It’s time for ‘Blessing of the Backpacks.’ On a Sunday, just before the kids start a new school year, normally we’d invite everybody to bring their shiny new backpacks to church for a special blessing. Not just young kids! College students heading back to campus, adults with their briefcases or laptop bags – anybody starting a new grade, a new job, a new school … it’s that season of new beginnings. We feel the air starting to chill, the leaves show a little bit of color. It’s back to school season!
Normally, for ‘Blessing of the Backpacks,’ we would invite everybody, at the end of announcements, to come forward and make a huge pile of backpacks in the front of the church. We’d get everybody in a semi-circle, and we would all raise our hands in blessing and I would say a special prayer of blessing for a new academic year, that we would feel God’s presence with us. If someone was feeling a little anxious, it was a reminder that our Church community was WITH us in a new adventure. The children were so excited!
This year, no ‘Blessing of the Backpacks.’ We will return to this beloved tradition next year … we hope. This Labor Day, as some of our youth head back to their classrooms – and some join their peers online in virtual learning – we are not yet gathering indoors as a community of faith. But we are praying – fiercely! –for our students and our teachers as they take up the challenges of learning and teaching in these days of COVID19.
We pray for the safety and well-being of our children, teens and adults in a new school year! We pray for administrators and leaders making agonizing decisions, for all support staff who keep our schools and pre-schools running. We lift up to God how stressful it is to plan curriculum, set up classrooms, pack lunches and get down to business in a pandemic that is ongoing. So much uncertainty about what the fall will bring.
So, let us join our hearts and minds and spirits together virtually, and bless those shiny new backpacks, praying God will keep our loved ones safe! Please pray with me:
“Holy God, surround and uphold our students and our teachers in this ‘back-to-school’ season. Fill our children with a love of learning, our teachers with the joy of instructing. Keep our loved ones ever in your care. Guard them from illness, from anxiety, from worry. Help us to stay safe, to wear our masks, to make wise choices and decisions. Show us, O God, how to love and care for one another in community, that we move through these days in mutual support and care. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
Peace be with you all,
Rev. Andrea Castner Wyatt
The Rev. andrea castner wyatt
The Rev. Andrea Castner Wyatt is honored to accept the call of Trinity Episcopal Church to serve and lead as Rector. She looks forward with joy to walking with the people of Trinity Church, and to discovering with you what Jesus is up to in Newtown, CT. Contact Rev. Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 203-426-9070.