By Jillian Orlando
I recently had the opportunity to experience Boston churches and public schools joining together to serve the children of this city. I was inspired by the unity and camaraderie of these two groups coming together around this shared goal.
The Circle of Promise Faith-Based Partnership is the Boston Public School initiative to seek the involvement of the local church. The school system is welcoming churches and volunteers into the schools to develop programming such as tutoring, mentoring, after school care, school supply drives, and more. This new program was kicked off with a dinner at Twelfth Baptist Church on May 23, 2011. Over 100 attendees including principals, pastors, rabbis, school social workers, and volunteers gathered together in the church basement to share a meal, learn about the initiative, and build relationships.
It was an inspiring occasion. Ideas were flying around the room as school leaders shared their needs and churches shared their desire to meet those needs. A panel of 3 principals and 3 faith leaders spoke to the group about these partnerships offering encouragement and advice. In some cases, churches from different denominations and neighborhoods joined together to serve. Out of these relationships students have been blessed through tutoring, backpack drives, and seeing the tangible love this city and Jesus have for them.
What I saw that evening reminded me of the importance of developing relationships. Throughout the Circle of Promise dinner, the importance of relationship came up over and over again and the value of facilitating relationships to foster unity. It is exciting to see individual schools welcoming individual churches, but what really hit home for me was the story of churches partnering and serving together in the name of Jesus. His plan for us to be unified increases our ability to impact and influence our city for God.
My goal as part of UniteBoston is to facilitate these real life relationships by increasing connectedness in the body of Christ. It is amazing to see how God can use us when we let down the barriers that divide us. I believe he is doing an incredible work in Boston breaking down walls and joining Christians together in this city!
I encourage our readers to interact on this topic in our forums. If you are a school looking to connect with a church for tutoring, backpack drives, or any other volunteer opportunities or needs, please visit the volunteering section of our forums. Similarly churches, if you are looking to partner with other churches in serving this city, please see our list of Church & Ministry Connections. Here you will find churches that support unity in the body of Christ to start building those connections and begin the journey of learning what God has planned for those relationships!
To learn more about the Circle of Promise visit http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/news/mayor-menino-announces-action-plan-“circle-promise”
Jillian is the UniteBoston Director of Marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org