Living the Nativity in our Little Churches

    I just returned from Holy Trinity Cathedral in Portland, where I spoke with some lovely parents about how we live the Nativity Fast, how we help our children prepare their hearts for Christmas. Think of the story of His birth: When Herod called for the census, Joseph and Mary had no choice but to head for Bethlehem to be counted. Mary was large and pregnant, and would be giving birth soon. They…

Prosphora & Theosis: Teaching Transformation

God became man so that man might become God. – St. Athanasius One of the most concrete and wonderful ways children can participate in the life of the Church is to bake the communion bread. Bread-making takes a little while, and it calls for patience, but while our hands are busy, we can teach our children about offering (“Prosphora”) and transformation, and the ways in which God will change this bread, and…

Bible Story Resources

On an upcoming podcast, while considering how we read Bible Stories to our children, I mention a few Orthodox Bible story collections.  I thought I’d post these resources here for your reference in case you’re in the market for a new Bible Story book: For elementary-aged children, I love  A Sacred History For Children, by a Russian Orthodox priest, Fr. P. Vozdvizhensky, and translated from the Russian by Tatiana Marr and adapted by Nancy Mirolovich.  It narrates the…

The Nativity Fast!

The Nativity Fast begins soon (even sooner on the New Calendar) and it’s time to think about how we will lead our families in this time of preparation for Christ’s Nativity. When we celebrate the feasts of the Church, we Orthodox do not simply note the anniversary of an event, but we enter into it — our earthly timeline gives way to the eternal, and we simply step into the Nativity. So…

Angels — Resources

The latest podcast episode is up, focusing on how angels really are.  While the average American may believe that dead people become angels (after they do some good deeds, triggering a bell to ring and wings to grow), we Orthodox have a clear understanding that they’re not human at all. In the course of the episode, I recommended an excellent book:  Joel J. Miller’s Lifted by Angels: the presence and power of our…

Special Needs in the Sunday School Classroom

Every year, we invite parents to add “Notes” to their student’s Sunday School registration. Is there anything we should know about your child?  Any special needs, dietary restrictions?  Please offer any information you feel would be helpful to your child’s teacher. We hope that any parent who knows that their child could benefit from special techniques or approaches will offer that information here, or at least be reminded to approach the Sunday…