The Antiochian Archdiocese Church School Department held its annual Nativity Day Retreat on Saturday 9 December at Sts Michael and Gabriel parish. There were approximately 100 children in attendance from Kindergarten to Year 12. The purpose of the day was to bring children from all parishes together for a day of learning about the Nativity of our Lord and the life of Saint Nicholas.

The day began beautifully as the children gathered in the Church for morning prayers before splitting into groups to start their activities.

The high school children rotated through four activities – learning and chanting the Troparion of the Nativity, learning about the life of St Nicholas, making a prayer rope with Deacon Luka, and learning about and appreciating the icons followed by creating their own icon.

The primary school children started by watching the Archdiocese video about the Nativity of our Lord. They then were split into groups and rotated through six activities which included reading the Nativity story, creating a Nativity icon ornament, learning the Troparion of the Nativity, writing a card for the homeless, learning about the life of Saint Nicholas and building their own cardboard St Nicholas.

His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios joined us to give a talk about the Nativity and its icon to both groups of children. His Eminence Basilios then toured the activity stations to see what the students were learning about our Lord Jesus’ Incarnation.

The generous ladies’ committee of Sts Michael and Gabriel parish prepared a healthy morning tea and lunch for the children. They made sure the children were kept full all day and we thank them for their love and dedication.

We were so blessed to have 26 volunteer teachers in attendance at the Retreat and they worked zealously to ensure the students were safe, happy and engaged. An enormous thank you to the retreat subcommittee for all their hard work to make this retreat the success it was! We look forward to the Nativity Retreat in 2024!