Students of our Sunday School program participate in the National Oratorical Festival, students are provided with an opportunity to communicate to others, about their faith, their heritage, and their church, as well as challenging their writing and public speaking skills.
The following are the topics for the 2013 Oratorical Festival:
Elementary Division (Grades 4–6)
The purpose of the Elementary Oratorical program is to offer children the opportunity to express their feelings about their Faith and Church, as well as to gain confidence and self-esteem. In addition, it provides an incentive to children for later participation in the Junior and Senior Divisions.
Basic differences between the elementary and the teenage divisions:
1. The elementary division is strictly a local program.
2. There is no judging.
3. The topics are modest but invite creativity: Jesus, prayer, icons, etc.
4. It is designed to fit easily into the Church school program, with flexible topics that coincide with the curriculum.
5. To make it even more interesting, consider having some classes sign a song or re- enact a parable or a Bible story. Be creative!
What are the rules?
• Encourage all children to participate. Teachers and parents should assist the children in choosing a topic. Invite the children to present their talks at a community gathering, perhaps after the Divine Liturgy, as part of a parish event, during a special Oratorical program, or as part of the Junior and Senior Oratorical Festival.
• Each talk should last 30–90 seconds. However, no “strict timing” should be observed. For instance, one child may offer only two or three sentences, and another may offer considerably more. Also, if a child feels more comfortable in using an icon, picture, or poster as part of the talk, this is permissible.
Jesus Christ; Love; Being Kind; Lighting a Candle; Helping Others; The Cross; Prayer; A Smile; My Church; Church School;
The Bible; My Family; My Favorite Icon
Junior Division (Grades 7–9)
1. Considering the Lord’s words to His disciples, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35), discuss the relationship between service and leadership.
2. Discuss the importance of participating in the life of the Church in light of Jesus’s teaching in John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
3. In the Resurrection Service, the priest proclaims, “Come receive the light.” Discuss the place of light in the Orthodox Tradition.
4. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). Discuss how we can, by the help of the Holy Spirit, produce the above fruit in our lives.
5. In Psalm 103/104, God’s care for the natural world is praised. Select elements from the psalm and discuss how they may help us “grow” in our Faith.
Senior Division (Grades 10–12)
1. The Prophet Micah says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Discuss how this passage has inspired many Christians to acts of service.
2. In 313 AD, St. Constantine the Great proclaimed the Edict of Milan, which allowed Christians to practice their faith freely. What did religious freedom mean then, and what does it mean for people of faith today in countries where violent religious persecution occurs?
3. Discuss the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian in light of today’s culture.
4. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Social media is constantly present in our lives, making it easy for us to share bits and pieces of our lives with many people. How do you “let your light so shine” by using the widely available contemporary social and other media?
5. “Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments” (Psalm 118/119, verse 73). Discuss how this passage can guide us in a time when we constantly seek to alter the way we look, act, and live.