The mission and goal of the JOY Ministry is to lead our young people into experiencing the Holy Orthodox Faith. By developing a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and becoming active sacramental members of the living Church, our young people will be equipped with tools necessary to assist them in their journey toward salvation. By laying a foundation of faith at this age, the young people will have something that will guide and strengthen tem as they progress into junior high and high school.
The Junior Orthodox Youth, or JOY, is the ministry to 3rd through 6th grade children of our parish. Since JOY is a ministry, the orientation and implementation of the program must reflect the Orthodox Faith, Tradition and Life.
A child’s world is changing rapidly – it is virtually impossible to keep up with every new trend and movement of their culture. Growing up in today’s society is a much more difficult task than it was in previous times. Our young people are being shaped by negative and destructive influences, ones that can and will define who they are and what they will become. Childhood is slipping away ay an alarmingly early age. For this reason, the positive teachings and traditions of the Orthodox Church must become a living presence in their lives. This makes ministry to our children a necessity.
The JOY ministry is based on the following four characteristic: WORSHIP (Liturgia), FELLOWSHIP (Koinonia), SERVICE (Diakonia), and WITNESS (Martyria).
As Orthodox Christians, we believe that God reveals Himself through Holy Tradition and Scripture. Worship is the sacramental expression of these, and is thus a very important element in ministering to our young people. It is important for JOY children to be active sacramental members of the Church.
Fellowship is the way Orthodox Christians integrate their faith with daily life. It is sacred when Orthodox Christians gather together in the Lord’s name. The relationship of the Holy Trinity is the perfect model of Fellowship. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share perfect communion and exist in perfect love. By gathering together on fellowship, and by experiencing this love, we emulate the relationship of the Trinity, and develop our life in Christ.
Young people serve God by serving the Church. For Orthodox Christians, service to God and community is the way of life; the way of living one’s faith. As Jesus Christ our Lord said: “Let your light so shine for men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). For this reason, service is an integral part of the Orthodox Christian’s life.
Man is both a spiritual and physical being. The spiritual reality is not always expressed in the material world. In order to be true to oneself and to the Orthodox Faith, young people should strive to exemplify the faith. They must be a witness to their faith, offering a convincing word and verbal expression of this faith, to those they come in contact with.
All children from the 3rd through 6th grades are encouraged and asked to become members of our JOY ministry. For more information, please speak with Fr. Chris or our Co-Directors, Tonia Belitsas and Hillary Raptis.