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VBS 2016 Daily News: Friday

VBS Friday 1VBS Kids Now Fully Staffed
“I Just Wanna be a Sheep” Now Latest Craze

STATE COLLEGE, PA — It was pizza day and as the VBS kids met for the last time this year, they gathered with our Archbishop Melchisedek to hear his words on being the shepherd of  a flock.  It was stated that his flock is different from flocks of sheep that the kids had the chance watch yesterday (see article below).

As part of their discussion, the students learned that just as a shepherd carries a staff to direct his flock for protection of his herd in case of danger a bishop carries a staff as a symbol of being our shepherd.  Additionally, the students found that the top of a bishop’s staff (crozier) is made to resemble two serpents’ heads, recalling the Saviors’ words: “Be ye wise as serpents”. As a serpent each year forces its way through thorny plants to shed its old skin, so also must the bishop lead others and follow himself along the thorny path which leads of the renewal of our souls.  (Ed. Note: Students made staffs this to help them remember Psalm 23.)

VBS Friday 2As the week began with the students uttering the first words of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd” today the VBS concluded with the affirmation, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The sheep are content and “at home” with the shepherd—and want to stay with Him forever.

Sheep Farm Tour Shows VBS Kids Life as a Sheep

On Thursday, the Holy Trinity VBS took it first ever field trip to a sheep farm in Sunbury, PA.  After a 1.5 hour bus trip, the students were greeted by an array of farm animals but mostly by a whole lot of sheep.

VBS Friday 3During the tour the students were able to pet the sheep, walk through the pastures, and learn about a sheep’s necessities (water & salt) and some of the dangers (copper, falling over). It was particularly fun to see the shepherd Caroline and her dog gather the sheep and run them back and forth – and how well the  sheep followed the shepherds commands.

At the end of the tour each student was given a piece of wool from one of the sheep as a keepsake.  All the “sheep” returned home safely and happily.

FPO — For Parents Only

VBS Friday 4It was once again a great joy and pleasure to be with your children this week.  It was a bit hectic but it was fun and they are going to be amazing sheep.  As much as possible include Psalm 23 in your daily prayers and with your children.  Knowing the meaning behind the words will give them great comfort and peace.  Thanks!

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2016 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2016 Daily News: Thursday

Students Take a Trip to a Sheep Farm
VBS Kids See First-hand What Sheep Are Like!

STATE COLLEGE, PA — Today there was no issue of the VBS Daily News because our reporters were in the field—literally. Here are some pictures from the remote location.

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FPO — For Parents Only

  • On Friday, there will be Vespers at 5:00 p.m. Please try to bring your children early so that we can pray together. Dinner and VBS will follow immediately. Additionally, our bishop will be visiting and will share some “shepherding” stories with the kids.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2016 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2016 Daily News: Wednesday

Students Take a Walk Through a Dark … 
VBS Kids say they had no fear of evil!

VBS Wed 2STATE COLLEGE, PA — Today the VBS students reached the midway point of their week long study adventure of Psalm 23.  To start the day the “sheep” attended vespers which was followed by another great day of learning, singing, games, and fun.

Today the students discussed how shepherds lead their sheep to different pastures depending on the time of year. To get to the mountaintops in the summer takes the sheep through the valleys.  The valleys can be a dangerous and dark place for sheep.

The students also spent class time learning about how God prepares and takes care of us. Before sheep head to the high country, the shepherd goes ahead—checking out the pastures, pulling out the poisonous weeds, removing any dangerous objects.  He brings salt and minerals to set out in the pasture.  Only after the table is prepared are the sheep brought in.

Just like the shepherd, we know that Christ goes before us in every situation.  Because of all Christ has done—he was tempted as we are, he suffered, he grieved, we are confident that he understands us through and through.  Christ has gone before and prepared a table for us—in plain view of our enemies.

VBS Wed 3What’s the Big Idea?

Today’s verses teach us that no matter what God is always with us, He has all the right tools to help us, and He is a just God.

Can You Repeat That Please?

Here are the verses studied today and the children are expected to memorize:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”

FPO — For Parents Only

  • VBS Wed 1On Thursday we will visit a sheep farm. Please arrive at the church by 4:15 so that we may leave promptly @ 4:30.
    • Please pack a dinner for your child.
    • The farm team is expecting a drizzle so you may want to pack a jacket.
    • Students are to wear shoes or boots (NO flip flops/open toes) as we will be in the fields and barns.
    • We should arrive back at the church ~9:30 p.m.
  • On Friday, there will be Vespers at 5:00 p.m..  Please try to bring your children early so that we can pray together.  Dinner and VBS will follow immediately.  Additionally, our bishop will be visiting and will share some “shepherding” stories with the kids.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2016 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2016 Daily News: Monday

New Sheep Herd arrives at Holy Trinity:
The Good Shepherd is leading us forever

VBS Mon 1STATE COLLEGE, PA —  School’s out so what’s a kid supposed to do? For the children of Holy Trinity Church in State College it could only mean that it’s time to go to Vacation Bible School (VBS)!  This year’s VBS theme is “I Wanna be a Sheep” and will be based on Psalm 23.

