Children’s Book Authors Offering Free Lesson Plans

There’s a wonderful new trend in children’s publishing that will benefit Sunday Schools, homeschoolers, and anyone who who would enjoy using a beautiful children’s book as a springboard to deeper learning: authors are creating lesson plans and suggestions for further conversation to accompany their books! Whether you are trying to find a great activity for your youth group, looking for ideas to keep Sunday School exciting, or just hoping to have great…

Ornaments for the Nativity Fast!

As my kids have grown up, I’ve been adapting ‘Jesse Trees’ to prepare us for Christmas. There is something wonderful about the idea of an Advent Calendar that moves through the Old Testament stories, carrying us toward the birth of Christ. Without an Orthodox Jesse Tree, most of us adapt Western models — which is tricky, and not just because our Advent is 40 days long while theirs is only 25. Our…

A Letter to the Parents, from the Sunday School

This weekend is Labor Day weekend — the last weekend of summer — and next week, we’ll begin Sunday School! The teachers met this week to talk about the upcoming curriculum change as we move to a parish-wide curriculum. Please: – register your kids online for Sunday School, if you haven’t already. – consider purchasing some non-perishable snacks (the more they are nut-free, dairy-free and gluten-free, the more helpful they’ll be!) and…

Talking about Death & Grieving with Children

When we were in our early twenties, my husband’s godfather passed away.  As Marko struggled with grief and sadness and the loss of his beloved kum, he also struggled with the idea of death itself — why do we die, what happens to us after death, and how do we hold on to the faith that we will truly meet again in the Kingdom of Heaven. As he worked through it all,…

A Year of Good Ideas for your Youth Group, Young Adult & Family Ministries

If you’re finding that it’s hard to figure out what exactly to do with your youth group (whether they’re younger kids, teens, college students or young adults) Y2AM (the Department of Youth & Young Adult Ministry at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese) has a free set of plans for you!  They’ve considered what the ideal ministry program would be: it would create a loving and comfortable space in which people can discuss their spiritual…

Keynote Speaker at Family Ministry Conference in September

I will be one of three Keynote Speakers at the upcoming Family Ministry Conference, hosted by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese!  Joining me are Met. Savvas of Pittsburgh, and Steve Christoforou of Y2AM. I’m looking forward to the various workshops and intensive sessions, and I can’t wait to spend some time with a huge group of people as interested in building Orthodox families as I am. We even have a FOCUS North America…