9:00 a.m. - Sunday School
10:00 a.m. - Worship (Contemporary Music on most Second Sundays)
12:30 p.m. - Christ for All Nations
2501 Beacon Hill Road
Alexandria, VA 22306

Faith Life Stages

Each person develops physically and emotionally through different stages in life. The same is true of one's spiritual development. At Bethany, we've been asking, "What are the different spiritual milestones in that development?" Also, "How can we best support a child's spiritual development in our Christian Education programs?"

The beginning of all spiritual development is Baptism, so at a child's baptism, the parents and sponsors (Godparents) are asked to nurture that development in their children and "pray for them, support them in their ongoing instruction and nurture in the Christian faith, and encourage them toward the faithful reception of the Lord's Supper."

Those words make an excellent guide for us to think about how the church can be the best help and support to parents and Godparents. To support ongoing instruction in the Christian faith, we have a First Bible program that runs throughout the third- and fourth-grade Sunday School years. For the faithful reception of the Lord's Supper, there is a special class with the Pastor to encourage conversations at home before children receive First Communion. Finally, there is a two-year Confirmation Club that children are invited to join, starting in the sixth grade.

First Bible

What will happen at Church

When a third- or fourth-grader joins our Sunday School at Bethany, he/she receives a special student’s Bible at the beginning of the year. Each Sunday, there will be opportunities to highlight special verses in the Bible as we go through the year’s lessons.

At some point during the year, there will be a special ten-week session to cover the Bible basics, which will go book by book, with key verses highlighted. At the end of this time, we hope that the students will have a good working knowledge about where things are in the Bible and the main teachings about Jesus.

Taking it Home

During this time, we hope that there will be conversations at home about what the students are learning. Students may come home with a suggested verse or two to talk about during the week.

Receiving Your First Bible

At the end of the year’s highlighting in the Bible, we will present the student with that Bible so that it can be taken home. We do this in a special rite at church where parents, grandparents, and Godparents are welcome to attend. This is normally done at the 10 a.m. worship on the second Sunday in June.

First Communion

What Will Happen at Church?

Students in the 5th and 6th Grade Sunday School class are invited to a special three-session class with the Pastor. Caregivers and Godparents are also welcome to attend. We’ll ask the students to bring the Bible they received in 3rd and 4th grades so that we can review some of what they learned and add more highlights. The class starts with a review of the Exodus and Passover, which we then connect to what happened at the Last Supper. The main theme throughout all three sessions is FORGIVENESS. Learning to forgive and to be forgiven by God is an important lesson to be understood before students receive Holy Communion for the first time.

Taking it Home

At the end of the third session, the students will bring home a one-page summary of what was discussed in class that includes some discussion questions to use at home. After discussion, reflection, and prayer, parents may permit their student to receive First Communion at church. They may also decide to delay for an additional year.

Receiving First Communion

We typically offer the Rite of First Communion on Palm Sunday each year. At the last session of the special class with the pastor, students will be instructed on how to receive communion. The Rite is printed in the church hymnal and is sent home with the discussion questions and summary.

Receiving Communion regularly helps to strengthen our faith. We also become more and more aware of our need for God’s forgiveness and the need to forgive others. Continuing to read the Bible and receive Communion lays the foundation for taking the next step in the journey.

Confirmation Club

What Will Happen at Church and at Home?

Students may decide to enter the Confirmation Club at any time between 6th and 8th grades. If they have not received their First Bible or First Communion at that time, arrangements may be made with the Pastor. Students may also choose to wait until they receive the Rite of Confirmation before they receive First Communion, as is the tradition in many churches.

Confirmation Club is a two-year program that challenges and reinforces the basics of the Christian faith. We normally combine group study time, ‘journaling’ at home, and servant activities to accomplish this.

Details about the Confirmation program for this year can be found here

After two years in the Confirmation Club, students may receive the Rite of Confirmation. This is normally offered the first Sunday in May. After receiving the Rite, students are considered Confirmed members of Bethany, able to participate in the church’s voters’ meetings. They are also a part of the church’s youth group.

After having gone through all three faith life stages, our students will have developed good habits connecting to God’s Word and the Sacraments that will help them grow spiritually through their teenage years and beyond.


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Bethany Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Virginia
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
2501 Beacon Hill Road
Alexandria, VA 22306
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