Before schools start up on Wednesday, Aug. 7, local churches, city officials and other community members plan to cover school campuses with prayer.
“Prayer is powerful,” Art Gallegos, co-founder of Latinos Conservative Organization said. “We (Christians) believe it’s the biggest tool God has given us.”
Latinos Conservative Organization is coordinating with Gainesville High School to hold a community back-to-school prayer from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Gallegos, who is helping organize the event, said people will congregate in Gainesville High School’s parking lot.
He expects more than 150 community leaders, pastors, teachers, business owners and city officials to attend. This is the second time the organization has hosted the event.
“With everything happening here with violence, it’s important for us as a community to have a spotlight once again, that there are people united from different places and backgrounds for one purpose,” Gallegos said.
The morning will kick off with the singing of the national anthem and then dive into prayer.
Pastors of different denominations will give different prayers for students, parents, faculty members, teachers, city officials, churches and the U.S. military.
Gallegos describes it as a “multicultural unity community event.” He encourages people of all backgrounds and ages to attend. The prayers will be offered in both English and Spanish.
Local pastors donated 50 backpacks for children to pick up during the event. Gallegos said they will be available for students 10 years and younger on a first-come, first-served basis.
In the past week, other schools have received prayers from local churches, including Lula Elementary School.
Members of around 14 different churches walked the halls of Lula Elementary on Aug. 1 to pray over the school’s teachers, faculty members, students and families.
Hopewell Baptist Church in Gainesville held its annual school prayer walk on July 28, which entailed praying at nine Hall County elementary schools, six middle schools, seven high schools and two colleges.
Stan Lewis, director of community relations and athletics at Hall County Schools, said the school system never initiates the time of prayer, it’s generated by the community. He said over the years this has become a common gesture at the area’s schools.
“We appreciate their show of support,” Lewis said. “As a school system, it means a lot.”