Congregations for Children Back to School Letter


As a new school year begins this month across our Districts, we hope you and your congregants will celebrate and encourage educators and students throughout the year beginning with a suitable Back to School recognition in line with the most recent Western NC Cabinet guidelines.  Congregations for Children (C4C), strives to support mission with Church School partnerships.  Given the many challenges students and teachers have faced and will continue to overcome, churches can play a crucial role in filling in some needed gaps.

The first day of school varies across the many counties in our Conference; check the calendar of your local system.  There are numerous examples of supporting educators (which include teachers, administrators, assistants, bus drivers, child nutrition workers, custodians, counselors, crossing guards, volunteers).  We hope you will recognize those in your church and in your community for their dedication and care of the children of North Carolina.

Here are some suggestions for HOW you may want to celebrate educators and students as they begin another year of learning and growing:
  • Write about Back to School activities in your newsletter, bulletin, or outgoing emails.
  • Hold a Back to School service, following safety measures for your congregation.  Consider partnering with other churches for this service.
  • Focus the children's sermon on the importance of teachers and learning.
  • Add a prayer or responsive reading for teachers and students.
  • Offer a laying on of hands for educators and students.
  • Host a Back to School ice cream party; collect and/or distribute school supplies.
  • Plan a Blessing of the Backpacks.
  • Invite an educator to speak at a service or other meeting.
  • Ask everyone who works with children to stand to be recognized during a worship service.
  • Send an email or note to your child’s/grandchild’s teacher showing your appreciation.
  • Ask children in Sunday School classes to make cards for their teachers.
  • Write an email or letter to your local or state representative expressing your support for public education and its importance for all children.
  • If you have not done so, build or strengthen your church and school partnership through the support offered in both conferences through Congregations for Children (C4C).
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 for your blessing on each of them.

Further, we ask for 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 as well for the teachers and administrators in our schools. May they also be sustained by your blessing. May they be reminded that this congregation embraces their call to teaching and learning and surrounds them with love and care as well.

We pray in the name of Jesus who we seek to follow day by day. Amen.
Thank you for joining us in this effort to celebrate and encourage.  Tell us about your events and ideas by emailing us at:
Rev. Camille Roddy
Deacon Associate Community Outreach St. Paul UMC 
Chair, Congregations for Children, WNCC

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.