On Sunday, August 28, children, youth, college students, and educators we’re invited to come forward during worship for a special blessing for the new school year. This year’s theme is “Together”, with some words from Rev. Amy Starr Russell of how to theme camera to be:



This year our theme is Together based on Romans 12:5 which says, “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.”

I chose this theme for many reasons. At the risk of revealing a bit of my nerdiness, I will share a story from college that reveals some of why I chose this theme. 

It could have been any Friday night during my sophomore year but on one particular fall Friday, my friends and I decided that we wanted to make the trek from Gardner-Webb to downtown Charlotte for an evening worship service at one of the large mainline churches.

Not being the tradition of my upbringing, I was slightly uncomfortable. I was also paying extra attention because I did not need anyone to notice I was a fish floundering out of water. As awkward as I felt what I remember most is not that I couldn’t sit, stand, or speak at the right time. What I remember most are the words the presiding minister spoke at the conclusion of communion. He said, “Now that you have eaten the bread and drunk the cup, the body and blood of Jesus live within you. Go and live accordingly.”

There was something about the living Christ living within me that has never let me go. And since that time, I have reflected frequently on the image of the living Christ within us all continually drawing us together, a body that resists being separated.

This Sunday we will celebrate how we are being drawn back together as our summer sabbath is coming to an end. As an act of love, we will collectively bless our students, educators, and administrators. Please make a special effort to be there so that our students, educators, and administrators know the support they have from the body of Christ in which we are all members of one another.


Back to School Blessing 

This summer we have rested, we have played, and we have taken time for sabbath renewal. Now we are drawn back together for a new school year.

In this new season, Jesus shows us the way to love and the Spirit gives life to our relationships, old and new.

We may have big feelings about this new school year. We may have fears, hopes, and dreams about what is to come. But together we can share the burdens and the gifts of this new season. (continued)

Together, we can create kindness and pursue joy.

Throughout this year, we may need to love loudly and at other times, love quietly.

Together, we commit to walk with each other when the road is hard.

Bumps and bruises may come this year. But also, great accomplishment and perseverance.

Together, let us celebrate with each other when life is good.

Let us also have courage to help when others do not have what they need. We ask God to fill us with loving-kindness for all who may not have access to education, supportive families, or safe homes.

Together, we join our hands and voices to lift each other up.

Students, educators, and administrators may you find comfort in the words of blessing prayed for you by our congregation:

God, bless our students, educators, and administrators as they pick up the responsibility of education in this new school year. Help them carry it with grace, with patience for each other, and with hope for all the knowledge and experience that will be gained this year.

May they be nourished by your love
and flourish in and out of the classroom. May all be kept safe and healthy.

Together, we will pray, we will love, and we will support everyone in pursuit of education and growth.

Together, may our love for each other bring beauty to our world. Amen.