Education Archive

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A Message From Fr. Lou – Freedom!!

“Speak more to God about your children than to your children about God… The soul of the teenager is in a state of an explosion of freedom. For this reason he has a hard time accepting various counsels. So, rather than counselling him continuously and reproaching him again and again, leave the situation to Christ, to the Panayia and to the saints, asking them to bring him to reason.” Elder Epiphanios of Greece
The above quotation is one of my favorites. I offer it now as we prepare to again celebrate Independence Day. Thank God we live in a free country. We have so much for which to be thankful. The connection of the quotation that got my attention was the reference to freedom and in particular the teenage “state of explosion of freedom.” Of course we all long for freedom. God has created us to be free. Whereas anyone who has lived through those teenager years and had children who have lived or are living those years understands the challenges. It occurs to me however, that this is not just a teenage phenomenon. Whether we are children, teenagers or adults – of all ages, all too often our longing for freedom manifests itself in an immature and destructive attitude of self-centeredness and self-indulgence. St. Paul says it in this manner: “For you brethren have been called to freedom; only do not use freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself…I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust for flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and there are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:13-18).
Immature freedom tends to desire first things of this material realm which are temporary and fleeting. Mature freedom focuses on those things which are not limited, such as “… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22) They are the fruits of the Spirit.
If we care about or love anyone, not just our children – it behooves us to “speak more to God about ‘them’ than to speak to ‘them’ about God.” Mature freedom then involves our love and care in prayer for others. To be free is to be and become a lover of God by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Freedom! As we celebrate yet another 4th of July Independence Day, let’s be thankful for the freedoms that we enjoy. Consider in our own lives if the freedom that we live out is mature or immature. By God’s Grace and our humble acceptance of His Grace may we be mature in our choices – giving and living in love for God and others.
Our Lord’s blessings,
Fr. Lou

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“SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD”

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

The greatest sermon of all time, “The Sermon on the Mount” is recorded in Matthew, Chapters 5-7 and delivered by our Lord to His disciples and a great crowd of onlookers. In Chapter 6, verse 33 of this sermon, our Lord Jesus reminds us that the proper focus of life is on the Kingdom of God. When we focus on our Lord, everything else will fall into place.

At our Clergy/Laity and Philoptochos Congress in the Summer of 2008, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios chose the theme, “Gather My People to My Home.” He then challenged all Parishes to endeavor to reach out and include all Orthodox and those interested in our Orthodox Faith. We therefore have made some changes outlined below in order to assist each of you in your faith commitment .

We look to begin our New Ecclesiastical year, September 1, with a renewed commitment of our lives to our Lord. “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God”, is the theme of our Orthodox walk in general and this year in particular, our focus for Religious Education. For two years we have used an interactive teaching model for our early childhood and primary children that was taught on either Wednesday evenings or Sunday mornings. We have decided this year to once again have ALL of our Religious Education classes for children on Sunday mornings. We will continue our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Curriculum for the Preschool and Kindergarten age group and augment our curriculum for older children.
There are several changes in the Sunday Schedule which are listed below:

8:15am – Orthros
9:20am – Doxology
9:30am – Divine Liturgy
10:35 -11:35am – Church School For Children (Leave after Holy Communion)
11:10 – Coffee Hour

Please note that the biggest change is not only going back to Sundays, but having Church School AFTER rather then before Divine Liturgy, and that Liturgy will begin at 9:30am all year round, rather than only in the summer months.
Please do your very best to get to Divine Liturgy at 9:30am with your children. We plan to have a short sermonette for them after the Gospel. The children with their teachers will be the first to receive Holy Communion and proceed directly to their classes at 10:35am. The adult sermon and extra services will happen at the end of the Liturgy after which adults will proceed to Coffee Hour and shortly thereafter classes will be dismissed.

Wednesday Fellowship Nights will not have religious education for children. We will, however, continue to have classes for adults (the schedule will be posted in August) and babysitting will be available. We are exploring other activities for children on Wednesday nights and GOYA will have Basketball practices in the fall.

We also look forward to beginning a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-per-week Internet Radio Program in conjunction with OCN (Orthodox Christian Network). We intend to weekly highlight a Gospel reading and the life of a saint for the spiritual growth of our parishioners.

The Church School registration form is on page 5 (also available on our website); please send it back to the Church Office (Attn: Alina Buzdugan) by August 15. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Fr. Dino or Suzanne Magerko.
Let us begin this Ecclesiastical year “Seeking first the Kingdom of God.”

With our Lord’s Blessings,

Fr. Lou