On Monday, June 12, clergy from the Cleveland Deanery of the Eastern-American Diocese had an opportunity to meet with Rev. Deacon Jovan Anicic, their new Director of Religious Education. Dn. Jovan began the meeting by outlining some of the work he will be completing in the early days of his new ministry, and shared some of his preliminary thoughts on a few identified educational needs for parishes including more communication, access to resources, and training.
After his introductory remarks, Dn. Jovan quickly shifted the meeting to an open-discussion format, seeking the specific concerns and educational needs of each parish. He said, "each community has its own method, its own story, and I would like to hear yours".
Priests raised concerns about access to resources, including a robust curriculum in both Serbian and English. Additionally, participating clergy were eager for methods and resources to train church school teachers both in their Orthodox faith, but also in their craft of teaching.
Citing a university study on early childhood education, "Play Therapy, The Art of the Relationship", Dn. Jovan pointed out that with children, 'playing' is often 'learning'. As such, he agreed that having teachers who are knowledgeable about age-appropriate methods for teaching make a difference.
The discussion was fruitful, with all participants offering ideas and insight. Clergy left feeling both optimistic and excited about the continued growth of our Christian Education department.
Participating in the meeting were Fr. Rade Merick, Dean of Pittsburgh and parish priest of Holy Resurrection in Stuebenville, Ohio; Fr. Dragan Goronjic, Dean of Cleveland and host-priest of Holy Trinity in Youngstown; Fr. Djordje Mileusinic, parish priest of St. Demetrius in Akron; Fr. Milan Pajic, Director of Shadeland Camp and parish priest at St. Archangel Michael in Akron; Fr. Isak Kisin, parish priest of St. Stevan of Decani in Columbus; Fr. Aleksa Pavichevich, parish priest of St. George in Canton; and Fr. Bosko Stojanovic, parish priest of Holy Trinity in Youngstown.