Newberry residents gather to pray for the upcoming school year


NEWBERRY, Fla. – The Newberry Ministerial Association held a Community Worship and Prayer service on Tuesday evening at the Newberry High School football field, where over 100 local pastors, school administrators, community leaders, parents, and students gathered in the bleachers to pray for the upcoming school year. Destiny Community Church Pastor Rocky McKinley opened with prayer, and Newberry High School Senior Noah Wooten led the group in several praise and worship songs. Wooten attends Jonesville Baptist Church and is a member of their praise and worship team.

Noah Wooten

The Newberry Ministerial Association comprises local pastors and church leaders in and surrounding the City of Newberry, with Mayor Jordan Marlowe acting as chair. This is the third year the back-to-school prayer meeting has been held at Panther Field. 

After several songs, Marlowe, who also teaches at Newberry High School, took a moment to thank local pastors for their support and continued prayers over the city. 

Mayor Jordan Marlowe

“We’ve been doing this, on this football field, and we’ve been praying for these schools … and so far, Newberry has been kept from some of the worst things that we see happening in this country. I think one of the reasons, maybe the most important reason that’s true, is because we do this,” Marlowe said.

“I’m blessed to work here, I’m blessed to be in this community, and I’m blessed to be here with you guys tonight,” Marlowe added before introducing NHS Principal James Sheppard.

NHS Asst Principal Melissa Mauldin and Principal James Sheppard

Sheppard acknowledged the importance of the local community coming together in prayer and told the crowd, “Your prayers are not in vain.”

“Newberry High School, as Mayor Marlowe has said, has truly been blessed by God, there just is no other way to say it,” Sheppard said. He highlighted the academic and graduation achievements of the school but pointed out the ongoing construction of a perimeter safety fence; referencing recent school shootings across the country, Sheppard emphasized the community’s overall need for God.

“The Bible says where there is two or three, that God will be in the midst, so there’s more than two or three of us here in one accord praying for each and every school, and we want to say thank you because we know that prayer changes things,” he continued. 

NHS Assistant Principal Melissa Mauldin also gave brief remarks, followed by Junior Class President Nicole Marden and Student Body President Jamia Hunt. Marden encouraged her fellow classmates to pray for one another throughout the year and to pray for boldness in sharing their faith. She thanked each principal for “allowing us to declare God’s name on school grounds.”

Nicole Marden, left; Jamia Hunt, right

“To my knowledge, we are one of the few communities that hosts an event like this, where we invite teachers, staff, families, and friends to come pray together and pray over our school grounds. I believe in the power of prayer, and events like this really impact how we start off the coming school year,” Marden said.

Wooten closed by reciting verses from the book of James and led the group in one last song. The group was dismissed with the opportunity to continue joint prayer on the three Newberry school campuses.  Pastors in attendance were assigned to each school to lead those prayer groups individually. 

    • God bless the USA…we could use it. Thanks to the citizenry of Newberry for setting an example.
      No one was forced to participate and to the best of my knowledge, no one was hurt during the activity.

  • This reinforces the hope I have for the future! As messed up as some adults and children are right now we should never forget about all of the amazing young souls that continue to grind on during these times! Faith is crucial

  • Absolutely great to hear about a community coming together and saying a prayer for the upcoming school year. I strongly believe that we need a lot more of this going on. God bless each one of these individuals and God bless Newberry.

  • Love it! But…..try that in a Big town? With all the abortionists, LBGTQ’s, and atheists.

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