Sources close to the VBS have stated that the theme this year was selected because although the scriptures were written so that that they made sense to the peoples of the times we no longer live in an agrarian society.  However, we know that the Scriptures are timeless and we need apply them for today’s world.

VBS Mon 2Parents, teachers, and leaders need to convey to children that in Our Savior and in His scriptures we can find calm and peace and hope for the world which awaits us.  The students need to learn that the words of scripture were written for them.

Say What?

The Shepherds ultimate concern for the sheep:   He is the Way, because He leads us through Himself. He is the Door who lets us in, the Shepherd who makes us dwell in green pastures, bringing us up by waters of rest and leading us there. He protects us from wild beasts, converts the erring, brings back what was lost and binds up what was. broken. He guards the strong and brings them together into the fold beyond with words of pastoral knowledge.

— Gregory of Nazianzus, On the Son

Can You Repeat that Please?

VBS Mon 3Below are the verses we studied today and the children are to memorize: “He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”

Family Time

To make the most of this week for you and your child you will need to also be prepared to discuss Psalm 23 and the many instructional points which can be found in it.

FPO — For Parents Only

  • VBS Mon 4Question for you to discuss with your child before VBS tomorrow: What has God done to restore your soul?
  • On Wednesday, there will be Vespers at 5 p.m.  Please try to bring your children early so that we can pray together. Dinner and VBS will follow immediately.
  • On Thursday we will visit a sheep farm. We will leave @ 4:15.  Pack a dinner for your child.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2016 Vacation Bible School homepage.

First Children’s Choir Practice to take place Sunday

Children’s Choir (grades 3-8) will practice on Sunday, January 16 at 9:30 a.m. in Trinity House. Students will be accompanied to the rehearsal and then to the church.  All students in these grades are invited to be a part of this ministry.

Parents are encouraged to spend some time with your child(ren) discussing the importance of music in the Church music is not an ornamentation to the liturgical services but is an essential element of the services, the medium by which the Church instructs the faithful. Prayerfully consider taking advantage of this readily available means for your child(ren)’s spiritual growth and education.

It is understood that not all children may want to be part of the choir, but perhaps they can attend a few practices first to get a “feel” for it (students not rehearsing this Sunday will be dismissed to you).

Sunday School Moves to Trinity House this Sunday

IMG_9906 (1)Trinity House Ministry Center officially opens on Sunday, January 10. For students in the Sunday School and their parents, here is some important information regarding classroom changes:

  • Parents, teachers, and students will assemble in the Parish Hall at 9:00 a.m. sharp! for our opening prayer and then proceed immediately to our classes with the the Sunday School teachers:
    • Students in the Pre-K and Kindergarden class will  meet in the Holy Trinity Nursery (i.e., Father John’s former office in the Parish Hall);
    • Students in grades 1-5 will meet in the Trinity House Lower Level entering via the rear  entry door;
    • Students in the middle school (Conference Room) and high school (Atty Lounge, Second Floor) classes will enter Trinity House Main Floor using the Sparks Street (front door) entrance.
  • The driveway between Holy Trinity and Trinity House will be closed for the safety of students traveling to and from class. Motorists will be asked to enter the parking areas from Calder Way and Lark Alley only.
  • At the conclusion of the classes (9:45 AM) students in grades Pre-K to 5 will return to the Parish Hall to meet up with parents so that you may go together to the Liturgy.
  • Older students will be dismissed directly from class to return to the church for the Liturgy.

Next Sunday (January 17) during the Parents Session (we will meet in Trinity House Lower Level) Deacon Mark will lead parents in a discussion on these new procedures and make adjustments as necessary using your feedback.

Children to Prepare Blankets for Charity

In conjunction with rehearsing for Holy Trinity’s annual Christmas play, children will also have an opportunity to participate in a charitable project this Saturday.  While the children practice the songs, students will “finish” a few winter blankets for the less fortunate of our community. This will be a simple activity of tying knots on the fringe of the blankets. The blankets will then be given to the residents of the House of Care, a group home just a few blocks from our church on Beaver Avenue, which serves people with mental/physical illness who don’t have any family to support them.

Teens and parents who wish to participate should arrive early at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 19 to complete the final preparatory steps.  This will include the cutting of some material to precise measurements.

For more information, please contact Dn. Mark Oleynik, Director of Christian Education, at dnmark@holytrinity-oca.org.

