SIKESTON - Youth, parents and church leaders in the community are invited to gather for a special event Sunday, one designed to give youth leaders a chance to support their children in the upcoming "See You At the Pole" event.
"We set the time for the rally at 8 p.m. so the kids will have time to go to their own churches first," said Scott Allender, youth pastor of the Powerhouse of God Church, 951 S. Kingshighway. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m.
"The rally is a way to ensure that prayer is the primary concern when the kids meet at 7 a.m. Wednesday," he said, noting that church leaders, pastors and ministers will be at the event.
"This gives leaders in the community a chance to show their support because we won't be able to Wednesday morning," said Felicia Schmidly, children's pastor at Calvary Temple. "See You At the Pole" is for students only and adults will not be participating.
"See You At the Pole" is a student-initiated, student-organized and student-led event, which is based around students meeting at their school flagpole to pray for their school, friends, teachers, government and nation.
"There is no better time for a national day of prayer than in the aftermath of Tuesday's terrorist attack on our nation," Allender said. "There is no better time for us to be praying as a nation than right now." Scheduled a year ago, the student day of prayer is always held on the third Wednesday in September.
Several area churches will participate in the Sunday's rally. People from Calvary Temple will lead modern praise and worship music with a full band, including guitar, drums and bass. Skits will be presented by the First Assembly of God Church and the First Baptist Church members.
Willie Hawkins, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, will be a guest speaker. Hawkins is in charge of the adult chapter of FCA in the Sikeston area, which is also a student-initiated and student-run organization.
"See You At the Pole" started in 1990, when a group of teens in Burleson, Texas, decided to gather for a discipleship weekend. These kids drove to three schools on a Saturday night so they could pray for their friends. Not being sure of just what to do, they gathered around the school flagpoles to pray. Little did they know it would turn into a nationwide annual event.
Within a couple of years, "See You At the Pole" became an international event. Now more than two million students from all 50 states and students in over 20 countries participate.
"We want everyone to come to the rally," Allender added. "This is a thing of unity. There are no denominations at school and the same is true for the rally. This goes beyond race, color, economics and denominations.
"We want to encourage the parents to be part of this event, he said. "We need to carry each other's burdens and pray for each other."
Area youth leaders are planning to meet to discuss possible future citywide activities. "Parents want their kids to get along, which is fine and good, but we have to set a good example," said Jason Grubbs, youth pastor at Miner Baptist Church, who will also be at the rally. "The kids need to see us meeting and getting along. We can't just tell them they need to get along, we need to show them, regardless of their economic background, denomination or race."
For more information about the rally, call Allender toll-free at 277-6777.