The youth at St. George parish in Cincinnati have just wrapped up an exciting week of Vacation Church School. Twenty-seven parishioners ranging in age from four to 12 assembled each day to pray, study, dance and socialize.
This year’s theme was “Lives of Virtue.” St. Innocent of Moscow, St. Nikolai of Zica, Matushka Olga Michael and Fr. Roman Braga each served as examples of Christian virtues. By learning about these people who lived lives of “habitual excellence” here in America, each student was encouraged to follow in their footsteps.
Students began each day at 10 a.m. with morning prayers. This was followed by daily classes in Church Singing (taught by Larissa Sander), Russian (Maria Hoyle), and the Law of God (Fr. Daniel Marshall, Matushka Bethany Akmolin, Martha Baier, and Maria Demidova). Other activities included Russian Folk Dancing and a variety of arts and crafts. Students listened to the lives of the saints from St. Nikolai Velimirovich’s Prologue during lunch each day and said evening prayers together prior to going home at 3 p.m.
One day, the school and several parents visited a local park and then volunteered at Matthew25 Ministries, a local charity which redirects industrial waste to poverty-stricken areas around the world. Our particular task was to sort and then find pairs from among thousands of shoes discarded by a chain of tuxedo rental stores. These will be distributed to people who have no shoes, thus saving them from ending up in a garbage dump. Students also made greeting cards and art works to share with parishioners who are ill or unable to leave their homes.
The school was only possible with the support and talents of a number of parishioners. In addition to the significant labor by the teachers, daily lunches were prepared by Natalya Glazman, Susanna Oakley, Irina Chvalyuk and Collen Petrovsky. Food was supplied by the parish Sisterhood. Martha Baier designed a beautiful t-shirt which each student received on the last day of Vacation Church School.
Thanks be to God for a wonderful, spiritually-beneficial week!
- a participant