Thanks to Macmillan Publishers for this Great Idea!

As young people, teachers, staff, and parents gear up for heading back to an uncertain school year, let your congregation be a place of prayer, blessing, and gifting to set a tone of hope and expectation.

See our Backpack Blessings and Back-to-School Bash Great Ideas for planning events and worship to support folx returning to school – in whatever way that is happening in your community. And see our Worship: Labor, Memorial, and Back-Pack Sunday for specific liturgical elements and blessing ideas.

You might invite a different young person to read each of the haikus in All Welcome Here (Macmillan) as part of a worship time, Sunday school kick-off, or other blessing event – or invite young people, teachers/staff, and parents to write their own haiku to share – as a way to share diverse experiences of returning to or beginning school, thereby naming and honoring varied experiences of school-goers and teachers/staff, and parents.

As you make those plans, keep in mind that August is National Black Business Month. Macmillan Publishers is encouraging folx to support a Black-owned bookstore with their Diversify Your Bookshelf Pledge. You can follow along on social media using #MacKidsPledge.

Expand on diversifying your personal or congregational bookshelf by supporting a Black-owned business in your area to purchase back-to-school backpack or briefcase stuffers: books for different ages, bookmarks, school and crafting supplies, journals, calendars, gift cards, etc., – all sorts of great school-starting gifts are appropriate.

Where to find what businesses to support?

LOCUS shares a spreadsheet and a google map with locale’s broken down by type of business. MplsStPaul Magazine lists Where to Support Black-owned Businesses in the Twin Cities. Or you can Support & Shop at Black-Owned Businesses in Minnesota by searching for Businesses by Category or by Location.

Be sure to explore diverse experiences from all ages, professions, student statuses, abilities, cultural backgrounds, etc. Lift up these diverse experiences and bless them!