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Children and Families

The Children and Family Ministry of Second Presbyterian Church seeks through worship, study, fellowship and service to support families as they grow in faith. Here our children are claimed in baptism, wrapped in love, grounded in the stories of our faith and called by Jesus to lives of faithful discipleship.

Children and Families Opportunities:

Sharing Holy Highs and Lows
Lent for Children & Families

Lent for Children & Families
Sharing Holy Highs and Lows with Children

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.  Psalm 103:11-14

by Rev. Caroline Dennis
The season of Lent begins with the somber service of Ash Wednesday, continues through 40 days of prayer and fasting, and culminates in a week of dramatic highs and lows for Jesus and his disciples. At the beginning of the week, we call, “Holy,” we gather like the curious crowds in Jerusalem, along the path with palms waving to welcome a most unusual King. We wonder if we dare stand close as Jesus turns tables in the Temple, breaks bread with his disciples, kneels and washes dirty feet, prays fervently, submits to the humiliation of trial and taunt, and ultimately gives up his life for sinners to his right and left. For three days, Jesus is sealed in the tomb and we think about what life is like without him: without his words of love and truth, without his healing touch, without his generous offerings of food for our bodies and living water for our souls. Come Sunday, we return to the place where he was laid, only to find that he is not there, to remember the amazing truth: He is Alive!

How much of this central story of our faith do we share with our children? Are we tempted to reserve Lent for grownups, skip right from our donkey-led palm procession right to the bright skies of Easter morning? What will they understand of these harder things? What uncomfortable questions will they raise?

At church, we walk together through this season of prayer and fasting, and pack Holy Week full of opportunities to remember, or to learn, our salvation story. We hope you and your children will share these days with us, for we believe, that Easter joy shines brightest against the dark hours that preceded it. We hope these church experiences will spark rich conversations at home as your family grows in faith through these holy days ahead.
What is Ash Wednesday?
At the beginning of the season of Lent, we remember that we are human and mortal. We remember, too, that our life depends on God. A good way to talk about this with children is to read about the creation of Adam starting at Genesis 2:4. In this creation story, we learn that the earth is dust, until God causes a stream to rise up from the earth, making... MUD! What could be better than that?

Then, our creator God reaches down into the mud and forms a human. But the human does not have life until God
breaths into it. Without the breath (Spirit) of God, we are dust. 
At church, all are invited to join Christian Educator Kat Barden for a family meal and conversation about Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Week prior to the Ash Wednesday service. This time together will equip us for our shared worship time and walk through Lent.

What is Lent?
Lent is 40 days of prayer and fasting. It is a time of turning back toward God or repenting. It is a time to prepare ourselves for the holy drama of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. It is a time to live close to God, as Jesus did.

Your family might decide to use this time to take on a practice of daily scripture reading and family prayers. Many people give up something for Lent (fasting) as way of putting God first or remembering that all we have comes from God. Other people take on a new discipline or benevolent activity as a way of sharing God’s love with others.
In the Bible and in Christian practice, 40 days (or years, as was the case for the Hebrew people in the wilderness) is a time for spiritual transformation. How will you and your family be different at the end of this 40 days?
Here at church, one family practice for Lent would be to participate in the Winter(Mission) Olympics.

What happens on Palm Sunday?
This is the day we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. Greeting the hope of their salvation with waving palms and lining his path with their coats, the gathered crowd raises shouts of “Hosanna!”

Here at church, the children get to meet one of Jesus’ disciples, who will tell them the story of the day Jesus sent her to collect the donkey. The children will get to pet the donkey and then follow the donkey through the sanctuary, waving palms as the congregation sings, “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, the little children sang...”. Like those gathered along the road so long ago, our hope is high that Jesus, a humble king on a donkey, has come to bring a reign of peace.

