentials or experience on staff. That is not always possible, but the goal. I also try to get at least one helper for class to help with snacks, getting supplies etc.

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR TEACHERS 

On the Liturgical Year for Teachers: Great Lent

This series of blog posts will offer basic information and resources regarding the liturgical year. It is our hope that Sunday Church School teachers will find this series helpful as they live the liturgical year with their students. The series will follow the church year in sections, as divided in the book The Year of Grace of the Lord: a Scriptural and Liturgical Commentary on the Calendar of the Orthodox Church by a monk of the Eastern Church. May God bless His Church throughout this year!

Great Lent consists of the 40 days leading to Holy Week, which, in turn, immediately precedes Pascha. Since its early days, Great Lent has been observed as a time of penitence, spiritual growth, and illumination. Although it is a time of great spiritual struggle, it is also a time of deep joy for Orthodox Christians, as we prepare our hearts to experience Christ's Passion and Resurrection.

FEATURED ARTICLE FOR PARENTS 

Holy Week Services Booklet

Especially this year when many families are celebrating this holy season at home with the help of YouTube or Facebook, the Department of Christian Ed is offering a booklet for download that details in text and photos the services of Holy Week and Pascha. 

We are grateful to Kh. Erin Kimmett and the Orthodox Christian Education Commission for use of the publication, "Teaching Pics," that we may recall to our children these holiest of services as we worship together in our hearts and in our homes, ever-united by the Holy Spirit.

Download The Services of Holy Week and Pascha