January- February 2009

As we enter into 2009, it is a good time to meet as a staff and reassess your plans for the rest of the church school year, examine how the members of your staff are doing in their areas, and look at upcoming events for the church school. It is surely not too early to start planning what events and programs you want to implement in Lent. You may wish to plan a retreat day for your church school, which is a wonderful time to integrate the church school with others in the parish who do not usually have contact with the children. To the right you will find a link to a basic plan for such a day.
Also, when January and February come, and the wonderful Christmas season is over, there is often a slump in enthusiasm, not just for the children, but for the staff as well. This would be a great time to plan a field trip, or special activity. Perhaps it might be a good time to bring the children to the local food pantry or shelter, followed by a discussion on how we as Christians are supposed to be of help to our fellow man. (Jesus asks us, "who is my brother?") Or to plan an joint activity with another local church group. Or perhaps, to begin an ongoing project which all in the church school can work on for the rest of the school year. One fun idea is a large icon, which can then be used in a church school room, parish hall, or church entry way. You will find directions for this to the right on this page.
Whatever you choose, make sure to plan for meaningful Lenten activities, and take a step soon that will enliven your church school and its teachers and volunteers during the gray days of late winter and early spring.

Icon Wall Hanging

Icon Wall Hanging


White sheet or piece of sturdy white material with smooth surface. A natural fiber is best. About 3’ x 5’

Several black permanent markers

Fabric paint of appropriate colors, or if you already have craft paint, get a bottle of fabric medium- when mixed with the craft paint it makes yours fabric paint

1” brushes (one for each child who will participate)

1” diameter dowel- length the finished width of hanging + ½ inch on each end

Paper icon pattern of the Theotokos, Jesus or a saint (those from Fr. John Matusiak are
good)- pick something simple- use black and white cartoon-like patterns

(similar to this)


Cut your fabric to size- I suggest 3’ x 5’ at least.

Draw the icon outline on the fabric, centering it. If someone is good enough to do this free hand, fine, otherwise there are machines which will enlarge the pattern and throw it onto the fabric so that the pattern can be drawn onto the fabric in the larger size. These are available at stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or AC Moore.

Go over your outline neatly with black permanent marker. (you will probably want to do this yourself)

Decide what color each section will be, and assign each section to one or two children. Let them work independently in painting on the color- if there are too many children around the hanging, you will surely have a mess. Have children paint so that the color is solid and opaque- no bits of white here and there, and tell them not to cover the black outline.

This can be done as a spare time activity when a child is finished with work, or as something extra at the end of class. Take your time- it is not a one class activity. It can also be done as a retreat day activity. You will probably want to attach it to the wall low enough so that children can reach to paint, and just leave it there if possible, until finished.

When the painting is done and dry, make a small hem around three of the sides, and fold over and sew about a 3” sleeve on the top, where you will slide a pole.

Stick a sturdy thumbtack on each end- from these you can attach a cord for hanging.


My photo
BA in education, MAR, in theology and religious studies, CPE, parish DRE, 30 years in teaching and Christian Education, workshop and curriculum design. Associate, Department of Christian Education, Antiochian Archdiocese