Our Statewide School Prayer Ministry: Building Community in the Era of COVID-19
Pastors for Texas Children are engaging in the work of prayer during these strange and challenging days of quarantine.
There are so many who need our prayers: the 5 million students educated and supported by public schools, the 1,1000 Texas public school superintendents, and the 750,000 school teachers and staff who work in our state's 85,000 public schools.
Only heaven knows the outpouring of compassion on behalf of our children presently happening in and through our schools. As we have said for years, the local public school is a center of love for the entire neighborhood. This testimony by the Rev. Holly Bandel, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Dallas, is indicative of the stories we are hearing and receiving from all over the state:
The next car pulls up to the school. ”How many children? Just one?” she asks. Valerie notices the empty car seat in the back. “Do you have a baby at home?” A yes comes from the mom who’s driving. “The baby counts.” They get two of everything: five small cartons of milk per child, plus breakfast items, fruit, veggies, snacks and lunches to last a week.
Valerie knows how it works. She is a veteran, employed by Dallas ISD for 24 years. She runs the kitchen of a legacy high school. Her job today is the same as always, feeding children. But today is the new different. We drop milk and food in the trunks of vehicles.
Valerie is quick. “Did you get that car?” she asks. Yes, except that one car. I missed it, but the principal of the school caught them before they drove off. Valerie begins calculating the numbers. She ordered food for 1,500 students. We have 20 minutes left for pick-up, and we are already at 1,400. We might just make it.
It is Holy Thursday 2020. There is no formal service of communion or washing of feet. But there is the presence of Christ around tables, thousands of them because of these servants and disciples. It is hopeful to share this table, and sobering. Jesus’ words ring as true as always, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
It is school leaders like Valerie who are in need of our prayers and support during this time. Along with encouraging our pastoral network to volunteer with these food assistance programs, PTC is in the process of intentionally structuring our prayer effort, so that we might specifically lift up requests to the Lord.
To provide support to educators, we will have a pastoral leader in each of the twenty education service regions coordinating this effort. We are getting tremendous response from prayer partners everywhere. If you would like to be a part of this ministry, please email us.
As Scripture reassures us: "Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
-Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, Executive Director