Zion Lutheran church and school in Bethalto are caring for the spiritual, mental and emotional health of students and families while continuing to provide a strong academic program. Helping everyone deal effectively with stress and challenge is a top priority for the preschool through Grade 8 teachers and staff.
"Zion has always encouraged the children and families in our school to lean on Christ Jesus to be the calm in the midst of the storms in their lives,” said Joseph Snyder, school principal. “In light of the pandemic we are now facing, this year more than ever, it is important for our students to feel a sense of peace and security while at school. It is such a privilege for us to talk and pray with our students about any anxiety they are facing."
Although students and teachers are observing social distancing procedures this fall, weekly chapel services are livestreamed to students and teachers in their classrooms. Families can also view the service live on their devices. Messages from Rev. Kale Hanson, Principal Snyder, Vicar Brandon Metcalf, teachers and special guest speakers plus worship music and prayer help everyone focus on the hope and comfort God gives.
Preschoolers begin each day by gathering outside for an opening time together. Led by Mrs. Sarah Koch, Zion’s early childhood director, they sing, talk about a Bible story and pray.
Daily in-person classroom instruction begins with a devotion and prayer — teacher-led for younger children and student-led for Grades 4 through 8. Throughout each day, lessons include Bible references and a Christian focus. Weekly Bible study lessons help older students build a foundation of faith for their lives. Teachers are available for consultation and prayer as they support students and families in these challenging times.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday, Children’s Church and an accompanying activity packet are available for families on the Zion Lutheran Church website at zionbethalto.org. They then have access to this video presentation throughout the week for sharing worship, songs, a Bible story and lesson, a craft and more together.
“Zion is so excited to be able to offer a weekly Children's Church,” said Kristen Wyzard, director of Christian education. “The original idea was to bring some familiarity of Sunday School into family's homes when we could not meet in person. Now, some families are joining us for in-person Sunday School, while others continue worshipping with us from home. This has been a great way to help kids stay connected to their church family. We are blessed to be part of the continuing faith journey of our kids and families.”