The local faith community is coming together Aug. 15 to join in prayer for the coming school year.
This effort of faith was put into place by Dr. Dave Heller and Rev. Willard McPherson a few months ago. On Sunday, Aug. 15 at 3 p.m. they plan to gather a large crowd of parents, teachers, administrators, preachers, community members, and students at every school in Columbus County, both public and private, to pray for the students and teachers for the upcoming school year.
“Last year was such an unusual year and extremely hard on everyone involved in our school systems,” said Dr. Heller. “This includes not only the students and teachers, but the administrators and the parents. Our goal is to ask the Lord to give us a better school year this year. While we realize that the Delta variant of this virus is now surging in some areas, including our own, it is our hope and prayer that it will die down quickly and not impact our school year in a negative way.”
Dr. Heller went on to say that he and Rev. McPherson have always maintained a strong working relationship with both school boards, as well as with the leadership of their private schools, which include the Columbus Charter school, Thomas Academy, and Columbus Christian Academy. The schools have opened up the campuses to the two ministers to bring the community together for prayer for the coming school year.
“We are blessed to have such a close working relationship with all of our school leaders and administrators,” said Dr. Heller. “The Bible tells us clearly that we are to pray specifically, therefore we will be asking, through prayer, that the Lord grant our students and teachers, as well as our parents and administrators, a much better school year.”
The 51 churches that make up the Columbus Baptist Association are leading the community effort and the majority of those, pastors as well as their congregation, are planning to participate in the first-time event. Not only Baptists, but pastors and members of many other denominations are joining in as well.
“It’s hard to imagine that in this day and time, at three o’clock on Sunday the fifteenth, there will be hundreds, and hopefully even more, gathered on the campuses of all of our schools in Columbus County, lifting their voices in prayer asking the Almighty to grant protection, safety and blessings over this coming school year,” Heller said
Dr. Heller encourages all residents of Columbus County to attend to the back-to-school prayer gathering.
“We encourage all of the students to go to their school, and to bring their parents,” Dr. Heller said. “We encourage all teachers and administrators to go to their respective schools and participate. We also invite any community member, whether you have a student in school or not, to go and be a part of this great gathering.”
“Now more than ever we need to come together, put aside all of our political differences, and focus on what is really important – our children, our families, our education system, and our community.”
Although this is the first time an event like this has taken place, Dr. Heller and Rev. McPherson are looking forward to making it an annual event.