Innovative Teaching Program Helps Outreach of Orthodox Church

June 5, 2010

A new teaching programme for adults on the Orthodox faith called ‘THE WAY’ is set to invigorate the outreach of the Orthodox Church in majority Orthodox countries such as Romania and amongst Orthodox diaspora in countries like the United Kingdom.

Created by the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS) in Cambridge, England, this 12 session course will soon be made available through a CD box-set, containing a CD entitled ‘How to Run THE WAY’ with four DVDs of the original speakers, funded by World Vision.

An application of the teaching methods of the Alpha Course to the needs of the Orthodox community, ‘THE WAY’ aims to communicate the Orthodox faith and explain the Bible to adults using an informal, relaxed approach, much as the ‘Youth Bible Curriculum’ (YBC*) aims to communicate with children in an age-appropriate and culturally relevant way, according to Danut Manastireanu, World Vision’s Director for Faith & Development in the Middle East, Eastern Europe & Central Asia region (MEER).

‘THE WAY responds to a huge need for teaching adults in both majority Orthodox countries and amongst Orthodox diaspora because the catechetical function of the Orthodox Church was almost completely destroyed by the communist regimes in the region’, Manastireanu explained.

‘As well, the demise of religious instruction and church life went hand-in-hand with a loss of hope, leaving a spiritual vacuum that Christian communities across Eastern Europe want to see restored. YBC and ‘THE WAY’ aim to respond to this appeal for change’, he added.

World Vision sees both programmes as important components of its wider community development work, which aims to strengthen and empower societies and a new generation of children to carve out healthier and more fulfilled families.

The Romanian Orthodox Patriarch has already approved the use of the ‘THE WAY’ in Romania and its translation and adaption are underway. Other Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe are set to follow suit, in agreement with the IOCS in Cambridge.

Priests and lay leaders trained to deliver the curriculum for youth, also supported by World Vision, will be encouraged to deliver ‘THE WAY’ to adults in their community — a connection that will be field tested for the first time later in the year during the national YBC Congress in Romania.

‘THE WAY’ centres primarily on the beliefs of the Orthodox faith and on Christian living, which includes acts of service and caring for the poor and creation. By supporting the Orthodox Church as an ‘agent of change’, World Vision envisages a partnership that can also address child-related issues such as protecting children’s rights, peacebuilding, care of the earth and HIV and AIDS.

For more information about THE WAY, visit: http://www.iocs.cam.ac.uk/courses/courses_way.html

Source: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/wvmeero/45bd380a915569cd05c865f554a65a8b.htm

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