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/ 4 August 2021

Blessing of the Backpacks

Blessing of the Backpacks can take place on the Sunday just before the beginning of school term. Young people are encouraged to bring their school backpack to church, and adults bring any kind of work case or bag.

It prompts the question “Where will you be this time tomorrow?”

Who is it for?

Blessing of the Backpacks is a whole family occasion for the church family.

Whilst the service can build on the close link between the parish and their local school, the emphasis is on the common call all Christians share in as we bear witness in our everyday places of work. The Diocese of London is seeking to emphasise this as part of our 2030 Vision for London to live out our faith as disciples of Jesus in the places where we live and work.

How does it work?

Jeremy Fletcher, Vicar of Hampstead Parish Church:

“Hampstead Parish Church has had a ‘Blessing of the Backpacks’ since 2017.

On the Sunday just before the beginning of school term young are encouraged to bring their school backpack, and adults bring any kind of work case or bag. Our prayer is that everyone will receive a ‘blessing to be a blessing’. It is a profound way to mark the new beginnings which September brings. People hold up their backpack, and we pray for the fresh start, which will bring some trepidation as well as anticipation. It’s a very visible sign of our being together as the Body of Christ, and a superb expression of the life of the people of God beyond the walls of the church, our mission in the ‘everyday’.

We started with luggage labels which people could tie on to their backpack. Last year we found some leather key ring blanks, which we had embossed with a picture of the church and the text “A Blessing to be a Blessing”. It’s very encouraging seeing them on backpacks and cases!”

Download the Hampstead Parish Church service sheet in our resources section below


Penny Seabrook, Vicar of All Saints Fulham:

“Each time we are reminded of the diversity of talent in All Saints, and the breadth of God’s gifts. We give all those who came a simple wristband, a token to remember that their everyday lives, their work and rest and play, are all blessed. God’s blessing is not just for festivals and not just for Sundays, it is for everyday life.”


Angela Henderson, mother of three who attends All Saints Fulham:

“We were all very excited about the blessing of the backpacks service. Johnny was thrilled to be back at school last week and happily put on his backpack as if going to school. Edward literally can’t wait to start in reception next week and asks every day whether he can go to school today. Bertie is very excited to be joining nursery and was beyond proud to take his brand new book bag to church this morning.

It was an inspiring way to reset, put the holidays behind us and prepare for a new term and school year. As for me, I started a new job in the City last week after taking a year out. I held up my shiny new Blackberry. I want to do things differently this time, I really want to hear God’s voice when I hit a snag in the office, before I act, rather than seeking forgiveness after I act, for less than Christian thoughts and behaviours. I want God with me at work, not just on Sundays. Thanks to today’s service every time I look at my Blackberry I’m going to be reminded of God’s blessing.”


Emily Richardson, a member of All Saints Fulham:

“Jesus used ordinary, simple examples like the smallness of a seed or the everyday example of yeast baking in bread. Maybe my few hours a week at my desk are the mustard seeds – the little moments that may not feel like a lot, but have the power to change things. So, while I attend Blessing of the Backpacks with certain trepidation thinking, “well, I only do x, y, and z”, I keep going back to the day of small things, the small beginnings. Because maybe they hold the seeds of blessing.”



Does your church hold a Blessing of the Backpacks service or something similar?

If so we would love to hear your story. Contact us here

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