HOPE/JOY Family Day Celebrated at St. Demetrios in Ft. Lauderdale

LAUDERDALE, FL – On April 2, Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Ft. Lauderdale held a HOPE/JOY event spearheaded by Presbytera Alexa Zougras and Peggy Zapantis. The event was driven by the need to come together in this post-COVID era amongst their Orthodox Community, especially during the Lenten season. The day was organized around the theme of Forgiveness and the purpose of the day was to encourage the community to come together and foster relationships in order to continue to build the youth at St. Demetrios.

Dante Zougras and his dad, Fr. Peter Zougras demonstrating how to venerate the icons in church. Photo: Courtesy of St. Demetrios Church Ft. Lauderdale

Fr. Peter Zougras, Proistamenos of Saint Demetrios, welcomed over 50 children and their parents and grandparents, hosting roughly 100 people in the church. Fr. Zougras focused on the theme of Forgiveness and used the story of Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos by showing the saint’s slippers and retelling the story in order for the children to understand how to apply forgiveness in their everyday lives. Fr. Zougras also reviewed the church basics such as how to do your cross and how to walk up to the icons and venerate them.

The JOY/HOPE Family Day included activities such as a sports inflatable outside the church hall, Spring and Easter crafts geared towards children ages of 4-12, and a private Orthodox Life session with Fr. Zougras that included the children’s participation and a question and answer period. There was coffee and pastries for the adults and a lunch was served for everyone. During lunch, Peggy Zapantis held a quick but informative meeting for the parents on what the vision was for the HOPE/JOY program while the children were eating with Presbytera Alexa. Lunch quickly became a musical production as the kids began belting out the full score of the recent Disney hit movie Encanto. Needless to say, the day went far beyond expectations and Fr. Zougras was so pleased to see most of those families in church the very next day.

St. Demetrios parishioners, Fr. Peter and Dante Zougras, Elias and Yiorgos Zapantis playing soccer. Photo: Courtesy of St. Demetrios Church Ft. Lauderdale
The youth enjoying the crafts that were provided. Photo: Courtesy of St. Demetrios Church Ft. Lauderdale
The HOPE/JOY youth listening to a Lenten lecture by Fr. Peter Zougras at Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Photo: Courtesy of St. Demetrios Church Ft. Lauderdale
Left to right: Presbytera Alexa Zougras and Peggy Zapantis. Photo: Courtesy of St. Demetrios Church Ft. Lauderdale
JOY/HOPE enjoying some sunshine and the sports inflatable. Photo: Courtesy of St. Demetrios Church Ft. Lauderdale


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