In an effort to close out the year with some good news, Yours Truly was pointed in the direction of The Orthodox Christian School Association (OCSA), one of the new ministries operating under the aegis of the Episcopal Assembly. I offer it to you unedited. Please keep this fine group in your prayers and if possible, contribute to their efforts. Future generations depend on it.
As the year ends, we review the past year, and look to the future. For our faith, for our culture, and for our country, our future lies with our children. The values that we inculcate in our children as members of the Body of Christ will be reflected in faith, culture and country.And each of these will be an arena, an area of contest. The popular culture is powerful and its inertia inexorable. Moreover, the popular culture at best ignores, and more often is antagonistic to the values we as Orthodox Christians hold. The relativistic, often nihilistic worldviews to which our children are exposed give them little direction and precious little hope. Our children’s education is key to their ability to think critically, and more importantly, to apply the values and morals of the faith when confronted by a world with very different values and priorities.
But how can this be done? On average, a child attending Liturgy and Sunday school might be formally exposed to Orthodox teachings perhaps 500 hours per year. Our school systems have access to these malleable minds for, on average, 16,000 hours/year. Who, then,has the inside track on instilling a values system in our children?
A number of educators who are Orthodox have been pursuing this question, and have been sharing their answers among themselves through the Orthodox Christian School Association. This association seeks to support the creation and growth of primary and secondary Orthodox schools bringing the light of Christ to America. The organization is pan Orthodox in nature. The OCSA has been developing tools to assist in the starting of Orthodox schools, most recently releasing a “School start up Handbook,” as well as providing consulting and encouragement to those accepting the challenge of planting an Orthodox school in their community.
As the year comes to an end, the OCSA is conducting a fundraising effort to bring the organization to the next level in its ability to support both Orthodox school startups as well as existing schools. The OCSA has been issued a challenge matching grant by the Farah Foundation, which has long been a supporter of the OCSA and its mission. As of this writing,the Association lacks $15,000 in contributions to meet the grant challenge by year end. As you consider your year end charitable giving, please consider supporting the OCSA . Their website is www.orthodoxschools.org, and your tax deductible contribution can be made via PayPal.Below is a talk given at an OCSA conference by Dr. David Hicks. Dr. Hicks, one of the founding members of the OCSA, was headmaster of St. Marks School of Dallas and is currently the chief academic officer for Meritas. He discusses 7 traits of Orthodox schools, and lays out a vision of an educational structure designed to allow our children to be fully formed Christians standing strong in the buffeting winds of the popular culture of our time.
The formation of the souls of our children is inextricably linked to the education they are given.St Theophan the recluse, in his book, The Path to Salvation stated that “Of all holy works,education of the children is the most holy…” and “every kind of learning which is taught to a Christian should be penetrated with Christian principles and, more precisely, Orthodox ones.”Please help the Orthodox Christian School Association with your contribution atwww.orthodoxschools.org.]
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