Presvytera Alexandra Houck created The Children's Word bulletin so children will know they are not only welcome in church, but even more, an essential part of the Church family. She hopes the weekly bulletin will be just one more way we can make kids feel at home in church. Presvytera Alexandra is a graduate of Duke University and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Her husband, Fr. Jason Houck, is a priest at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. Presvytera Alexandra and Fr. Jason have five small children: Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Have you ever tried hard to hear something, so you crowded closer and closer until you could hear? Maybe you crowded in closer to somebody singing or somebody telling a story or even to a speaker attached to a CD player. When we want to hear something, we do what it takes to hear it!
Our Lord Jesus Christ spent a lot of His ministry preaching to people, telling them the right way to act and telling them how to grow close to God. People would listen to Him, sitting around so they could hear Jesus speak.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about one time Jesus was preaching to the people. “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around Him and listening to the word of God.” They were pushing so close to Him, that He went out into a boat and taught the people from the boat.
The people wanted to hear the word of God! Do we want to hear the word of God too? Well, we can! Every time we read the Bible, we hear the word of God. Every time we come to church and listen to the Gospel, we hear the word of God. Every time we go to Sunday School and learn about the Bible with our friends, we hear the word of God. Let’s crowd in close to Jesus, just like the people in today’s story did. Let’s try to hear the word of God more and more!
SAINT THEKLA: THE FIRST WOMAN MARTYR
What would you do if your parents really, really wanted you to do something? Well, usually we’d do it. We love and respect them, don’t we? But this week, we celebrate the nameday of a saint whose parents just couldn’t understand why she wanted to be a Christian.
Saint Thekla lived 2,000 years ago. She came from a rich family, and her parents really, really wanted her to get married to a pagan man (he didn’t believe in our one, true God). But Saint Thekla lived when Saint Paul lived, and she had a chance to hear him speak! She knew that she only wanted to follow Christ. She didn’t care about being rich, and she didn’t care about being married and being comfortable. She just wanted to learn more about her Lord. She wanted to follow Him. She wanted to tell other people about Him, too!
Saint Thekla’s family did not like this idea. Her own mother wanted her to be burned! Saint Thekla left with Saint Paul and his helpers and went to Antioch to help teach the people about Jesus Christ. She lived a long life, and she was always faithful to God.
In our church, we remember Saint Thekla for her strong faith. She was the first woman martyr we know about—the first woman who died for her faith in Christ.
We celebrate St. Thekla on Monday, Sept. 24th (Oct. 7, OC).
Welcome to “The Children’s Word,” a weekly ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network. Each week, Presvytera Alexandra Houck writes this little newsletter for young parishioners! You will find age-appropriate articles, stories, and activities in every edition. The newsletter is provided in PDF format so that you can easily download and print it, and share it with your parish, church school, homeschool, family, and friends.
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. It is designed for a 8.5 x 14 page, so it can be printed and folded.
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