ORTHODOX SYRIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL ASSOCIATION OF THE EAST
A child grows spiritually when more of Jesus is being expressed in and through him. To help a child to have a transcendent relationship with God, we need to plant the seeds which when fully grown gives bloom to spiritual fruit in the lives of child.Orthodox Vacation Bible School (OVBS) is one such program organized by Sunday School Association (OSSAE)of Malankara Orthodox Church with the motive to help a child grow in Christ. OVBS is structured as an education outreach program based on The Holy Bible and gives great emphasis on Jesus Christ. OVBS is a week-long extravaganza of fun and learning where the participants are engaged with teaching and a lot of other activities. It creatively combines learning about God with scriptures, saints, feast, prayers and worship. It includes classroom lessons and discussions, memorising verses, upbeat songs/hymns (liturgical or non- liturgical), orthodox worship/prayers, arts and crafts, recreation and more.Thus, it focuses on deepening the knowledge and experience of the Orthodox faith and embraces the teachings and traditions of Orthodox Christianity which in turn becomes a central organising principle of a child’s spiritual growth in his life.
Since 1957 classes based on Holy Bible were conducted in different parts of the church. In a general meeting held on May 1st 1977 conducted by Orthodox Sunday School Association, the duty to conduct OVBS was given to OSSAE. According to the Kalpana 138/77 issued by His Holiness Baselious Marthoma Mathews 1,OVBS became a part of Malankara Orthodox Sunday School Association and it became extensively at the church level.Since then it is being organised every year by the OSSAE with the help of an OVBS committee which is being recommended by the OSSAE Executive committee and commissioned by the President Thirumeni.During the early days OVBS didn’t have its own books and in 1979 OVBS published its first song book and gradually increased the making of learning materials.From 1983 onwards OVBS is capable of providing all the required learning materials by itself.OVBS has a separate syllabus to follow and is being revised whenever felt necessary.OSSAE publish separate text books, devotional materials, song books and cassettes for the OVBS every year.
1) To help children accept the faith which was confessed during baptism and to develop a fellowship with Jesus Christ. It also aims at making children understand about the importance of becoming an inspiration to the world by setting an example by following Jesus Christ.
2) To guide children, participate in the church activities and to equip children with the qualities needed to take a leading role in the Sunday school; moreover to help child grow beneficial to the God, church, society and family.
3) To enlighten children with the knowledge that learning Bible and memorising its verses will help them to take right steps in their lives.
4) To help in the development of a child’s personality.
5) To make them a responsible citizen of the country by instilling values based on Bible so that they could rationally interfere and raise their voice against social evils.
6) To make children understand that even for someone without a divine nature could replicate holiness by contemplating and following the lives of saints who lived and became examples and inspiration to the world with their prominent virtues in their lives.
7) To inculcate interest in children to preach gospel to the world.
At present OVBS has seven different classes, Seeds, Roots, Buds, Leaves, Branches, Flowers and Fruits. Children are allocated to each class according to their age
Seeds Less than 5
Roots 5 and 6
Buds 7 and 8
Leaves 9 and 10
Branches 11 and 12
Flowers 13 and 14
Fruits Above 15
8.00 - 8.15 - Teachers meditation, prayer
8.15 - 8.30 - Assembly
8.30 - 8.45 - Meditation, beginning prayer
8.45 - 9.00 - Meditation on each days topic
9.00 - 9.35 - Class 1
9.35 - 9.45 - Refreshment
9.45 - 10.20 - Class 2
10.20 - 10.50 - Learning Song
10.50 - 11.40 - Quiz, Games, Talent Show
11.40 - 11.50 - Evaluation
11.50 - 12.05 - Recap
12.05 - 12.15 - Ending Prayer
12.15 - 12.30 - Teachers Meeting After 1.30 PM children could go for activities