By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Second graders love order and structure, and might start becoming more cautious, perfectionist or risk-avoidant than they were last year at this time. As they learn to navigate what they like and dislike, friends change quickly, and that’s okay. At church, we try to meet them where they are—setting a rhythm to our classroom and chapel every week that is predictable and structured so they can trust that whatever the day brings, they know what to expect. They are loved, safe, and valued—which helps them welcome God’s life-saving love.

Second graders “moved up” this year to the Older Chapel led by our new staff member Christine Hides. They are now worshipping God alongside the third graders, where the third grade memory work is integrated into the worship service—Psalm 23 as a prayer, Beatitudes as a blessing after the offering, and our “Books of the Bible” song as one of the songs they sing in worship. This gives them a little jump on the third grade Bible milestone, while offering them companionship with the older third grade students who they can admire and learn from.

While our younger grades pray a prayer centered around the ideas of “Help, Thanks, Wow,” this year second graders have the opportunity to deepen their spiritual vocabulary praying, “I am sorry, I am worried, I am grateful.” Saying “I’m sorry” to God acknowledges imperfections, and helps second graders begin to understand God’s forgiveness and grace. Saying “I’m worried” allows children to see that everything in life can be lifted up to God and that God’s presence can bring that “peace that passes human understanding.” Saying “I am grateful” allows second graders to put it all into perspective—that there are big things every day that are a gift from God and telling God “thank you” is a holy daily practice.