Back to School season brings with it mixed feelings. Kids may pitch fits over the loss of their summer freedom, but they are also ready to see all their friends again and (maybe) learn a thing or two. Parents may be sad to see vacations in the rear-view mirror, but they are usually excited to return to the routine of the school year. Teachers never feel the summer is long enough, but this time of year is always optimistic and hopeful—this year, we’ll really get it right.
This Sunday, we are inviting all children to bring their backpacks with them to church. If they were here last week, they will have their personalized backpack tags laminated and ready to go. If they weren’t, no worries—we will have extra! At the end of the service, we will invite all our students, teachers, and administrators to come forward for a special blessing.
At the heart of that blessing is peace. The backpack tags say: Peace be with you. It’s a simple, even vague, phrase, but it’s what I hope my own children carry with them every day as they trundle off to school. We live in a world that deifies worry and restlessness, and schools—for many reasons—can often be profoundly ‘unpeaceful’ places. We want to bless our students and teachers with a peace that is rooted in Christ’s love and grace and extends beyond any circumstance or stress. We bless our students and teachers and commission them to carry that peace with them into their schools and to pass it freely to others.
This back to school season is especially meaningful to me, as I will be heading back to the classroom as well. After a lot of prayer and discernment, I’ve decided to return to bi-vocational ministry, continuing to serve the church even as I continue my career in education. To that end, I’ll be working right here in our community, teaching at one of the local high schools. It’s a great position with wonderful people, and I can’t wait to dive in.
But as I make this transition, I want to make sure we are all transparent about what’s happening.
While I’m stepping back into teaching, I will still serve as the Family Minister at Restoration. I’ll still facilitate our children’s ministry on Sunday mornings with our team of volunteers, and I’ll still provide leadership to our student ministry. I’ll still be in the preaching rotation, and I’ll still be available as a contact for any pastoral needs. Frankly, most of you will not experience any real change at all.
And that’s the point, really. Over the last year, we’ve addressed some of our most urgent needs and built a foundation that doesn’t require as many ‘on-the-clock’ hours. So hopping back into the classroom will allow me to pursue my passion for teaching, give Restoration flexibility for the future without any major sacrifice in the present.
Finally—and this may sound backwards—this move roots me even deeper here at Restoration. Truthfully, careers in ministry are usually migrant, and if my professional career was bound up only in church ministry, it’s likely that one day an opportunity or need would arise elsewhere that would pull our family away from all of you. All of my ministry and all of my vision for ministry has centered on this community and this people. For this reason, it seems the best way to root ourselves here for the long-haul is by investing in a stable, meaningful career right here in this community.
For all these reasons, I’m excited about the start of a new school year. If you’ve got any lingering questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to grab me on Sunday or shoot me an email. I’m so thankful to continue to serve God alongside all of you at Restoration Anglican Church.