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.
Children of Light
Can you think of a time you needed help with something? Maybe you couldn’t reach something up high, or maybe you needed help tying something or cutting something. Sometimes we think we can do something all by ourselves, but then we find that we do need help. Today, in the Gospel story, we hear about a woman who needed help. This woman had had a bent back for 18 years. Just imagine—for 18 years she stared down at the ground. She couldn’t look up at the sky or at anybody’s face because she couldn’t make her back straight. For 18 years, she had a problem that she couldn’t fix. She needed help. When Jesus saw the poor woman, he had compassion on her. He felt sorry for her. He thought about her awful problem and he helped her. He told her, “You are freed of your sickness.” So many times (and not just when you are a kid!) you will have problems that you can’t fix yourself. When we come to our good and loving God in prayer, He will listen to us. He will see our problems and He will understand them. And He will always give us just what we need!
Saint Spyridon, a shepherd saint
Soon, at Christmas, you will hear all about shepherds watching their sheep, won’t you? Well, on Saturday, we celebrate the feastday of another shepherd who watched sheep. He was born 270 years after those shepherds visited Bethlehem on Christmas night. Saint Spyridon was a married man who worked as a shepherd. He loved God very much. Sadly, his wife died, and so Saint Spyridon decided to become a monk. Later on, he became a bishop on the island of Cyprus. Saint Spyridon was a simple shepherd at heart, but God gave him wisdom and strength to do great things. Spyridon was at a very important meeting, when the bishops of the Church told what we believe as Christians. Spyridon could explain things so that people could really understand them. Then, many people became Christians too because of his words. Saint Spyridon grew to be an old man, and he later died in peace. If you ever go to Greece, you can pray at his relics (his tomb) on the island of Corfu. The people on that island love Saint Spyridon very much, and so do the Orthodox Christians in Cyprus (where he lived most of his life). And wherever you are, you can love this great saint too!
We celebrate St. Spyridon’s nameday on Saturday, December 12th.
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Children’s Word is a weekly Sunday bulletin created by Presvytera Alexandra (Gilman) Houck for Orthodox Christian young people. 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 an 8.5 x 14 page, and it can be downloaded and printed.
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