This past session it has been a great joy for me to see the enthusiasm of the children who attend the weekly SU Group at my local primary school. They are fantastic children: chatty and friendly, enthusiastic, exceptionally supportive of one another. They listen respectfully as other group members share opinions and ask questions. They use their initiative, and offer help to set up and tidy away. These children are all clear examples of happy, confident and active children, which Curriculum for Excellence aspires to. We should give thanks for the hard work of head teachers and staff who create happy schools. Sadly, not all children of course are as settled. I recently spoke with an SU Scotland Associate Worker. One Monday morning he had to deal with a girl who had taken two packets of paracetamol — just because a boy hadn’t spoken to her all weekend. Then there was the 12-year-old in his school who is pregnant. On chatting to a 17-year-old at church, in a different school entirely, she shared with me that seven girls in her year group were expecting, one just before her school prom—and that others had had abortions. How do we respond?

Schools are communities that reflect the society around them. There are those who have enjoyed this past school year, thriving on the opportunities given to them. On the other hand there are those who have struggled, for whom life at school and home is really hard. School staff deal daily with heartbreaking situations. BSG2014In our Back to School with God resources this year we look at Nehemiah. How did he respond when he felt overwhelmed with sorrow, when he felt God’s pain? He worshipped, remembering God’s faithful promises. He repented for the sins of others. Then he interceded - “For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah1:4. What an example to follow! Back to School with God Sunday is a brilliant way to encourage your whole church family to support children and school staff returning to school after the summer break. Knowing they are prayed for can make all the difference, not just to the young people, but to parents as well. Take a peek at the user-friendly all-age service outline and PowerPoint slides, including a dramatised Bible reading and children’s club resources. Follow the story of Nehemiah, who looked up to the God of heaven, prayed long and hard and short and sharp. A lesson for all of us! Register your church and download now at!

Elizabeth McDowall

My role in SU Scotland is to encourage, excite, support and resource prayer both for the young people of Scotland, and among the young people of Scotland. What a fantastic task!