summer I hope we will all have the heart of Mary. That we will stop
to listen to God whenever the opportunity arises. During summer vacations
it is often much easier to be as Martha hurrying about, preparing
for job and vacation schedules, doing those projects and tasks which
were postponed due to hectic school schedules, and perhaps even trying
to organize a summer school class in the midst of all of this.
believe planning, preparing, and organizing are important. Yet, they
should not overtake you. I want to encourage you to plan your summer
taking the time to listen whenever the opportunity arises to the Lord
Jesus Christ. There are many opportunities for spiritual enrichment
within the diocese this summer with the youth in mind.
St Mary and Archangel Michael Orthodox Church in Orlando, Florida
has planned a tour of Egypt. The date for this trip is June 4-20,
2001. There are many diocese retreats scheduled (Deacons, Servants,
and Youth) for the summer months. Everyone should attend as many of
these as pertains to them. Retreats are a wonderful way in which to
enrich your summer months. Organized learning within religious settings
are quiet ways that we can hear the still voice of God that often
gets drowned out living in the unstructured summer months.
your church's summer calendars not only for activities but also for
ways in which you can serve your church. If nothing comes to mind
think of innovative ways to serve. Plan youth groups to go read the
Holy Bible to the elderly and sick, organize a hymns group and teach
new songs to the small ones, initiate a campaign to go visit all those
youth who haven't been regularly attending church services and encourage
them to do so.
around at ways to create. Does your church need an updated youth directory?
Can you write an article for the Mighty Arrows? If you haven't started
the Bible Contest or need to resume it let it take the place of the
school hours instead of television. Can you help out with your church
newsletters? Does your church website need to be updated?
diocese is teaming with creative and innovative youth who have much
to offer as service to the church. Please do not let yourself say
"I am so bored" and "I have nothing to do." This is
simply not true. Be faithful in the tasks set before you.
is a must for the summer. Set aside time each morning as you awake
to read the Holy Bible. Begin you day with God's word and learn to
listen quietly to His many messages. The summer is a great time to
read from the church's wealth of literature. Read the endearing stories
of the saints, travel through Egypt during the first centuries, read
of the Apostles lives and the challenges they overcame, appreciate
Coptic art, and understand the deification in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is so much that can be learned within well- written church literature.
Do not delay with planning your summer reading program. Books can
be found within your church bookstores and within the book order form
of the MIGHTY ARROWS.
remember to put the Lord Jesus Christ central in your life. Let Him
come before computer chatting, craft projects, movie theatres, sports,
and television. If there is a beginning point in spiritual development
it is the conscious choice one makes to become useful to the Lord
Jesus Christ and therefore, to others.
pray that this summer the most important thing we will all do is to
take the time to sit at the Lord Jesus Christ's feet and really LISTEN!
bless you all,
Grace Bishop Youssef
Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States