Back to School …

Brothers and sisters,
It is amazing to me that we are so quickly approaching the end of summer. I feel like June and July only lasted fifteen minutes! And while there are surely more hot, humid summer days ahead of us, we are coming to that time of the year where school-age children and their parents are preparing for a new school year.

I have a lot of positive memories of this time of the year from when I was a child. This was typically the time when everyone on my mom’s side of the family would head down to Emerald Isle or Morehead City for our yearly family beach vacation. It was always a wonderful time to get to see my aunts and uncles, my cousins, and my grandmother. We’d typically spend A LOT of time in the ocean. We’d play mini golf. We’d stop by Dairy Queen. And usually, Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Emily would insist on taking us some-where educational—the NC Aquarium, Fort Macon, etc.

But usually there was one day that I didn’t stay at the beach. Each year, Mom and I would make the trek back to Goldsboro to go to my school’s Open House. I actually enjoyed going to Open House. I liked getting to see some of my friends again and I liked getting to know my teachers and know what their classrooms would look like. But mostly—I liked getting the school supplies list! I was that kid that really enjoyed going shopping for school supplies. I liked the buzz and atmosphere of everyone shopping at the same time. I liked picking out new pens, pencils, notebooks, dividers, etc. When I was in elementary school, I remember your choice of backpack, lunch box, and Trapper Keeper were very important! For me, this time of year always felt like a time of anticipation and new opportunities. There was a sense of possibility.

But, as you all know, there are plenty of children for whom this time of year is one of nervousness and even dread. See, I looked forward to shopping for school supplies because I knew I would get new school supplies. That was never in question. If my teacher said I needed a binder for her class, I knew I could have a new binder. If I needed new colored pencils, I knew I could have new colored pencils. School supply lists were opportunities to me. For some families, they are just another bill to be paid. And if times are tough, as they are right now, they don’t need another bill to pay. But we have a chance, as a church community, to help these families out—to help these children out.

We will be having a school supply drive here at the church from August 8th to August 29th. There is a list of the needed items in the Illuminator this week. If you feel led to purchase some of the supplies off this list, there will be bins for collection in the church starting this Sunday. You’ll notice as well that we mention some of the “Connect” teachers and their needs. These are the teachers who do not have a dedicated class of children—they’re teaching their subject to all the children! Again, there will be bins in the church where you can place any supplies you want to donate. Also, feel free to make a monetary contribution to this project—just designate on your check or envelope “School Supplies.” I know the passion this church has for helping people and so I’m looking forward to seeing the way that we can bless our community as a church family. I look forward to the way we can bless these students and teachers. I look forward to helping these children feel like the new school year brings new opportunities.

Grace and peace to you all,
Pastor Ben