It’s been a while since I’ve felt like writing one of these.  I won’t belabor the difficult school year I’ve had, but after a while, finding a happy thought to write about became a struggle.

Last weekend, I spend some time with the United Methodist Annual Conference. As a member of the congregation, I get to report back to our members about the goings on.  It’s a lot of politics, liberal views vs. conservative, rural vs. urban, much of what you’d think when you are talking about 1,100 people representing a group of at least 55,000 across Iowa.

There were many inspirational types of presentations that you might expect from a church conference, but the one that got me was our bishop’s “Poverty to Opportunity Initiative”.  The goal for this year to get 500,000 new, quality books in the hands of students in Iowa. The two year goal, one million volunteer hours “to support kids and reading”.  Seem ambitious? You bet!  However, why not?  An estimated 8,000 students in Iowa both living in poverty AND not reading at grade level.  If we can put several quality books in their hand, then meet with them, read, talk, and make connections.

Its interesting the parallels between education and religion.  Both are large organizations, slow to change, with a great number of people connected to them.  However, both are in this time of change with small groups of people working to create change. Furthermore, people in both these organizations are in the midst of showing how these connections can truly create change!

And what better way to create change than to have both these organizations work in partnership, focusing on literacy?  Sounds like a pretty awesome way to help change take place in both groups.

You Methodists, look to connect with teachers in your local district, but connect online too. There are so many good Iowa teachers out there to work with. And Iowa teachers, don’t be surprised when a Methodist pastor or congregation member comes to talk with you, wanting to help.

So, my happy thought: a literacy challenge, a challenge of both education and faith.

Should be interesting to see how each group changes to help the other! 🙂