‘Two or more:’ North Hills begins year with prayer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2016

by Rebecca Rider


SALISBURY — North Hills Christian School likes to start the year out right — with prayer. This is the second year the private school has held a prayer walk around campus at the beginning of the school year.

“It’s kind of our act of worship,” Dana Rollins, spiritual life director at North Hills said.

Rollins said the school believes in the truth of the verse, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

“We definitely meet the criteria of two or more,” she said.

Thursday morning every student, from kindergarteners to high school seniors, gathered on the lawn in front of the school’s gymnasium for a short briefing before they split up into small groups. They were also joined by faculty, staff and a few parents.

Rollins said that the walk, where students gather in groups to pray at specific areas in the school, helps set the atmosphere and the trajectory of the school year.

“This is when we consecrate — set apart — our whole school,” she said.

The walk is a way of dedicating every inch of the school’s campus to God and his purposes, and a request for his blessing.

Each class visited at least three locations — covering everything from the school soccer fields to its administrative offices. Staff posted prayer requests on their doors, or teachers wrote them on classroom whiteboards.

Students prayed for wisdom for teachers and staff, safety and positive learning experiences for students.

“Last year I wasn’t sure,” seventh grade teacher Shanon Vickers said about the prayer walk, “but this year I think it’s going to be great.”

She added that students were very excited about the event. As they walked around the school visiting classrooms and offices, the students were sure to look out for each other, as well. It wasn’t unusual for the students to gather as a group, or sit next to a friend and wrap an arm around his or her shoulders.

Some students even offered personal prayers — either addressing worries, or, in the case of Abbey Deaton, a prayer of thanks for her classmates.

“Thank you for each one of these people, how they’ve blessed my life and how I hope I’ve blessed theirs,” she said.

Worship music playing over the school’s announcement system and the quiet shuffle of feet helped set the tone for one of thoughtfulness and prayer — but students wiped away tears, or exchanged smiles and grins, too, as they finished up at each location.

“Personally, I believe it is one of the most important things we do at the beginning of the year,” Rollins said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.