As students and teachers across Massachusetts head back to school, the All Our Children network is preparing to gather a coalition of churches, individuals and community groups interested in how faith communities can support public education, at a Fall Regional Forum on Oct. 21.
All Our Children is a national network promoting education justice by supporting congregations involved with public schools, whether through a church-school partnership or via a partnership with a community organization. The forum will be hosted by St. Mary’s Church in Barnstable, and will feature Bishop Alan M. Gates and All Our Children's director, Lallie Lloyd, as speakers.
"At All Our Children we believe that partnering with public schools is an urgent mission for people of faith and we are leading the Episcopal Church’s participation in a national movement to improve the quality of public education,” Lloyd said. “Our regional forum in Barnstable is a way for us to help congregational leaders, clergy and lay, interested in this work to build local relationships and learn from one another.”
Forum participants will learn about how to form partnerships with local schools, as well as learn from existing church-school relationships and have opportunities for networking with other congregations interested in education. The day is suitable for groups in all stages of church-school partnerships, from the earliest idea phase to a longstanding relationship. All Our Children grew out of a group of Episcopal churches and organizations, but any faith group with an interest in public education is welcome to join the network.
“Education is one of the ways in which we nurture God-given gifts and are enabled to respond to the potential with which we have been endowed,” Gates said. “Thus, the education of our children is a matter not just of civic responsibility but of profound spiritual and theological importance. We are stewards of the gift of our children – all our children.”
Gates also connected the work of All Our Children to the goals outlined in the Diocese of Massachusetts' mission strategy, approved by Diocesan Convention in 2016. The mission strategy values of collaboration and community engagement are especially in evidence in All Our Children’s work, he pointed out.
“Many individuals and congregations in our diocese identify education as one of their charisms – a particular strength and passion which they seek to harness in service to God and one another. I look forward to this workshop as an opportunity to connect this charism to our mission strategy,” he said. “It is surely one way to address our goal of ‘working together to help all of our congregations to engage more deeply with their neighbors and local communities.’*”
The Fall Regional Forum at St. Mary’s in Barnstable is open to all. Registration for the event is $20 and will close Oct. 7.
“We hope all who join us walk away with an understanding of the joys, challenges and best practices for growing a successful partnership with a local public school and with a feeling of affirmation and support for their work,” Lloyd said.
Learn more and register here.