Next Wednesday, students nationwide will gather around flagpoles at their schools for prayer and related activities, but local youths can get a head start on See You at the Pole day this weekend.
On Sunday, an annual rally will be held at Haymore Memorial Baptist Church in Mount Airy to help energize students across the county for the national observance three days later.
See You at the Pole day has been held each year since 1990 on the fourth Wednesday in September. It provides an opportunity for Christian students to gather outside public campuses, where school-sponsored prayers are illegal but those organized by students are allowed.
“We’re trying to get the kids excited about going to school (on Wednesday),” explained the Rev. Kevin Minix, chairman of the Surry Baptist Association Youth Council. During the See You at the Pole events locally, students will be asked to pray for their teachers, schools and country, Minix said. The activities also sometimes include scripture readings and the singing of hymns.
Sunday’s rally at Haymore Memorial Baptist Church, at 319 Rockford St., will feature a hot dog dinner beginning about 5:15 p.m., then a worship and prayer service at 6 p.m. A guest speaker, a local pastor, will address the gathering, which also will feature music by a Christian band.
Another highlight will be prize giveaways after the service, led by a drawing for a free breakfast for a student and 10 of his or her friends at their school on See You at the Pole day.
“That Wednesday, someone will come and bring them breakfast,” Minix said of the special drawing, adding that T-shirts, wristbands and other items will be given away Sunday as well.
Sunday’s pre-pole day rally has become a fixture locally, he said. “I’ve been part of it for seven years, but I know they were doing it before I came aboard with the youth council.”
The Surry Baptist Association has more than 60 member churches. “We invite all of them to come, but on average we normally have about 15 or 16 churches that normally participate,” Minix said of rally attendance.
Though Sunday’s rally is spearheaded by a Baptist organization, those of other denominations also are welcome to attend. This especially includes those wanting to motivate their teen-agers to become part of a Christian movement to make the world a better place, Minix said.
The annual rally allows students who might attend different churches or schools to unite for a common cause and get to know each other. One of the underlying themes of the See You at the Pole observance is that America’s young people can make a difference in accomplishing what God wants, Minix said.
Fueled by a notion that public schools sometimes are seen as hostile to Christian students, the annual See You at the Pole day has grown to become an international activity.
The movement has expanded through word or mouth; announcements at churches and youth rallies, such as the one to be held Sunday in Mount Airy; and the Internet.
Court decisions over the years have affirmed students’ right to assemble for See You at the Pole events under the free-speech provision of the Constitution.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.