As kids head back to school in the fall (or late-summer, as it happens to be in Indiana), it’s important for congregations to be attentive to the spiritual needs of children and their families as well as our hard working educators. A “Back to School Blessing” as part of worship at the start of the school year can offer encouragement to the excited, comfort to the anxious, and gratitude to the tireless. There are a lot of variations on this growing tradition and at Epworth UMC we incorporated a backpack blessing and small gift for teachers into a moment of prayer during Sunday worship.
Two weeks before, we encouraged everyone to bring their school bags to church for a blessing. By blessing school bags, we offered students and educators a tangible sign of God’s presence with them every day. We gave everyone a Blessing Tag (United Methodist Specific Tag) to attach to their bag. The tags are simple to make and hold up very well. I printed the tags directly onto Avery Business Cards. Then, I used Scotch Laminating Luggage Tag Pouches and my trusty laminator to create one of a kind blessing tags.
We wanted to give each educator something special to convey our gratitude for their tireless work with students. Because every person who serves in education – teachers, administrators, cafeteria, janitors, bus drivers, etc. – is vital, I picked something everyone can use: Scissors! Combined with a cute tag that reads “Educators are a Cut Above the Rest,” the scissors were an inexpensive yet meaningful gesture to thank educators. I printed circle-shaped tags onto white card stock and used a scalloped edge circle paper punch to create a festive look and punched a hole at the top to string onto the scissors. I bought the scissors, along with clear treat bags and colorful ribbon for packaging, at the Dollar Tree. Another approach is to use the same Avery business cards for tags, punch a hole, and attach them to the scissors with ribbon.
We had a great Sunday celebrating the back to school season and I hope you do too!