NEW HAVEN — Bishop Kenny Peeples gets up every weekday at 4 a.m to make it to the bus yard on time.
For the past seven years the preacher has driven a big, yellow school bus for New Haven Public Schools and four years ago he and other Christian drivers got together to form The School Bus Angels.
On Saturday, members of the group came together at the Blessed Trust Ministries World Headquarters at True Worship Church to have a Christmas party and worship service.
“We’re here to worship God, and to celebrate our bus drivers,” said Evangelist Sharon Smith of the Holiness Church of Jesus Christ.
Peeples noted that school bus drivers are guardians that need to lean on one another for support.
“Angels don’t necessarily mean winged creatures, but those who do God’s will on earth … and it starts in the school bus yard with our children,” he said. “We have to take care of each other.”
He noted that several area pastors work part time as school bus drivers.
“They trust us with their children in the congregations, and now they trust us with their children on the school bus,” he said.
Pastor Zoraida Guadalupe, of Iglesia Cristiana Fe Assembly of God, has been a bus driver for about five years. She said she wants to be an example to the children she chauffeurs. She doesn’t talk to them about God, not only because it’s against the rules, but also because she said that’s not how to inspire children.
“When you know God, God will make a difference in your life and other people’s lives,” she explained.
Prophet Richard Trent praised the drivers and told them that their job is crucial, adding that he knows it’s not an easy job. He said traffic and hyper children don’t mix and encouraged the drivers to stop and pray before hitting the gas pedal.
“When the Lord is with you, he puts angels around that bus to protect it,” he said.
Peeples explained that the School Bus Angels began as a small prayer group and later evolved into a support group for Christian drivers.
Now, he said, the group is working to become a lobbying organization so school bus drivers can have a say in legislation that might impact them.
“We want a voice,” he said.
At the Christmas program, the Angels honored Alderman Jorge Perez with a community service award for supporting the group.
Check back soon for a video of this event!