UMs offer back-to-school help

First UMC Mena's backpack blessing COURTESY PHOTO

First UMC Mena’s backpack blessing
COURTESY PHOTO

As the school year began, church groups across Arkansas reached out to students in their communities. Here are just a few of the many ways United Methodist congregations made a difference for children starting school:

  • First United Methodist Church Mena on Sunday, Aug. 16 held a “Blessing of the Backpacks” during the 10 a.m. worship service. Students, faculty members and administrators of the Mena Public Schools and the Acorn School System were invited to bring their backpacks to the altar where they were blessed by the Rev. Ann Ferris. They were given a special blessing tag for their backpacks that included their school logo. Following the service, all who attended were invited to a hot dog social in the church fellowship hall.
  • First UMC Mena followed up their backpack blessing with a prayer walk through the Mena Public Schools hosted by members of the Mena FUMC congregation and Rev. Ferris and James Ferris. Schools were opened from 6 to 8 p.m. so that individuals or groups could walk through the different campuses. First UMC members prayed for the classrooms, teachers, staff and students who would be using that facility for the new school year. In addition, representatives from First UMC and Cherry Hill UMC participated in an outdoor prayer walk around the campus of Acorn Public Schools.
  • First UMC Harrisburg backpacks for local students COURTESY PHOTO

    First UMC Harrisburg backpacks for local students
    COURTESY PHOTO

    First UMC Harrisburg on Sunday, Aug. 9 capped off their “Angels in August” mission project by blessing 41 backpacks full of complete sets of school supplies for children of Harrisburg. It took three vehicles to deliver them to the school.
  • St. Mark UMC Pine Bluff school supply giveaway COURTESY PHOTO

    St. Mark UMC Pine Bluff school supply giveaway
    COURTESY PHOTO

    St. Mark UMC Pine Bluff United Methodist Women partnered with H.O.P.E. (Help Our People Excel) in providing school supplies at the Merrill Center in Pine Bluff. The supplies, which included backpacks, folders, paper, pencils, pens and erasers, were provided for free to children in the community. The women enjoyed meeting and greeting the different families of Pine Bluff as they helped them stock up for school—a successful event that blessed many families.