FR. GEORGE’S MESSAGE IN REGARDS TO SUNDAY SCHOOL

FR. GEORGE'S MESSAGE IN REGARDS TO SUNDAY SCHOOL 
My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray that you are having a restful summer and enjoying precious time together with your families. In a couple short weeks, this blessed season will come to a close, giving way to September, when, with the Grace of God, our Annunciation Sunday School will begin another school year. 

As parents, I know that you are willing to do everything you can in order to provide the best learning opportunities and experiences for your children; without a doubt, this is something important. Nevertheless, in our constant mindset that our children need to be more involved in the best academic and athletic programs, there is a great danger in unconsciously neglecting "the Only Needful Thing {=Jesus Christ, and the salvation of our souls through Him}" (Luke 10:42), which should be simultaneously cultivated along with the other aspects of our children's lives, so that they may attain the salvation of their immortal souls. 

St. John Chrysostom used to remind the parents that it is an essential part of their duty to educate both themselves and their children in Holiness. Therefore, in order for a child to experience spiritual fulfillment, he/she needs to be educated not only in the wisdom of the world, but more importantly in the Wisdom of God. 

The One Who blesses the children (Mark 10:13-16) said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). Therefore, it is our duty not to obstruct our children from approaching God, but rather to guide them towards Him. Some people may ask how we can achieve spiritual progress of our children. The answer is simple; only within the Church can we develop our spiritual life. Therefore, let us continue to do our best to willingly participate in Sunday Worship (=Divine Liturgy), as often as possible, setting ourselves as examples for our children. And of course, we should encourage our children to willingly attend Sunday School. 

It is a true blessing that our Annunciation Parish has very good, capable, pious and devoted Sunday School coordinators and teachers, who consciously do their best in order to teach our children the Orthodox Faith, which includes the Greek Orthodox Church Tradition along with the Orthodox Way of Life. 

I would like to emphasize the importance of Religious Education, and the indelible impact it can have on the souls and lives of our children, of our families, of each family member, and of our wonderful Community. Our own parents, by their example, led us to a Life in Christ, which is Life in the Church. Now that we have become parents, it is our responsibility to follow their example, and teach our own children that their soul is a precious pearl, and that the pearl is going to grow bigger and more precious only within the Church. 

Therefore, my brethren, Ι strongly encourage you not only to register your children in our Sunday School, but also to do your best to bring them to Church in order to attend on a regular basis. Let us all see the Sunday School as another very essential investment for our children! We do our best to leave them a future material inheritance (προίκα). And this is good. However, let us all, at the same time, try to create a spiritual inheritance (πνευματική προίκα) for them! We know that an inheritance can be easily squandered and misused. On the contrary, Sunday School will be their spiritual inheritance, which can NEVER be wasted or lost, but rather will always be with them; it will be the only inheritance they can take with them to Eternal Life, which is Jesus Christ Himself (John 11:25), Who is the central topic of Sunday School. 

Being obedient to the recommendations of the Holy Metropolis of Atlanta, and the national, state, county and city ordinances, we inform you that due to the everchanging and challenging times we ALL face because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must temporarily start our Sunday School classes for this coming ecclesiastical year 2020-2021 in an internet based teaching model. Additionally, we will provide a monthly Youth Divine Liturgy for our GOYA-aged students (6th-12th Grades), discussing topics relative to our virtual Sunday School discussions. We understand that this is a new reality for all! Nevertheless, let us NOT let possible negative thoughts of ours to create obstacles in the essential ongoing spiritual education of our children. 

May our Gift-giver Lord, through the intercessions of the Most-Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, the Patroness of our Church, grant you the "strength from above" in order to fulfill, with celestial joy, this sacred responsibility. Happy and blessed Sunday School year! 

With paternal love in Christ,
 Fr. George Kouzelis, Parish Priest  

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