Worship and Ideas: Encouragement for Back To SchoolLeadership Missions and Outreach School-Church Partnerships
Dear Florida Conference Sisters and Brothers:
In this time leading up to a new school year there is heightened anxiety about a return to class. Normally this time of year is a joyful one for students, teachers, and parents as they look forward to a new academic year. This year, due to the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the joy of a new school year often feels overshadowed by fear and uncertainty as well as the reality that “going back to school” will be very different.
Bishop Carter recalls a pamphlet he read 20 years ago by The Upper Room: “Five Dreams I Have for My Child.” Those dreams were that a child will not be hungry, will be educated, will have shelter, be safe and know the stories of faith. In this challenging year, these dreams are all the more powerful and needed in our communities.
We invite all churches in the Florida Conference to find a way to lift up, inspire, and come alongside the teachers, students, and administrators in your congregation and community this month. Here is a list of resources and creative ideas for consideration as your worship team and church leaders prepare for the weeks ahead. Don’t forget to share your ideas and tag us on social media:
• Facebook: @FloridaUMC
• Twitter: @FLUMC
• Instagram: @floridaumc
Resources and Ideas for Encouraging Students, Teachers, & School Administrators:
• Use this liturgy, written by the Rev. Monique McBride, during your worship service, perhaps asking a teacher or family with school-age children to lead it. The prayer can also be sent to your church’s families with school age children for use at home.
• Consider these ideas, published by UMC Discipleship Ministries, for your Back to School Blessing this year.
• Make personal calls to teachers and school administrators in your church. Offer to pray with them. Make contact as well with representatives of schools where your church is involved in a church-school partnership.
• Visit families and offer a prayer outside in their front yards or deliver basic school supplies. Take a picture of the family to show during virtual worship.
• Open your church sanctuary for safe, socially-distanced prayer either the week before school begins or during the first week of school. Families could leave a photo of their child on the altar rail. Names could be written on cards.
We know this is a particularly challenging time for people and families with direct involvement in academic life. Let us join with them in prayer as an expression of our love for them as our neighbor.
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