By Nora Simonian
Sunday School Teacher
PROVIDENCE, RI—God’s love was the theme of a special Sunday School Valentine’s Day celebratory class held on Sunday, February 9 in a packed assembly room at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence. The entire Sunday School family, including students, parents and teachers gathered in the downstairs Assembly Hall to celebrate the love that God has for us and learn the lesson of sharing God’s love and kindness. The celebration began with our Lord’s prayer in both Armenian and English led by students from the younger classes. Thus began the day’s lesson prepared by Sunday School director Yeretzgin Debra Nazarian and presented in several parts by the Sunday School teachers.
Shakay Kizirian, first and second grade teacher, spoke of the many stories in the Bible that demonstrate God’s divine love and how God wants us to live joyfully each and every day. We can each follow Christ’s example of showing love in our own homes and increase the joy, love and peace in our homes and families. There are three ways through which we can show love.
Grade three teacher Melissa Simonian spoke of how we can show love through Service. Jesus spent the majority of His adult life serving the people in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. He healed the sick, fed the multitudes, gave sight to the blind, washed the feet of his twelve disciples, among many other acts. Through his actions, Jesus demonstrated that he loved the people and used His talents and gifts to bless the lives of others. The students took turns expressing how they could use their talents to help others and through their kind actions show love to others. Some of their ideas included to “help their friends,” “do their chores,” and “do something nice for someone else.”
Reminding us how powerful words can be and how we can show love through our Words was Jayne Zobian, sixth and seventh grade teacher. Words can hurt or they can uplift. Using words in a positive way can help make someone feel special and loved. Jesus always spoke of His love plainly and freely (John 13:34; John 15:9), and He was always positive, encouraging and uplifting when He spoke to his people. He gave them comfort and hope, and He also influenced them to be good and to love others. The children shared times when they felt happy and good when someone said something nice to them. They spoke about how complimenting others and using words of affection and kindness increase the love they feel, such as “telling Mom I love her,” saying “you can do it,” and “my parents telling me I’m getting a sibling.”
Fourth and fifth grade teacher Nora Simonian completed the lesson by sharing how we can show love through our Time. We are all busy in our everyday lives and spend time on many activities throughout the day. Jesus loved spending His time with His followers, asking his disciples to stay with him and telling His people to follow him. Jesus surrounded himself with small children to teach them and to bless them (Matthew 19:14). Christ showed through example that to love someone you need to spend time with them and get to know them. That is how you create a bond and increase love for each other, especially being bound as a family, by spending quality time together. The students shared their favorite things to do with their family and friends which strengthen their bond and love. Some of their favorite times were “watching a movie together,” “reading together,” “eating dinner as a family,” and finally, “spending time with other students at Sunday School.”
The children then enjoyed a delicious light breakfast and sweet treats in a beautifully decorated room full of balloons, handmade heart chocolates, a donut cake, Valentine-themed photo booth, and heart-shaped, love-themed crafts and games, thanks to our parent volunteers. The craft activity helped teach the children how to love as Jesus did and how to apply Jesus’ examples into their own lives. Using foam hearts, the students labeled their hearts with the three categories of love, writing a goal or activity to do that week on each heart. This way, the children would be able to bring more meaningful love into their families and their friendships. A special thank you to parents Mara Derderian, Christina Dolbashian and Angel Stevens (and son Alex, our photographer) for their enthusiasm and dedication to our Sunday School.