Participating in Ames UMC's blessing of schools, from… (Photo courtesy of Ed Kearney )
On Aug. 20, 2011 at 11 a.m., several members of Ames UMC met at the church to join Pastor Thomas J. Blake for "Back to School Prayer" at several Harford County Schools. It was the vision of Rev. Alicia Blake (the late wife of Rev. Blake), thus making it an extra special blessing to be able to pray for our schools and for all involved in and around our schools as well as honor her dream!
Before leaving the church, we gathered in the church vestibule, and prayed asking for God's anointing for our first Back to School Prayer. Three carloads convoyed over to the campus (across the street from the church) that is home to four schools. We convened at the first school, Bel Air High School, and circled up to pray in the front of the building. We then walked around the building praying and touching the doors, windows, track, child care pre-school playground equipment, etc.
As we were preparing to leave to move on to the next school, we were short one prayer team member. In the distance, we spotted Sister Debby Levy's red Ames T-shirt and sun visor. She was ministering to someone she had just met
The following is what took place, according to notes written by Sister Levy and reprinted her with her permission:
While at Bel Air H.S. as we were anointing the tracks and fields, a lady came up to me to ask if the track was open to the public in the evenings. I explained that I didn't know but looking at a sign lying behind the gate on the ground, we decided that the entrance had not been closed in a while. I asked her if she was a runner. She said that she used to run but there were recently many changes in her life. She wanted to get back into something that she used to enjoy – running.
She told me about her mother being in a nursing home for the last two years. In the beginning, she would go to work and go to the nursing home every day. She feels guilty about not going as often now. She and her sisters all felt under the weather about the same time and found it was from being exhausted. I told her that God has a way of talking to us like that. He will get your attention by communicating through your body and making you rest. He will remind you that your focus is not where it should be. I also told her she needed some her time.
She stated that she was looking for some place to volunteer or do something in the evenings as part of the changes she was making. I then hugged her, introduced myself and explained where we were from, and what we were doing at the school.
I told her about the many things that we were doing at Ames. I was in commercial mode. (Ames, we do a lot of mission work!)
I ended with Pastor Jay's story about the "vision" from his wife. Then I told her that we were going to as many schools as we could in Harford County. She said I'm glad somebody is doing something for the students. She then began to tell me about her daughter who was attending Virginia Tech the year that a gunman killed several students and professors.
Virginia Tech had communication lines shut down so her daughter had not been able to communicate to her mom or her sister that she was unharmed. This was the second gun incident on campus that year! She left school the next day, all students had that option, and returned the following semester. She graduated and after additional schooling is now a Veterinarian at an Emergency Animal Hospital in Maryland.
God was "right on time" with the confirmation that we were doing the right and necessary thing by going to the schools in our county, and praying for all students, teachers, aids, custodians, specialists, cafeteria employee, administrator, technician, counselor, parent, guardian and person on school grounds here, and all over the world.
After we were reunited with Sister Levy, we continued with the same blessing process at the following schools: Patterson Mill Middle and High School, William Paca Old Post Road Elementary, Edgewood Elementary, Edgewood High (campus houses Edgewood Middle and Deerfield Elementary Schools), and the last school for the day was Magnolia Middle School.
Now that the initial step has been taken, we will continue to meet and rally out to cover the other Harford County schools in prayer.
It would be a blessing to share this awesome experience with some of the other churches. We have 54 public schools and several private schools in Harford County. They all need our prayers. Will you help us?
Please contact us if you are interested at the church e-mail: Amesumc@aol.com.
Donna E. Lewis
On behalf of Ames UMC