By guest columnist Gracie Ziegelmann
Our teachers spend a lot of time outside of their classrooms preparing for their classes, whether planning activities, grading assignments, or writing lesson plans. And we cannot forget the dedicated staff who still find themselves organizing events, troubleshooting, writing and sending out emails, or handling public relations long after they have left the terrain of their offices. But what many of us don’t know is that every morning of the school week—without fail—our faculty and staff gather together at both campuses for a time of prayer which they call ‘Fishbowl.’
When I sat in on the gathering one Wednesday morning, social studies teacher Jon Alder, who teaches at the upper school, explained the origin of the name: “I think that the intention was that it was done in an area where the students, as they came in, could visibly see the faculty model starting their day with prayer.”
He added, “In the lower school, we always did it in the kitchen where, as kids and parents came in, they could see the faculty meeting together kind of modeling what we teach. It’s kind of like a fishbowl, you walk in and see.”
Alder begins Fishbowl with a reading of a chapter from the Book of Psalms; on this morning a simple “Okay, let’s start with Psalm 19” from Alder was the cue that it was time to delve into the Word. After reading and contemplating the passage, Alder reiterated verse 10 saying, “‘The law of the Lord is perfect…more precious than gold,…sweeter than honey.’ We don’t often look at it that way do we?” There were sounds of agreement from the other faculty members present before they continued with their discussion.
The topic varied from Psalms to school news to personal family stories before they prayed. They first went around and shared prayer requests that they had before administrations director Cindy Suter closed the time of fellowship in prayer. She prayed specifically for each request, as well as the school and the students. Once she finished praying, I assumed that it was over, but before I started gathering my things, all the faculty and staff started singing the Doxology in blissful unison. All their voices, collected in this song of praise, was the real conclusion of Fishbowl.
These morning devotions prove to be a great time of fellowship, prayer, and praise for the faculty and staff who spend their days at Christ Covenant School. When asked why she felt Fishbowl is important Suter said, “I think that when people come together in prayer it improves their relationships, what they do during the day, the results of teaching you all, their work as teachers. The benefits of prayer are just endless.”
Fishbowl has been a great way for the faculty and staff at CCS to start the day together and also to set an example for the families and students of our school. If you’re ever at the lower or upper school early enough to see this gathering, feel free to look in and learn; that’s just what they want you to do.