Many churches mark the back-to-school season with a Blessing of Backpacks for children, families, teachers, and leaders who are returning to the classroom after summer break. This ritual is a tangible reminder that God is present everywhere and accompanies us in every life activity.
Back-to School may look different for many students and families this year, but God’s promise to be with us remains unchanged. Kari Morgan has prepared a blessing prayer and charge, along with templates for backpack tags or stickers, to reflect changes in back-to-school scenarios that many will encounter this fall. Use these resources with God’s blessings!
- If you are meeting in person for worship, you could have the students bring their devices or backpacks with them.To begin your blessing ritual, have all of the teachers, students, caregivers and administrators stand.
- Design and print stickers or backpack tags to hand out or mail out to everyone. You may use one of the attached designs to print your own tags on business cards and laminate them or you can purchase plastic luggage tags to insert the printed tags into. On the back of each tag, you could include another scripture verse, your church’s name, etc. The stickers are great for water bottles or laptops since we know not everyone will be caring backpacks this year.
- Hold a drive-by for families to pick-up their tags or stickers.
- Mail, email, or hand out copies of the prayer for families to say the night before or morning of the first day of school.
- For virtual worship, you could have students, teachers or administrators record different portions of the prayer and/or charge to send in. Include these submissions in the worship service.
- You could also use the images of the tags to make signs, postcards with magnets on the back, table tents for families doing virtual classrooms or homeschooling for the year.
Welcome all! A new year of school is upon us. This has definitely been a very different year, and it looks like back-to-school will be changed up as well. Many of us have a variety of schedules, plans, and ideas of what the year ahead will look like.
Usually at the beginning of each year, we do a blessing of the backpacks during worship, but this year some of you might not be carrying your school things in backpacks. Some of you might continue doing “school” at home. Even so, we want to celebrate this new beginning together.
Thankfully, we know that God is always with us whether we are in the classroom, home, daycare, or somewhere else. We also know that our God is a God of new beginnings. Some of you will begin a new school year in new classrooms with new teachers. Others might begin the new school year at home in virtual classrooms. Many things may be different this year, and we can find joy in these new beginnings.
Thank you, God, for new opportunities to learn and grow whether it be in an actual classroom, a virtual classroom, or from our homes.
Be with our teachers, leaders, caregivers, and administrators as they guide us into the new school year. Give them the tools and energy to create engaging ways for all of us to learn and grow.
Help us to open our hearts and minds to new ideas, new friends and leaders, and new ways of learning.
Show us how to seek joy in all things.
When things don’t go as planned, help us rejoice in the newness. When we have technical difficulties, help us rejoice in simple things like books and crayons. When we feel lonely or isolated, remind us that you are by our side . When our teachers and caregivers seem worried and wary, help them to be gentle with themselves.
As we begin to explore the unknown of this school year, let us rejoice with new friends, in new ways of learning, in knowing that you are with us through it all.
God of joy and light, pour out your blessing upon these students, families, teachers, and leaders. Bless their backpacks, Chromebooks and computers, virtual classrooms, school buildings, and all preparations that help build a strong and safe year for everyone.
May each of you be a blessing and light in your new year! Go and light up the world!
To our families, students and school leaders:
Go into the world, your schools, your homes and be Christ’s light!
Let your lights not be diminished in the midst of change. Let them find ways to shine even brighter.
Be the light of love to all.
Be the light of patience when days are long, when technology does not work, when new ways of doing things are hard.
Be the light to shine on new ideas and new ways of learning.
Be thankful for the lights of others who work hard to create fun, engaging, and challenging ways to lead our students.
Be the light of joy for a new school year, new friends, and new ways of learning.
You are the light of the world!
Go into the world and shine bright with kindness, patience, energy and love!