Members of the community concerned about our school system answered the call to pray Sunday afternoon during what has become an annual event prior to the start of school.
This year's prayer time called " Back 2 School Call 2 Prayer" was held at Northside Elementary School and drew the largest crowd ever. As in past years it featured several local ministers offering prayers for each school as well as the school transportation staff, athletic activities and band program, law enforcement agencies, and the school board.
"I had some ladies who came to me who were involved years ago just getting together to pray at the entrances of the schools. They told me that we cannot stop doing this. Since the beginning this has developed into a larger prayer gathering. But it all started with some mothers who went to the different schools having prayer, said Donnie Kelly, minister of the First Assembly of God who moderated the program.
"As ministers and educators as well as community leaders, we need to join together and pray for each of our teachers, principals, children, the schools, so many things. We need that covenant. We need to join together to do everything we can to help our children to be able to achieve the very best," said Kelly
Local ministers participating were Chris Moore, Pastor of the Smithville Church of God (who prayed for DeKalb County High School), Jordan Atnip, Youth Pastor at the Smithville First Baptist Church (who prayed for DeKalb Middle School), Bernard Houk, Pastor of the Smithville Free Will Baptist Church (who prayed for Smithville Elementary School), Trent Colwell, Pastor of the Smithville Nazarene Church (who prayed for Northside Elementary School), Mark Miller, Pastor of the Long Branch Community Church (who prayed for DeKalb West School), Jim Eddins, Pastor of The Gathering (who prayed for School Transportation Staff), Ryley Young, Youth Pastor of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church (who prayed for Athletic Activities/Band), Dwayne Cornelius, Pastor of the New Life United Pentecostal Church and Chaplain of the Smithville Police Department (who prayed for the local law enforcement agencies, and Graden Kirksey, Community Evangelist, who prayed for the School Board.
Kelly opened the program with a welcome followed by Director of Schools Patrick Cripps who made some remarks about academic plans for the new school year including an emphasis on reading initiatives
Before the prayers, Josh Isaac sang the National Anthem.