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Happy New Year!

Okay, so I'm almost two weeks late, but better later than never – I mean, well-wishing never expires, does it? All that to say, Happy New Liturgical Year! That's right, as of September 1st we are in the new year, according to church tradition. What does that mean for our St. Nicholas Youth? It means the start of Fall programming! Yay!

So, what have we got starting up? First of all, we've got the ever-classic Sunday School program for the little ones, Bozhi Dity or "God's Children." This program has been going on since I was little (I won't tell you how long ago that was) and has ben a constant at St. Nicholas my entire life at least. Children ages 3-Grade 2 (approx. pre-Solemn Communion age) are invited to join the instructor at 10:00am in the Bozhi Dity Room, just to the left of the church foyer. Together with other kids their age, they will learn about the Church and how much God loves us, and make crafts that support what they learn. About halfway through Divine Liturgy they will join the rest of the congregation, showcasing their creations at the end of the service. It's a lot of fun, hugely popular, and I can't wait to get started! Bozhi Dity begins this Sunday, Sept. 17th.

Now, what if you're too old for Bozhi Dity? No problem! We've got a new discussion group starting up, also on Sunday, Sept. 17th, called God's Word & Me. Right after Divine Liturgy on Sunday, youth in Gr. 3-8 and Gr. 9-12 are welcome to spend a mere half hour with me and another leader (TBD) as we chat about that Sunday's readings and homily. The biggest complaint I get when it comes to church is that it's boring and isn't relevant anymore. Through this weekly session, however, we're going to see why that isn't the case and how God's Word is speaking to each of us through this seemingly "out-of-date" collection of books known as The Bible. If you're the type of youth who's all about solving mysteries and figuring how things work in the real world, this class is just for you! Plus, we'll snag some snacks from the foyer to really make it a party!

Young adults, I know you're wondering by this point what we've got going on for you. How about a beer night? That's right, on Thursday, October 26th @ 7:00pm, we'll be getting together with our very own Fr. Julian Bilyj for a "Beers and Qs" night! It's the perfect place to get those burning questions about faith and how to live it in our world off your chest. Perhaps there will be some pool too, if you're itching to use some cues. Location TBD, so check back for more info.

Want the whole family to experience a beautiful, rare treasure of our church? Why not check out Vespers on Saturday, September 30th @ 6:00pm. Vespers is a gorgeous evening service that helps prepare the faithful for Divine Liturgy the next day. Because this is most likely a new experience for many, I, Joyanne, am offering a music lesson an hour before @ 5:00pm. We'll cover the main structure of the celebration and especially look at the tones for the week (those melodies you hear being sung during the Troparia and Kondaks in the Divine Liturgy). Vespers is my personal favourite service, so I'm very excited this will be happening monthly at St. Nick's.

Another cool program for parents (and kids): St. Nicholas Parent Group! Parents are invited to get together the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month where a discussion/activity surrounding a theme will take place @ 9:00-11:00am in St. Nicholas Parish Boardroom upstairs. Perfect for stay-at-home Mom and Dads who are looking for extra faith development. Childcare is provided in the parish hall downstairs for the duration of the session. Starts Friday October 6, 2017.

Finally, the September 2017 issue of our newsletter, "The Word," is up and ready for distribution! There's a bunch of information for things that are happening in our parish and in the community, as well as some articles and artwork created by youth from our parish. Have a look online, grab a copy at church this Sunday, and share it with family and friends. We are currently accepting submissions for our October 2017 issue, which will focus on "Being Thankful." Get them in by October 31st to be considered!

So far, that's what we've got going on for the start of the year, but keep checking back as more things start popping up. I wish everyone a blessed start to the Liturgical year, good health, happiness, and peace. And cake. Lots of cake. Because cake.

God bless,

Joyanne :D

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