It is cap and gown season in our communities, congregations, and families. This might be a year for you to take a seat at commencement and cheer for someone dear to you. You might have some graduation parties on your calendar, opportunities to celebrate with graduates and their families as one learning journey ends and another journey begins. Many of us find graduation announcements in our mailboxes. We choose a card and tuck in our best wishes, prayers, and maybe some money to support the graduate’s next season of life. Our congregations plan recognitions and celebrations for graduates. We lift up the callings they are discerning.
I write to encourage you and your congregation to stay connected to the graduates in your care. If your congregation has a newsletter or sends other weekly or monthly communications, make an effort to send those to your graduates in their new locations. Your congregation might begin making plans now for the little care packages and encouraging notes you can send this fall to those graduates who will be away for additional education or military service. You might also be planning care packages and encouraging notes for grads who will have started new jobs this fall, or grads who will still be job searching this fall. The care and connection you can offer may be even more meaningful as your graduates begin to meet the challenges of living away from home and of beginning a life’s work. There might even be an opportunity this December to welcome and reconnect with your graduates who are home for Christmas.
Thank you, dear saints in the congregations of the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ, for all you are doing to nurture and celebrate the holy callings of your graduates in this cap and gown season … and all you are planning to do as you carry on your holy work of encouragement!
—Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister