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.
Your Old Self
Do you know what a “makeover” is? You might have seen one in a magazine or even on TV. You see pictures of one person, and then you see pictures of that same person with new clothes, a new hairstyle, everything different. That person was made over. You see from the pictures how he or she changed for
Today in the epistle reading, we hear about a different kind of makeover. Saint Paul’s letter talks about how we Christians have to put away our old ways and put on our new ways. We have to get rid of things like “anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self.”
In his letter, Saint Paul was talking to people who had just become Christians. But we can listen to him every day of our lives. That’s because every day, we can try to get a makeover! You can change “the old you” by being gentle and friendly and loving and honest, and with good words coming from your lips. You can change that “old self” of yours into a “new self” by acting the way our Lord wants us to act!
SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, the first American saint
Did you know that 221 years ago, when George Washington was still president, our first American saint lived in our very own country? Saint Herman was born in Russia, and he became a monk there. In the 1700s, lots of Russians were living in Alaska so they could get animal furs and then sell them back in Russia. It was a big business! These Russians were Orthodox, so they wanted to have priests and churches there in their new land.
The Russian government also wanted to teach Saint Herman of Alaska Saint Herman of Alaska the native people about Christ and to help them become Orthodox Christians too. So Saint Herman left Russia, along with a few other men, to help the Russian fur traders and to try to help the native people on Kodiak Island. But they had lots of problems. Their main problem was the fur traders!—they were not nice to the native Alaskans, and they forced them to work for them, cheated them out of money, and were awful to the innocent people.
Saint Herman lived in Alaska for almost 40 years, and he had many problems there. But he always stuck up for the native people, teaching them about God, but even more, showing them Christ’s love with his own life.
We celebrate St. Herman’s nameday today, Sunday, December 13th.
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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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