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 gotten a gift from somebody, but you never gave anything back? Maybe for Christmas, somebody gave you a present that you didn’t expect…and you didn’t have anything to give back!
After our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead and went to stay in heaven, He needed helpers to carry on His work! He needed helpers to help spread the news of God’s love for the world. These are the holy apostles, and we celebrate them today.
The apostles knew that God had given them so much. God gave the apostles power to heal the sick and even to raise the dead. These were definitely great and amazing gifts! But Christ also told them, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Our Lord gave the apostles those gifts, but He wanted them to use them. He wanted them to go out and heal people and to help them. And that is exactly what they did!
We can learn from the apostles, can’t we? God has given us so many gifts too. Can you spend some time thinking about them? But just like for the apostles, God wants us to know, “Freely you have received, freely give.” That means we can’t keep these gifts for ourselves. We give something back to God and to our neighbor. We can help others in many ways. Can you try to think of some?
A LEADER OF MONKS: SAINT SERGIUS OF RADONEZH
When was the last time you were all alone, out in the woods? Maybe you went for a hike? Or maybe you went camping? It’s very peaceful out there, but after a while you probably wanted to be with other people!
Saint Sergius of Radonezh (in Russia) was born 700 years ago, but we still remember him in our Church. We remember him because he did so much to help people grow closer to Christ!
Saint Sergius wanted to spend time in quiet prayer, so he started to live out in the wilderness, far away from other people. But people found out about him, and they knew he was a holy man. They wanted to learn from him, and they wanted to find out how they could grow closer to our Lord, too. After a while, Saint Sergius sent some of his followers out to different parts of Russia. They started more than 400 monasteries, places where people could pray and learn more about God.
That first monastery that Saint Sergius started was once out in the woods, away from everybody. But now it is huge place with many churches and monks, and lots of visitors too!
We celebrate St. Sergius on Friday, July 5th (July 18th, 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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