Backpacks blessed at Berkswich
Youngsters getting ready to return to school took part in a special ‘backpack blessing’ at a church in Stafford.
Children and young people of various ages, along with their parents, were involved in the novel service at Holy Trinity in Baswich Lane, Berkswich.
As well as coming forward to have their backpacks blessed, there were maths-themed prayer stations set up around the church at the service on Sunday, 2 September.
Vicar of Berkswich, Father Graham Adamson, came up with the idea.
He said: “This time last year I had just moved into the parish and my son was moving from primary to secondary school. The joys and worries of returning to school were, therefore, at the front of my mind, and so the Sunday before school began I invited any school-aged children and their parents to come to the front of church for a blessing. This year we decided to make both learning and returning to school the focus of our monthly Family Eucharist.
“Pupils at Berkswich Church of England Primary School left for the summer with a parish ‘prayer for the summer holiday’ and invitation to the September service in their hands. Through the summer, we placed a notice in our weekly email newsletter and Pew Sheet reminding people of the September ‘backpack blessing’ service and inviting them to bring children or grandchildren and their school bags along.
“During the service itself, our intercessions were ‘maths lesson’ based prayer stations – measuring weight while thinking about the burdens people carry and lifting those to God; measuring distance while thinking about the journeys people go on (physical or spiritual) and asking the Holy Spirit to accompany them; measuring objects while thinking about the things we measure ourselves and others against (exams, peer pressure, parental expectation) and asking God for healing or strength to cope with them.
“It was a delightful, Spirit-filled service, and was wonderful to see a five-fold increase in the number of children joining in with worship and having their school bags blessed. During the first week at school, we’ll also be going into the school and praying for the pupils, teachers and staff to have a fun and stimulating year ahead.”
Libby Leech, Lichfield Diocese’s 5-11’s and Schools Enabler, said: “What a great idea! This is another way our churches are supporting children and young people as they go back to school.”