I know it is just mid- summer, but back - to - school time is out there. At the church I live in we are so excited about our first ever Back to School Fair that I’m sharing our plans just in case they inspire you too. It will take place between the worship services (the church school time once fall comes) either outside in the courtyard or in church school classrooms (if weather requires it) on the Sunday after school starts in late August. During the later worship service church school teachers and students will be commissioned for the fall term.
The Entry Gate: Leave school supplies for Boys and Girls Club to distribute and get a map of the booths in the fair to get stamped as visits are made.
Blessing the Backpacks: Several retired ministers will wear liturgical stoles and meet with individual children and youth one to one to discuss what they are already liking and worrying about at school and to bless them and their backpack (if they have it with them).
Prayer Partners: Children will make a refrigerator magnet bearing their name and grade in school. These will be passed in baskets to adults in the church during worship. Adults promise to pray each day during the coming week for the child whose name they dray.
Something to take to school with them. Each student will be given something to hang on their backpack or a decal with a Christian connection to stick in a locker or inside flap of the backpack. The person looking for this is counting on Oriental Trading at http://www.orientaltrading.com/teaching-supplies-and-stationery/sunday-school-a1-551521.fltr as a source.
Birthday Booth: Because we don’t have the birth dates of many of our children, there will be a booth at which they can write their name and birthdate on a big calendar of the year. When they do, they’ll be given a mini cupcake with a candle on it and someone/s will sing Happy Birthday to them.
Photo permission booth: To get parents to sign needed forms for us to use their children’s photos on the church website and other church publications, we will offer children and youth the chance to costume themselves from a pile of costumes and props to get their pictures taken. With a small printer we will print photos as we go and post them on a bulletin board – if it is OK with their parents of course.
Youth Class Reunions: The middle and high school classes with have designated areas in which to gather and re-connect after the summer. One class is planning on bringing their conversation pit furniture out to sit in. Teachers are planning to set up graffiti boards for each class and put out a bowl of something snacky to draw the reticent.
Choir sign up: the choir director is planning a booth with instruments to play and who knows what else in order to entice children and youth to sign up for choir.
Sidewalk Art?? We may put out sidewalk chalk to invite your artists to draw about school or older students to write about school. Or we may decide we need the sidewalk for walking on that day.
Coffee and Lemonade will be available.
The Blessing of the Backpacks Fair was a wonderful event last summer. It was perfect for that time in this church’s life. This year we will not repeat it. It is a different summer. For one thing, we just produced an intergenerational musical that involved many of the families. So, this year the blessing of backpacks will move into the sanctuary and become part of the morning worship. Who knows what we will do next year!