Is a quality public education a privilege provided by a responsible government, or an inalienable right granted by God? For some, in recent years, the value of the public education system has come into question. At the same time, the call for better public education for the benefit of every child has grown equally loud.
All Our Children, a collection of essays and theological reflections, including one by Bishop Hirschfeld, has been published by Church Publishing Incorporated and edited by All Our Children National Network Director, Lallie B. Lloyd. This book is a loud voice for the justice of all children, regardless of background or faith. Elevating the cause to the level of a moral, religious-based imperative every bit in tune with the teachings of Jesus, this book is a strong advocate for faith-based social groups of all varieties to make improving the quality of public education a part of their mission.
As much as a call to arms, this book is a how-to manual for ways congregations can partner with public schools and other community organizations as a means to bring God's mission outside the church's building through social justice initiatives.
Rallied to her cause is a diverse group of Episcopal voices including Bishop A. Robert Hirschfeld, of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. By sharing the story of his personal revelation about the opportunity gap and the injustices experienced by children in povertyhis essay illustrates how the church can play a fundamental role in championing the rights of every child to a high-quality public education. As the expression goes, a rise in education lifts all hopes.
Dr. Catherine Meeks, editor of Living into God's Dream: Dismantling Racism in America, notes that, “Lallie B. Lloyd has brought together a collection of strong voices proclaiming the value of courageous individuals from a diverse group of faith communities . . . it is crucial to hear such voices as all of us who are compassionate seek to find the best ways to ensure that all of our children receive the best education possible.”
The Very Rev. Will H. Mebane Jr., Interim Dean of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo, New York, summarizes All Our Children as, “a passionate and clear-eyed argument for why we should add ‘educating our children’ to the commands by Jesus for us to give drink to the thirsty, feed the hungry, care for the sick and those in prison, clothe the naked, and welcome the stranger.”
About the editor: Lallie B. Lloyd,a lay leader in the Episcopal Church, has served on policy and ministry commissions at the local, diocesan, and wider Church levels. In 2012, she founded “All Our Children,” a national network of faith-based community partnerships with under-resourced public schools, to renew Episcopalians’ commitment to education justice. Today, she serves as its Executive Director. She is a graduate of Yale University, with an MBA from the Wharton School and a master’s in theology from Episcopal Divinity School, where she received the Hall Prize for outstanding peace and justice work. She lives on Cape Cod.