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Using the Theme Throughout the Year 2014

Symbols: Hearts (symbolizing love) and/or The Ten Commandments

Scripture: Luke 10:27

Icon: The Good Samaritan

Songs: “God is the Boss” “Love is a Verb”

Throughout the Church School Year: Use the logo and symbols on room signs, letterhead, bulletin announcements, bulletin boards and posters, as clip art, crafts, gifts and incentives. Oriental Trading ( sells various craft kits with the theme “God is Love.”

They also have Ten Commandments resources such as "My Book of the 10 Commandments" craft kit, "Color Your Own 'All About the 10 Commandments' Posters" "10 Commandments" activity books, "10 Commandments Foam Shapes", and "Magic Color Scratch 'Ten Commandments' Tablets.

Teach the students one of the Ten Commandments each month, (or two commandments during one or two of the months in order to cover all of them during the school year). Have the students discuss and list ways in which they can live out each of these commandments. Focus on the idea that we want to keep the commandments because of our love for God.

A few "Good Samaritan" items are also available from Oriental Trading:

Incentives: Using a chart with each child's name on it, place a sticker for each thing you are trying to encourage (attendance, being on time, memorization, class participation, attending extra services, participation in a service project, etc.) When this chart is filled up, reward the child with a small theme-related gift, or use a points system to save up for bigger gifts or outings.

Lesson Plans: Downloadable lesson plans are provided by AODCE for various grade levels at

Theme Day: Plan a day relating to the theme. Have centers or stations for the different Festivals- one for art, photography, poetry, and creative writing. Participate in service projects, hold special collections and donate the proceeds, hold Bible & Icon studies that relate to the theme, and teach the theme song.

Saints Festival: Hold a Saints Festival. (This is especially good in the month of October as an alternative to Halloween, but it can be held at any time.) Have the children dress in costume as a saint or Biblical figure. Teach them about Moses and the Ten Commandments. Do some of the crafts and activities available from Oriental Trading mentioned in the "Throughout the Church School Year" section above. Provide snacks, play games, and award prizes. Make learning fun!

Valentine's Day: This would be the perfect time to show others love. Make valentines and give them to elderly members of your congregation or distribute them at a local nursing home. Valentines could also be distributed to children in the hospital. Since donations to food banks tend to decline after the holidays, this would be a good time to conduct a food drive.

Service Projects: Adopt a charitable organization to help throughout the year. Be sure to check out these Orthodox ones- Food for Hungry People, FOCUS North America, Project Mexico, OCMC (Orthodox Christian Mission Center) and IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities).

"HUGS" Ministry (developed by Kh. Gigi Shadid):

Used for
Have you hugged someone today?

Vision: Embody Christ's commission in Matthew 25:31-46
(focusing on those who are: hungry, thirsty, naked, prisoners, strangers, & sick)

Mission: Engage our church school children in acts of service, both small and great, to those in need.

Purpose: To use our hands in various ways of service to our neighbor, seeing the face of Christ in each person.
Each year, we would like our church school classes to participate in a service activity that we have suggested below. We want to instill in our children a spirit of gratitude and service, for Christ said, "Do it to the least of these my brethren and you do it to Me" (Matthew 25:40).

Pre-K/K Give hugs to family and friends;
saying "Thank you" as a way to show love.
1st Grade Opening doors, letting others go first, sharing toys, etc. (stranger)
2nd Grade Classroom canned food drive (choose a month) (hungry)
3rd Grade Serving drinks (i.e. at home, instill spirit of hospitality) (thirsty)
4th Grade Phone calls to shut-ins during Sunday School (periodically) (sick)
5th Grade Write letters of encouragement to those in prison* (prisoner)
6th Grade Clothing Drive (i.e. coat drive – choose a month) (naked)
7th Grade Cleaning the church sanctuary after services  
8th Grade Serving coffee at coffee hour (i.e. once a month) (thirsty)
9th Grade Shoe drive, new & used (choose a month) (naked)
10th Grade Be a greeter once a month/mentor with ushers (stranger)
11th Grade Food drive (choose a month) – contest with 2nd grade (hungry)
12th Grade Visit a nursing home or shut in from church;
bring that person holy bread & the bulletin

* Do this through an organization with supervision. Do not allow children to give out any personal information.

Essential Questions for discussion:

  • How are we using our hands and our feet?
  • How can we use our hands and our feet to serve God? (@ HOME, @ SCHOOL, @ CHURCH, on the FIELD, @ WORK, etc.)
  • Have I hugged someone today?
  • How can we give 'spiritual' hugs to someone?
  • Who are "the least of these"?

"Thanks for the HUG!"