On a muggy Wednesday afternoon children, teenagers and adults gathered around the front of each school in Scottsboro.
At first glance this seems like a normal gathering, until a child begins to read a passage from the Bible.
The passage is from Matthew and reads, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” This is the Blessing of the Schools.
Children’s Minister Dr. Amy Holder prays, “It [the school] is holy ground because it holds your [God’s] children.”
The blessing itself does not make the school holy, but because it is filled with children it becomes as sacred as a sanctuary. To gather and pray over every school has a profound an important meaning to those who participate.
According to Maggie Armstrong, a freshman at Scottsboro High School, “It brings love to the schools and creates a positive start to the school year.”
Most students agreed that this was the reason they pray for their school. Audrey Hardman, a third grader, prays, “So that God watches over the school.”
For adults it’s important to pray because “children who do not have someone to pray for them on the first day will be in our prayers,” said Lora Hass, an aid at Caldwell Elementary School.
At Nelson Elementary School, Dr. Steve Screws of First United Methodist Church reminded his congregation that, “you’re to be the body of Christ wherever you go.” This reflects a fundamental tenet of Methodist doctrine. Methodists believe that they are servants for the Lord wherever they go whether it’s the mission field in Africa or third grade.
John Wesley, the founder of the United Methodist Church, once wrote “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” The Blessing of the Schools is just one of the many ways this group expresses their spiritual beliefs’.