2023 Lenten Retreat Guide

We are pleased to present a Sunday School Lenten Retreat Guide developed by the Educational Enhancement team for the 2023 Lenten Season. In order to provide a consistent education experience throughout the diocese, it is encouraged for each region/parish to conduct a Sunday School Lenten retreat based on the theme presented here. These are resources, templates, topics, guides, and activities that can be used to conduct such a Lenten Retreat for your Sunday School students at the regional or parish level

Theme: Forgiveness

Examining the Service of Reconciliation

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” 

Ephesians 4:32

The Great Lent is a time set aside to allow every member of the Holy Church to embark on a 50-day spiritual journey as we prepare ourselves for the great Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord. As in the case of any long journey, we have to prepare ourselves accordingly to begin the journey. The Holy Church begins the Great Lent with the Service of Reconciliation, or the Shubqono Service (“shubqono” is a Syriac word that means forgiveness/reconciliation). The service takes place at the very beginning of the Great Lent on the first Monday, where each member of the church community asks for forgiveness from each other, following the teaching of our Lord that when someone hurts us we must forgive them “not seven times, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). Although forgiveness is easy to preach, it is difficult to practice. The Shubqono service allows us to begin the Great Lent with a clean heart and mind in order to strengthen our walk with Christ to participate in His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

Note to Teachers: This lesson is divided into three sections.

  • First Section – material that can be used for all age groups
    (4-6, 7-11, 12 and above). 
  • Second Section – is meant for students ages 7 to 11,
  • Third Section – is for ages 12 and above.

The class break ups are just a guideline, please divide the classes as works best for your situation. There are links to various activities at the end of the lesson. Use the material to suit the needs of your class. The Bible readings for the Shubqono service is available at the end of the lesson. A guide to confession is also provided.


General Objective: Examine the Service of Reconciliation (Shubqono) and the different themes present in the songs, prayers, and scripture passages. This should lead the students to a greater understanding of forgiveness as an essential component of our daily lives and especially in the context of the Great Lent. 

Lesson Objectives: 

  1. List the impact of forgiveness 
  2. Describe the Service of Reconciliation (Shubqono)
  3. Examine the characteristics of Christ present in the Shubqono prayers 
  4. Discuss how we can emulate Christ by forgiving others especially during the season of Great Lent when we journey towards The Feast of the Resurrection


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