Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

The time has finally come: the new school year is upon us! This week teachers and administrators in our community are diligently preparing for the essential work that lies ahead of them. And next week, students will flood the halls of schools around our county.

It is an exciting time. A stressful time. A busy time.

Learning is a quintessential part of being human. It is also crucial to the life of faith. Jesus spent much of his earthly ministry teaching his disciples. John Calvin (one of our theological ancestors in the faith) knew that if everyone in the community was educated, then they would all be contributing members in the work of God’s Kingdom.

Because cultivating our minds and bodies, passing key knowledge on to the younger generations, and growing together are such an important part of how we live our lives, we at FPC want to mark this new beginning with a special moment in worship.

We understand how crazy this time of year is for everyone involved. Nevertheless, we hope you will embrace the chance to come and rest together for just a few minutes in service this Sunday as we bless all who will be taking part in our schools this year.

As you do, we invite you to bring one item for every member in your family who will be involved in education – a backpack, a lunchbox, a thermos, a book, even an apple. Something that is part of your educational process. Bring it to worship and place it by or on the Communion Table. We will have a blessing for the owners of these items (and everyone else in our community who are part of our schools) during both services.

When you leave worship on Sunday, we also will have a gift for all of you. Whether you are just starting preschool or are decades removed from your final class, we want everyone to hold tight to one of the essential promises of our faith as we enter this new school year.

That promise is that no matter where you go, God is with you. God goes before you and behind you. Inside you and beside you. And God will be present in all that is to come.

We look forward to seeing everyone in worship this Sunday and all the fun, fellowship, and fascinating enlightenment that will come in the year ahead!

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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