“Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Pro. 22:6)
OSSAE is a spiritual organization functioning in all the parishes of the Indian Orthodox Church that takes care of the spiritual nurturing of the children, by bringing them up in the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus Christ and His Church. Our mission is to enhance the spiritual growth of the new generation by teaching the Holy Bible and other religious lessons to the children of the parish.
OSSAE UK concentrates on one of the three visions of the Indian Orthodox Church in the UK, Europe and Africa diocese which is to address the needs of the younger generation who live in a culture that is mainly ‘Western’ and does not require any affiliation with the traditional language or cultural practices of Kerala. OSSAE-UK has developed the curriculum and co-curricular programs intending to meet the standard of its umbrella organization, the OSSAE. The activities of OSSAE UK are coordinated by an executive committee presided by our Diocese Bishop H.G. Dr Mathews Mar Thimothios.
St. Marys Indian Orthodox Church Sunday School, Bristol
St. Marys Indian Orthodox Church Sunday School, Bristol is one of the largest Sunday Schools in the diocese. Amazingly, about 74 students and 30 teachers are working as a single unit.
Sunday school lessons were conducted in our parish from the time of its institution in Bristol. Children join Sunday school at an early age from Pre-school till year 12. Major topics of learning include the Holy Bible, worship, faith, Church history and common topics that affect human wellbeing like eco-spirituality, globalisation… etc.
Every year the Sunday school classes start in January and complete by mid-December. Children take part in half term and annual exams as part of the assessment. Children are also encouraged to participate in talent activities like singing, elocution, Bible quiz and sports day to showcase their talents. Participants are rewarded appropriately.
The onus of communicating the Christian ‘message’ to our children rests mainly with the Sunday school teachers, who are engaged in the “teaching mission” of the Church. Sunday school teachers play a pivotal role in meeting the objectives of the OSSAE not only from a traditional perspective but also from a holistic point of view to help children to understand the Christian way of knowing the world and its creator to lead a successful life.
Sunday school teachers join voluntarily dedicated to helping children grow in Christ. All the teachers complete DBS checks as per Government guidelines. Students who complete Year 12 are given the chance to teach in Sunday school which helps them in their secular education as well. The medium of teaching is the English language.
Orthodox Vacation Bible School (OVBS)
OVBS is the most cherished time of the year for children. It creatively combines learning about God with scriptures, saints, feast, prayers and worship. It includes classroom lessons and discussions, memorising verses, upbeat songs/hymns (liturgical or non-liturgical), orthodox worship/prayers, arts and crafts, recreation and more. Thus, it focuses on deepening the knowledge and experience of the Orthodox faith and embraces the teachings and traditions of Orthodox Christianity which in turn becomes a central organising principle of a child’s spiritual growth in his life.