Resources for back to school, backpack blessings, and campus ministries


Tis the season for our children, of all ages, to return to the classroom. Below are some stories and resources that you are welcome to use in your local church and/or morning devotions.

Campus Ministry Sunday, August 8

In my second year at Marshall, I became involved in the United Methodist campus ministry there. Our campus pastor, Benjamin Wells, was adamant about letting the students lead and be actively involved in planning worship and extra activities. I found myself going on two to three out-of-state mission trips a year, serving a local mission monthly, and leading a small group. My campus ministry became a place of joy and learning. It was a time that I made my faith my own and was challenged to have my own thoughts and beliefs about God. 

My involvement with campus ministry and my local church led me to connections in the conference. I attended the West Virginia Annual Conference for my third year in 2018, and I loved it. This is where I felt God calling me. On that Sunday in 2018, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball preached and invited anyone to come forward who felt a call to ministry. I walked forward. It was the first time I felt the call to ministry as a means of vocation. I spent most of my undergrad experience thinking I would go into journalism or do public relations for a non-profit. God used that summer to change my direction in life, and I began having conversations about going to seminary as I started my final year of college.

Now, I am at Duke pursuing a Master of Divinity degree. I am passionate about returning home to West Virginia to minister to those in Appalachia. I desire to be in community with people, learn about their lives, and share God’s grace with them through affirming words or a listening ear. I thank God for campus ministry, my campus pastor, and the West Virginia Conference for offering me opportunities to hear and respond to God’s call. 

Heather Barker
The Wesley at Marshall
Duke Divinity Class of 2022

If your local church would like to financially support Campus Ministry Sunday, Fund “766”, the church treasurer then remits to us with a Church Remittance Form with Code 766.   Local church checks should be made payable to Conference Treasurer. 

To learn about our West Virginia Conference Campus Ministries – follow this link!

Back to School Blessings

Learning is a gift from God.
As we begin this new school year, we give thanks that God has given us
the ability to learn many things in many ways.
Loving God, sometimes a new school year seems exciting or scary or both.
Help us remember to show our thanks for your gifts of learning
by doing our best every day.
We ask that you bless our schools, teachers, classmates and friends.
We ask that you bless those who prepare our lunches,
those who drive us to school, and those who keep our schools clean and safe.
We ask God’s blessing on this new school year,
that it may be a time when we appreciate and fully use God’s gift of learning. Amen.

We give thanks for our six WVUMC Mission projects who served their neighbors with back-to-school backpacks and clothing giveaways.

Pictured, House of the Carpenter, Wheeling, delivered school supplies for every child who attends Madison Elementary School on Wheeling Island.

Rev. Shea James shares the following resources for back to school and backpack blessings:

As well as this this resource from Illustrated Ministry. Once you follow the link, click on the blue picture and share your email address to get the material. It is a back-to-school liturgy too. 

Another cool back to school blessing:

And this is from the Episcopal church:

Regardless of which blessing you use, it is important to acknowledge the start of a new school year, and the challenges that our children, families, and school teachers, and administrators face.

Prayer is an essential way we can support each other in this season of new beginnings.