I always look forward to the beginning of a new school year. Facebook is filled with photos of children and youth heading off for their first day of the year, whatever it may be; first day of kindergarten, middle school, high school, first day of their senior year of high school. The pictures always have the same look—typically standing in front of their house, backpack in tow, surrounded by brothers or sisters on their first day of third grade, seventh grade, junior year and so forth. Sometimes they are holding signs displaying the significant milestone. There are also pictures of freshman sitting on the bed in their newly decorated dorm room as they begin their college journey.
The pictures are always the same, always predictable, but I still enjoying seeing them every year. To see how their kids have grown, to be surprised that Carly is in the 7th grade, “I remember when I baptized her.” I still have to look at all of them and register my “Like.”
However, it goes without saying that this year is different. Instead of kids standing on their front porch, sporting crisp, brand-new clothes, this year Facebook is filled with kids sitting at home at their desk in front of their laptop wearing sweats and a T-shirt. Yes, this is 2020. Things are different.
What in the past has been a season of excitement with the start of a new school year, has turned into a season of concern and trepidation. Parents are filled with anxiety at the start of this year. Some classes will be in-person and families are fearful of sending their kids off to school. It is not the way it is supposed to be. Anticipation has been replaced with apprehension.
And the apprehension is even more intensified with those who work at our schools—teachers, administrative staff, and support persons. Heading onto our school campuses for the start of the year, they are filled with a multitude of emotion and fears. There are obviously health concerns, but also concerns for what is going to happen this year, worries about how they will be able to teach and motivate kids when they have been away from them for months. Plus, teachers and support staff at schools have families themselves; spouses or family members who may have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs. They have their own children and need to sort out their school choices and deal with their concerns. It is a vastly different climate this year, an anxiety-filled and downright scary time.
At St. Andrew’s, we want to show our support for the teachers and school workers in our church community. We want to reach out to them with the love of Jesus to let them know in this worrisome time, they are loved and supported. There is hope amidst the darkness of this season.
The Andy’s Angels ministry at our church is sponsoring an outreach to those teachers and school workers in our church, but we need to know who they are. If you or someone you know at our church is a teacher or a school worker, let us know by filling out our Teacher Appreciation form.
The light of Jesus shines in the darkness and there is no amount of darkness that can overcome it. These words need to be truly heard in our world today and they need to be lived out in action to give hope through our troubled times. Please support our teachers and school workers by being in prayer for them and by helping the Andy’s Angels ministry with names to show our loving concern in real and tangible ways.