Please read this article as today marks the beginning of one of the 4 great fasts of the church year – the Dormition Fast. “It would be a gross understatement to say that much has been written about the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Yet very little has been written about the fast that precedes it. Every Orthodox Christian is aware and generally knows the reason behind the fasts for Pascha and Christmas. But while they may know of the Dormition Fast, few follow it, and more than a few question why it is there, neither knowing its purpose.” The remainder of this insightful article can be found here.
May God help us all realize “the one thing needful” during these next two weeks.
A Blessed Feast of St. Anna to you all! We beseech the Righteous Ancestor of God for “help with faith, that we may all be saved from all manner of tribulation” and asking her to intercede for “forgiveness of sins for them that honor [her] with love”.
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 http://www.antiochian.org 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.
Sunday, November 10th at 12:30 at Sh. Belinda Short’s home). Mother Aemiliane is the Abbess at the Sacred Monastery of St. Nina in Union Bridge, MD founded in 2012. A BBQ lunch will be provided. ($10 per person) All women of the church (18 and older) and your guests are invited. Nursing infants only, please. Please RSVP to BelindaJShort@Gmail.com.
St. Anna Orthodox Christian Church – 700 Woodland St, Columbia, TN 38401, 3 Wednesdays: Oct 2, 16, 30; 6:30-8:30 pm (Please plan to attend ALL 3 Wednesday sessions) During these three 2-hour session those in attendance will learn how to arrange a warm and welcoming discussion group environment, how to ask great questions which will foster open and honest discussions about important life issues, and how to anticipate and deal with possible pitfalls in many discussion groups. Attention will be given to where to hold the discussion groups, how to invite others to attend, how often to host the groups, and what time of year is best, and who should come (and who shouldn’t!). Then with the helpful guidance and ongoing support of our staff the discussion group leaders will be introduced to the online and telephone support and conference calls. To register: www.becomingtrulyhuman.com/register Note: $25 donation per attendee is requested payable to “Truly Human, LLC” for materials
Introducing…….(You and your child are going to LOVE
St. Anna Church School – “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” Method
of the Good Shepherd is a common religious experience involving children and
adults in which the religious values of childhood, primarily those values of
contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant. This experience is shared
in a place particularly prepared for the religious life of children called the
– God and the child have a unique relationship with one another particularly
before the age of six. The growth of this relationship should be assisted by
the adult, but is directed by the Spirit of God within the child. Children need
their own place to foster the growth of that relationship. This spiritual
growth is best served through tangible but indirect means. “If we want to
help the child grow near to God, we should, with patience and courage…seek to
go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and
prayer. The child himself will be our teacher if we know how to observe him.”
– The Atrium (or prepared environment) is one of the important elements that
helps the relationship between God and the child to flourish. After a theme has
been presented, the child is free to choose an activity that will make possible
the inner dialogue with the “Interior Teacher.” How does the atrium help to
nourish this relationship? ~ The atrium can be compared to a retreat house
facilitating recollection and silence. ~ The atrium is a place for religious
life, for community and worship—not a classroom for instruction. ~ The atrium
is a place of meaningful work through which the child can have a conversation
with God. ~ The atrium was the place in the early church where the catechumens
were prepared. For the child, too, the atrium is a place of preparation for
involvement in the larger worship community.
– The catechist’s role is to prepare the environment and to give selected
presentations from scripture and liturgy that “call forth” the child’s response
rather than “pour in” information. The
catechist listens with the child and together they ask, “God, who are you? How
do you love us?” The adult reflects with the child on the questions generated
by the presentations with the materials offered to the child to aid the child’s
reflection. The catechists work together in a spirit of unity and harmony, in
tune with God’s plan for communion in the history of salvation and in keeping
with the themes of unity so strongly expressed in the parables of the Good
Shepherd (John 10:1ff) and the True Vine. (John 15: 1ff) They generously offer
their talents and experience for the good of all.
Catechesis Born of Joy – The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was born from the joy of
the children in their encounter with God and lives in being nourished by this
joy. It has also been observed that children of the same developmental stage
even though belonging to different cultural backgrounds, respond to certain
elements of the Christian message in the same way. Over time through being with
children in a specially prepared environment called an atrium, observing and
listening to their responses, scriptural and liturgical themes developed that
most resonated with children’s religious needs according to their age levels.
Thus the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd divests itself of any strictly
scholastic character, so as to become an experience of life, an education in
faith, and a celebration of the encounter with the Father, in listening to
Jesus, the one Teacher, and in obedience to the Holy Spirit.
and the Child with the Adult – An interpersonal relationship is always a
mystery, all the more so when that relationship is between God and the child.
We believe that there is a deep bond between God and the child which produces
in the child the desire to draw nearer to God. The catechist’s role is to
prepare the environment and to give selected presentations from scripture and
liturgy that “call forth” the child’s response rather than “pours in”
information. The catechist listens with the child and together they ask, “God,
who are you? How do you love us?” The adult reflects with the child on the
questions generated by the presentations with the materials offered to the
child to aid the child’s reflection. The atrium (or prepared environment) is
one of the important elements that help the relationship between God and the
child to flourish. After a theme has been presented, the child is free to choose
an activity that will make possible the inner dialogue with the “Interior