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Level III Catechesis is Coming

Level III Catechesis is Coming

It is hard for me to believe we are already at this place! Only four years have passed since we began
catechesis at IPC. We have two beautiful atrium spaces: Level I serves our three to five-year-olds on
Sunday mornings and our IPC Day School children during the week, and Level II welcome our 1st through
4th grade children. And this coming fall, we will expand catechesis to include a Level III where our 4th
through 6th graders will come on Sunday mornings. I am humbled by the commitment so many have made
to make this growth possible. Thank you to everyone who has given so generously to this ministry. In
anticipation of this exciting expansion, I want to share with you what this newly renovated Level III space,
Room 107, will look like and describe how the prepared environment will offer our older children a rich faith
formation experience on Sunday mornings.

Parents of older elementary aged children, I hope this information will help you prepare your child for what to
expect on Sunday mornings starting this fall. And, to all others, I hope that you will not only appreciate the faith
formation experience of these older children, but also possibly contemplate how you, or your church group,
could use this new Level III space to benefit your own faith formation. It is our hope that this space will be
used as a resource room during the week open and available to others, including the STAIR students and
tutors.

One of the foundational principles guiding catechesis is that it honors the developmental needs of the child,
thus Level III will look and function very differently than Level I and II. First, Level III will be brighter with
more direct task lighting placed over regular sized tables and chairs to allow for more interactive group work.
The shelves that house our religious lessons will be taller; and the lessons, while still involving hands-on,
engaging materials, will contain more narrative card work, timelines, and descriptive charts as opposed to the
Biblical figures and diorama houses found in the other two atria. There will be lots of art and writing supplies
available for the children to express themselves in their own prayer books. All these changes respond to the
older child’s need for a deeper intellectual challenge and desire for independence.

As is true in the Level I and II atria, the content of religious lessons in Level III will originate from the Bible
and our Presbyterian liturgy. We will examine sacred history, particularly in the context of human culture,
and explore moral questions in the Old Testament and Jesus’ parables. These Old Testament and moral
parables appeal to the older child’s heightened sense of justice and morality, as well as a natural curiosity
about ancient cultures and people. They can explore lessons on the history of the Jewish people, the history
of worship, moral parables, The Fall, Creation, The Flood, Abraham, Moses, and the prophets, Jesus’
miracles, the sacraments, and The Lord’s Prayer. Since the older child is interested in exploring their role in
the world, focus is given to connecting history and our liturgy with their own life experiences. They will
plan their own communal prayer services and be involved in selecting their own works of study, which will
involve lots of group work and social interaction. The foundational principles of catechesis will continue to
be honored, those of respect for others, community building, cultivating a sense of wonder, and
contemplating God’s love for us and our response to this love. It is also a time to encourage slowing down
enough to listen to our inner voice and thoughts, which is so important in developing an inner prayer life and
in cultivating a relationship with God and others in our world. Our first day of catechesis for all three
levels will be August 27 at 10 am.
We invite you to stop by to see the new Level III atrium sometime
this fall, and we thank you for your prayers and encouragement as we take our next step in this exciting faith journey for IPC!