My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
TEACHING OUR CHILDREN OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FAITH
Our most precious gift from God and Creator are our children. Young souls who bring so many blessings and joy to our lives. Children who rely on our love and guidance to grow physically and spiritually. We have been entrusted by God with their lives and to do everything possible to teach them His Divine Commandments, Christian values, and to inspire them to become good people with sensitive and compassionate hearts. People who can make a positive difference in the complex world in which they live.
Our children today are pulled in different directions by various known and unknown forces. Because they are inexperienced in life and immature they act emotionally and are always in danger of making harmful and dangerous decisions. There are consequences to every decision that one makes whether good or bad. Our responsibility as parents or/grandparents is to protect them from becoming a statistic or victim.
No matter how old our child is we, as parents, never cease to worry about them. Unlike the animal world in which animals, birds and or/mammals, allow their offspring to mature and be independent of them before they are left on their own, human parents usually continue to guide and support their children for as long as they live.
We, as parents, know the many challenges and struggles of life. We know how vulnerable and trusting our children are. Without being paranoid and becoming over-protective of them we, as parents, feel that they need our support spiritually and materially. We, as Orthodox Christians, feel that faith in God is absolutely necessary if their life is to succeed and have any real meaning and or/have a purpose.
This is where the Church comes in. The Church is Christ. The Holy Church was given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to protect, to guide, to heal, to restore, to commune with Him, to save, to give one hope, to provide shelter, to be a harbor, to free us from evil, to reconcile us with God and one another, to give us a moral compass, to strengthen us spiritually, to taste what heaven is, to transform us into beings of light, to find inner peace and to become an instrument of peace and love. The Church is the bride of Christ and the place of our rebirth through water and the spirit.
Our children who were baptized in the Church need her. The Church is our spiritual mother, a mother which, just as a human mother, nurses us and protects us until we are ready to be on our own. It is through the Church of Christ that we can find Him and experience His unconditional love. The grace of God can be found only in the Church by which we are able through the Mysteries (Sacraments) to enjoy a direct communion with Him. I find it most troubling when Christian parents trivialize or ignore completely the importance of God and the Church in the lives of their children.
Where are the parish children? Why are they not in Church to worship on Sundays? Why are they not in Church school on Sunday morning? Is something more important on Sunday morning than to worship as a Christian family? Why are you, as a Christian parent, allowing a sports coach to dictate to you or even to threaten your child for not making it to the athletic practice on Sunday morning? Who is he or she? Why are you not offended by this attitude? Why are you not protesting as a Christian parent to this invasion and intrusion to your religious obligations?
The turnout of our children to our parish Religious Ministry this year is very weak and alarming. Your children are absent and so are you. Does one, an Orthodox Christian, turn to the Church only when you need her for a specific purpose, i.e., baptism, wedding, funeral, medical emergency, etc. How is that a Christian commitment?
I ask all of our parishioners with young children to drive them to church on Sundays, to participate in the sacred worship of our Church and to attend religious instruction at the Church School. We are blessed to have devout volunteer teachers and an unbelievable Coordinator Rachel Limberopoulos. The classrooms have been improved thanks to them and all of them are ready to teach. Don't disappoint us and do not deprive your children of learning something more of their Faith.
May our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ bless all of you.
In Christ's Service,