By Barb Mazarakos
January 22-28, 2017 marks National Lutheran Schools Week throughout the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Education has been a firm priority for the LCMS since it began back in 1847 with just 12 congregations and 14 schools. What a blessing it is then that in the new year more than 190,000 students in 2,068 Lutheran preschools, grade schools, and high schools will be able to celebrate and give thanks for the opportunity to start their lives with a strong foundation in both their Christian faith and academic excellence.
In a sermon once given by C.F.W. Walther, he describes his reasoning for leaving Germany for the safety of America as such: “Our only real object was to save our souls, to live faith here, to establish true and correct public worship and to maintain truly Christian schools for our children.” This way of thinking remains at the cornerstone of Lutheran education today, and has helped provide the education for some of our best teachers, leaders, and innovators.
We are blessed to have one of these very schools here at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church with our C.L.E.W.S. (Christ Lutheran Early Weekday School) preschool program. Currently under the direction of Mrs. Patti Bareither, C.L.E.W.S. has been providing a Christian based education for our very youngest learners for more than 30 years. Blending faith with academics and utilizing the skills of not only the loving C.L.E.W.S. staff but our pastoral staff and parent involvement has helped make this program a well-known (and much loved!) name within the Orland Park community. If you or anyone you know has pre-school aged children, please keep watch for the upcoming Open House dates in January and registration opportunities.
The focus of this year’s National Lutheran Schools Week is “Upon this Rock”, coming from Isaiah 26:4, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” This is to help us remember well beyond this one week that, “Every day in Lutheran schools, lives are built on the cornerstone that is Jesus. The truth of the celebration text reminds us that The Rock upon which Lutheran schools are built is an everlasting Rock. We are teaching for eternity.” (quote attributed to Rev. Robert Riggert, author of Upon This Rock). Please keep our Lutheran schools, teachers, and students in your prayers as we head into the new year. The impact of a good education-especially one that is rooted in faith- can be felt for generations to come.