A Back to School Blessing from The Alliance of Baptists
Holy God, we confess right out of the gate that this is the strangest back-to-school prayer we’ve ever prayed. There is no guidebook for how to teach in a pandemic, so we pray the best prayer we can, trusting in the Holy Spirit who groans our unutterable longings beside us to fill in the gaps.
We pray for the teachers and the parents:
We pray for the grace of walking through a time that no one is sure how to navigate. We pray for the ever-changing formats and internet connectivity and home environments. We pray for the creativity hallmarked by educators to continue to be elastic and energized, that they find news way to spark connection and trust in a world turned upside down.
We acknowledge that everyone has struggled with what is best for their family and community and that for many, the choice was made for them by those in charge, by bosses, by bills, by internet accessibility, by medically fragile family members. We also realize that while our teachers and all those who serve in schools are heroic, we regret that they have been called upon to be so.
Protect our teachers from COVID-19 and its long-lasting, still unknown effects. May their homes be safe havens of respite and comfort. Grant them relief from fear and stress.
We pray for the principals and the superintendents:
We pray for courage in the face of public moods, frightening data, and the faces of the students and adults in their charge. We pray for wisdom as they make difficult decisions even as they deal with the trauma of experiencing a pandemic themselves. Grant them steady minds, tender hearts, and strong backs.
We pray for the mayors and the governors:
We pray for our leaders to be motivated by care for their citizens in every aspect of their lives. We pray for government officials who have dedicated their lives to public service to trust experts, to care for the most vulnerable among us, and to work tirelessly for solutions that promote the health, safety, and well-being of the people they serve.
We pray for the nannies and the daycare workers:
We lift up these often underpaid and undervalued workers who care for our most fragile and beloved children, the little ones who do not understand what a pandemic is. We pray for the good health, vigilant safety standards, and supportive infrastructure for these caregivers.
And we pray for all those who provide support and safe places for our children and teachers, those whose kindness and faithfulness remind kids they are valued:
the school nurses and the counselors
the cafeteria workers and the custodians
the teacher aides and the diagnosticians
the bus drivers and the crossing guards.
And God, we pray for the children.
We pray for those who will see their friends and teachers through computer screens, and for those who will be attending school in a mask with so many new safety measures that school may feel unfamiliar. We pray they are able to to cultivate friendships and feel connected to their community.
We pray each child receives the support and encouragement they require to be able to succeed. Give them courage as they walk these new paths, and may peace wrap around them like a blanket.
And Lord, we pray for the most vulnerable children in our school systems, whose homes are not always safe places. We pray for their stomachs to be filled with nourishing food, we pray for teachers and caregivers to see when they need to call for help, we pray for these children to feel the love and belonging from their friends and the adults at school. Grant them good health, a place to lay their head, and moments of joy.
We know and trust that each one of our students’ names are etched into the palm of Your hand, that each tear is noted by Your tender care, and that every heart is carried in Your heart.
Grant us all peace, O Lord, and help us to gird our loins. May we pass hope around like the bread at your table, making it multiply into communal strength and provision. May we pour out grace, filling each other’s cups, making hearts warm from love and cheeks rosy from joy. Amen.
Written by Ashley Harris Dargai, Minister of Practical Theology at Azle Christian Church
Redwood Glen Update
Please keep our camp and it’s staff, as well as the other camps and local residents and front line fire fighters in your prayers.
Update on Redwood Glen Christian Camp in Loma Mar, CA – All staff evacuated a few days ago as camp is located in the CZU August Complex fire area
8/23 6:30PM update): Overall, today continued to go well for the camp. We did, unfortunately lose a portion of Chapel in the Woods to the fire, and our irrigation tank; but that was not totally unexpected since both were too distant to build a fire line around. Chapel in the Woods is a spot that holds a special place in many of our hearts, both staff and the greater Redwood Glen community, so we are all saddened by this news. Indeed, for many of us it is sacred ground. Yet God is still sovereign and good! Much like the woods around the camp it will be restored, and much like the woods around the camp, we anticipate it to be relatively quick – most of the trees have survived, its just the underbrush that has been cleared. Even now as we write, it has started to rain at the camp – another sign of God’s providence. Please continue to pray for the camp – fires do continue to burn on the property. However, know with us that God is in control.
Sad News from the American Baptist Churches
Longtime leader in American Baptist Educational Ministries and former General Secretary of the ABCUSA, The Reverend Dr. Daniel Weiss, passed away on August 22nd.
Join in one of our Bible Studies this week
An Important Public Witness Opportunity this Friday at 10:00
“Abolition and Liberation” with Angela Davis and Jamal Juma. Register at bit.ly/AbLib
How about some Trivia this coming Sunday evening?
What are you doing Sunday night? Are you free? We would love for you to join us for “Dog Days of Summer Trivia” hosted by Ashley Ash, Andrew Gardner, Brooklyn Lovelace, and Madison McClendon. Join the fun with your Alliance of Baptists community on Sunday, August 30 at 7:00 p.m. EDT.
Set up similar to trivia night at your local pub, “Dog Days Trivia” will test your knowledge in categories covering all things summer, from summer reading to summer hits to summer destinations! And since the title made us think about our favorite furry friends, we’re throwing in a round about dogs, too!
Teams of no more than 8 persons are encouraged to join, or come as an individual and we’ll assign you to a team. All are welcome! Please note that geographical proximity is not required. Teams will be put into breakout rooms together.
We hope you will join us!
The Alliance Staff