As summer winds down and the school year is beginning, Bishop Ward encourages congregations to be in partnership with public schools through prayer and support.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
In late August, we celebrate our common commitment to the children in our communities. We, in the North Carolina Annual Conference, are strongly committed to teaching and learning in public schools and so, we partner with public schools very close to our churches.
Through Congregations for Children, C4C, we provide the basic necessities that children need – backpacks and school supplies. We help children learn to read through mentoring and the gifts of books. We are present as adults in the schools, especially encouraging men to be present as children are in need of male role models. And we learn about the effects of poverty on the lives of children so that our hearts will be full of even more compassion and our lives will be given with even more generosity.
We also engage in United Methodists Advocating for Public Schools, or UMAPS. Together with the Western North Carolina Conference, we petition legislators for higher funding levels for our public schools, for support for our teachers.
United Methodists, from the coast to the mountains, are working together so that we are a strong chain of support for children in every community. As you worship this Sunday, I hope that you will include in your prayers, prayers for public schools, prayers for children and their families, and prayers for teachers and administrators and school staff people. In this way, we will lift toward God this entire endeavor and look forward to the ways God will continue to bless our engagement.