We have a Back to School Prayer Vigil the Sunday before school starts. This year our county schools start on August 19; we’ll have our prayer vigil on Sunday, August 18, at all three worship services. (Yes – mid-August seems early. Here in the South in the US, that’s pretty traditional.)
I’ve described our Back to School Vigil before. We’re following that model, except we’re making a few modifications:
- This year, we have no Back to School Breakfast. Our former Youth and Family Ministries Coordinator was also a caterer, and it seems the rest of us can’t cook! (That’s not true, but the timing just didn’t work out this year. We hope to return to this great tradition at the beginning of next semester in January.)
- We need to print out our prayer list on 8 1/2 x 14 paper (legal size). We didn’t take into account just how many names of students, faculty, and staff both here and far away that our church members want to pencil in – and they like to do it at each grade level!
- A Prayer Card for each student!
The new Prayer Card is an old idea that just didn’t get off the ground until “Back to School Prayer Vigil 5.0.” Sometimes what we can leave out is whatever gives the greatest stress. I think if we find a way to save up the good ideas, in two or three or five years, they’ll still be good ideas – probably even GREAT ideas! (I’m still waiting for great ideas…but maybe if they slow cook long enough, I’ll get there.)
Three of us worked on this prayer card. One of us wanted a lovely St. Monica prayer, but it didn’t really fit with our Episcopal tradition. Another thought a prayer from our Book of Common Prayer was plenty (and you can’t go wrong with that). A third proposed writing a collect based on a formula, but we were way too tired for that amount of energy. With the miracle of the internet, our fourth friend helped edit it while traveling halfway across the country on vacation. Eventually, we settled on the format below. We already have a template for small credit card size cards, so we can laminate them easily.
We bought rings from an office supply store so that the card could be clipped in or on a purse or backpack.
(I also want to point out that one of my favorite parts of the Prayer Vigil are the new, fresh pencils the Daughters of the King put in the lovely flower arrangements on the chapel altar!)
If you’re looking for “Blessing of the Backpacks,” then rush right over to my friend Fran’s blog on the chancel steps and you’ll find a good one!