Hello Sunday School Students and Families,
Below is the Sunday School class schedule for February 2024:
February 4 Worship and Classes; Sunday School readers for Commemoration of the Three Hierarchs
February 10 Bible Bowl at St Sophia 10am-2pm
February 11 Worship and Classes
February 18 No Classes, Presidents Day Weekend
February 26 Worship and Classes
Readers for Commemoration of the Three Hierarchs - On Sunday, February 4, 2024, at the end of Liturgy, Evva Kanellopoulos and James Kennedy will represent the Sunday School by reading short biographies of the Three Hierarchs being remembered on this day: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom. We are very proud of Evva and James for volunteering to share the life stories of these 3 holy men, who are so important to the theology and practice of our Orthodox faith. Thank you, Evva and James!
Readers for Divine Liturgy - Please encourage your children to volunteer to read the Epistle or the Communion Prayer during Divine Liturgy. This is a great way for your child to become involved in the worship of our faith. We will send you the reading(s) ahead of time so that your child can practice and become comfortable with the texts beforehand. Please be sure that your child is dressed appropriately for church on the day when he or she is scheduled to read- modestly and respectfully, as is common for all weekly services, a special Feast Day, or when celebrating a Holy Sacrament of the church. For example, athletic or workout clothes would not be appropriate for a reader to wear while leading the congregation in prayer or a reading from the Holy Bible. To volunteer your child, or to ask a question, please contact Miss Sophia and Miss Jane at email@example.com.
2024 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival- Here is a letter from our Oratorical Festival Chairs:
The St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival is an awesome program offered each year to 7th - 12th graders to prepare a speech and compete (if they choose to) by presenting it at our parish level event (TBD - est. Late February). From there the winners will compete at the District, Metropolis and Archdiocesan levels.
Jesus said “have you never read, out of the mouths of babes thou hast perfect praise” (Matt. 21:16). The backstory here is that children were speaking and glorifying Jesus as God. According to St. John Chrysostom, Jesus said “out of the mouths” because He put those words in their minds to utter them.
This is important, because some of our children think that they are not speakers or they are afraid to participate in this Oratorical Festival. They will be inspired through their research to gain wisdom and understanding and in the process, enlighten those who are fortunate enough to hear them speak.
As Christians we are called to be salt and light. We are to help shape hearts and minds and have a say in the big ideas that are discussed in the world. And the most important people in these discussions are our youth - they are wise, inspired, uncorrupted and most of the time amaze us with their insights.
I encourage you to encourage your children to seriously consider participating. Not only do we all need to hear topics from an Orthodox perspective, but we need to hear them articulated by the best among us. Of course, public speaking can be intimidating and even the best speakers are nervous, but we should not let perfection paralyze us. Of course, this experience is also one that can help motivate them to do more of it and also give them experience in a loving setting for a skill that will be required of them in their future education and careers.
Advisors are available to help with topic selection, outlines, writing and developing their thoughts into an Oratorical presentation. Time flies and we would love to start working with your children on their essay/speech.
Please let us know if you have any questions. The topics, listed below, along with further information, are also available online by using this link:
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ORATORICAL FESTIVAL 2024 TOPICS
1. His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has earned the title of the Green Patriarch, and was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, for His teachings about humanity's spiritual responsibility for taking care of God's creation — planet earth. His All-Holiness stands on the shoulders of Saints, who taught that the world is a gift from God, and that taking care of His creation is a way to connect with God. Explore and discuss the teachings of His All-Holiness and the Saints on the creation of the world. What are some of our practical responsibilities as stewards of our planet, and how does that enrich our lives as Christians?
2. Many of us have heroes to whom we look up. It may be an older brother or sister, an athlete, or a musician. We have heroes in our religious life, as well as people who inspire us to practice our faith. They teach us, usually by example, how we ought to live as Orthodox Christians. Select a Saint or person who has been the most influential in your spiritual life. Describe the particular and practical ways that influence has taken place.
3. On the Day of Theophany (January 6), we chant, "All those who were baptized in Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27). Discuss the meaning of this hymn and the obligations it places upon us as Orthodox Christians.
4. When reading the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32), we learn about the various stages of repentance. What are they? How do they relate to the reversal of the son's journey away from the father? What does the father's reaction upon seeing his son teach us about our relationship to our Father in Heaven?
5. The Orthodox Church has a rich heritage of sacred hymns that "contribute radiant and poetic splendor to Orthodox worship," thus, opening the way to God. Select your favorite Church hymn and talk about how it strengthens your faith.
1. Slandered without cause, convicted without a trial, exiled unjustly — this was the life endured by one of the greatest saints of our times — Saint Nektarios of Aegina. Forgiving others who hurt us that deeply and unjustly seems almost impossible. What can we learn from Saint Nektarios, whose life was about forgiving what some might call the impossible?
2. Apostle Paul refers to Adam as the first man, and Christ as the Second Adam. The Fathers of the Church, especially Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, refer to Christ and Panagia as the Second Adam and the Second Eve. Why is the Most Holy Theotokos called the "Second Eve"? And why is Christ called the "Second Adam?" How do Christ and Panagia fulfill and go beyond their prototypes?
3. Christ says, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke22:1). He also says, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53). Explore the Orthodox teaching on the Eucharist by reading the prayers of the Divine Liturgy the writings of one or more Church Fathers.
4. The number of natural disasters worldwide continues to increase, resulting in more communities destroyed and more lives lost. How would you respond to someone who questions why God allows natural disasters to happen when we know God can intervene at any moment? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, how can He allow evil things to happen?
5. During the Divine Liturgy, before the Consecration of the Holy Gifts, we hear the priest say the following: "Your own of Your own we offer to You, in all and for all." What does this petition mean to you as an Orthodox Christian? Why is it important for us to focus on giving back out of the gifts we have been given by God?
Delaware Valley District St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival - On Saturday, April 6, 2024, it will be St. Luke’s honor to host the Delaware Valley District Oratorical Festival, the next level of competition beyond the Parish Festival. In order to properly welcome speakers, families, and clergy from nearly all of the 13 churches in this District, we will need volunteers to help with both breakfast and lunch set up and clean up. More details to come, but if you would like to help St. Luke’s shine on April 6, please contact Miss Jane and Miss Sophia at firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience. Thank you in advance for supporting our efforts!
Questions about Sunday School? Please contact Or, visit https://www.ss.st-luke.org, which will be updated throughout the year with additional information and resources for families.