But then...
The story gets harder to tell. Dr. Elizabeth Windsor, in an article shared through Building Faith, the Christian education website of Virginia Theological Seminary, gives some helpful advice to parents and church school teachers as we tell the hard story of the crucifixion:
  • Children understand tragedy
    Children – even very young ones – know that bad things happen. The Easter message is that good always triumphs over evil – even if it doesn’t seem to at the moment. This is a message children can hear and understand.
  • Emphasize the full Christ-event
    When you talk about the crucifixion, always continue immediately with the Resurrection. I have found the following kinds of language helpful: “Jesus loved people so much that some people were scared by it and they put Jesus to death on a cross. But love is so strong, that not even death can destroy it, so God raised Jesus from the dead.”
  • Be conscientious with images
    If the children you work with are visual learners, you may only want to share the story in words – the shorter the better. Use art that reveals the empty tomb instead of Jesus on the Cross as you tell the story.
  • Basic details of the cross
    Some children are curious about how crucifixion actually kills. They will ask questions such as “Did it hurt?” (“Yes”), “How does crucifixion kill someone?” (“Slow suffocation”). You do not need to dwell on the gore, but an honest answer that is short and to the point is helpful to children and allows you to move on to the resurrection.
  • Jesus did not die alone
    Other children worry that Jesus was alone. He wasn’t – his mother and the Beloved Disciple were there, along with other women. Two other men were crucified with him. And most importantly, God was with Jesus.

At our church, in the picture Bibles we give the children, the cross is dark and distant but the dawn of Easter morning fills the page with light. The dark page gives families a space to open up hard conversations, not only about Jesus’ death, but about other sad experiences a child might have. The bright page keeps the promised truth of life before us. Sunday School and Families@Five worship during Lent, Holy Week and Easter will give children a good age-appropriate, hands-on experience of these stories that they can discuss with trusted adults at home. Children who have participated in our Communion and Worship Education classes will be ready to come with you to special services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Easter: He IS Alive!
Children who have experienced the long days of Lent and the drama of Holy Week, wake up on Easter morning eager to smell the lilies, hear the brass proclamations, peek into the empty tomb (look for it on the second floor) and proclaim the promised Good News: He is Alive! Spring is a great time for us to look for all the signs of new life we know in Jesus! Every day is a good day to see how Jesus lives in our hearts and works through our hands.

At our church, on Easter morning, elementary age children worship with their families. Preschool age children enjoy special Sunday School activities.

Families@Five in Lent 2018
Sundays, 5 p.m.

Families@Five in Lent

I Am...

Making new friends is so much fun. Usually it starts with introductions. “I am….” followed by a name.

And then there is more. I AM five. I AM smart. I AM funny. I AM a soccer player. I AM going to be….

During Lent at Families@Five, we will deepen our friendships with one another and with Jesus as we listen to Jesus tell his friends...

February 18 – I AM Jesus
February 25 – I AM the Bread of Life
March 4 – I AM the Gate
March 11 – I AM the Good Shepherd
March 18 – I AM the Resurrection
March 25 – Palm Sunday: I AM the Vine
April 1 – EASTER: I AM the Way, the Truth and the Lif

Children's Sunday School

Children's Sunday School


The Children and Family Ministry of Second Presbyterian Church seeks through worship, study, fellowship and service to support families as they grow in faith.

Bring your children to Second on Sunday!


Infant and Toddler Nursery

Infant and Toddler Nursery

Loving child care is offered for infants and toddlers during all worship services. Nurseries are located on the second floor near the atrium.

Twos, Threes, Fours, and Fives

Twos, Threes, Fours & Fives

Child care is available during 8:15 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. worship services.

Children in this age group enjoy their first introduction to Sunday School at 9:30 a.m.  

Classrooms are located on the second floor near the elevators.

Children's Rotation Workshop
1st, 2nd and 3rd Grade

Rotation Workshop

Child care is available during the 8:15 a.m. worship service. Children in this age group enjoy the Rotation Workshop Sunday School class at 9:30 a.m. or 6 p.m. Classrooms are located on the third floor near the elevators.

The Bible story is experienced through the Art, Drama, Games, Mission, Mystery, and Video workshops.

1st, 2nd and 3rd graders participate in the Carol Choir following the Time with Children at the 11 a.m. worship service.


