There was a breakfast reception this morning at our church's school for the team from the accreditation agency that was making their final visit before granting the school their accreditation. Looking around the room I saw many people who have worked together for the last five years to develop the school from a preschool only to one that goes through the fifth grade.
We reminisced together about the bad old early days when we had to literally fight the city council, the homeowners association in the subdivision where our church is located and the local area newspapers that criticized our plans to expand the school. When it comes to schools and churches, everyone wants them to be conveniently located but many are afflicted with NIMBY-syndrome (not in my back yard).
Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the prospect of increased traffic, increased noise of children at play on the playground, and the inconvenience of living near the construction that would be required! Oh the threatening of lawsuits and the political manuverings with the city council and the zoning board! It's little wonder that some of the churches near us sell their property located in residential areas and move to commercial locations where they won't have to deal with the gripes of their neighbors. A few years ago one neighbor even called the church to complain that we had put up a cross with a purple sash to commemorate Easter on church property on the grounds that it violated her civil rights! And as Dave Barry always says-- I am NOT making this up.
The theme song of the school should be "Amazing Grace":
Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come
It's grace that brought us safe this far
And grace will bring us home
The accreditation process is now complete, so the school can show the community that it meets high standards for both education and religious training. It has been done in time for our first graduating class of fifth graders to transfer to middle school from an accredited school. It is inspiring to see that how prayers, hard work and faith of the congregation, the school parents, and the school staff have brought us this day.