Toolkit for Spiritual Growth Reading Club
Term: Summer 2021
Target Grade Levels: Adult
Schedule: 1x / week, 120 min.
Section 1, June 9–July 7 (6 sessions): W 7:00 p.m. ET with Pres. Maria Koulianos (Section Closed)
Toolkit for Spiritual Growth Reading Club offers specific details on the basic steps to grow in the Faith through Jesus Christ’s teachings on Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. These three components are described by author Fr. Evan Armatas as “the basis for our spiritual life as Christians”and will be the discussion topics of this six–week reading club. We will explain the fundamentals of this three–legged stool of Orthodox practice.Using the work of the Orthodox Fathers, Fr. Armatas offers simple explanations and applications with practical guidance regarding our spiritual journey:
- Prayer: personal, liturgical; in both homes, private, and the Church
- Almsgiving: heartfelt concern for others that reflects love and leads to healing
- Fasting: connection between the physical and spiritual; how fasting and our struggle with sin are closely related
Using the book,Toolkit for Spiritual Growth, we will discuss and provide a guide that will assist one and all in their pursuit of God.Our discussions will be thought–provoking and supplemented with writings from the Fathers of the Church and the use of modern Orthodox reflections. It will be an opportunity for participants to value one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
These spiritual practices put us back together in a rightly ordered way and lead us into life. For many such a concept seems impossible. How can a disciplined and obedient life be a free one as well? I think the simplest answer to the question is the one Jesus gave: ‘Come and see.’ (Armatas, 7)
Come and join us on this 6–week read and seminar discussion! Come and let us grow in the Faith together!
Course Text: Toolkit for Spiritual Growth: A Practical Guide to Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving by Fr. Evan Armatas
Electronic Supplemental Material:
- Prayers of St. Silouan the Athonite
- The Disconnected Cross: Philanthropy and Almsgiving
- Fasting: Is it Really Necessary
- Additional Resource: Composition Notebook
Presbytera Maria Koulianos has been an educator for over 20 years, loving every minute, with vast experiences in both public and private schools as a classroom teacher, a developer and implementer of learning programs for students, and an area administrator. She earned her bachelor of science in education from Indiana University with certifications in elementary education, 7/8 non-departmental, language arts 1–9, and computer education K–12. She holds a master of divinity and a master of theology from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, where she wrote her thesis, “The Annunciation of the Theotokos from a Liturgical Perspective.” Presbytera Maria and her husband, Father Dionysios, live in the greater Springfield area where he is the Dean of Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Springfield, MA. She hopes to inspire her students to love literature and become lifelong learners. firstname.lastname@example.org
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. To download Zoom:
- 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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