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Unity Undergirds Blessing of the Students

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

prayer778Veruynca Williams: “(BOTS) is a celebration of their incoming school year.” Unity in Christ will take center stage Aug.18 when Christians from an assortment of denominations gather for the annual Blessing of the Students (BOTS).

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.


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"People gather by the thousands annually in Baldwin Michigan for Blessing of the Bikes and in other places for the annual Blessing of the Animals," said Williams. "Praying for our children to have a safe and productive academic year is more important to me than a Harley or Collie."

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."

What: Blessing of the Students
When: August 18, gates open at 5 p.m.
Where: Grand Rapids Christian Eagles Stadium, 2300 Plymouth Ave, SE
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Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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