Catechism Level 6: Living in Christ
Term: Yearlong 2019–20, September 3–May 22
Target Grade Levels: 9+
Schedule: 1x / week, 90 min.
Section 1: Fri. 12:30 p.m. ET with Fr. Noah Bushelli
Two-Year Rotation: Click for Details
We offer four levels of catechism classes, each on a two-year rotation. This allows students to take up to 8 years of catechism classes without repeating any material. Students who have only taken one year of a given level are welcome and encouraged to take the second year before moving on.
Grow in love for God and His Church through deeper knowledge of theology, Scripture, saints, history, and spirituality in order to live and articulate these truths.
This is a yearlong advanced guided-reading and seminar catechism on Unseen Warfare by St. Theophan the Recluse. Each class meeting will follow this “liturgical format,” consisting of a prayerful atmosphere in the classroom upon entering, a brief welcome (2–3 minutes), a prayer (2–3 minutes), then a “spiritual reflection” presentation by a student and any discussion that follows (5–7 minutes), housekeeping (reminders and questions regarding assignments and the class in general) led by the teacher (3–5 minutes), a “synopsis presentation” (overview of the reading and a kickoff question) by a student (5–7 minutes), a discussion led by the instructor (45 minutes), an introduction to next week’s reading (2 minutes), a time for free questions and answers (15 minutes), and then a closing prayer (1–2 minutes). Father Noah will be available for office hours following class and by appointment.
Students commit to:
- keeping the fasts and feasts
- praying morning and evening
- participating in the sacraments of confession and communion carefully and regularly
- reading the Holy Scriptures daily
- sharing with parents and other family members the reading and discussions of the class
- keeping a spiritual journal.
Also, students are asked pray for Fr. Noah and for each other. These activities are not part of the evaluation but are the most important part of the class.
The following assignments will be submitted through the learning portal Schoology:
- Synopsis Outline: outline the points of the reading carefully and accurately, include at least one short quote and respond to it.
Three times per semester
- Essays: 500–700 words, with the outline and draft submissions deadlines
Once a semester
Students will schedule themselves for these brief assignments:
- Spiritual Reflection: a 2–3 minute verbal devotional presentation of a spiritual experience, whether on liturgy, prayer, reflection, service, study, or repentance
- Synopsis Presentation: a brief overview of the reading (or a part of the reading) assignment for the week (around five minutes), plus a reading-based discussion question
- Service Project: theology is not just ink and pixels, thoughts and feelings. It must be lived. Each student should take on a special task at church. With parental guidance, work out with your priest what special project you can do to help your parish and grow in your faith. I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone: organize a team to clean the church; make Prosphora, Artos, or Kollyva; cook a meal for someone; visit a sick parishioner; organize an event; give an announcement or sermonette; help with Sunday school; start singing in the choir; read the epistle; organize an educational or service or outreach event.
Student Jobs Needed (please email Fr. Noah to express your interest and why you think you can help)
- Timer: help me manage the time periods of the class and make sure the class is being recorded
- Secretary: schedule presentations and communicate them with me and with the students
- Discussion Leader: lead the discussion if I must step away from the computer for a moment
May our time together in cyberspace bring us deeper into God’s presence in Christ’s Holy Orthodox Church through the Holy Spirit by the prayers of St. John Climacus and all the saints! Amen!
- Unseen Warfare by St Theophan the Recluse (available here)
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
Father Noah Bushelli is grateful to be married to a living saint, Khouria Elizabeth, who homeschools their seven marvelous children. He is an archpriest in the Antiochian Archdiocese and was received into the Orthodox Church in 1994. He met his wife at a vespers service in Alaska and still remembers the joyous and awkward moment. After graduating from University of Alaska Anchorage with a BEd in 2000, they moved to St. Vladimir’s Seminary. He graduated with an MDiv in 2004, with his thesis exploring St. John Chrysostom’s notion of the Church as a spiritual hospital. After serving St. Nicholas in Bridgeport, CT, for three years, he moved to St. Philip in Souderton, PA, in 2006. He is grateful to raise his family in this warm, generous, faithful, and vibrant community and is working very hard to meet the demands of parish life as well as to focus on “the one thing needful.” He spends his downtime taking walks, reading theology, changing diapers, telling stories to his children, and playing a little guitar. He is grateful for the success of St. Raphael School and Scholé Academy, excited to share his love for God and the Church with students, and looking forward to stretching his teaching skills into cyberspace. He thanks you for your prayers for him, his family, parishioners, and students! You can reach Fr. Noah at email@example.com.
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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