On Sunday August 19, 2012, several hundred Calera families kicked off the new school year with the 2nd annual Prayer in the Park at Ricky M. Cairns Football Field.
Prayer in the Park is a community-wide praise and worship service coordinated by several local churches. The event started as a back-to-school blessing of the backpacks service at Calera First United Methodist Church. Last year, other Calera churches joined in and opened the event up for the whole community.
“It was started because we wanted to unite our community in praying for our students and schools. One of the largest spiritual battlegrounds are the schools, so what better battle plan than to unite the Body of Christ in Calera to gather and pray,” says Melinda Gibson, Director of Children’s Ministry at Calera First UMC.
This year, seven local churches worked together to plan Prayer in the Park. The event consisted of live praise music and a drama presentation. Pastors from several different churches lead special prayers for parents, teachers and students. Other churches collected school supplies and supplied volunteers to pass out programs and bottled water. Several local businesses also donated goods for the event. It was truly a community effort.
“We were able to give out about 400 bags of school supplies and around 150 backpacks,” says Beverly Smith, member of Calera First UMC. “Next year, we hope to expand and be better able to offer help with school supplies and other back-to-school needs.”
“I think Prayer in the Park is a very important event for our community. There is so much that churches can do and as a result people will see and feel the love of Christ through these deeds,” says Wendy Pierce, Worship Leader/Director South Shelby Baptist Church and Learning Center.
“I know my family was blessed,” says Valerie Goebel, Calera resident and mother of three.