Resources for parents and children during Lent

During this unusual time when we cannot attend services at church or go to Sunday school, there are some resources available online to help your children and teens continue to be reminded of this season of Lent and our journey to Pascha.
For those who have children in the atrium, they have all been given a presentation on the Annunciation to the Theotokos which we will be celebrating tomorrow.  You could read Luke 1:26-38 and ask a few questions, like:
What did the angel say?
What names were given for this baby?
Imagine how Mary felt. What did Mary say to the angel?

There are no right or wrong answers at this age.  There may be no answers verbally.  It’s just a good way to help them remember what they have heard before and ponder it some more.

Here are some resources sent out from the Antiochian Archdiocese that may be of help to your family. I’ve just copied and pasted from some emails I’ve gotten.

Released yesterday from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Religious Education, a “Religious Education at Home” website was created that you might find helpful. Lessons and reflections for all ages will be posted, based on the Lenten theme for the week. This week’s resources focus on the Sunday of the Holy Cross:

Many Orthodox Christian organizations and groups are offering exceptional at-home ministry opportunities for families, and hopefully you are receiving notifications through social media, email, and word of mouth. An organized daily schedule of some of these opportunities is available at:

Also, virtual Sunday School begins THIS Sunday! Tending the Garden of Our Hearts has announced the following:
Welcome to Tending the Garden of our Hearts: Weekly Meditations for Orthodox Families!

During this time of social distancing and quarantine, Tending the Garden of Our Hearts will expand on our podcast offering with our Virtual Sunday School! In addition to the weekly podcast, you’ll find videos, activities and printables to get your family talking and learning together. Classes begin on Sunday, March 22, 2020! Make sure that your Sundays still feel like Sunday.  Attend a liturgy online, and then drop in here for Sunday School:

A “special edition” post went up on the Orthodox Christian Parenting blog today with a treasure trove of resources, all aimed at making the most of this “bonus time” with our families.    The post includes links to Orthodox Christian audio books, podcasts, daily devotionals, video series for youth, free to download focus units, arts and crafts ideas, and more:

Here are additional options:
The Children’s Word from Orthodox Christian Network
Each issue includes a message on the Sunday Gospel lesson and on one of the saints for the week. You’ll also find a coloring page and other activities.

Videos from Orthodox Pebbles, appropriate for preschool through early elementary:
Corresponding free printables at:

For middle school students and older – short, hand-drawn videos on the lives of saints:

The Lord’s Prayer copy work:

Free printable Pascha cards:

Library of free printables from Many Mercies Orthodox Christian blog, including a Lenten Memory Verse Garden, a Lenten calendar, and Pascha cards:

Lesson plans on a variety of topics, with corresponding worksheets (best for 2nd grade and older):

Also, this is one of my favorite websites for coloring pages and lessons.

Don’t feel pressured to do all these activities, just pick one or two that meet the needs of your family.
I continue to pray for all the children of St. Anna.

In Christ,
Sh. Belinda

CHANGE OF PLANS – No Livestreaming at St. Anna on Sunday, March 22

Please forgive this late notice. We’ve made a change of plans. Regrettably, we’ve encountered some logistical limitations which will keep us from Livestreaming our services tomorrow morning so Fr. Stephen has asked that we participate in the streaming of the services being offered at St. Ignatius tonight and tomorrow. Please go to the St. Ignatius Facebook page to join their services – You can find the live-stream of the St. Ignatius services in 3 different places:

1. On their Facebook page:

2. On their church website:

3. In each relevant calendar event on the website:


  • You do NOT have to have a Facebook account to access the stream.
  • When using the link on our website, you will see the next active service on the page.
  • After each live-stream service, you will be able to access a recording of the service in their Facebook videos:
  • Each of these links should also work on your mobile device.
    If you would like to have a copy of the hymns and prayers being offered during these services you can find them at the Antiochian Archdiocese website –

Livestreaming St. Anna Orthros & Divine Liturgy

During the past 2 days we have been working on setting-up and testing out the possibility of using our St. Anna Facebook Page to “Livestream” Sunday morning services beginning this weekend at 9:00am (Orthros) and continuing through the Divine Liturgy which begins at 10am. You will be able to view and participate in the prayers and hymns being offered during these services on the St. Anna Facebook Page. If you are not yet connected to the St. Anna Facebook Page please go to this site and “LIKE” this page to receive notifications when the Livestreaming has started on Sunday:
We will be sending out the weekly bulletin and service hymn sheet later today or tomorrow so you are able to print it off (if desired) or use it to aid you in your prayers during the services. Those who have been offering online Orthodox Church services in their churches for several years have suggested that we urge our parishioners to stand, if you are able, as you would during the services in the Orthodox Church temple, especially during the litanies and readings of the Gospel lessons. It is important to approach these special accommodations for participating in these services from your home differently than you would from other videos or TV you might watch. You are NOT simply WATCHING the clergy and chanters “do Orthros and Liturgy”. Please join us in offering these hymns and prayers to God and the Saints on your behalf, one another and for all of the world. Reciting the prayers and singing the hymns that you know, along with us will minister to your souls, further unite us as a parish (in diaspora) and amplify the effectiveness of our corporate prayers. Also, please consider gathering your family together, viewing the livestreaming in the same room and lighting candles or burning incense at your home icon corner or altar during the services. We all expect this to be a “short-term” adjustment but we can make the most of our current situation and still share in our Lenten journey as we set aside this time for the special accommodations which are being made during these days. Our services will not be “professional video productions” but we will do what we are able to make adjustments to our set-up, equipment and technical options to try to minimize the distractions and limitations we will likely encounter as we livestream these services. Your patience and feedback will be treasured during these days. Those of us working on this video option are not filmmakers or videographers but we are being advised by those who are as we work through this with their help.

Coronavirus changes at St. Anna – March 17, 2020

Dear Faithful of St. Anna:

Blessings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ as we continue our Lenten journey through these unusual times. I am sure you all continue to monitor the evolving Coronavirus situation and attempts to mitigate the pandemic facing us all.

In response to government guidance, our Archdiocese has issued new directives for the church in order to do our part to protect our congregations and our communities. Though some of the following instructions may seem drastic, they are prudent and necessary to get to the other side of the pandemic as soon as possible. With that goal in mind, the following directives are implemented until further notice:

1. All non-liturgical activities (church school, meetings, meals, coffee hour, etc.) are cancelled.
2. Services are limited to Orthros/Divine Liturgy (commencing March 22) and Akathist (commencing March 27). Services will be limited to CLERGY and CHANTERS ONLY  “on behalf of all and for all.”
3. Confession will be offered only in case of great, immediate spiritual need.
4. Baptisms are postponed until further notice.
5. In case of a funeral, only immediate family may attend (limited to 10 persons).
6. Service texts for home use will be available on the website under the Liturgics section.

If you are a chanter and show symptoms of any sickness or are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test for you or a loved one, please stay at home. I will coordinate with John Meese which chanters will be present at each service.

I hope each of you will see this difficulty as an opportunity for a truly meaningful Lenten offering. What could be more of an acceptable Lenten offering that to give up our own will and desires in obedience to the service and welfare of our community?

We are exploring ways to enhance our journey through these times such as video homilies and other communications, as well as providing a list of churches providing streaming services as soon as possible.

Above let us pray for another and take the time to reach out to each other by phone or email. Obviously, I will keep you informed of any changes as soon as they are implemented.

Holy Saint Anna, pray for us!

Fr. Stephen