All summer I’ve been walking and praying for the church, and Presbyterians across the country have been sharing this pilgrimage of prayer with me. Our focus has been on congregations, their members and their leaders, and we have prayed for every Presbyterian church from the West coast to the East.
Foremost in our prayers has been the concern for congregations coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, finding new ways to worship, provide pastoral care and continue their mission work in this new context. We’ve also been praying for one another as we make decisions about re-opening our churches, asking God for wise answers to the questions of if, when and how to gather in person again in our churches.
Over the last few weeks, however, my prayers have shifted a little to focus on the students and families in our churches and communities. After what has been described as “the longest March break ever,” schools across the country are preparing to re-open. Many students, parents, teachers and administrators are feeling worried and anxious about how this is going to work.
What will it be like to teach and to learn wearing masks all day? How will physical distancing be maintained with so many students in small spaces? How will health screening happen so that students who are sick do not share their illness with others? What will happen if there is an outbreak in one or more of our schools?