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Blessing of the Backpacks: Back to School Season!

As our children, youth and adults of all ages prepare to return to school during this unique season, a few congregations in our synod have found ways to walk with students and pray for this new year. This past Sunday Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, CA and Hope Lutheran Church in Fresno, CA both held their annual "Blessing of the Backpacks" moment during their worship service.

Toward the end of the worship service, both congregations invited students and teachers of all ages to the front of the sanctuary for a blessing on the school year ahead of them.

"Every year before school starts, we want to make sure children, youth and families are reminded that it's okay to feel excited, anxious, worried or happy to go back to school, so we offer a blessing for student and teachers and their backpacks," shared Elizabeth Hood, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry at Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, CA.

Both Grace Lutheran and Hope Lutheran distributed backpack tags that say, "You are Loved" and "Be loved. Be kind. Be you." The tags serve as a symbol that their church community and God's love are with them as they begin this new school year.

The backpacks aren't the only items that are blessed for the new year - Grace Lutheran invites bikes, scooters, wheelchairs, walkers and strollers to also be blessed, as many student in Palo Alto use these means to travel to school.

"It's just a reminder that no matter how you are feeling or where you go, God is always with you and you are always loved," said Hood.

A back-to-school responsive reading, shared by Christa Slater, Director of Children's Ministry at Hope Lutheran Church in Fresno, CA:

Leader: Calling all children of the Living God, the Gospel is good news for every age and every stage.

All: Let us worship together, the young and the old.

Leader: The good news is proclaimed in God's words, and also with crayons, silly songs, snacks and rest time.

All: Let us worship together, every generation.

Leader: After months of learning behind screens or separated by dividers and physical space.

All: Let us worship together, with our family of faith.

Leader: We may still feel uncertain, seeing so many faces again, but we come together seeking God's peace in this beautiful community.

All: Let us worship together, united in Christ.

How is your faith community preparing for the back to school season?

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