School’s Out: A Year to Lament, A Year to Rejoice

Lament for the American school. Then stop and rejoice, because there is more to the story, and there is much more to our story.

When the church decided fifteen years ago to open a school as a primary ministry here, we knew that we would reach children and families in ways that are difficult to do in any other ministry. I don’t know if we knew all that would be asked of our parish and congregation and staff. Did we know the impact we would have on our community when we opened a school?

We know the lamentations about education in our day. Schools have become the epitome of our culture, representing all that is best and worst in us, and teachers have become front line workers for all that we dream and fear because children take to school all that we send with them: tangible and intangible. Some students come to class having eaten cake or kale or Doritos or nothing for breakfast. Some go home to drugs or instability or loving parents or nannies or no-one.

All of these conditions meet and mingle in schools with teachers who are rarely paid what they are worth or held in enough esteem. Add in politics and religion, and you have a real maelstrom. We all know this part of it; we hear it on the news; we see it for ourselves.

But, there is also much to rejoice. Schools serve not only to educate our children, but as frontline public health centers, welfare agencies, mental health clinics, and one of the last places where you can go for public events that are free. Having a school on campus we get a tiny glimpse of all of this, because while every school sees these issues, we have a well run program in a safe community.

As we try to balance all of this, we have heard from both parishioners and parents who are concerned about safety here on campus. In America, this year has been another year of school shootings; and this too is a confluence of elements of our culture and factors that reach far into all of our lives. We do not have all the answers to the larger culture, but we can respond faithfully here.

The Vestry and I are looking at how we can make our campus safer. A small task force will be seeking input this summer as we consider what we can do to make Christ Church a secure place for the families we serve in the church and school. Expect to hear more as the summer goes on.

We should thank those who held this vision for us through the years of planning, building, and tending. Thank you, faithful parishioners, who saw this through a decade and a half ago, because we get to testify to what you have done and are doing through CCS.

It is not just coloring books and alphabets and nice toys, though it is those things. It is counseling and feeding, changing and tending, loving and healing, connecting and caring for families we would never get to see without the vision of CCA today and so long ago. Every year, more school families are joining us for Sunday School and church.

This week the school wrapped up another year with laughter and tears and songs of praise. We high-fived and hugged and said good-bye to most of our families for the summer, though many will hang around for VBS and Summer Camp. We celebrate the work of our faculty, staff, volunteers, and parents in this ministry.

As a church member, you may not see all that our school does in the lives of children, though some of you know because you are or were teachers yourselves, but all of us can be grateful that in another year of so much to lament in the world, we can rejoice for the work being done right here on our campus to minister to the lives of children, to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ visible to families who otherwise may not see, and to feed and serve and counsel and love in His name.

As school ends, we never really let go, but begin again with Vacation Bible School, camp, and summer programming. Don’t unplug from church this summer, but stay cool and abide with us in the shade of the Lord at worship and play at CCA.

 

In Christ,

-daniel+