FIFTH ANNUAL CHURCH SCHOOL TEACHERS’ SEMINAR
HELD IN LANSING ON SEPTEMBER 8TH:
The Department of Christian Education Serbian Orthodox Midwestern Metropolitinate sponsored a day long seminar for Church School Teachers. St. Archangel Michael parish in Lansing graciously hosted this event which was attended by approximately 30 teachers. Parishes represented were: St. Archangel Michael-Lansing IL, St.Basil of Ostrog-Lake Forest IL, St. Elija-Merrilville IN, St. George-Joliet IL, St. John The Baptist-Bellwood IL, St. Nicholas-Indianapolis IN, St. Simeon Mirotocivi-Chicago IL, and St. Sava-Milwaukee WI.
Our distinguished clergy in attendance were: Rev. Vladimir Vranic-St. Basil of Ostrog-Lake Forest Il, Rev. Dragan Petrovic-St. Nicholas-Indianapolis IN, Rev. Mile Subotic-Sts. Peter and Paul-South Bend IN, Very Rev. Milos Vesin-St. Archangel Michael Lansing IL, Very Rev. Lazar Kostur-St. Elijah -Merrerville, IN, and Rev. Radovan Jakovljevic, Director of Christian Education for the Midwestern Metropolitinate.
Our morning opened with church services: Akathist To The Most Holy Theotokos. The sanctuary at St. Archangel Michael’s was peaceful and welcoming. It is in the midst of being adorned with much new iconography, and it was fascinating to see these works of art in various stages of completion. Following Church service, we had coffee, a delicious light breakfast, and registration. The ambitious itinerary then began with presentations.
Father Vranic discussed “Scripture and Liturgy on Our Role to Education”. The relationship to each other and as a core of our worship was conveyed. Father Dragan Petrovic shared his experiences of ministry in Guatemala. His story of the children he encountered and their thirst for spiritual guidance was very moving. Diane Markovina (teacher of high school students at St. Sava Milwaukee) spoke on “The Need for Christian Education of Adults”. She provided ideas on how to share information and knowledge with the adult members of our parishes in both formal and informal ways. Father Radovan Jakovljevic spoke to us about “Stepping Out of the Box” in our approaches to teaching challenges. He also presented the initial information regarding a Teacher Certification Program, that will give teachers formalized knowledge of our Faith, and unify teachers on major curriculum topics. Father Milos Vesin closed the presentations with “A Spiritual Reflection”. He spoke of God’s love, sacrifice and forgiveness given to us all, and how if we employ these same 3 qualities in our daily lives and teaching efforts, many of the “details” will work themselves out.
These presentations were given with knowledge and passion, warmth and even at times humor. They were informative, touching, thought provoking and inspiring. We broke for a delicious lunch provided by our hosts, and conversation and fellowship continued.
The questions and discussion after each speaker caused us to be “off schedule”. Our host parish teachers had prepared a presentation on “Using Arts and Crafts in Education”, that had to be modified, as did some of our afternoon agenda of dividing into groups to work on Theological Concepts, Teaching Methodologies, Lesson Planning, and Curriculum Decisions. These are concrete topics always worthy of study, and hopefully work on them will continue at our next gathering.
We left the seminar inspired to teach by being living examples, to apply what we teach in the classroom to our own lives and in our own families. We were encouraged to persevere in coping with common teaching challenges and those unique to each parish.
Overall this workshop was very productive. In addition to the knowledge gained, we received many sources for information and ideas. Meeting fellow teachers, comparing similarities and differences, obstacles, ideas, and techniques helped to strengthen our endeavors to teach those we have been entrusted with. I would recommend all teachers attend the seminars and workshops offered, for both personal enrichment and motivation to share our wonderful Faith in the best way possible.
Diane Grubisich, Church School Teacher
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Joliet IL