Teach All Nations: Proclaiming the Gospel around the World

By Fr. John Matusiak, Dn. Michael Anderson, Dr. Constance Tarasar, Barbara Kucynda

Session   titles     

This   unit is intended to accomplish the following:

  1.
  To strengthen the participants’ sense of their Orthodox identity as part of
  the Church that has existed continuously from the time of Jesus Christ and the
  apostles to the present day  

2. To place the   basic message of the Church into an active context: i.e., to show how the   Good News delivered by Jesus Christ has been proclaimed by the Church to this   very day.

  3.
 
To make the students aware of the spread of the Church in times past,
  and the growth of the Church today. 

4. To foster an   appreciation for the history of the student’s parish and to allow them to   place that history into the broader framework of the Church’s experience.

  5. To
  enable adult parishioners to serve as resources for the children and to allow
  faithful of all ages to interact. 

6. To introduce a very basic,   thematic history of the Church in North America.

 

Age   and Grade Level  

 

Understanding   that Vacation Church Schools, Camps and many small Church Schools have participants   ranging in age from early elementary to high school, each session contains   several options from which the teacher can choose to best serve his or her   students. These options include objectives as well as ideas for discussion,   reflection and action. In general, ideas are organized in the following sections:   “A”is for younger participants approximately 7-9, “B”   is for ages 10-12(13), and “C”   is for teenagers.

    Occasionally, any given section may
  refer you back to another section. In such cases the ideas listed in that section
  can be used for both age groups. 

Reproducing   this unit: All educational units designed by our Unit on Education and   Community Life Ministries are designed to be reproduced locally. Every teacher   and staff member should have his or her own copy.

 

Additional Resources

In   addition to the texts mentioned in the session outlines, the following resources   are a great help to leaders as they prepare:

  1.
  Saints for All Ages - Available from the Orthodox Christian
  Publications Center, PO Box 588, Wayne, NJ 07470-0588; 201/694-5782; FAX 201/305-1478.


2.   Portraits of America Saints   - Compiled and edited by Father George A. Gray and Jan V. Bear. Written in   a simple and clear style, this 68-page book offers the lives of the American   saints and other important individuals in the life of the Orthodox Church   in North America. The book is available from the Diocese of the West, 650   Micheltorena Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026.

3.   Icon of saints who have shone   forth in North America - Ideal as a companion to Portraits of American   Saints, this icon depicts Saints Herman, Innocent, Tikhon, Juvenaly, Peter   the Aleut, Alexis Toth, John Kochurov, Jacob Netsvetov, and Alexander Hotovitsky,   along with Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny. It is available in various sizes from   the Orthodox Christian Publications Center (OCPC). See above.

4.   Bicentennial Icon of American Saints - This icon depicts the   Virgin Mary and child surrounded by Saints Herman, Innocent, Tikhon, Juvenaly,   and Peter the Aleut. It is also available in various sizes from OCPC.  

  5.
  Orthodox America - While this large red book is currently out
  of print, many priests and parishes have copies in their library.

The   following manuals offer a wealth of background information for teachers and   staff members. While you may have copies in your Church School supply room,   they may be ordered from the Orthodox Christian Education Commission 1/800-464-2744


6.   The Young Church - A 7th Grade Manual on the Acts   of the Apostles, The Young Church contains a variety of activities   and projects which can be adapted to some of the sessions.

7.   Heroes for Truth and New Frontiers - These manuals, originally   published for Junior High School students, offer a wealth of information on   the Church’s history and provide a comprehensive background for teachers and   staff.

Video   Presentations

8.   An American Destiny — Available from the Orthodox Christian Publications   Center.

9.   Unity - A video presentation on the history and vision of Orthodoxy   in North America. Available from St. Tikhon’s Seminary Bookstore.

Orthodox   Websites of Interest

The   following websites include historical information on the missionary growth   of the Church throughout the world.

Orthodox   Church in America Homepage: http://oca.org   — Check out links to the Orthodox Christians in North America book,   and parish home pages containing parish histories.

  The Ecumenical Patriarchate Homepage: http://www.patriarchate.org   — Check out the History Guide to the Patriarchate and About Patriarchate   links.

The   Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of New York and All North America   Homepage: http://www.antiochian.org   — Follow the Contents link to the History of the Patriarchate   of Antioch and its North American Archdiocese for information.  

The   Church of Russia Homepage: http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru   — The Historical background link has lots of information.

The   Church of Greece Homepage: http://www.eastorthodox.ariadnet.gr/eastorthodox/church_of_greece/index1.html   — Go to the History link.

  The Church of Alexandria, Egypt, and all Africa: http://www.greece.org/gopatalex/   — History of the Patriarchate link.

Important!  

Remember   that your preparedness and interest in the subject and in the participants   are invaluable. If you think that what you do together is important, the example   will rub off on them.  

Please   read and think about each session well before the time you teach it. You may   want to gather materials, consult with your priest about some point of information,   or get data from the parish library, public library, or an Orthodox book service   before the session. In addition, It is always a good idea to reflect on the   lesson several days before presenting it. Good ideas often come over time.

 
  Throughout
  the unit, questions are followed by basic answers in order to assist the teacher
  in guiding the discussion. Try not to give or look for the exact written answer.
  Rather, encourage students to discuss the question enough so that they will
  come up with an answer which includes the main ideas contained in the given
  answer, but in their own words. The more they can discuss these main ideas,
  the more they will learn. 

Begin   and end each session with a prayer [i.e., O Heavenly King, It is Truly   Meet]. It is important that participants understand that doing God’s will   is always achieved when we continuously call on His name for guidance. Check   with your parish priest about what would be most appropriate.

 
  Hints
 

 
The activities in this unit will be most successful if students participate
  in the Liturgical Services related to the feast of Pentecost and the commemoration
  of the various saints of North America: All Saints of North America (2nd
  Sunday after Pentecost); All Saints of Alaska (Sept. 24); St. Herman; St. Innocent;
  St. Juvenal; St. Peter the Aleut; St. Alexander Hotovitsky; St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre;
  St. John Kochurov. 

Finally,   be flexible and creative!
  This study unit demands local input, talent, and creativity. Do not be afraid   to alter the sessions to fit your own circumstances. The more you can make   this material relevant to the youth in your area, the more successful we all   will be.

  Let
  us hear from you!


 
If you use this unit, in its present form or in your own adapted fashion,   please let us know. Share your experience . . . and your photos for The   Orthodox Church newspaper! Many people throughout our Church need to see   that things like this can and are being done. You can contact our unit at   Orthodox Church in America, Education and Community Life Ministries, PO Box   675, Syosset, NY 11791 or at youth@oca.org. We hope this unit is helpful in   your ongoing ministry!