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Church School News
By Aristea Zekios

Church School classes started on September 10. Father Andrew conducted a prayer service followed by a holy water blessing for the students and staff. Presently 54 students have been registered for the 2006/07 school year.

The late Dr. John Boojaamra in his book Foundations of Christian Education states, "Theosis, divinization of the person, should be the primary goal of any educational process and material that we devise. Part of our responsibility as parents, clergy, and educators is to help the baptized person become conscious of what the Holy Spirit has started in him."

Christian education involves the total parish. All members of the parish community are teachers. Christian education is not a once-a-week class, but a lifetime process. The staff of Saint Luke cannot possibly provide all that is necessary for your child's Christian education. We depend on you, the parents, to nurture your child in the Faith.

Please pray with your children. Read the Bible with them. Bring them to church for feastday and Sunday services. Help them observe Great Lent and attend Lenten services. Treat them to a Saturday night Vespers.

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

PLANS FOR THE 2006/07 SCHOOL YEAR

The staff prepared this calendar.

  • First Sunday of each Month - YO (Youth Organization) meeting
  • First Sunday of each Month - Father Andrew’s visit to the classes
  • Second Sunday of each Month - Icon Presentation
  • October 29/November 5 - Short environmental presentation by Dennis Dandeles emphasizing that we are stewards of God's creation
  • December 17 - Christmas Program
  • December 24 - No Class
  • December 31 - Fellowship & Craft Activities
  • March 25 - Lenten Retreat
  • April 8 .. Pascha - No class
  • June 10 - Awards Sunday

    CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

    Our staff submitted these brief course descriptions. We hope you will discuss these weekly lessons with your children in order to reinforce learning concepts. Our Church School program will be successful only if our students are present each Sunday. Parents, we are counting on you for your support!

    Toddlers: Pat Harrison

    A loving atmosphere is provided for our toddlers. As Jesus welcomed the little ones with open arms, this class makes their first steps in a Church community a happy experience. They learn about Jesus' love for us, the Saints, and things they see in church. They enjoy snacks, sing songs, make simple crafts, and become acquainted with their classmates.

    Pre-School: Elizabeth Wassilkowsky

    The Textbook for the 3 and 4 year olds is God, My Friends and Me and The Wonder of It All. Basic concepts and practices of the Orthodox faith are introduced at this age level. Since the attention span of the children is not long, I try to break up our time by doing several short activities. These activities are presented in a loving and caring atmosphere that includes a basic lesson, games, songs, prayers and crafts.

    During the year we will learn about the sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Communion as well as special liturgical holy days and feastdays. We will also learn about our Divine Liturgy and the things we see and hear in church.

    Bible stories that will be taught are from both the Old and New Testament. They include, Creation, Noah's Ark, Jonah, Moses, David and Goliath, Annunciation, Christ Birth, Jesus' Baptism, Calling of The Disciples, Jesus Feeds 5000, The Good Samaritan, Lost Sheep, Jesus and the Little Children, Zacchaeus, Palm Sunday, Easter, and Ascension. In addition we will learn simple Bible verses and prayers, fun songs and hymns from the Divine Liturgy.

    Kindergarten/First Grade: Cheryl Evangelopoulos/Suzanne Kopulos

    Our workbook is entitled, God Loves Us." The goal of this book is to lead children to experience God as our loving, caring, and forgiving Father, who is ever-present, and whose love is life-giving. The chapters each show that out of God's love and gift to us in his Son, we are to love and show others love, respect, forgiveness. Each lesson is accompanied with an in-class project and a take home activity to further reinforce the lesson during the week.

    Second/Third Grade: Lynn Betsanes/Pat Ketchmark

    From our workbook "God Gives Life," we are learning to be followers of Jesus. By studying the sacraments, we are beginning to see ourselves as one with Christ.

    We are currently working on class reports on the Saints after whom we were named. We are hoping by the end of the unit all students will be familiar with the lives of their Patronal Saint as well as those of their classmates. As the lives of the Saints are presented, it is our prayer that they will serve as role models. We will also be working on an icon unit where the children will make their own icons and have them blessed.

    Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Grade - Lynn Rizo/Mary Jo Werbiansky

    Our workbook "We Are God's People" further explains how we are united in the Body of Christ. We will see that not only are we united to God but to one another in Christ. The concept of Christian stewardship will be presented so that the students will see that there are many different ways in which we minister to one another through the gifts received from the Holy Spirit.

    They will explore various people of God through scriptural accounts of the life of the early Church. The stories of many Saints will help show that Christians respond to God's call in many different ways. They will meet some of these Saints who were apostles, martyrs, bishops, deacons, missionaries, and monastics.

    As all of this unfolds, it is our hope that these students will understand that God has called each of them to activate their Baptism and Chrismation through a life centered in Jesus Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church.

    Junior High - Aristea Zekios/Andrew Lukashonak

    Aristea & Andrew will be reviewing and expanding Bible knowledge throughout the year. Since Holy Scripture is an echo of the Church, the teachings of the Holy Orthodox faith will permeate every lesson. Living our lives as Orthodox Christians will be emphasized as these students cover two Junior High Level Series.

    Aristea will present a unit entitled "Knowing Christ" which is an account of the most important person who ever lived, Jesus Christ. The students will look back at how Christ blessed the lives of those who followed Him. They will understand that He walks beside us in the modern changing world. And in the future times, Christ continues to bless those who love and obey Him. They will see that "Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

    Andrew will present another unit entitled "Facing Up to Peer Pressure." This topic is crucial because studies show although parents remain the primary influence, peer pressure takes over after the age of 12. It is during this time that adolescents must make choices. This unit will present the teachings of Christ and our Holy Orthodox Church to help our students make Christian choices that adhere to the commandments of our Lord and Savior.

    High School: Christopher Dandeles/ Fr.Dn. Andrew Werbiansky

    The High School class meets three weeks every month. (The fourth Sunday is Youth Organization meeting with Lauren Dandeles.) My portion of the class focuses on our spirituality in our daily lives, rather than only thinking about our faith one day a week. We will focus on how to walk closer to the Lord through prayer, Bible study, developing a consistent Christian worldview, and discovering our identity as Christians. The class will consider how to make decisions that will be honorable to Christ and glorify His Church. Another objective is to create a classroom environment in which classmates will build lasting and affirming relationships with each other, and strengthen their relationship with Christ.

    MUSIC - Maria Vrame

    I will be teaching hymns and religious songs two Sundays each month. The students are divided into 2 levels. Audio tapes are made so that teachers can review the music for a few minutes during each Church School session. Our students have performed for various events such as St. Nicholas Sunday and June Church School closing. And we hope to show off our voices for more events this school year!

    Icon Presentation - Anthea Lukashonak

    This year's icon program will continue with a "changing of the guard," having both Anthea Lukashonak and Luke Kopulos share the responsibility of presenting a new icon to the classes on the second Sunday of each month. This year's icons will be: Our Lady of Perpetual Help (already presented in October), Our Lady of the Sign (Nov), The Weeping Icon of Mariapoch (Jan), Our Lady of Chestochowa "The Black Madonna" (Feb), Rublev's Trinity (April), and St. Thomas (May). The exceptions are the months of December due to the Christmas program and March due to Great Lent.

    Anthea and Luke look forward to this new ministry, learning and teaching about icons, and participating as part of the Saint Luke education program. The students really enjoyed and looked forward to the "Icon Lady" - Alexandria Lukashonak -- visiting their classrooms for the past 14 years. Alexandria's vast knowledge and experience will be a tough act to follow and we want to extend our greatest thanks to her for her years of teaching! It was fitting that the first icon presented this year was Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in which the Theotokos implores us to come to Her, as our Lord's loving mother, and to ask Her to intercede on our behalf - it was with a tear in her eye as Anthea took over this first presentation with the help of her mom, Alexandria, by her side.