Holy Virgin Protection Parish Vacation Church School, Goshen, Indiana
Parishioners of Holy Virgin Protection Parish in Goshen, Indiana recently enjoyed its first ever week of Vacation Church School. The second week of June, fourteen parishioners ranging in age from three to 16 assembled each day to pray, study, dance and socialize.

Students arrived each morning at 10 a.m. began the day with morning prayers. Students under five then had a class in the Law of God and practiced singing the essential prayers of the Church. The rest of their morning involved a class of religious and cultural crafts along with instruction in Russian Dancing. The younger students went home after lunch.

Older students began their day with church singing. Daily classes in Russian culture introduced them to folk song, fairy tales, Russian history and the art of the Matroshka. Iconographer Paul Drozdowski, who was visiting from New Jersey to work on the parish’s iconostas, introduced the students to this rich ecclesiastical art. In art class, they created designs for Orthodox greeting cards, several of which will be sold as a fundraiser for the youth group. There were two classes of religious instruction each day taught by the parish rector, Fr. Daniel Marshall. The first focused on the feasts of Pascha, Ascension and Pentecost, while the second was based on his recently published children’s book, St. Seraphim’s Beatitudes.

Students listened to the lives of the saints from St. Nikolai Velimirovich’s Prologue during lunch each day and said evening prayers together prior to going home at 4 p.m. The school took a pilgrimage to the Serbian Orthodox Convent of the Nativity of the Mother of God, where Abbess Macrina, Archimandrite Gavrilo, and Mother Paraskeva greeted them with love and hospitality. The students toured the monastery grounds, learned about the iconography in the church and discussed monasticism and the spiritual life with Abbess Macrina and Fr. Gavrilo.

The school was only possible with the support and talents of a number of parishioners. The school was able to hire Katia Wolkow, a student of early childhood education in New York City, to assist with the school. She worked with the youngest students on craft projects, taught singing and culture classes to the older students and helped supervise the entire school. She was an inspiration to all. Mrs. Ludmila Chapman-Pichugena taught classes in Russian art during which the students made their own Matroshka dolls. Mrs. Natalya Glazman introduced them to the great Russian leader and spiritual hero, St. Alexander Nevsky. Mrs. Glazman and her mother, Valentina Oblenko provided lunch for the students and staff every day.

Having begun this blessed activity this year, students and parents alike are looking forward, with God’s help, to conducting Vacation Church School again next year.

Holy Virgin Protection Parish Vacation Church School - 07/02/08

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