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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Blessings offered for new school year

  • The First United Methodist Church hosted a Back to School Prayer Service on the evening Aug. 20. This was an effort of several of the local churches and was held to spiritually welcome back the students and staff of the Carrier Mills-Stonefort school district.
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  • The First United Methodist Church hosted a Back to School Prayer Service on the evening Aug. 20. This was an effort of several of the local churches and was held to spiritually welcome back the students and staff of the Carrier Mills-Stonefort school district.
    The event had a very good turnout as families and school staff arrived to join in the spirit of community and spirt. Superintendent Richard Morgan, Grade School Secretary Carleen Sanderson, Grade School Computer instructor and assistant Pastor at the First Methodist Bob Manier and a number of the school's staff were in attendance. Grade school instructor Leslie Walker and Carrier Mills resident and district school alumnus DeShawn Ellis delivered the opening reading from scriptures.
    The duo of Andy and Paige Johnson delivered a very moving of series musical songs of worship, singing “Freedom Reigns, You Won't Relent” and Paige Johnson extremely soulful and poignant, “We are One in the Spirit.” The audience was palpably moved by these songs of love and devotion, as many in attendance clapped and sang along to the music.
    A series of guest speaker delivered themed prayers focusing on the different elements of our community that are the backbone and life blood of the schools. Prayers for the school board, superintendent and principal, secretaries, nurses bus drivers, custodial staff, police, emergency medical services, students, cheerleaders, student athletes, teachers, aides and for our nation itself, were spoken, often brining tears to the eyes of those in attendance.
    Phyllis Bradley's prayer for secretaries, nurses, bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers was a emotional remembrance of when Bradley herself was in grade school, noting that there was no lunch served, no school nurse and “The bus didn't always run.” Bradley also paid tribute to long time school nurse Sue Fields, noting the sense of emptiness in the school last year when Fields was absent from school with an illness.
    First Methodist Pastor Stan Irvin said the event was a multi-church effort and that two Carrier Mills women, Deb Shreffler and Kim Gibbons were the primary organizers of the event. A well-attended service which renewed and reaffirmed the participant’s devotion and faith, the Back to School Prayer Service set a optimistic and reverent tone for the beginning of the Carrier Mills-Stonefort district school year.

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