About Us

Our Story

Our mission is to create new resources to better serve the Orthodox Youth living in North America.  Materials were created over a period of 4 years with a test group of 12 parishes all over North America:  Virginia/DC, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and California.  These test groups used the materials and provided feedback, allowing us to perfect the materials offered on this site.  Over the years, the materials are continually updated and carefully designed to be age-appropriate, culturally relevant, and (above all else) a bridge between the everyday lives of our youth and the ancient and timeless faith of our Orthodox Church.  The curriculum is also designed to be fully adaptable to various parish sizes, classroom structures, and resources. 

The materials are offered both in Coptic Tradition and Eastern Orthodox Tradition (or, if no choice is offered, then there is no difference and the materials are appropriate for both traditions).  

About the Author:  Shereen Marcus

“Sunday School is boring mom – please don’t make me  go!” Sound familiar? It was this simple sentence heard over and over again from my kids that planted a seed in which I had no idea would grow the way it did.

My name is Shereen Marcus, I am a wife and mother of 2 boys with a full-time job working in the DC metropolitan area. Concurrently with my legal background, it has always been a passion of mine to advocate for reforming the Youth Ministry efforts in the Orthodox Churches of North America.  I started off with a few ideas, some writing abilities, and a knack for kid-silliness. Feeling ill-equipped, I completed a Masters Program in Orthodox Theology with a Youth Ministry Emphasis, and earned my diploma from the University of Balamand in Lebanon in conjunction with the Antiochian House of Studies.


About the Graphic Designer / Contributor: Elaine Atherholt 

Elaine is a blog and business copywriter and editor for small businesses and entrepreneurs. In her spare time she is also a plant, bread, and literature enthusiast who loves to travel. After quitting her office job, Elaine completed her copyediting certification at the University of California and combined that with her BA in communications to start her own business in 2020. Since then she has written for companies in a variety of industries including education, interior design, furniture retail, law, and lifestyle blogging. Elaine currently lives in Pennsylvania where she is a member of St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church. Check her website out here!



About the Guest Author / Contributor: Julie Meawad

I started teaching High School Sunday School a year after graduating from college and became the ministry coordinator a few years later. After about 10 years I became the coordinator of the college ministry at the request of my parish priest. Although I enjoy my work as an attorney, I found profound purpose in sharing the Orthodox faith with teenagers and young adults and I greatly enjoyed our discussions about how to truly live a Christian life.

Creating lessons and retreat plans that were culturally relevant became a passion of mine and seeing their impact on the students I taught was deeply fulfilling. Shereen and I have been friends for many years and have also been co-workers. She told me about her pursuit of a Master of Theology and, later, her interest in creating curriculum. I had also been thinking about creating curriculum with the materials that I had been accumulating over the years serving in my parish. Shereen asked if I would contribute to Bridges to Orthodoxy, which I happily agreed to. What better use of the materials that I have been creating over more than 15 years of teaching Sunday School than to share it with such a wonderful project that will impact the lives of the children, teenagers and young adults in our communities. 

About the Editor / Contributor:  Madona Lawindy

I grew up my whole life in the Orthodox Church.  It wasn’t until I moved to a town that didn’t have a church that I began to realize just how much God and Orthodoxy had become a huge part of my life.  Without that sweet familiarity, things seemed harder.  I leaned a lot on what I learned and found myself comparing every practical situation in my life against those things, whether I necessarily chose the correct path or not.  Then, once I had kids, the value and importance of leaning on that foundation increased tenfold at LEAST.  I wanted nothing more than to contribute to something that would enable me, and generations to come, to grow our love for the Lord. Using my background as a former elementary school teacher, a stay-at-home mom of two, and a life that revolves around my church community, Bridges to Orthodoxy strives to do just that and I hope you find those same benefits!  

About the Editor / Contributor:  Laura Michael

  Laura often startled her professors during her Masters of Teaching courses by having Eureka moments about Sunday School in the middle of their lectures. It was a relief to learn that the problem with her teaching was HER and not the kids because she knew she could work to improve herself. Fast forward a few years and an ordination later, Shereen reaches out to Laura with  a sample unit. Laura is blown away by the details and sound pedagogy and most importantly the relevance of Shereen’s lesson plans to actual kids living in the West today. When not messaging Madona and Shereen, Laura runs Coptic Dad & Mom and serves at Saint Demiana Coptic Church in Jacksonville with her husband Fr. Philopateer Younan (whom we much later discovered is Shereen’s second cousin—of course).