Little Angels is the playgroup for children ages 40 days to 5 years. They meet every Thursday at the church from 9:45am-11:30am.
J.O.Y. (Junior Orthodox Youth) is the youth group for children ages 7-12 years old. They meet once a month. The JOY program has the same objectives as all ministries of the church: to lead young people into a living and active relationship with Jesus Christ. Consequently, the programs and activities that we develop must always, directly and indirectly, lead in this direction. It is at this age that a foundation of faith can best be set; a foundation that will guide and strengthen our young people as they progress into junior high and high school.
What is GOYA?
The Greek Orthodox Youth of America, or GOYA, is the ministry to teenagers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. Since GOYA is a ministry, the orientation and implementation of the program should reflect the Orthodox Christian lifestyle.
GOYA is ministry to Junior High and High School age Greek Orthodox teenagers. Age specifications are set at thirteen through eighteen year old teenagers who are in seventh through twelfth grade. It is possible for twelve year olds to be in GOYA if they are in the seventh grade.
The main element of any GOYA meeting or gathering is Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Every opportunity should be made to promote fellowship between teenagers.
Since GOYA is part of the Church, the meetings should begin and conclude with a prayer. Under the direction of the Parish Priest, each GOYAn should be encouraged to assist in the prayers or to offer one of the prayers. GOYAns should be given advance notice of when they will assist with a prayer.
A nice idea for a closing prayer is the singing of Church hymns. More specifically, liturgical hymns like Tais Presvies or Agios o Theos are ideal. This not only gives GOYAns a feeling of Liturgia; it also familiarizes them with the hymns of the Divine Liturgy. If the prayer will be in unison, such as with small vespers, Orthros (Matins) or other prayer service, it is vital that every person has a copy of the service. This will enhance corporate prayer.
All meetings should have icebreakers of some kind. Icebreakers are to break down communication barriers between people, while others build deeper relationships. The theme of the icebreakers should directly relate to the needs of the group or serve as an introduction to the substance of the presentation.
GOYA meetings should include a short business portion in which business such as committee updates, assignments and ratification of the leadership committee's decision are made. Business portions of the meeting should be only 10 to 15 minutes.
There should be a time for announcements. The Parish Priest, GOYA Director, and the GOYA coordinator (or president) should all be consulted for the announcements. The best way to keep everyone's attention is with short, simple, and fun announcements. Have handouts of the announcements.
The substance of the meeting is the presentation. This presentation can take many different forms. It can take the shape of mediation, a group discussion, a film with discussion, and outing, a service project, a speaker or anything else that would prompt ministry. Keep the presentations timely, interesting, upbeat but most of all- abundant with opportunities for interaction. GOYAns will place their interest in the group if they feel they have an open environment where they can be heard.
It is always nice to have some type of refreshments at GOYA gatherings. So the responsibility does not fall on a small group of individuals, assign each GOYAn and perhaps their family a specific gathering date when they can provide refreshments. Keep the refreshments simple.