Church helps prepare for school year Blessings sought for teachers and students

Published 8:56 pm Monday, August 27, 2007

By By MIKE VOSS,Contributing Editor
To usher in a new school year in Beaufort County, Washington’s First Baptist Church conducted a special service of blessing and prayer Sunday morning.
In recent years, the church has conducted similar services to help prepare the community for a new school year. The event, held during the church’s 11 a.m. worship service, was open to the public.
Beaufort County schools begin a new school year today.
Several church members led the service, which focused on prayer for students, teachers, school administrators, school-board members and parents. Many of the church’s members are educators — in public schools, private schools and the home, noted Connell Purvis. Those educators work together in harmony to prepare students for the future, he said.
Before the congregation prayed for students in public schools, Karen Anderson called for students to come to the front of the sanctuary. Once there, Anderson asked them to face the congregation which would be praying for them.
Anderson told the students that when they face struggles and problems, they should “remember in your minds the picture of all these people praying for you.”
During her prayers, Anderson asked that the students not fall to temptations. She asked the congregation to remember the students and “pray for them as they prepare themselves for their lives ahead.”
Gilbert Evett’s prayer was for private-school students’ parents and teachers to help those students remain focused on their spiritual lives as well as their academic endeavors.
Reggie Baker offered a prayer for home-school students and Wee-School students. Baker asked for blessings on people who work with students who are “preparing to become productive citizens for society. He asked that students be prepared in a “safe, comforting and loving environment.”
In his sermon, the Rev. Dr. Jimmy Moore, the church’s pastor, talked about the “bent-over woman” whom Jesus healed. That healing is described in Luke 13:10-17.
Moore told the congregation that on first glance, there may not appear to be similarities between the story of what Jesus did for the bent-over woman and what teachers do for students.
When Jesus reached out to the woman, who likely faced hardships because of her condition, it was “not unlike what a lot of our teachers do each day,” Moore said.
When Jesus healed the woman, he ministered to her in several ways, including spiritually and physically, Moore said. Many teachers “lift up our children,” said Moore, adding that those are the teachers who are concerned with their students’ physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Toward the end of the service, Evelyn Inabinett, a former teacher, offered a prayer calling on God to “give (students) the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” She also prayed that teachers and parents provide students with the proper foundations on which to build their lives.
In addition to their prayers, congregation members donated school supplies to needy students. The supplies were placed at the altar during the service.