A large group turned out Sunday afternoon to join in a special "Prayer Service for Schools" observance at DeKalb County High School.
The prayer service has become an annual event conducted by local ministers offering prayers for each school as well as the students, teachers, transportation staff, and other employees. "It started out a long time ago with a group of teachers who got together on the Sunday before school started and prayed. Each year they invited more and more people. Somewhere along the line someone said we need to keep this thing going so we started organizing and getting the ministers involved. We try to get ministers from all across the county from different denominations because it's great when different denominations come together to praise God and pray. I truly believe God blesses those efforts," said Larry Green, Minister of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church who moderated the program Sunday.
Among the local ministers participating were Dan Gulley of the Smithville Church of Christ, Ben Simpson of the Alexandria West Main Baptist Church, Cleo Sanders of the Bible Grace Church in Dowelltown, Donnie Kelly of the First Assembly of God in Smithville, B.J. Thomason of the Calvary Baptist Church in Smithville, Bernard Houk of the Smithville First Free Will Baptist Church, and Bill Robertson of Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby made some remarks. Retired teacher Linda Franklin also spoke about the importance of prayer and how she started each school day with a moment of prayer during the last fifteen years of her teaching career. Franklin further mentioned how that her class once gathered to pray for her during Franklin's absence from school due to the loss of her father.