Christian Education at St. George

This liturgical year at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, the community focus has been on engaging with our Orthodox faith through education. Our first outreach is to the children of our parish, which have a team of teachers, including Marina Quinn, Svetlana McCully, Rajko Radonjich, Sally Hein, and Gligo, Anastasia, and Jovana Sekulic, educating them at the preschool, elementary, and middle school levels.  These classes are supplemented by our St. Sebastian Youth Association, led by Subdeacon Mark Resanovich, our Youth Choir, led by Protinica Emily Pavichevich, and our Culture and Folklore taught by Marina Quinn.

The parish committee on Enrichment recognized, however, that a children’s education must find a firm grounding at home if it is going to be successful.  As such, a number of educational opportunities for adults have been added this year, and continue to grow in size. First, prior to Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, Fr. Aleksa Pavichevich and Subdeacon Mark Resanovich co-teach adult education classes that follow the flow of Fr. Thomas Hopko’s series on “The Orthodox Faith.”  Each Sunday, a number of adults and a few teens come early to church for a fifteen-minute lesson, a question and answer session, and then the reading of the hours.

New in November, the parish began a Bible Study led by Fr. Aleksa Pavichevich.  This ongoing, bi-weekly program is coordinated by parishioners Tiffany Kochovski and Melissa Laskovski.  Beginning with the Gospel according to St. Mark, the participants will not only learn about Holy Scripture, and how reading it can impact their lives, but they are also learning about “how” they should read it in light of the Orthodox faith and Holy Tradition.

For parents in the church, quarterly workshops are offered to help families navigate the challenges inherent with raising children in the 21st-century.  The first workshop was on “Faith, Children, and Technology”, where a group of parents not only learned about some of the risks that our children face in this digital world, but also strategies to address those risks.  As usual, these workshops are not merely lectures, but provide group activities and workshops to get participants engaged and working together!

In February of 2019, St. George will host a Liturgical Music Workshop under the direction of Protodeacon Jovan Anicic, director of Religious Education for the Eastern American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.  This event will be Pan-Orthodox and have sessions aimed at helping faithful Christians better engage with their worship through music and song.

As always, the parish also offers annual and bi-annual pilgrimages to give the faithful people opportunities to connect with their Orthodoxy as they visit holy sites throughout the world.  Each Great Lent, the parish takes a retreat to New York City to spend time at the Diocesan Center, visit St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and join the St. Sava Pro-Cathedral community for Divine Liturgy.  Beginning in 2018 with a successful trip to the holy and historical sites of Serbia, St. George parish is already looking forward to future pilgrimages – the next in 2020.

All of these are in addition to seasonal opportunities to grow in the faith, including the annual KSS-sponsored Lenten Workshop, Lenten Seminar with a guest speaker from the Cleveland Deanery, and a guest speaker brought in by the Stark County Clergy Brotherhood for the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

It is with great joy that the faithful parishioners of St. George parish seek life in their faith through continual catechism. As their understanding of their orthodox faith in Jesus Christ continues to grow, their experience at Divine Liturgy not only deepens – it expands outside the doors of the physical church structure and into their lives!