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 three small children: Lydia, Paul, and Silas. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Have you ever been scared about something? A strange noise at night? Somebody being sick? Going down into the basement by yourself? Everybody has been scared of something, even your parents, even your teachers, even Jesus’s disciples.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about a time when one of Jesus’s disciples was very scared. Actually, Saint Peter was scared twice. First, he was scared because he saw Jesus walking on water, and he thought Jesus was a ghost! But the Gospel says, “Immediately, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’” Jesus comforted Peter, and He took care of him.
Then, Peter was scared a second time. He asked Jesus to let him walk on water too, and he began to really do it! But then Peter was scared because the water was so choppy, and he started to sink. “Save me!” Peter said. And “immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him.”
Do you see how Peter was scared twice in this Gospel story? Do you see how both times, Jesus immediately (right away!) took care of him? When we are scared, we can ask our Lord to help us too. And always, our Lord Jesus Christ will immediately listen to us. He will help us in some way. He will take care of us, just like he took care of St. Peter. You know Jesus loves us very much, and He wants to help us when we are scared.
SAINT OLAF: KING OF NORWAY
Have you ever visited another country? If you have, you might have noticed the people have different foods or music, things you’ve never even seen before. You might have noticed they have different heroes, too, people you’ve never heard of before!
In Norway, the people have a special hero, a king who lived a thousand years ago. He’s also a saint of our Church, Saint Olaf.
Saint Olaf was baptized as a child, but later on, he grew more serious about his Christian faith. He was a strong soldier, and he fought in lots of battles. People respected him, and he even became king of Norway. King Olaf wanted to make Norway a strong kingdom, and he wanted the people to all be strong Christians. (At the time, lots of Norwegians were still pagan, and they didn’t believe in our one true God.) With King Olaf, lots of people in Norway were baptized. Olaf brought bishops and priests from England, so they could help the new Christians in Norway.
King Olaf lived just before the Eastern and Western Christian Church split apart. That’s why Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics Christians both celebrate Saint Olaf as a saint. So, if you go to Norway, you will know about Saint Olaf and can pray to their great hero too!
We celebrate St. Olaf today, Sunday, July 29th (August 11th, 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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