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Using the Theme Throughout the Year 2017

Theme: "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." (Mark 11:17)

Symbol: Church

Icon: The Cleansing of the Temple

Theme Song: "My House Shall Be Called a House of Prayer"
www.antiochian.org/festivals/cf/theme-song-2017

Lesson Plans: Downloadable lesson plans are provided for age levels ranging from preschool to high school.
www.antiochian.org/festivals/cf/lesson-plans-2017

Children's Picture Book: Josiah and Julia Go to Church by Kelly Ramke Lardin illustrates examples of proper and improper church behavior and is geared toward young children.
store.ancientfaith.com/josiah-and-julia-go-to-church

Children's Prayer Books:
store.ancientfaith.com/childrens-orthodox-prayer-book

Prayer Book for Teens:
store.ancientfaith.com/hear-me-a-prayer-book-for-orthodox-young-adults

Other Resources: Build Your Own: Church is a 24 page construction kit for building a model of an Orthodox Church. Build Your Own: Iconostasis & Altar enables the students to learn the various parts of the sanctuary as well as the objects that are located there. Build Your Own: Bishop Priest & Deacon is also available. All three can be purchased through the Antiochian Village Bookstore.
store.antiochianvillage.org/Church-School-Materials

Article on Church Etiquette for Children and Adults: www.antiochian.org/christianeducation/etiquette

Throughout the Church School Year: Use the logo and/or symbol on name tags, room signs, letterhead, bulletin boards, posters, gifts, and incentives.

Items with a Multicultural Theme: Oriental Trading has many items that could be used to decorate the classroom, as small gifts for students, when teaching a lesson, for a Christmas Pageant, etc.

Here are some other ideas:

  1. Celebrate the various ethnicities in your parish by having a potluck during coffee hour where different ethnic foods are brought in by parishioners and various ethnic religious customs are shared.
  2. Hold an Open House and invite the community. Have the choir sing hymns, have the priest discuss some of the iconography in the church, or have a guest speaker, followed by coffee and dessert.
  3. Visit an Orthodox church in another jurisdiction or attend a Pan-Orthodox event in your community.
  4. Create a welcome packet for those who are new to the church.
  5. Support the missions, both domestic and abroad, and humanitarian organizations. Hold a fundraiser to donate money to the missions, or to the Pan-Orthodox organizations Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC).
  6. If anyone in your parish has been on a mission trip, have them share their experiences, photos, etc. If not, find pictures of churches around the world and share them with the students.
  7. Pray for those who go on mission trips.
  8. Learn to say "Lord have mercy" in different languages.
  9. Teach the students what type of behavior is acceptable in church and what is not.
  10. Encourage church attendance at other times in addition to Divine Liturgy on SundayVespers, Orthros, Feast Days, etc.
  11. Take the students on a "field trip" to the church. Describe the different sections of the church, point out various objects, identify and describe the icons, etc. If the priest or deacon would be available, ask them to show the students the Gospel Book, censer, or other religious objects used in worship.
  12. Discuss how we can keep our bodies as temples of God. (Take care of our health; don't smoke, drink, take drugs, no premarital sex; no swearing or gossiping about others, etc.)

At Christmas:

  1. Make gingerbread churches.
  2. Learn to say "Christ is Born! Glorify Him!" in different languages.

During Great Lent:

  1. Encourage attendance at Presanctified Liturgy and the services of Holy Week.
  2. Have the teens keep vigil over the tomb of Christ from the end of Friday Vespers until the Resurrection Services of Pascha.

At Pascha:

  1. See how many people you can find to read the Gospel in different languages as is done during Agape Vespers.
  2. Learn to say "Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!" in different languages.
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