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 had a question at school or at church or even with your family or friends, but you were too shy to ask it? Maybe you pretended you knew the answer. Maybe you changed the subject. Maybe you just kept quiet and kept it to yourself.
Today’s Gospel reading is the parable of the sower. Jesus told a story about a man planting seeds. Some of the seeds fell in good places, and some didn’t. The ones that fell in the good places were the ones that grew to be big, healthy plants.
Jesus told this story because He wanted people to learn something…not about gardening, but about listening to the word of God. The seeds that fell in the good dirt were like people who hear the word of God and do it!
We know what that parable meant, because we read about it in the Bible. But did you know that Jesus’s disciples didn’t know what it meant? They didn’t know why Jesus was telling them about planting seeds! Of course, they could have pretended they knew what it meant. They could have changed the subject. They could have just kept quiet. But instead the disciples asked Him, “What does this mean?” And then Jesus explained the whole story.
So, let’s be like the disciples! We might have a question about something in the Bible, or about what goes on at church, or about what we believe as Orthodox Christians. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. Just ask, “What does this mean?”!
A SWISS SAINT: ST. GALLUS OF SWITZERLAND
What do YOU know about Switzerland? The rich chocolate? Fancy Swiss army knives? Excellent skiing in the Swiss Alps?
Do you know how Switzerland became a Christian country? Long ago, in the 600’s, a monk named Gallus (or Gallen) came from Ireland to teach people about Christ. Most of the people there were pagan—they still worshipped idols.
St. Gallus had a tough time there because the people did not want to believe at first. But once, he healed the daughter of a duke, and to thank him, the duke gave Gallus land to start a monastery. He built it on the shores of beautiful Lake Constance, and he lived there for many years.
Lots of times, St. Gallus was asked to become a bishop, but he was such a humble man that he always refused. He didn’t want to have that kind of power and fame. (Of course, God has helped lots of holy men to be bishops though.) But St. Gallus became well-known whether he liked it or not. Many people knew about this holy man, even though he lived quietly in the forests of Switzerland. And now you know about him too!
We celebrate St. Gallus on Tuesday, Oct. 16th (Oct. 29th, 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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