A number of church leaders, parents, faculty, and staff gathered Monday, Aug. 30, at campuses in the Marble Falls Independent School District and Faith Academy of Marble Falls to pray for schools. The vigils were organized by the Highland Lakes Crisis Network, a network of churches working together to meet “the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our neighbors during times of crisis,” reads a statement on its website.
At 4 p.m., eight people, including at least two school staff members and one student, bowed their heads in prayer outside of Marble Falls Middle School, 1511 Pony Drive. Prayer was facilitated by Hill Country Fellowship’s Marble Falls-area pastor Jeremy Cotton, who asked each person to voice their prayer intentions.
Cotton specifically prayed for peace on campuses, asking the Lord to protect the mental health of students, faculty, and staff.
“Give us peace, Lord,” Cotton repeated throughout the vigil.
While social distancing was encouraged at the prayer vigil, masks were not required.
Just a 10-minute drive away, about 30 people, including 15 school staff members, attended a vigil at Highland Lakes Elementary School, 8200 RR 1431 in Granite Shoals. The elementary school had just reopened after a two-day closure because of a high number of active COVID-19 cases on campus.
One attendee, Michelle Boshears, helped organize the event at the request of Principal Leslie Talamantes.
“She reached out to me to be our go-between … and (to) reach out to our parents and members of Granite Shoals to pray for our school,” Boshears said. “I was a part of it and helped lead the prayer and hoped we had a good turnout.”
Because of rain, participants stayed near the front doors under the porch, encircling the faculty and staff present to pray over them. The group read short prayers out loud together for different parts of the campus, including the playground, parking lot, outside the cafeteria, auditorium, classrooms, gyms, and administrative offices.
Before the prayers began, Highland Lakes Crisis Network President Jackie English told the school staff members that they are very appreciated, even if it might not feel like it.
“I know there are lots of people who appreciate you every day,” he said. “People love you.”