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Author Topic: What is discussed in High School Sunday School?  (Read 677 times) Average Rating: 0
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SolEX01
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« on: January 04, 2011, 12:41:21 AM »

This topic stems from a discussion from the Faith Issues board:

I teach high school. Only dogma is taught in Sunday School. "Secular" issues are discussed within a spiritual framework. Students come down on both sides of the issue on the above topic but what is important to me is that they come to Sunday School and discuss it. Some other teachers are of the Catholic school nun slapping hands with rulers mindset and their class is 5-10% attendance. My class attendance is the best they have seen for teenagers in 20 years.

In my opinion and there is also research to support this, participation is very important to keeping young adults in church. This is only seconded to having friends/contacts within the church.

I attended all 4 years of my high school Sunday School and we learned everything from the Orthodox perspective on social issues to the Divine Liturgy and everything in between.  I don't remember many lessons on dogma and classes were fairly well-attended barring GOYA tournaments or Church dances.

So, I'm curious is dogma is discussed in high school Sunday School sessions?   Huh
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podkarpatska
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 11:03:41 AM »

This topic stems from a discussion from the Faith Issues board:

I teach high school. Only dogma is taught in Sunday School. "Secular" issues are discussed within a spiritual framework. Students come down on both sides of the issue on the above topic but what is important to me is that they come to Sunday School and discuss it. Some other teachers are of the Catholic school nun slapping hands with rulers mindset and their class is 5-10% attendance. My class attendance is the best they have seen for teenagers in 20 years.

In my opinion and there is also research to support this, participation is very important to keeping young adults in church. This is only seconded to having friends/contacts within the church.

I attended all 4 years of my high school Sunday School and we learned everything from the Orthodox perspective on social issues to the Divine Liturgy and everything in between.  I don't remember many lessons on dogma and classes were fairly well-attended barring GOYA tournaments or Church dances.

So, I'm curious is dogma is discussed in high school Sunday School sessions?   Huh

It's been  a long time for me, but my children all completed church school in the last ten or so years and I agree with the above from my non-Greek background. How about others? We've used the Archdiocesan church school books as study guides for years and they are multi-faceted.
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Shanghaiski
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2011, 11:47:17 AM »

I'm teaching high school church school with two others  and  we're covering Church history, which includes some dogma, but it's not a dogmatics course. I still try to make it relevant to them and where they're going in life, so they can use what they learn.
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2011, 02:24:20 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I'm teaching high school church school with two others  and  we're covering Church history, which includes some dogma, but it's not a dogmatics course. I still try to make it relevant to them and where they're going in life, so they can use what they learn.

I also teach with our high school aged Parish School of Religion.  We have a blend similar to the above poster, I teach High School History in general and have a degree in specifically Ethiopian history so at my Parish I tend to have an emphasis on cultural and religious Ethiopian history so that the Ethiopian kids under my instruction can hear a bit more relevant history to them than the George Washington and FDR they hear about at school all week.  However, I also give "sermon" type lessons on Biblical themes, elaborating and explaining various theological aspects of the Holy Tradition, and generally encourage, mentor, and aim to inspire my students to aim to be more pious, religious, and take advantage of every spiritual opportunity God gives them.  For example, when I teach on the Qurbon/Offering, I don't just teach the dogmatic teaching of the Real Presence, but rather I try to really elaborate in detail the spiritual aspect of Liturgy, not just the mechanical.  From my experience, kids that age are both very close to God and on the verge critical self-discovery and identity.  My goal as an instructor then is to mentor and teach these kids into stronger, continuing relationship with God in all sincerity.

Our mission statement is for our children to grow up to remain faithful and active members of our Parish and our Church, to get married there, to regularly attend Liturgy and often receive the Qurbon into adulthood, to baptize their own subsequent children there and in the end, to come full circle and bury their reposed relatives and friends in the Church.  We want our kids to know they have a place in the Church that is uniquely their own.
We also do a lot of the cultural things, for example we have are celebrating the Epiphany (Timket in Tewahedo tradition) and our kids are going to sing several hymns in the Youth Choir before a large crowd of attendees of several of our local Ethiopian parishes.  We are trying to make sure they both know the songs, but also what they mean culturally, historically, and religiously in a balanced context.

I never have more fun than when I am working with the Parish School of Religion and our Youth, its way more fun the regular teaching I do at public school.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2011, 03:50:24 PM »

Our mission statement is for our children to grow up to remain faithful and active members of our Parish and our Church, to get married there, to regularly attend Liturgy and often receive the Qurbon into adulthood, to baptize their own subsequent children there and in the end, to come full circle and bury their reposed relatives and friends in the Church.  We want our kids to know they have a place in the Church that is uniquely their own.

This is spot on what I'd like to have as the primary focus of our class. I don't know how or if we'll achieve this. I hope that, given time and experience, we'll be able to do something that will reach this and prevent our children from  leaving the Church in college. If anyone  has ideas and curriculum regarding this, I would be very interested. God bless all Church school teachers!
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2011, 06:42:33 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Our mission statement is for our children to grow up to remain faithful and active members of our Parish and our Church, to get married there, to regularly attend Liturgy and often receive the Qurbon into adulthood, to baptize their own subsequent children there and in the end, to come full circle and bury their reposed relatives and friends in the Church.  We want our kids to know they have a place in the Church that is uniquely their own.

This is spot on what I'd like to have as the primary focus of our class. I don't know how or if we'll achieve this. I hope that, given time and experience, we'll be able to do something that will reach this and prevent our children from  leaving the Church in college. If anyone  has ideas and curriculum regarding this, I would be very interested. God bless all Church school teachers!
I recommend an honest approach.  Kids in particular, appreciate a flaws and all approach to Christianity.  When we give them an idealized or ideological approach, they smell the hypocrisy and inaccuracy and much like many of the other myths, fables, fantasies and stories of their childhood, Christianity falls into the wayside.  However, when we tell the kids the truth, that life is full of fear, pain, and confusion, and that we adults are not perfect, and that Christianity does not expect any of us to be perfect, rather Jesus Christ came precisely because of these imperfections, then they begin to look for Him tangibly in their own very real lives.

The problem sometimes is we as adults try to hard to paint a rosy picture of life to kids, and when they see we were not being exactly honest with them, they begin to question everything else we told them.  That is why I always speak the real to my students, and teach them the same gritty, at times painful Christianity that most of us adults are familiar with.  We tell adults that Jesus Christ will heal their wounds, calm their fears, and cleanse their sins, we should water down this focus for kids.  Sometimes I think we lose focus that kids lives are real too, we sometimes overlook the very real struggles kids face on a day to day basis, and as such forget what needs they have that only Jesus Christ can fulfill.  Some of this is intentional ignorance (ie, if I don't acknowledge the problems in my kids' lives they don't exist), some of this is gross idealization (ie, if I just believe my kids' lives are prefect then they must be) and some of this is accidental (ie, our own grownup lives are very busy, sometimes we miss a lot of what is going on in kids' lives). 

Above all else, we must put this on God, and ourselves pray for His Holy Spirit to go before us and do His works Himself Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 06:44:55 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 11:38:44 AM »

I think the quote in the OP didn't mean "dogma" in the traditional sense, but probably something along the lines of, "not my opinion, but the Church's position."  I could be wrong.
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SolEX01
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2011, 05:04:19 PM »

I think the quote in the OP didn't mean "dogma" in the traditional sense, but probably something along the lines of, "not my opinion, but the Church's position."  I could be wrong.

Hmmm, looks accurate to me.   Smiley

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