The newly blessed Antiochian Orthodox Family Committee recently hosted a successful event at St. Mary Mays Hill on March 18th.

Over 120 people attended, including parents who participated in talks and activities in the church, while their children engaged in various age-appropriate arts and crafts activities in the hall.

Starting the day with prayer, was a Divine Liturgy in the Church where families from across the NSW parishes, joined together in prayer.

The event featured talks from His Eminence, Metropolitan Basilios, Fr. Phillip Saba, and Deacon Jason Israel. His Eminence shared insightful examples of simple and true devotion to faith, emphasising the crucial role parents play as examples and educators of faith in their children’s lives. Fr. Phillip provided practical advice and a great toolkit of resources and practices that parents could take home and apply in their daily life with their children. Deacon Jason’s talk explored the difference between contemporary western culture’s view of marriage and the purpose and view of marriage in the Orthodox faith, emphasizing aspects of marriage that lead us to salvation and help us in our spiritual life.

But that’s not all! While parents were busy learning and exploring, their children were engaged in age-appropriate arts and crafts activities in the hall, from creating their own icons to participating in an enthusiastic trivia session.

The day finished with a Q&A from various clergy and professional family counsellors.

It was a big day, but one filled with many joys, highlights, and learnings.

The Antiochian Orthodox Family Committee plans to host even more future activities for parents and children, inviting new speakers to provide fresh perspectives and engage with a wider range of families.

Be on the lookout for upcoming events, which will be promoted widely through social media, email, and word of mouth, as well as updates from local parishes.

Thank you to all who attended, participated, and volunteered. This first family day retreat on raising children in the Church, at home, and in the world was a fantastic opportunity for parents to learn and grow in their faith, and for children to make friends across different parishes while engaging in fun and educational activities. With plans to make this event a regular one, there’s no better time to start thinking about how to raise your children in the Church!