Join the Sunday School in Caroling this Friday

Holy Trinity’s Sunday School will Christmas carol this Friday evening (December 4) beginning at 5:30 PM. The evening begins with dinner (pizza/fruits/refreshments) and concludes with some cookie decorating (after caroling).   The good news is that the weather outlook looks perfect—not too cold and dry. 
Participation is free and open to all area youth and their families. If you would like to join us, please note the following: 
  • each family is asked to bring 2-4 dozen sugar cookies ready to decorate(various cut-out Christmas shapes) and one (1) container of frosting (vanilla).  Food colors for the frosting will be provided.
  • sprinkles and embellishments for decorating are needed.
  • we hope to share some extra cookies with our community organizations (fire/police/etc.)
  • lots of adult hands are needed and appreciated during the dinner serving, cookie decoration, and clean-up
  • we will be caroling in the Holmes-Foster neighborhood for ~1 hour. 
  • have your child wear a bright colored coat/sweater for easier visibility.
  • bring a small battery-operated candle if available or a small flashlight – singers will carry as we walk the sidewalks and can be used to read from the song sheets (attached).
  • if you have (a) bell(s), bring it and we can ring it while we are walking between houses.
  • practice a bit with your children this week the traditional carols (Silent Night, O Come O Ye Faithful, Joy to the World, etc.)
  • The WHOLE family is invited so make it a family affair. 

VBS 2015 Daily News: Friday

Dressed and Ready for Spiritual Wars!
VBS concludes but the battle continues—Families urged to fight together.
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State College, PA — Holy Trinity’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) wrapped up today for year 2015 with a “sweet” ending in which each student gave it their best shot against evil and to “win against sin”.

Today, the students focused on studying the meaning of Ephesians 6:17 which reveals to us the last details of preparing for the good fight in which the Christian has to be ready to struggle against all temptations from the evil one: covering the head with “the helmet of Salvation” and arming with “the Sword of the Spirit”.

IMG_7300 IMG_7302As a recap, this week the kids learned how to be warriors for God. Paul tells us that we are caught in the middle of a spiritual war. He doesn’t tell us this to scare us, but to prepare us for life’s everyday battles. The VBS staff has led the preparation for their spiritual wars by showing them how to use the tools God has given us to fight a spiritual battle. All of these tools are laid out in Ephesians 6:11-18.

Now that the VBS students have learned to “put on the full armor of God” parents are expected to continue to train them (eg., put on the armor) each day to get them to be closer and closer to our Lord Jesus.

Family Time

Discuss the following questions as a family.

  • Discuss the nature of salvation. Belief in Jesus Christ and commitment to Him is vital to a happy, healthy family.
  • Ask your child to go through all the pieces of armor that they made and explain what they represent.
  • Why is salvation a helmet? Can this helmet ever come off?
  • Why is the Word of God called a sword?
  • Practice “putting on the armor of God” every day.
  • Take time everyday to pray and read the Bible with your children.

Don’t forget to pray as a family.

What’s the Big Idea?

IMG_7250The Helmet of Salvation protects us from thinking ungodly thoughts and the Sword of the Spirit guides us into a Godly way of thinking and living. It helps us be proactive in fighting Satan.

FPO —For Parents Only

  • Thank you for sharing your children with the VBS staff this week. Each day we were welcomed with enthusiasm and wonder and it was a joy to be with each of them.
  • Many thanks to the adult staff and especially for the terrific High School and Middle School helpers.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2015 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2015 Daily News: Thursday

imagejpeg_0-3Shields Up!
VBS kids say that Faith protects all from the fiery darts of the wicked!

State College, PA — The VBS students began the day worshipping together at Vespers before continuing their preparation for going into spiritual battle. Today was a day to accessorize their armor by putting on the shoes of the Gospel of Peace.

Today we discussed the Shield of Faith and its ability to move and cover weaknesses we have in our lives. Faith is the “substance” and the “evidence” of truth (Hebrews 1:11). It is not to believe that there is a God. It is to know God

Faith is not “what if…” It is who. As in every relationship, there are times when “fiery darts” of fear and doubt pierce us. To quench them, we need one shield: knowing our faith—what we believe about whom.

IMG_7201Our physical activity was a form of dodge ball. The children used shields to protect themselves as we through balls at them. The point was to show how a shield moves to protect weaknesses.

Family Time

Discuss the following questions as a family.

  • What is the common understanding of faith?
  • What makes the shield different from the other pieces of armor?
  • Why would faith be represented by a shield?
  • What are some fears and doubts you and your family face?
  • How can the Shield of Faith help you overcome that?

IMG_7221Don’t forget to pray as a family.

What’s the Big Idea?

We all have sins and weaknesses in our lives with which we struggle. Sometimes we just fall apart because Satan finds that little weakness in our armor and aims well. The Shield of Faith moves to cover those weaknesses when we don’t have the knowledge or strength to face a situation. Our shield will never fail because God is always faithful to us.

FPO—For Parents Only

  • TOMORROW is our last day of VBS.  There will be some extra sweet things in the park.
  • Don’t forget to memorize our Bible verse with your child.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2015 Vacation Bible School homepage.