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 had to find somebody in a crowd? Maybe you were coming out of school, and you had to find your parents. Or maybe you were in a concert, and you tried to find your family in the audience. You probably looked for something that made them stick out, like a colored shirt.
In today’s epistle reading, Saint Paul tells us what makes a Christian stick out in a group. Saint Paul told the new Christians they could do lots of things to help the Church, but he would show them a “more excellent way.” That more excellent way is always with love. When we give money to the poor, we Christians should have love. When we come to church, we Christians should have love. When we help others, we Christians should have love.
Saint John Chrysostom once said, “when the crown of love is upon our head, it is enough to point out the true disciple of Christ, but to ourselves only, but also to the unbelievers.” In other words, people will pick us Christians out in a crowd or in a group, when we have love.
Having love for each other is the “more excellent way”! Can you remember to try to wear the “crown of love” on your head? That will make you stick out as a Christian!
SAINT JOHN OF SAN FRANCISCO: THE WONDERWORKER
Do you have any idea how many Saint Johns we have? Hundreds and hundreds! Last week, we remembered the birthday of Saint John the Baptist. Then we have Saint John the Russian. Saint John the Theologian. Saint John Chrysostom. Saint John the Hairy. Saint John the Dwarf. And many, many more!
But this week, we will celebrate a special Saint John who lived and died in our own country. Even though he was an important bishop with tons to do, Saint John really loved children. When he was a bishop in China, Saint John started an orphanage for the children. And everywhere, he looked out for the children. He helped them with food and clothing, but he also helped teach them about the love of our Lord, too! Even today, there are grown men who, when they were boys, served as altar boys with this great saint. Even today, they still talk about what a loving man Saint John was, and how he especially loved children.
Now, Saint John is still with us because he prays for us from heaven. Many, many miracles have happened because of his prayers. If you ever visit San Francisco, California, ask your parents to take you to his church. The people there will give you some holy oil. By God’s power, this holy oil has healed people who are very sick. Your family can keep it in your house if you especially need Saint John’s prayers.
We celebrate St. John this Monday, July 2nd (July 15, 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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