“The purpose of Orthodox Christian Education (catechesis) is to help build up the Church, the Body of Christ, by nurturing every person in the life of personal communion with the Holy Trinity (theosis), and thus, through this ministry, to bear joyful witness to God’s loving and redeeming work in the world.” (from our Archdiocese)
The Sunday School’s mission is not actually to teach the Orthodox faith to children.
The Orthodox faith cannot be taught in less than an hour a week. We can talk about the faith, we can fill them in on the symbolism and the connections and the meanings of the words they’re hearing in church, but Orthodoxy is a lived faith. It’s a mindset we take on every day, as we attempt to remember God at all times. Orthodoxy is not a list of sacraments or a system of rules to memorize; it’s a life lived in personal communion with the Holy Trinity.
Sunday School cannot give that to your children — only the family can instill the faith, because we don’t live in classrooms or parishes but in our family households.
The mission of the Sunday School is to support the parents as they lead their Orthodox family. All year long, we’ll be working to inspire and encourage and equip your efforts at home.
It is time to reconsider and to rebuild our family routines and schedules in a way that honors our truest mission: to lead our children and one another along the road to the Kingdom of God. The Sunday School and St. Demetrios youth and young adult ministries (GOYA, Hope and JOY, YAM ) will be there, right by your side.
Throughout the traditional school year, students from preschool through 12th grade are invited to join our Sunday Church School classes. Students are the first to be dismissed after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.
The school year opens with our Annual Back-To-School Blessing of the Back-Packs and concludes with the Annual Sunday Church School Bible-bowl and Family Day Picnic, in which classes demonstrate their knowledge in an energetic and friendly competition.
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Students should arrive at the beginning of Divine Liturgy and sit with their parents. After receiving Antidoro (Blessed Bread), they should walk quietly to their classrooms. Our Sunday School program assumes that our students are truly engaging in the sacramental life of the Church, so it would not be appropriate to miss all or part of the Divine Liturgy before class.
Classes are 45 minutes long. Unless your child is very young (preschool or pre-Kindergarten) please wait for them to come to you. Please do not go to the classroom to take your child out early. If you have an unavoidable need to remove them early, please notify the teacher with a note and we will dismiss your child out of class at the requested time.
Children should attend regularly to benefit from the program taught.
Please help your child follow these rules while on church property, in order to ensure a safe and loving environment:
- Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
- Take care of church property.
- Show respect to others.
Here are some concrete ways that you can help strengthen the foundation of your child’s religious education:
- Bring your child to Church at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy.
- Read the week’s Scripture lesson together before Sunday.
- Be consistent. Attend Church regularly. Your child’s regular attendance in the classroom is vital to the flow of information and to your child’s feelings of group membership and acceptance.
- Get to know your child’s Sunday School teachers. Be aware of what your child is learning in class and how your child is behaving.
- After church on Sunday, ask your child about the lesson he or she learned in Sunday School. Discuss the lesson as a family, after church on Sunday and throughout the week.
- Practice the faith at home, observe fast days and schedule family prayer time. Orthodoxy is a lived faith; it cannot be taught once a week, but is in the rhythm of the home and in the constant habits of prayer and awareness of God modeled by parents. Children are great imitators — what they see you do, you will see them do. If you would like see Christ take root in their hearts, bring Him into your home.
Our Sunday School program and all of our Youth Ministries rely on the work of volunteers. We could really use your help! If you are interested in offering your time and talents for any ministry, please contact the listed coordinator or the church office.
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St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival
As part of our Sunday School program, our parish participates in the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. Students in the Junior (7th – 9th grades) and Senior (10th – 12th grades) Divisions are given the opportunity to select and research one of several topics announced annually by the Archdiocese Department of Religious Education, and to compete in our Parish Oratorical Festival. The top speakers proceed to represent our parish in the Metropolis of Denver Oratorical Festival; the top speakers from this festival compete at the national level, at the Archdiocese Finals.
For more detailed information, please visit our Oratorical site.