Foreseeing the need for a means of equipping servants with the proper knowledge for self-edification as well as to effectively teach the children and youth of the diocese, His Eminence Metropolitan Serapion established the Department of Christian Education in the Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii to fulfill this need, under the direction of His Grace Bishop Kyrillos.
Just as our Lord Jesus Christ prepared His disciples for ministry, equipped them, and instructed them to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Mt. 10:16), so too the Department seeks to equip the servants of the Diocese foundational knowledge to adequately serve our children and youth. Thus the CED seeks to equip servants with resources, materials, courses, and workshops so that they are “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:7).
One of these tools is the Servant Certification Program, established in 2017. This program consists of 7 fundamental areas of foundational knowledge for the model servant, with 6-8 hours of instruction from one of our professors at St. Athanasius and St. Cyril Coptic Orthodox Theological School:
- Dogmatics with H.E. Metropolitan Serapion
- Patristics with Bishop Kyrillos
- Old Testament, with Fr. Kyrillos Ibrahim
- New Testament with Fr. Daniel Azer Sous
- Liturgics with Fr. Felimon
- Church History with Deacon Severus
- Apologetics with Fr. Gregory Bishay
In addition to the above, a workbook is provided for basic knowledge of each subject. By the grace of God and through the efforts of the servants of the department, these lectures were presented in video format with questions embedded. Such a program is the first of its kind in the Coptic Orthodox Church for servant education and certification. This allowed the program to grow from 100 servants participating in 2017, to well over 1000 servants. With the grace of God, the program is also being applied in other Dioceses and regions throughout the lands of immigration.
This program is not only used to certify the basic knowledge of Sunday school servants but is also used as a basic test for candidates to be consecrated to the rank of Reader.
May the Lord continue to bless this program for the edification of His servants in His glorious Church.