Christian students plan flagpole prayer session International event began in 1990 EAST COLUMBIA

September 14, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

Christian students at several county public and private schools plan to gather for 7 a.m. prayer sessions at their schools' flagpoles tomorrow, part of an international, student-led event called "See You At the Pole."

"I think that it's a good way to deliver a message to everyone of what I believe that they might not know about me," said Greg Buckler, 16, a junior at Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, who plans to participate. "The message is, 'With Christ you can have good things and have a good life.' "

The event was begun in 1990 for Christian students concerned about acquired immune deficiency syndrome, drugs, violence and other school problems.

Last year, about 1.5 million students participated, said Kent Huckstep, operations director for the National Network of Youth Ministries in San Diego.

About 350 Howard students took part last year, said Richard L. Stum, a staff worker for the Navigators, a Columbia high school ministry.

Mr. Stum said a school's flagpole provides a convenient meeting place and that the 7 a.m. schedule allows students to participate without disrupting their school day.

"They're convinced praying is important," he said. "God backs up promises. He'll back up prayers."

The students are protected by the First Amendment, said Stuart Comstock-Gay, director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Maryland. He added that the event won't violate the Supreme Court's restrictions on school prayer because the schools themselves aren't involved.

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