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Time of Prayer Blesses Students

August 30, 2023
Photo provided by Veruynca Williams

On Aug. 20, CRCNA general secretary Zachary King participated in the 2023 Blessing of the Students, an annual time of prayer in Grand Rapids, Mich., for students starting or returning to school.

King led a responsive reading as part of the event and prayed individually for students who wanted prayer at the end of the service.

"As CRC congregations we are recognizing more and more what perhaps should be intuitive: that God is the giver of all good things. As we start a new school year, believers demonstrate their total dependence on God's grace by praying urgently for God's blessing on this new school year," King reflected.

Event organizer Veruynca Williams noted that the Christian Reformed Church in North America has participated in the Blessing of the Students for about eight years.

“CRC executive directors Steven Timmermans and Colin Watson and general secretary Zachary King have boldly led the annual gatherings with presence, influence, participation, and resources,” said Williams.

Marking its 30th year, the 2023 Blessing of the Students brought together about 160 people, including families, youth groups, and students from elementary school through university, for a time of prayer and encouragement as the new academic year begins.

This year’s event took place at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, the same church that hosted the inaugural event in 1993. “Those early years filled Pilgrim Rest sanctuary to full capacity, [later] expanding to local school football fields, high-school gymnasiums . . .” said Williams, adding that during the COVID-19 pandemic the event went online.

Support from area churches and communities is strong, said Williams, including at least seven school districts, two colleges, four universities, various charter and home schools, area churches, and numerous neighborhood associations. She added, “It is so amazing to have home, community, clergy, elected officials, [and more] assemble for a cause other than crisis [or] crime . . . to start the year with godly covering.”