Looking to the school year ahead

Anglican Church of Canada
3 min readSep 4, 2021


Contributed by Archbishop and Primate Linda Nicholls,
Anglican Church of Canada

Everyone has a favourite season in the year—mine is the Fall. There is a delicious transition into fall as the nights grow cooler, the intense sunlight softens; and the leaves of the trees begin to change colour. For some, it is a time of harvest, while for others it leads into hunting season to provide food for the winter. It is also the time of new beginnings as the rhythm of the calendar year revolves around the school schedule.

As both a student and later a teacher I looked forward to September — new classes, new ideas, a chance to begin afresh. It can also be an anxious time for students and teachers as change brings uncertainty. And this year brings even more! The pandemic has increased anxiety as we are uncertain whether the protocols in place will be sufficient to hold the virus variants at bay. Students struggled through the past year of online and in-person learning that was frequently disrupted, and wonder if they are prepared for the next levels. Teachers are anxious about the safety of everyone involved and some are juggling online and in-person classes. Parents are torn between the desire to see children thrive in school and the worry about the virus spreading. Some still face online learning with its isolation and loneliness while others face hybrid models.

What should be a time of excitement and anticipation is overshadowed by pandemic uncertainties. In the face of what we cannot know or control, we can slip into spiralling negativity that simply feeds our anxiety. It is an act of will — with God’s help — to step back and focus on what is good and life-giving even in this continuing crisis.

In this time let us first give thanks for the dedication of thousands of teachers and aides across Canada who are committed to the best possible learning experience for their students. From Iqaluit to Point Pelee, from Gander to Alert Bay, they have prepared for classes and look forward to the year ahead. Pray for their stamina and wisdom in the constantly changing environment with this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:

GRANT, we beseech thee, O heavenly Father, to all who teach in our schools, the spirit of wisdom and grace, that they may lead their pupils to reverence truth, desire goodness, and rejoice in beauty; so that all may come to know and worship thee, the giver of all that is good; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer, 45)

Blessing of the Backpacks service at Good Shepherd Anglican Church (Diocese of Edmonton), August 2021.

Pray for school administrators, principals, staff and bus drivers of all educational institutions, as they prepare schools with new COVID protocols in place and seek to maintain a positive learning environment. Pray for every student — elementary, high school and post-secondary — as they return to classes online or in-person.

As school semesters begin, pray for all engaged in education.

O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities, that they may be lively centres for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom; and grant that those who teach and those who learn may find you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Book of Alternative Services 679)



Anglican Church of Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada, a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion, has approximately 600,000 members in 2,800 parishes across Canada.