“Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works & give glory to your Father in Heaven.” This passage is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (5.16) and reminds us of how important and central it is for Christians to reach out and help those who are in need. We do this not to receive personal praise, but rather that the person receiving assistance may offer up glory to God, for answering prayer. In responding to this call, our Sunday School students participate in the following special projects:
Yearly Project - Our Sunday School students actively participate in the Support-A-Priest Mission Program by designating two of the monthly stewardship collections to support the ministry of over 160 Missionary Orthodox Priests.
Cook & Care Walk-A-Thon - Our students are asked to participate in the annual walk-a-thon that provides funding for four organizations that feed and support those in need in the New Haven area, including FISH, the Community Soup Kitchen, the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen and Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers.
Thanksgiving - Students are asked to bring a brown grocery bag of non-perishable foods for the Thanksgiving Food Drive. These items are then collected from home, from friends and relatives or can be purchased. The items are then donated to families in need of assistance and to various food pantries in the Greater New Haven area.
Christmas - Our Sunday School has also undertaken the special mission of assisting the YALE Children’s Hospital. Each child is asked to bring in a new unwrapped toy which is then brought to the Guilford Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center. The toys are placed in the Center’s Toy Chest. After undergoing different and sometimes painful treatments at the center, children being treated at the center, are given the opportunity to choose one of the gifts from the Toy Box to keep as their own and take home. This annual event was established by some of the members of our Sunday School in loving memory of their Nouna and Aunt, Barbara Rossi.
Souper Bowl of Caring - The students of our Sunday School participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring each year on Super Bowl Sunday. The Souper Bowl of Caring is a youth-led, grass roots movement of caring, that utilizes Super Bowl weekend to mobilize youth of all backgrounds to fight hunger and poverty in their local communities. In 2013, over $7,450,000 in cash and food items were donated to charities across the United States of America.
Great Lent – Each year during lent, the Orthodox Christian Missions Center distributes Lenten Missions Boxes to Orthodox Churches throughout the country. The Orthodox Christian Missions Center is a Pan-Orthodox administrative body which coordinates the charitable activities for Orthodox throughout the world. A box is given to each student at the beginning of Lent. It is hoped that during the Lenten period, the student will make the effort to fill the box with monies earned through chores or allowances and in doing so assist others who are in need of our financial assistance. The sacrifice of a few coins a day could then accumulate to a substantial amount by the time the boxes are collected on Palm Sunday.
Ephraim the Syrian
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