Ministry Updates for Tuesday, April 21st, 2020
Scripture for Reflection – Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Reflection – Perseverance
We in Ohio have learned what we suspected was coming all along; the 2019-2020 school year will finish without the 1.7 million K-12 students returning to their classrooms.
I had the opportunity to speak with four classroom teachers last week who talked about how difficult it is to do their jobs this way. Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper said in a written statement: ‘Distance learning, even when perfectly executed, is not a replacement for classroom instruction.’ (Dayton Daily News – April 21, 2020)
It seems those in transition are feeling the strain a little more. I was reminded in a social media post by Jenny Michael of those who attended their last day at their elementary, Junior High, or High School without having known it at the time. They have missed out on the closure of saying goodbye, and passing gratitude along to teachers, coaches and staff, and of hearing affirmation from those same leaders. Freshman in college are missing out on a formative year. Seniors are missing out on Prom, and most likely, walking at graduation. College Seniors whose classmates will be spread across the country, will also miss out on in-person goodbye’s. Teachers who were planning on retiring this year will miss out on being celebrated for their decades of service. Parents appreciative of these leaders and rites of passage will feel the hurt as well.
We know school is about so much more than learning. It is about relationships: friendships, mentorships, parent-teacher bonds, staff and teacher relationships, and kindness from unexpected quarters which can have lifelong impact. It is about community building that happens in classrooms and extra-curriculars. It is about moving through the different stages of life and being able to practice them in community, as well as have them affirmed by community.
I want us to take this time to renew our prayers for our students and their teachers, coaches and staff, being sensitive to the harder work of distance learning, as well as the harder work of building and maintaining community, when they cannot gather.
Great God in heaven, we pray again for our nation and our world during this pandemic. Today, we pray for our students and the educators in Ohio, who are faced with the challenging work of distance education and the work of maintaining community at a distance. We pray you would give them an extra dose of hope today. May they all ‘run with perseverance the race that is set before them’. Amen.