Alabaster church gives ‘Back to School Blessings’

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

ALABASTER — Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit offered drive-thru “Back to School Blessings” for local teachers, students and parents on Tuesday evening, Aug. 11, just prior to the opening of area schools.

The event was open to anyone in the community and consisted of on-site prayers and distribution of backpack tags to serve as uplifting reminders of spiritual assurance as kids return to school in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Back to School Blessings is really just a way to remind our students and teachers that God is with them as we begin a new school year,” said Father Eric Mancil, Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit. “People (are) anxious and afraid about coronavirus and sending their kids back to school, not knowing what the year is going to hold.”

Under normal circumstances the church would have conducted the blessings during its regular services, but the congregation has been unable to meet in person since mid-March. The solution was to switch to a drive-thru format.

Church parishioners offered prayers and tags to anyone who took the opportunity to stop by the church campus in their vehicles Tuesday evening.

Mancil added that for those who missed the blessings, extra backpack tags and handouts are available in a round plastic bin outside the church building, which is located at 858 Kent Dairy Road.

Also, the church is inviting members of its parish to donate school supplies such as backpacks, notebooks, paper towels, tissues and similar items between now and Wednesday, Aug. 19 to donate to a local elementary school.

For more information, visit the church’s Facebook page or call 205-621-3418.

“Part of our mission as a church is to reach out to the community and to share God’s love with all of our neighbors,” Mancil said. “It’s not just about what we do at the church. We believe it’s also important to serve and love our neighbors.”