Dear United Methodist Clergy:
We hope you will celebrate teachers in your congregations during the week of May 7 to 12, 2018 as we join the National Parent Teacher Association for Teacher Appreciation Week. The theme this year is “V. I. T. for Very Important Teacher.” Notice this contrast to our ‘VIP’ culture that focuses on celebrity and power.
You likely have teachers and retired teachers in your congregation plus others who actively support all children in their education. Remember our administrators, assistants, bus drivers and child nutrition workers, custodians, counselors, crossing guards and volunteers who support our children in special ways. Schools need our support as they close out their school years just as we support them on ‘Back to School’ Sundays.
Here are five ideas for HOW you may want to celebrate teachers:
• Promote Teacher Appreciation Week in your newsletter, bulletin or outgoing emails.
• Ask everyone who works with children to stand to be recognized during a worship service
• Include a prayer or responsive reading for teachers to your worship service
• Focus a children's sermon on the importance of teachers
• Interview a teacher in your congregation and write an article for your church newsletter.
Sample prayer from www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/prayers/a-prayer-for-teachers.html:
Grant our teachers an abundance of Your wisdom. Prepare their hearts to welcome and love our loved ones, and may we make sure to show them love and respect in return. Give them grace as they help students who aren’t thriving, courage to say what needs to be said, tools and knowledge on how and when to speak love, and strength when they feel weak. When they feel unseen, remind them that no moment goes unnoticed. They are shaping the future in one million small - yet incredibly important - ways every day. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of learning they share with our children. Bless them, Lord, and may they see even just a glimpse of how their faithfulness will forever impact generations to come. Amen.
The Annual Conferences of both the North Carolina And Western North Carolina Conferences in 2016 approved committees to work jointly to develop ways that the value of public education can be promoted and communicated through our churches, districts, and Conferences to the leaders of North Carolina’s government. UMAPS (United Methodist Advocates for Public Schools) Committee is working on ways to support students and honor teachers for the crucial work they do.
Thank you for joining us in this effort during Teacher Appreciation Week 2018.
Pastor Jay Bissett, Western Carolina Conference, Maylo UMC, Gastonia
Brian Heymans, Chair, Board of Church and Society, NCC
UMAPS Committee Co-chairs
Below are portions of the Annual Conferences Resolution for your further information. You can also visit www.umapsnc.org and look under Advocacy for more Task Force findings and to get involved.
"Therefore, we call upon local churches in the North Carolina Annual Conference and the Western North Carolina Annual Conference to support public education by:
• Honoring teachers for the crucial work they do with young people; and advocating for appropriate salaries commensurate with their vital role in society;
• Encouraging young people of our congregations to enter the teaching profession;
• Insisting that all curricula present the best textbooks and teaching at all levels, acknowledging that we encourage children to read, to imagine, and to understand the many wonders of God’s creation;
• Advocating for the inclusion of differently-abled students in our classrooms, and ensuring that teachers have the special training needed to meet these children’s needs;
• Advocating at the state and local level for adequate public school funding and equitable distribution of state funds; and supporting efforts to end unjust educational disparities between rich and poor communities;
• Advocating for universal, early, and quality preschool education for all children; and
• Advocating for public education as a basic human right; and not relying solely on school fund-raising and state alternative revenues, such as gambling, for financial support.