ROCKINGHAM — More than 60 people, members of about a dozen churches, gathered at the Church of God of Prophecy last weekend to visit and school campuses across Richmond County before students’ first day back.
Their purpose? To pray over the schools to ensure that students have a successful first day and safe school year. Co-coordinator Yvonne Gilmer said this was the church’s fourth year as host of the prayer walk.
“We do our part as Christians, and we feel like this makes a difference,” she said.
Her fellow coordinator, Robin Dixon, agreed that the prayer walk made a great impact because the community becomes involved.
“There’s power in numbers, and there’s power in prayer,” she said, “so we know God is going to protect.”
Attendees received handouts printed with example prayers to say while walking around the schools and were encouraged to go to whichever schools they wished until a large group walk at Richmond Senior High School.
At the large walk, participants suggested a number of prayer topics — from watching over the children and staff, to member Jerry Ethridge’s request for guidance at School Board meetings. Jason Perakis, the high school’s advanced-manufacturing teacher, requested a special prayer over an in-school suspension modular building.
“While in there, they will feel that love and they’ll know that someone is praying and looking out for them,” he said. Perakis said a lot of students sent to detention were good kids who sometimes were misunderstood.
“I would love to see confusion over the (detention) teacher’s face as to why the kids are acting so good, ” he said. “And we’ll know it’s because we prayed, and the Holy Spirit is with them.”
Tears fell and emotions ran high as Dixon said the prayer walk was a time to invite God onto campus to watch over the children.
“I want to see the spirit of God save the children,” she said with a tear in her eye. “It’s, of course, about the protection, but more importantly, the Lord speaks to their heart and souls, and every soul will be one on this campus because we came out here and prayed for that.”
Principal Dawn Terry (in blue) acts as a team leader to pray for a good year at Hamlet’s Fairview Heights Elementary School. Terry moved this year from Monroe Avenue to Fairview Heights, where she had been a teacher.
Participants in the large prayer walk at Richmond Senior High School bow their heads and lay their hands against the window of Principal Jim Butler before heading inside.
Robin Dixon lays her hand on Yvonne Gilmer’s shoulder as she and the rest of her group pray for the staff and administrators of Richmond Senior High School.
Reach Jasmine Hager at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]