The Baptist Center for Ethics has introduced a free worship resource to help churches honor the work of public schools.
Produced by Acacia Resources, Supporting Public Education: Resources for Worship is published as a PDF file and can be downloaded free of charge.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
The 33-page resource includes prayers of blessing, litanies, suggested hymns, sample sermons and benediction prayers for use in public worship to affirm the work of people employed in public education.
It comes at a time when public education is much maligned, often including in the church. The Southern Baptist Convention and several Baptist state conventions last year passed resolutions harshly critical of public schools.
“While some in the Christian community loudly and aggressively push an anti-public school agenda, BCE considers public schools a national treasure and public school teachers among our nation’s most valuable resources,” the preface states.
The worship guide is for use to “honor, affirm and encourage school teachers, administrators, students and parents.” It is suitable for services marking the beginning or end of the school year. Some elements can be incorporated into services honoring graduating seniors. Some churches set aside a Sunday to honor teachers in conjunction with National Teacher Appreciation Week, the first full week in May.
The BCE Web site, EthicsDaily.com, has also compiled a special section of news, commentary and features about Christians in public education. It is available here.
Contributors to the worship PDF include Howard Batson, pastor of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />First Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texas; Bob Fox, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, Ky.; Jack Glasgow, pastor of Zebulon Baptist Church in Zebulon, N.C.; Wayne Hager, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Mount Airy, N.C.; Keith Herron, senior pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo.; Ed Hogan, pastor of Jersey Village Baptist Church in Houston; Jim Holladay, pastor of Lyndon Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.; Barry Howard, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla.; Charles Kneece, a retired school administrator and member of Bethel Baptist Church in Monetta, S.C.; Brenda Kneece, pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in West Columbia, S.C., and executive minister of the South Carolina Christian Action Council; Tom Leland, pastor of University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Va.; Emmanuel McCall, adjunct professor at McAfee School of Theology and retired pastor of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in College Park, Ga.; Ken Massey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C.; Robin Norsworthy, pastor of University Baptist Church in Montevallo, Ala.; Bill Shiell, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn.; Mike Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn.; and Carol Franklin Sutton, national coordinator of NEW LIFE 2010, for National Ministries of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.
Click here for information about how to access this free resource.