We’ve been celebrating a small liturgical season in our congregations these days. It doesn’t have its own color, but I think school bus yellow would be a good choice. The season is still a bit short on hymns, but there’s still time for poets and plunkers and strummers to go to work. We’ve been celebrating the season of back to school. It is good and right to lift the holy work of learning and teaching. We’ve blessed backpacks and the students who will tote them. We’ve prayed for teachers. And we’ve given gifts of all sorts and measures.
The congregations of the Iowa Conference have amazing relationships with the public schools in their communities. We’ve gathered school supplies. We’ve provided school guidance staff with boxes of extra undies and clothing and winter gear. We’ve sustained ministries offering a safe space and nourishment for body, mind, and spirit to children and youth on inservice or early dismissal days. Our buildings are a part of schools’ safety plans. We pack bags of weekend food for children without enough good food to eat at home. We mentor and tutor and read stories and offer supportive presence. We serve on school boards. We are generous and enthusiastic partners, well known by our schools’ teachers and administrators.
Thank you, dear pastors and lay leaders, for making time to head back to school in the coming days. Thank you for making time to schedule conversation with a school superintendent or building principal in your neighborhood. Thank you for making time to thank these men and women for their holy work. Thank you for asking a question that may grow to be marvelously deep and wide under five simple words: “How can we help you?” The answers we hear may surprise and stretch us beyond our assumptions. Thank you for posting a comment to let your brothers and sisters in the Iowa Conference know what’s been growing under those five words in your congregation!
—Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister