Sunday, August 13, was a special day at St. Andrew’s UMC.

We began our time of worship with Blessing of the Backpacks (and the students who will carry them).  Students from pre-kindergarten to college-age came forward to receive the blessing.  The congregation prayed for these students with this blessing:

Gracious God, we lift to you today, these students.  They stand here ready to receive your blessings and they commit themselves to study and learning in the school year ahead. We ask your blessing on each of them.  Further, we ask your blessing on these backpacks. They will hold the school work of each student and will be carried from home to school and back again. As these students carry these backpacks, may they be reminded of the love and care of this congregation that surrounds them each school day.  We pray in the name of Jesus who we seek to follow day by day. Amen.

We continued by inviting educators of all kinds (teachers, administrators, counselors, support staff, coaches, aides, volunteers and parents) to stand so that we could pray a blessing on them.  This was the prayer:

As the summer draws to an end and school begins, we thank you, God, for educators of all kinds at all levels.  Thank you for the knowledge you have placed in them, the talents they have developed and the passion you shaped them to have for helping others learn and grow.

In our world today where we expect educators to serve as disciplinarian, mentor, parent, counselor, social worker and friend, as well as teacher, grant our educators

            Wisdom to manage the tasks before them;

            Compassion for the students and colleagues with whom they work;

            Persistence for the moments that educating is challenging;

            Strength for the tough moments;

            Joy for the times of accomplishment;

            Hope for the future they are helping to shape in the lives of students.

Make us faithful to pray for, encourage and support in whatever ways we can our educators, so they know they are not alone in their task and that we appreciate all they do. 

This we pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Teacher. Amen.

In light of the violence and hatred in Charlottesville, VA, this past weekend, we prayed for God’s peace to reign, for hearts to be changed, and for the wisdom and courage to help make a difference in our nation and our community.  We are called to love one another, including our enemies, and to be peacemakers in the name of Jesus Christ.

Then our team who participated in mission work with the Appalachian Service Project led worship and shared their “God Moments,” ways they experienced God’s presence during their work.  Debra Arce, our Director of Youth Ministry, coordinated the team that included 39 youth and adults from 10 churches, 7 school districts, and 4 universities and was supported by 46 prayer partners.  Their theme verse was 1 John 3:18close1 John 3:18 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV) close1 John 3:18close1 John 3:18 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV) 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV) and the service was called “Love in Action.”  The team worked in and around Harlan, Kentucky.

I was touched by the testimonies of participants who shared the many different ways they met God over their week.  Examples included building relationships with homeowners, coming together as a cohesive team, accomplishment of more work than they could imagine, and the baptism of one homeowner who professed his faith in Jesus Christ!

Thanks, St. Andrew’s, for your support for the ASP team through your prayers, participating in fundraisers (next one is Thursday, Aug. 17 at the Bob Evans Restaurants in Findlay – pick up your flyer to take with you at the church office or Welcome Center), and interest.  God is using you to make a difference in the lives of people and to bring glory to God’s name.

Watch for information about how you can be involved in ASP’s efforts to rebuild Rainelle, WV this fall.

Join us again next Sunday, Aug. 20, as we continue our series through the book of Romans with Romans 10:5-15closeRomans 10:5-15 The Message of Salvation to All For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (ESV) closeRomans 10:5-15closeRomans 10:5-15 The Message of Salvation to All For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (ESV) The Message of Salvation to All For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (ESV) and think about “Beautiful Feet.”

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