We are a parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA - Rightful member of Assembly of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. If you have not been to church for some time or if you are a newcomer to Orthodoxy, please feel welcome to come pray with us. Our Community and Church doors are open for you and your family. Our Divine Liturgy Services are at 9:30am on Sunday and at 9:00am Weekdays. We have Sunday School and a social hour with coffee and snacks in our Church hall after services.
This year, our Annual Church School Camp took place on Thursday and Friday of August 1 and August 2. Forty thee children took part in the event.
The theme of the Camp was Blast off into God’s Galaxy. Children had an opportunity to learn about Christian virtues as planets in God’s galaxy with its center of course – Sun as Son of God Jesus Christ.
The Camp started with the morning Prayers and introductory lesson on main Christian Virtues followed by launching of a giant water rocket into the skies.
The kids had a great time of fun and learning about God and His Church, thanks to organizers of the Camp, as well as teenagers, parent helpers and support of our generous donors. This year as never before we had people generously contribute to the needs of the camp.
Special thanks to the organizers of the camp; Pat Wolsko, Janet Milton, Debbie & Larrie Pierog, Karen Larson & PM Olenka. They have done a terrific job of preparing and leading the annual Church School Camp.
This year, they have done something different. They have revamped the whole program. They had children to work in smaller groups on different activities. From thought-provoking making of a poster on one of the virtues to quite story time reinforced by craft, fellowship games enjoyed by every age group, and of course water balloon toss and ice cream social. On the second day of the camp, children had a guest speaker/performer with Biblical theme Magic show.
Little kids with their parents were welcomed to take a part in the camp. It looked like little guys had a great time enjoying some of the activities with the older kids and some with their parents and their peers. We had children of Sunday School and Saturday school as well as some children from the area. Kids enjoyed each other’s company by praying together, doing crafts, playing educational games, making and baking their own pizzas for lunch, assembling their very own sandwiches, learning and having fun. It is important to note, that this is the third year that the children of both schools participated at the camp and there was no need to translate things into Ukrainian.
Educational games, which were fun to play, taught kids about the importance of gathering together for a common goal. Children saw the great benefits of staying together in unity to pray, to work and to have fun.
One of the fun activities was making their own lunch. The new talents were discovered, as the kids formed the dough, spread the sauce, made and designed their own pizzas. It was truly a delight to see them having fun working with dough and then munching on their creations in a circle of friends. New friendships have been made.
The Camp ended with an ice-cream social and traditional water balloon toss and me getting soaked. Kids do keep the custom of making their priest soaking wet at the end of the water balloon toss. Everyone left for home with great memories of a time well spent together with friends from the parish family.
All of the participants, including children, teenage helpers and adult leaders had a great time. We encourage parents, grandparents to save the date for next year’s Parish School Camp and find time to bring the kids over for a few days of learning fun. We are planning to have the camp on August 6 and 7, 2020. There are thinking of having an overnight sleepover at the hall for those parents and children, who would be interested. We, as parents always try to provide and choose the best things for our children to spend time during summer. Those parents, who sent their kids to Church School Camp this year, have made a right choice.
This winter has been quite unusual with jumping temperature from fifties to below zero in Fahrenheit and with little to no snow at all. At first it seemed like we were going to have the Nativity of Jesus Christ without snow at all. This would be the first time since I remember myself. However, snow did fell; we had white Christmas on the third day of Nativity.
This Year’s calendar was quite unique as well. Christmas and New Year both fell on a Sunday. The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ fell on a Saturday. Therefore, parishioners and friends of our parish had no reason not to come and celebrate all together the feast of the Feasts. Even though the temperature was bitterly cold, the temple of Sts. Peter and Paul was overfilled with worshipers, standing room only. The magnificent choir beautified the services with its singing of Festal Divine Liturgy followed by joyous caroling. The service was spiritually uplifting. Nicely decorated temple, burning candles, chatter of wrestles kids all added up to the glorious celebration. After the Divine Liturgy, faithful and guests of Sts. Peter and Paul enjoyed delicious banquet in honor of the Newborn King. Children of Sunday school were visited by St. Nicholas, who couldn’t do it in December due to his very busy schedule and weather conditions. The story of St. Nicholas was read by children to the delight of the filled church hall.
The second day of Nativity, the Synoxis of the Mother of God, was celebrated on the following day, Sunday. The celebration continued with the Divine Liturgy and more caroling.
On the third day of Nativity we were blessed with a visit of His Eminence Archbishop-Elect Daniel - Vice-Chairman and President of the Consistory; Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy. His Eminence Daniel accompanied by Fr. Ivan Lymar, pastor of St. Volodimer Cathedral in Chicago and me led us in the Divine Liturgy, honoring St. Stephen protomartyr. After the Divine Liturgy everyone was invite to carol at the rectory and to enjoy provided luncheon. Attending parishioners and guests had the opportunity to venerate the actual relics of St. Stephen, which were brought by Vladyka Daniel. His Eminence, preached to us about first martyr Stephen and what it really means to be the real follower of Christ, who is willing to sacrifice his life for Christ. He spoke of love which made St. Stephen be able to do what he has done, to preach Christ through His life until the very last breath. Real examples of living in the love of Christ were shared by his Eminence. If those people were capable of spreading Christ’s love thorough their actions of compassion, so we too can share Christ’s love with the others by being Christ to those who are in need.
I had this wonderful opportunity to witness the power of Christ’s love in action, as his Eminence Daniel along with seminarian Ihor Protsak and my family made surprise visit to carol at a house of a homebound Josephine Hobert. You could see the tears of joy in her eyes as her first to be missed Christmas, was not missed anymore. According to her own words, she was going to miss Christmas celebration at the Church for the very first time, because of mobility issues, but the Christmas was brought to her. The true spirit of Christmas filled the house as carol after carol was song with such a joy by everyone present. All of a sudden it turned to be so warm and cozy in the house… filled with the love of the Newborn King, Jesus Christ our Lord. He was indeed among us, you could feel His presence. This feeling is hard to describe, but it felt heavenly. If this unique, awesome feeling is a pre-taste of His Heavenly Kingdom, we have a lot to look forward to.
I wish you all to have such experience this Nativity Season. We all can achieve that by simple sharing of Christ’s love with those who surround us. But first, we have to except His love by submitting our hearts to Him. Surrender to Christ’s love and He will lead you to experience the sweetness of His Heavenly Kingdom yet here on this earth.
Remaining in the love of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ,