JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Transformation Jacksonville held its annual Pastors and Principals Breakfast Thursday at First Baptist Church downtown. The event was an opportunity to highlight local pastors and school administrators who work together to bring resources to the students, faculty and the community.
The superintendent of schools for Duval County, Dr. Diana Greene, spoke before more than 300 pastors, principals and administrators. She underscored action and focused less on doctrine.
In her speech, she said, "Faith-based partnerships are simply sharing and showing our light and sharing our good deeds that our father in heaven may be glorified. It does not require us to read a scripture, it does not require us to demonstrate anything other than kindness and love."
The executive director of Transformation Jacksonville, Tom McLeod, coordinated the event where nearly 150 schools across Duval County were represented. The breakfast was designed to initiate partnerships between churches and schools in an effort to show unity among the universal church and its care for the community.
McLeod said there are a host of faith-based groups that want to be connected with their neighborhood school, but for some reason they do not know how.
"This breakfast is to introduce more of those partnerships to be incubated... It's a match made in heaven," said McLeod.
The event kicked off with a meet and greet over hot a breakfast. Pastors and principals could be seen swapping stories and exchanging numbers. Principals were having conversations about what their needs were and pastors were responding with what they could offer in time and services to the school.
With tears in her eyes, the principal of Sadie Tillis Elementary, Angela Jordan, said she was inspired by Greene's call to be the light. Principal Jordan said she wants to see that light shining in schools every day.
Principal Jordan was an attendee who did not have a faith-based partner. Before she left the breakfast, she met Pastor Harry Ford and his wife, Chandra Ford, of Elevation Worship Center. They agreed to partner with Sadie Tillis Elementary School after meeting Principal Jordan at the breakfast.
The Pastors and Principals Breakfast ended with principal-pastor coaches who gave examples of how to support a school and benefit from the partnership. The principal of First Coast High School, Timothy Simmons, and the pastor of Bold City Church gave an example of what their partnership has been like over the years. Bold City Church Pastor Jason Masters said it ranges from a phone call with an encouraging word to providing a team from his church during Teacher Appreciation Week to clean classrooms and provide meals in support of the faculty.