In the Gospel of John, Jesus says to the disciples, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever … the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you” (John 14:16 & 26).

The Spirit of God, the very breath of God, the third person of the Trinity, is the Advocate. The Spirit moves in and through the Church and humans as the great Advocate empowering and enabling us to do the same — to be advocates. To be a people of and led by the Holy Spirit, we are called to use our voices to enact change so that the hungry will be fed, the thirsty given drink, the stranger welcomed, the naked clothed, the sick cared for, and the prisoner visited.

On January 23, and once a month going forward, we have an opportunity to come together and use our collective voices for children in North Carolina public schools.

Pastors for North Carolina Children is a nonprofit agency whose mission is “Serving children by advocating for North Carolina’s public schools.” They have started an initiative called “Mission Amplify” which invites churches, nonprofits, and other groups to advocate on behalf of North Carolina’s public school students by writing letters to representatives and legislators. Each month, Pastors for NC Children will set a topic and people will write letters.

The topic of the first letter is school nurses. The State Board of Education and the National Association of School Nurses recommends a nurse-to-student ration of 1:750, with at least one nurse per school. Only 40% of North Carolina districts staff school nurses at the recommended ratio or better.

Funding for school nurse positions hasn’t kept pace with the increasing student population, which is why North Carolina does not have the recommended number of nurses. With too few school nurses, many children are not receiving proper medical care.

On Sunday January 23, there will be a letter writing station in the Welcome Center. Stop by any time that morning to write a quick letter urging representatives and legislators to increase funding for school nurses. We will have everything you need to write letters, including a sample letter and access to the internet to correctly address your letter to your legislator. We will also have more information available on Pastors for North Carolina Children and their Mission Amplify initiative. This activity is for all ages and will only take a few minutes of your time that morning.

We hope to see you in the Welcome Center as we join our voices together in the Christian tradition of letter writing (the apostle Paul wrote many a letter!), following the Holy Spirit/Advocate’s lead, as we lean into our call and commitment to be a Matthew 25 congregation caring for the least of these.