The neighborhood around the school where I work has suffered a rash of tragedies and they have effected our working atmosphere. Untimely deaths, divorces, financial reversals, accidents and such have cast a pall over the neighborhood. Today after school the staff was asked to gather in the library — wholly voluntary, we were off the clock — for a blessing and a re-dedication of the school. The school has over 70 staff members and 62 of them arrived to pray.
We gathered in the library, stood in a circle and linked hands. A local holy man came in. We were not told what religious or spiritual group he represented. That wasn’t important. What was important is that we had all come together of like mind and in reverence.
The holy man asked us to remember why we had become teachers. He reminded us that as our spiritual guides — whether that be the Christian God or some other deity — take care of us and enable us to take care of the children. He prayed — to God in English and to “The Great Life Giver” in Hawaiian — to bring renewal and new life to each of us that we might be refreshed and uplifted so we can teach and uplift the children. He requested a general blessing for the neighborhood and the peoples who live and work there. He reminded us that as we nurture the children we should also nurture and uplift one another.
He began and ended the prayer in Hawaiin, although in the middle he spoke English. He ended, “amene” and the staff echoed, as was their custom, “amene” or “amen”. Much hugging and crying followed.
No one called the newspapers, the union, their lawyer or their government officials. There is still corporate prayer in some schools. Thank God.