It is the foremost desire of our Church School staff to instill a love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and His Holy Church, in each of our children. Our program offers an Orthodox curriculum founded on our treasured traditional teachings, the exemplary lives of the saints, and the hymns of the Church. We warmly welcome all youth from Pre-Kindergarten through High School graduation, and encourage them to experience the depth of our faith through Church School.
Young men, ages 7 and above, are invited to serve God in the Altar and assist in the Liturgical services of our Church. Holy Spirit acolytes have annual instructional and social events with our Fr. Michael and our sacristan, William Valavanis. The young men are divided into three service groups that rotate each Sunday. Please contact the Church Office if you would like to serve God in the Altar and assist Fr. Michael.
Greek Orthodox Youth of America (GOYA) is for youth in grades 7-12. They meet once or twice a month for various activities, service projects and social events. The teens become leaders of the ministry with the assistance of Fr. Patrick and the advisors. GOYANs are actively involved in the church community, volunteering to do such things as decorate, set up, serve, host, fundraise and clean for many events. GOYA thanks our community for its support as we endeavor to remain steadfast to the Orthodox Faith both now and in the future.
Our Junior Orthodox Youth (JOY) group consists of youth in grades 3-6. Its mission is to lead them to experience the Orthodox faith through Worship (Liturgia), Fellowship (Koinonia), Service (Diakonia) and Witness (Martyria). The group meets monthly for traditional religious lessons that offer present-day applications of Church teachings. The children and their advisors participate in community service and church projects throughout the year. Fun outings have included apple picking, fall harvest festival, the AHEPA House Christmas Show, pool parties, game nights and movies.
The HOPE group is for children preschool age to grade 2. HOPE’s mission is to lead our children to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and to become active sacramental members of our Church. We meet primarily on the third Sunday of every month during Church school. Our discussions start with a prayer, followed by an assigned topic and craft activity. We have made our own icons and read stories about various saints, angels, the sacraments, and God’s animal creations. We join with the JOY group for activities such as apple and pumpkin picking, fall harvest festival, nature walks, and sledding in the winter.
An Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is a group of university and college students who gather for fellowship and to learn more about our faith, to worship God, and to serve through various ministries. Rochester has an active OCF group, with students from local campuses and those belonging to area churches. Although each campus organizes its own activities, once a month we all gather for an event, such as our September College Students’ Sunday, January Vespers and Greek Dancing with Buffalo and Syracuse OCFs, a service project, or a monastic retreat. See our Orthodox Christian Fellowship of Rochester Facebook for current information, or www.ocf.org for information on OCF activities at the national level.
Our Greek Language School teaches children to speak, read and write the modern Greek language, so they can better appreciate Greek culture and its contributions to Western civilization. We offer three levels of instruction for children and one adult Greek language class. The focus of the instruction is on oral language skills.
To help celebrate and promote our Greek heritage and traditions, our Greek Folk Dancing group teaches basic Greek dancing skills to our young people. The group meets on Sundays after Church, and performs at various cultural events throughout the year. The group is divided into Elementary, Middle, and Highschool age groups.
Organized by the Greek Orthodox parishes of upstate New York, St. Timothy’s camp offers an opportunity for Christian fun and fellowship, and a place to deepen faith and commitment to Christ. Young people ages 8 through 18 (graduating high school seniors) are encouraged to attend St. Timothy’s Camp with a sense of adventure and a desire to grow spiritually, mentally and physically. In addition, a young adult group has been established, for ages 19 to 22, to develop their spiritual growth and knowledge of their faith while attending college or beginning a new career. Parents driving their children to camp may stay Saturday evening for a $50 per-person fee, which includes Saturday dinner, overnight barrack-style accommodations, and Sunday Liturgy followed by brunch. Due to limited accommodations, only staff, counselors and campers may spend the week. See sttimothycamp.org for more details.
The annual Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival trains young people to excel in one of the most important skills a Christian can possess – the ability to articulate one’s faith. Using topics and guidelines provided by the Archdiocese, classroom teachers and coaches encourage participation by students in three divisions: Elementary (Grades 4-6), Junior (Grades 7-9), and Senior (Grades 10-12). Finalists move through the various Festival levels: Parish, District, Metropolis, and Archdiocese. Prizes and scholarships are offered at every level, along with the opportunity to develop speaking skills and form lasting friendships.