45 Degrees
4th and 5th Graders
Sunday mornings 9:30 a.m. on the third floor

45 Degrees

Sunday mornings 9:30 a.m. on the third floor

This Sunday morning program for 4th and 5th graders explores Christian concepts and Bible passages. Students often work together in small groups to get to know each other as they grow in faith.



Sign up soon to help lead Families@Five worship on February 11, 2017.

45 Degrees Mission Club

45 Degrees Mission Club

Link to SignUpGenius to search service opportunities and sign up to join us!

New to SignUpGenius? Learn the basics by reading How to Use SignUpGenius.

Open Arms Special Needs Ministry

Open Arms Special Needs Ministry

The Open Arms Ministry is actively reaching out and extending the love of Jesus Christ to all persons and families with special needs to be incorporated fully into the life of the church. If you would like more information or are interested in volunteering, please contact Caroline Dennis.

Volunteer to work with children at Second
Opportunities to work with all age levels - from nursery to 5th grade.

Volunteer to work with children at Second

We are currently seeking folks to play a part in the following areas of Children’s ministry. If you would like more information, please contact Pastor Dennis. Thank you for your prayerful consideration of these opportunities.

Family Opportunities

Element Bearers – Carry in Bread and Cup during the Worship Procession at 11:00 a.m.

Sunday Morning Greeters – Help to welcome families to Sunday School and Worship. (9:20-9:40 or 10:30–11)

Wintermission/Intermission Host Families – Engage families in this mission/fellowship time and help with clean up. (10:30– 11 a.m.)

Families@Five Host Families – Welcome worshippers, bring in the light and the water, read the scripture, collect the offering. One time per month. 4:30–5:45 Sunday evenings.

Grown-Up/Teen Opportunities

Nursery and Toddler Caregivers – Assist paid staff in our infant or toddler nurseries from 9:10–10:40 a.m. or 10:40–12:15 p.m.

2018 Summer Sunday School – Volunteers must be 18 or over and have completed Sunday School Volunteer Process

2018-19 Sunday School Teachers and Shepherds – Nurture children in faith from August to May, 9:30–10:30 a.m. Minimum commitment is two (2) Sundays per month. See details below.

VBS Volunteer – Opportunities range from classroom leader to snack assistant, craft assistant to greeter. Be a child at VBS again!

Sunday School Volunteer Recruitment 
Opportunities exist in church school classes during the 8:15, 9:30 and 11:00 services. We are currently recruiting volunteers for all age-levels - from nursery to 5th grade!

Volunteer Process

Job Descriptions

  • commits to one year of service (August - July)
  • commits to volunteering 2 Sundays each month
  • created a team environment by recruiting church school teachers and shepherds for the year; shows appreciation for volunteers
  • assists in coordination of volunteer scheduling
  • attends the semi-annual training events in August and January


  • commits to one year of service (August - July)
  • commits to volunteering 2 Sundays each month
  • loves God's Word
  • welcomes children & shares the story
  • attends the semi-annual training events in August and January


  • commits to one year of service (August - July)
  • commits to volunteering 2 Sundays each month
  • knows each child, engages parents
  • prays for children
  • assists the classroom teacher
  • attends the semi-annual training events in August and January

Family Greeter

  • commits to one year of service (August - July)
  • greets and assists families at the check-in kiosks
  • welcomes visitors and assists with introductions to teachers and classrooms

To find out how you might share your gifts and live into your baptismal promise, please contact Rev. Caroline Dennis.

Volunteer Resources
Lesson plans, schedules and procedures

Volunteer Resources

Sunday School Volunteer Recruitment Opportunities exist in church school classes during the 8:15, 9:30 and 11:00 services. We are currently recruiting volunteers for all age-levels - from nursery to 5th grade! See the Volunteer Process.

Download the Policy for the Protection of Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults.

Procedures and Classroom Management:

















Element Bearers
9:30 & 11:00 a.m. Worship

Element Bearers

11:00 a.m. Worship
Families are encouraged to volunteer at the 11:00 a.m. service. Please contact Connie Price with any questions.

Sign Up Now!

9:30 a.m. Worship
Please contact Gretchen Brown with questions about volunteering at the 9:30 a.m. service.

Sign Up Now!