“Anxiety, fear, uncertainty, sadness, grief and crisis are endemic in the human condition and have been part of the life of people of faith from very early on.” With this statement, presenter, Fr. Harry Pappas frames these challenging times. This webinar examines the unique blessings, opportunities and challenges experienced in our home brought on by this pandemic. Utilizing the experiences of a seasoned priest and a child psychologist, we will explore tools we can use to navigate this time of difficulty.

Evelyn Bilias Lolis, PhD is an associate professor of School Psychology & Special Education in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions at Fairfield University. Dr. Lolis has worked in child mental health for over 15 years. She has designed various therapeutic programs for children and offers ongoing consultation for crisis counseling and intervention in the schools. She teaches graduate courses in the clinical assessment of children, developmental psychology, child psychopathology, and psychotherapeutic interventions for school-aged youth.

Fr. Harry Pappas is the presiding priest at the Church of the Archangels in Stamford, CT. He has also taught at St. Vladimir’s Seminary and Holy Cross. He received a PhD in Biblical Studies at Yale University. His particular interests in parish work include Bible study, preaching, worship, contemplative prayer, pan-Orthodox cooperation, and ministry development, especially social outreach and missions.

WEBINAR OUTLINE
  • Introduction and Overview: ends 10:16
  • What about our own fears: begins 10:17 ends 20:50
  • How do we reassure our children during this time of crisis: begins 20:51  ends 24:44
  • Where is God in all of this? Why is God allowing this?: begins 24:45  ends 27:45
  • Dealing with Special Needs populations: begins 27:46  ends 31:13
  • Ministry during the pandemic: begins 31:14  ends 34:52
  • Needs of our children at different ages and stages: begins 34:53   ends 41:39
  • Blessings emerging from this time period: begins 41:40   ends 52:44
  • Question: Issues of Screen Time: begins 52:45   ends 55:15
  • Question: Encouraging participation in online services
WEBINAR BASED ACTIVITIES 

Care for the Caregiver (from Evelyn Bilias Lolis, PhD)

Evelyn Bilias Lolis, PhD states, “Care for the caregiver at this time is really the name of the game. We really need to make a commitment to ourselves to be able to engage in the activities that allow us to process and honor everything that we’re feeling at this time and then navigate it in a way that is as optimal as we can at this time for the sake of our own health and that of our families.” Finding time as an individual to soothe during times of stress and crisis is critical for us. It also presents a powerful witness to our children in how to navigate the challenges of life. Here are some activities that have been found to reduce stress.

  • Talking to loved ones
  • Exercise
  • Deep Breathing
  • Journaling and Gratitude Journaling
  • Reading the Bible and other inspirational reading
  • Praying
  • Nature Walk
  • Petting and Playing with our Pets
  • Any activities that bring you Joy…

What brings you JOY? What are you doing to CARE for YOURSELF during these challenging times?

Taking Time for Silence (from Fr. Harry Pappas)

Fr. Harry Pappas says, “Now we’ve got the gift of carving out and for most of us we have to start crawling first before we walk, very small little times where we simple disconnect from all the devices of our lives. And allow ourselves to dwell in silence in the presence of Christ and absolutely what’s immediately going to happen is all kinds of thoughts, feelings, memories, sensations rushing through our brain and that are going to be a huge temptation for us to be distracted with and for us to learn a discipline of turning away inwardly from the inevitable flood of those things that want to drowned our faith out. And to let what is deepest in our hearts and minds which is Christ implanted from baptism, chrismation, communion, confession—the life of the Church—allow Christ to emerge. That is easier said than done but with Christ all things are possible.” How can we carve out this time in our daily life and that of our family?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • What fears and emotions am I experiencing during these times? How am I taking time to process these feelings?

  • How can I make more time to be still and connect more with God? How can we become more aware of Christ’s presence in our home?

  • How are the different members of your family doing? Do you take time to check in with one another and pray with and for each other?

  • Are their people in our community or family that need support during this time? Is there a safe way we can help out?

QUOTES

“Although much of this experience is shared in common in what is going on in the world around us, we have to humbly acknowledge that this looks very different in everybody’s home… we all share in the commonality and some of the emotions that this time brings but it is also unique to each family.” Evelyn Bilias Lolis, PhD (time 3:11-3:53)

“Assure our children what we do know to be honest and true. That they are safe in their homes today. That we love them. That God loves them. That it is okay to feel many different feelings during this time and that the world shares in their experience. That together as a family we will get through what each day brings. That we love the time that we are getting to spend with one another and that love and prayer are powerful medicines.” Evelyn Bilias Lolis, PhD (time 24:00- 24:30)

“I think the great blessing coming out of this is rediscovering the centrality of home devotion in Christ that comes out of the Apostolic Church. It’s fundamental in scripture coming out of the Acts of the Apostles. The prayer, the fasting, the way in which people got together in very small groups. The need to be careful about public exposure in the ways they bore witness. The circumstances are not exact, but they are comparable in the sense now. We can rediscover that our lives, while we cannot go to a building call the church, we can learn to be the church in our homes. The church fundamentally, biblically, doesn’t refer to a building—that’s where we think it is. The church refers to the community of faith and that doesn’t just mean the larger communities we belong to. Christ’s promise being present wherever 2 or 3 are gathered.” Fr. Harry Pappas (time 43:11- 44:11)


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