SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC/CONEL), the nation's leading organization for 16 million Hispanic American Evangelicals, invites churches across the nation to celebrate Education Sunday on September 4, 2016. Thousands of churches have set aside time on the first Sunday of September to pray for and encourage students and teachers in their communities, including those in home, private and public schools. Education Sunday equips parents to take an active role in their children's education and empowers church members to support high academic achievement for all children in their community.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, founder and president of NHCLC/CONEL is a pastor and a former public school educator. He encourages pastors and parents to seize this opportunity to be light for those held in bondage by ignorance or low standards: "As individuals we are called to shine our light, but when we do so in the heavenly community of Christ's church, our light combines into an influencing agent. I invite you to celebrate Education Sunday this September as we focus a laser on the value of education for every child in our communities."
Education Sunday is a dedicated time for congregations to pray for their students and teachers, affirm the value of education, and invite the congregation to support local schools and students. Dr. Andrea Ramirez, Executive Director of the Faith and Education Coalition - NHCLC, comments on the creativity churches bring to Education Sunday: "Each church creates its own unique expression of Education Sunday, and it is a deep blessing to hear about the creativity they employ! We provide resources to every church that registers, yet they celebrate in tailor-made ways that encourage both their specific congregations and communities. There are photo ops with graduation regalia in some churches, college fairs held in others, and additional creative approaches include presentations of reports cards at the altar, praying over children, and disseminating scholarship information. We encourage churches to share their experience with one another as we unite to support student achievement." Dr. Ramirez also notes that Education Sunday is an ideal time to invite a principal, teacher, or district leader to share ways the church can support local students and schools.
The NHCLC hosts a resource page at www.FaithandEducation.com for churches participating in Education Sunday. Tools provided include bilingual resources and information for parents and church leaders, including:
- Parent Toolkit: parents can plan for a successful school year with tips for student success, parent-teacher conference guides, suggestions for homework help, help discovering local afterschool care, and links to academic standards by grade level.
- Education Sunday Support: information and ideas include a sample sermon, a new Scholastic/NHCLC bilingual handout with "Back to School" tips, Bible studies for a variety of age groups (for children, youth, and parents), and more.
- Scholarship Information: By participating in Education Sunday, churches and their students become eligible and are kept informed about scholarship opportunities throughout the year.
- Additional Tools: churches receive other resources throughout the year, including a monthly education e-newsletter and an electronic bilingual College Guide produced via a partnership between Christianity Today and the NHCLC. Church leaders will learn how they can participate in state-based conversations such as school accountability and guaranteeing parents of English language learners have access to vital information for student success.
Dr. Antipas Harris, both a member of the NHCLC Board and the Faith and Education Coalition leadership advisory council, encourages African-American churches to seize the Education Sunday opportunity: "This school year we can dedicate and equip our children to rise to the call the Lord has placed on each individual life. Dedicating one Sunday to the value of education will help students answer the call to love the Lord with the fullness of our minds (Luke 10:27)."
"The Lord made our minds as well as our bodies and souls," comments Dr. Andrea Ramirez. "So it is an act of worship for us to submit our minds to Him and ask how we can connect our earthly assignments to our eternal purpose. We can help our students understand that every time they walk into a classroom, write an assignment, study, or take a test, they have an opportunity to worship the Lord with the totality of their minds. All classrooms have the potential to be sacred ground."
The NHCLC, which values Education as one of its core directives, advocates for Hispanic student success including education equity and high academic standards for all students as a part of its mission as a Christian organization.
The NHCLC serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals worldwide, assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and hundreds of thousands of congregations throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. Seeking to reconcile evangelist Billy Graham's message of salvation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march of prophetic activism, the NHCLC emphasizes "7 Directives" of Life, Family, Compassionate Evangelism, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference