St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church School
A well informed Christian is a spiritually committed Christian.
Our Church School Mission
Christian education for our children is an essential ministry in the Church. The whole body of the Church participates in this ministry through the adequate provision of personal, spiritual, and financial resources.
Jesus makes it clear. He wants children to come and know Him. For us to hinder this process is a grave offense.
“But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.’” -Mark 10: 14
The central aim of Christian education is to evoke and nurture faith in Jesus Christ. The whole range of Orthodox educational materials—books, films, Bible Studies, lives of saints, discussion of Christian values—becomes effective only when they communicate the love and spirit of Christ.
Our Church School Program
St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church has been blessed to have many children present in the church as well as many talented and compassionate volunteer teachers. We understand that education and upbringing in the Orthodox faith is our greatest gift to our children.
Classroom Structure for the 2019-20 School Year
Currently our Church School Program is divided into the four following classes:
Preschool (Pre-K and K)
Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3)
Upper Elementary (Grades 4-7)
Jr/High School (Grades 8-12)
Classroom sizes vary from year to year. We are blessed to have a devoted classroom space for all of our students in our Youth Education Center.
Curriculum Themes for the 2019-20 School Year
Every year our devoted teachers develop thematic curriculum plans that focus on a different aspect of our Orthodox faith, with lessons that are geared toward the learning level of the students in the classroom.
Pre-School and Elementary—Church History: The Preschool, Lower, and Upper Elementary classes typically follow the same curriculum theme. For the 2019-20 school year these students will be learning about many of the historical events throughout Christian History. Starting with Pentecost and spanning all the way to our North American Saints, this is a great opportunity for our children to learn about the Orthodox Christian world after the events recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
Jr/High School—The Communal Body of Christ: For the 2019-20 school year, the Jr/High School students will take a deep dive into what it means when we refer to Orthodox Christianity as a liturgical and communal way of life. At the end of the church school year, students should be able to discuss with confidence the various parts of their liturgical life in the Church—including the Eucharist, Church architecture, the parts of the Divine Liturgy, the Liturgical calendar, and more. As we move through different topics during the year, we will continuously circle back to the idea that we are a Communal Body of Christ.
Our Church School Volunteers
Along with St. Mary Magdalene’s many children, we are also blessed with a wonderful group of volunteers assisting in the Church School Program. They are a highly qualified team coming from diverse professional backgrounds and educations. Above all, they are dedicated to the continued growth and education of our young Church members.
Jenni has been Church School Coordinator for three years. She is constantly busy helping with Church School communications, purchasing and setting up snacks for students, checking in with teachers, organizing our end of year ice cream social, and filling in for teachers if needed. Jenni is also a member of the church choir and a reader. Most days Jenni is taking care of her home and family and doing Jazzercise.
Pre-School and Elementary Teachers
This is Helen’s first year with the pre-school class. She works as a dental office manager and studied dental assisting at a vocational school. Helen is blessed with a large family: Husband, children, sisters, brother, and four grandchildren. In her free time she likes to travel, do arts & crafts, walk, and spend time with her grandkids.
Nyomi is a senior at Fenton High School and this is her first year helping teach the Preschool class. She says, “My life has changed since the day I converted to Orthodoxy and I wouldn’t change that for the world! I love kids and teaching them about the Lord is even better!” Nyomi has “two loving parents and one amazing little brother.” In her free time she likes hiking, swing dancing, and hanging out with my friends.
Matushka Laura has been teaching Church School for over five years and is currently teaching the lower elementary class. She works as a triage nurse in a pediatric office in Brighton. Laura’s true nursing passion is labor and delivery hopes to get back into that specialty as her kids get older. She is married to Fr. Gabriel and together they have 3 children—Lucy (5), Noah (3), and Ileana (6mo). Oh and Lola their pup.
Rachel is excited to start her first year teaching the lower elementary Church School class. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Youth Studies (Youth Ministry). Rachel’s day job is staying busy caring for her home. Her and her husband Chris have two daughters, Maura, five-and-a-half, and Hannah, one-and-a-half. The half year is very important to Maura.
Chris has been assisting with the lower elementary class for three years. Chris has been an automotive engineer at General Motors now for 15 years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan with a minor of humanities in German Language studies. Chris and his wife have one child who is also enrolled in Church school.
This is Theresa’s first year teaching the upper elementary class. She grew up in Chicago and moved to Michigan to study medicine. Here she met her husband Brion and raise their four children in Hartland. Theresa works as an emergency physician. In her free time she likes sewing, canning, and gardening.
Meghan has been involved with the teen program for over 14 years. She has a BA from U of M Flint focusing on secondary education with a major in English and a minor in History. She is employed as a Patient Coordinator at a local Orthodontist. She loves to read and watch movies or cartoons. Meghan teaches Church School with her husband Andrew and together they have four children and a dog.
Andrew has been teaching Church School for over 14 years. He has a BS from Eastern Michigan University focusing on secondary education with a major in English and a minor in History. He also has an MA in Written Communication from EMU where he taught a First Year Writing course for one year. Andrew is employed as a software technical writer in Livonia, MI. He and his wife Meghan live in Fenton with their four children. And yes, that dog.
This is Miriam’s third year as an instructor for the teen class. She is a homemaker, home educator, and manages care for her children with special medical and developmental needs. Miriam has a bachelor's degree in dance performance and choreography, and Japanese language from Hope College. In her free time she likes reading and researching about child development, Autism and executive function, and Epilepsy/neurology, knitting and sewing, nerdy things like Star Trek, Legend of Zelda, Lord of the Rings and the like, and camping!