Dear friends in Christ:
It’s that time of year again: back to school time for families with school aged children. Our children may or may not be excited about their return to the classroom, but we parents are well aware of the importance of education in preparing them for adult life.
Our Book of Alternative Services includes a prayer that schools may be “lively centres for sound learning, new discovery and the pursuit of wisdom.” That, surely, reflects the hope of every parent as we send our children off to begin the school year.
I’m writing to remind you of one other aspect of your child’s education – their Christian education.
Our regular Church School program at St. James will begin again on Sunday, September 14, 2008, in conjunction with the regular 10:30 service.
There are a lot of good reasons for you to register your child in our Church School – and, of course, to bring your child to Church. For the purposes of this letter, I will only refer to two.
There is a direct correlation between Church attendance and higher grades. That may seem startling, but that is what a recent US study shows. Children who go to Church regularly have higher grades, lower drop-out rates and are more likely to feel like they are part of their school community. They also breathe easier, live longer, are better behaved and more well adjusted. You can find the LiveScience article online (http://www.livescience.com/culture/080819-church-grades.html).
Okay, so that was several good reasons all rolled up in one. But here is the other reason: because you promised.
A few years ago, you came to St. James of a Sunday morning, bearing a precious bundle, and asking that your son or daughter be made a member of the Church through Baptism. At that time, you made certain affirmations and commitments on behalf of your child. You also made one commitment on your own behalf. The priest asked you, “will you be responsible that the child you present is nurtured in the faith and love of the Christian community?” And you answered, “I will, with God’s help.” Bringing your child to attend Church School allows the rest of us in the St. James family to help you with that promise.
St. James aspires to be a welcoming community, offering spiritual nourishment for all people. We look forward to seeing you.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Malcolm French
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Here is a letter that we'll be sending out over my signature early in the week. It is addressed to those who have presented their children for baptism at our parish between about 1998 and 2005.