Sunday Church School

It is interesting to track the history of the Sunday School program at the Church. In the 410 South Duke Street era, the function of Sunday School was served through the Greek School. The building of and moving into the Church at 249 East South Street in 1951 coincided with interest of the 410 South Duke Street adolescents who had now become young adults and wanted to establish a Sunday School program in the Church. At that time there was no material available from the Archdiocese to aid in establishing and operating such a program. One of these young adults was herself a graduate of the Archdiocese-operated St. Basil's Academy which trained and prepared Greek American adolescents to become Greek School teachers. She, with half a dozen or so other young adults, set about establishing and operating Sunday School programs in York. They were assisted by studying and observing Sunday School programs in operation in other Greek Orthodox Churches and communities. The enrollment averaged about 30 students.

The program continued into the new church building complex on Pine Grove Road. The Sunday School was very active in starting many new programs and activities in the Church. Religious Education Seminars, Lenten Retreats, Godparents Sunday, Forgiveness Vespers at the beginning of Great Lent, and the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. Camp Nazareth essay and art contests were set up, with the winners winning a free trip to the Metropolis-sponsored summer camp for Greek Orthodox youth. Visits to other Sunday Schools were planned. Programs to benefit the Greater York Community were also initiated, such as donating Thanksgiving baskets to a needy family, a Mitten Christmas tree for poor children, and Daffodil Sunday to raise money for cancer research. Most of these events became annual traditions, including a Christmas pageant, picnics featuring softball and other games as well as face-painting, and bus trips to Washington D.C. and amusement parks. The newest program is the Vacation Church School. During the early days of the Pine Grove Road Church, there were over seventy children enrolled in the Sunday School with many of the students' mothers and some of the fathers teaching with only partitions dividing the classrooms. Today there are nine teachers conducting classes from pre-kindergarten to high school in individual classrooms, with an enrollment of about 40 students. It is noteworthy that one former and two present supervisors of the Sunday School programs, as well as some of the teachers were not born Greek Americans or into Orthodox families. They have all embraced Orthodoxy as their faith, some through marriage. Presently the Archdiocese offers a great deal of Sunday School material from curriculum guides and books to audio-visual material.

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