Have you been making full use of the most conspicuous, easily used teaching devices available in your Church School? That hallway bulletin board, often unattractive, cluttered with random pictures, notices, etc., has a great potential as an attractive, significant message carrier about the Orthodox faith, the scriptures, and activities of the Church. How can you creatively use the bulletin boards to suit the particular needs of your Church? Let's think about some ideas for skillful use of these boards, remembering as we do that our objective is to educate and motivate the children and adults with enthusiasm and excitement about God's teachings.
The bulletin board can be an excellent instrument for teaching the Word of God. We are told that we learn 83% through sight; as the ancient Chinese said, "A picture is worth a thousand words." A bulletin board should be educational and attractive, drawing attention to the message. It is possible to construct such a display fairly easily from inexpensive materials. It is best to keep it simple in construction and projection of ideas. Student and/or family participation in bulletin board displays should be stressed. Just as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will come to programs in which their children are performing so also they will be interested in a bulletin board their children or families have participated in constructing. Theprocess of choosing a topic, materials, etc. and subsequent research and discussion of the topic as you work on the display is as educative as the finished product itself. From the viewpoint of the children, the most exciting, effective bulletin board displays will be those which they have helped create.
Begin by organizing your ideas in categories of the Liturgical cycle: Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter, Pentecost. Appropriate topics for bulletin board displays include: Divine Liturgy, Sacraments, Saints of the Church, Holy Communion, Holy Days, prayer, stewardship, the four seasons. Select a subject or theme that is informative and pertinent to the liturgical cycle or topics being currently discussed in Sunday school classes, or special events of interest in the parish. It is fun to be creative! Where do you look for your ideas? Everywhere: magazines, newspapers, catalogs, greeting cards, calendars, Sunday school texts, old church school work books, the Bible, the Divine Liturgy, church newsletters, public/private school bulletin boards, children's books. Collect your ideas in folders and file them for future reference.
When selecting a background try to select a color that is in season fortwo orthree months. In this way the time consuming job of putting up a new backing for every bulletin board is eliminated. For example, light green can be used for Thanksgiving and Christmas, or white for Valentines and Easter/Resurrection. Always cover the bulletin board with something; do not leave the cork or painted wall showing. The sources you may select from are many: cloth, construction paper, denim, burlap, felt, mimeograph paper, wall paper sample books, etc. Staple this background securely so it will last. For a winter scene you might have white on the lower half representing curving hills of snow and light blue on the middle to top half representing the sky. Corner designs of leaves of colored tissue paper or an additional 3" of sheared cloth on the bottom to represent grass could be used as an effective border. Borders of many varieties are attractive - you are framing your picture. Borders could be made from construction paper, flat or waved with yourfingers and stapled in the paper's low point. You may use ribbon, lace, cheese cloth, curls from New Year's Eve decorations, tissue strips, etc., the possibilities are endless.
Decide on the general theme of the board. Select a title that is clear, precise, and attention getting, such as "Give Thanks Unto The Lord" for a bulletin board on the Eucharist. Generally, the main idea contains one heading in large letters. It should create an interest on the viewer's part to explore more details than are shown in the subheading. The main heading should be in the largest letters; subheadings and informational captions would be graduated sizes. Legibility is important. After cutting out large letters, outline them in black or in the same color marker as the paper, for a finished look. Shadowed letters are effective, by cutting two sets of letters, one in light color, another in a darker shade. The lighter is placed on top of the darker, slightly to the right of the darker. The threedimensional effect can be achieved in letters by putting two pins in each letter and pulling the letter away so the letter is at the head of the pin, creating a threedimensional effect. Be imaginative and slant, curve and balance the main title letters. You can use doublefaced masking tape or use curled tape on the back of letters or staple letters. Do not have tape showing, for the effect is messy and unprofessional.
Decide on the pictures, drawings, colors, effects you will be using. There is a wealth of teaching pictures available (OCEC), church calendars, paper icons of all sizes that can be purchased from St. Vladimir's Seminary bookstore, or gathered from old church school children's workbooks. Three colors are quite effective and can be tied in with the season that is being displayed, for example: Thanksgiving use brown and yellow lettering with a green background; for Christmas, use red, green or gold, and white.
Mount pictures on construction paper to frame the picture. To add interest, cut the edges of construction paper with curves. Staple the pictures straight or on a curve for variety. Try to use a variety of materials for effect: lace, boxes for a 3-D effect, burlap, straw, children's pictures, enlarge pictures by using an overhead or opaque projector to achieve the size figure you need. Colored tissue-wrap or cellophane in blue, red, and yellow are good to use for the sea or sunset. When finally ready to assemble your board, thumbtack the board in place first to see if there is proper balance and legibility. Even-spacing, orderliness, balance of materials for even flow for the eye are important. The icons or teaching pictures should be placed at eye level of a child three to five years old to show the story or message. The written text accompanying the pictures would go into more teaching depth for the adults, and would be placed near the teaching pictures. When finally ready to assemble your board, staple in place and remove the thumb tacks. When taping on walls, it might be best to use "stick-tac" as not to mar the paint. Heavy items could be secured with indoor-outdoor tape, brown packing tape or carpet tape.
For the church announcement bulletin board: have one main eyecatching caption to attract the parishioners attention and change the notices frequently. They could include meeting dates, new parishioners pictures, new books in your church library.
How often do we give thanks unto the Lord? Each time in our Divine Liturgy, prayer of Thanksgiving, prayer of Thanks to God before the dismissal, in the Eucharistic Canon, in select bible passages. Use a medium green background and shadow letters (explained in this text) of brown and yellow. The teaching pictures used are published by OCEC: Set H #19, Set H #20, Set H #21, Set C #3, Set H #29. Each picture is mounted on yellow construction paper and the text typed under each picture from the back of the teaching pictures. Underline in bright colored pen all the parts stating the exact words pertaining to "Give Thanks to Thee", "Than God', "Let Us Give Thanks Unto the Lord", etc. The teaching pictures are arranged low, at eye level for three to five year olds to see the story or message and the written text accompanying the pictures above, would go into more teaching depth for the adult. a) St. Luke 22:19-20, b) the Eucharistic Canon that the priest says during Liturgy beginning with "it is meet and right to sing of thee .... c) the Second Epistle of Paul, the Apostle to the Thessalonians Chapter 1:3 can be typed on yellow construction paper and again the "Give Thanks" words are underlined in bright colored pen to be outstanding for the reader. These are written texts so they may be placed higher for the older children and adults to read easily.