Unity Undergirds Blessing of the Students
Now in its 26th year, BOTS is a confluence of students of all ages, clergy, school administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, community leaders, elected officials, bus drives and whoever else may come, to join in the unity of prayer, said Veruynca Williams, who founded BOTS.
Live music, dance and encouraging words are also in the mix.
"Blessing of the Student is not about competition, it's not about money or a community crisis," said Williams. "When children enter school, that's a journey, a new chapter in their lives. It's a celebration of their incoming school year."
BOTS was held for years at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, but this year, as in 2018, it will meet at Grand Rapids Christian Eagles Stadium, 2300 Plymouth Ave, SE.
Previous BOTS have drawn around 600 people who understand the sacred trust of educating and protecting children, according to Williams.
Lorenzo Bradshaw was a college student when he took part in the first BOTS in 1993. Now the principal of Brookwood Elementary School in Kentwood, he sees the event as a vital means of "connecting to the universal body of Christ."
"Prayer still works. It carried me through from my undergraduate through master's program and it's still working for kids today," said Bradshaw. "I fully endorse the program and thank God for sister Williams for being here and carrying out what God put on her heart.
"I was once one of those students who was prayed for and now I'm praying over students."
IF YOU GO
What: Blessing of the Students
When: August 18, gates open at 5 p.m.
Where: Grand Rapids Christian Eagles Stadium, 2300 Plymouth Ave, SE