To everything there is a season: August-September is a season of transitions as students begin or return to school. In Webster's Dictionary, transition is defined as: a passage from one state, stage or place to another. For a child entering preschool for the first time it can be terrifying. For the mom dropping off for the first time it can be very emotional - or liberating - depending on the mom. For the older student, the social posturing is a huge part of the transition: who are the "cool kids", who are the "nerds," who are the nice kids, who are the bullies? Transitions are not only about the children. They impact adults as well. With each new challenge for the child, the parental skills are challenged: how much do I intervene, how much freedom do I allow, what is the best counsel I can give my child? Even as an official "empty nester," I am still called upon to provide advice to my daughters. And I hope that never changes.

The experience of transitions at Holy Comforter and All Things Bright and Beautiful will hopefully be one of great joy and celebration for your family. Our preschool classes transition over a few days during the first week of school. We take the necessary time to get to know the children in a quiet thoughtful manner. Then it's on to exploring the classrooms, the playground, climbing a tree or watering the garden in the "back 40" as the back yard of the rectory is now called. Our Church School Students will have many familiar components if they are retuning to the program. And this year there will be some new elements to assimilate. The students will compose their own prayers for our Chapel time, the third graders will have an active role in leading the worship service and all students will create a banner that represents their individuality and records their participation each week at Sunday School.

A central component for the children of all ages at Holy Comforter is our worship time. For the Junior Kindergarteners through third grade, the Children's Chapel on Sunday morning provides the opportunity to share in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, raise voices in lively song, and to listen to the beautiful Bible stories. Fourth Graders through High School students attend the 9:00 liturgy on Sundays and are invited to participate as acolytes, greeters and lay readers. For All Things Bright and Beautiful children, Pastor Heath will read Bible stories in the big church on a weekly basis.

For the new students in our preschool and Church School, our priority is to minimize any anxiety during their unique transitions as we invite them into this caring community. And this is everyone's responsibility. We've theorized, strategized, and improvised on the best way to provide a welcoming experience to all who come here. May this be the season of transition for each one of us to extend the welcoming hand and the heartfelt "hello" to all.