'See You At the Pole' set for Sept. 23

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FORT WORTH, Texas — More than 3 million teenagers in 20 countries are expected to participate Sept. 23 in the 19th annual "See You At the Pole" school prayer rally.

This year's event also marks the 10th anniversary of the massacre at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, when a gunman sprayed bullets across a sanctuary where students were gathered for a rally celebrating that morning's See You At the Pole rally, held that year on Sept. 15. Four teens attending the rally were among the seven people killed by the gunman.

See You At the Pole, which originated in early 1990 among a small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, "is a student-initiated, student organized, and student-led event" that calls on students to pray for their schools, friends teachers, government and nation, asking God to bring moral and spiritual awakening to their campuses and countries, according to a statement on the event website.

"See You At the Pole is not a demonstration, political rally, nor a stand for or against anything," the statement said. "See You At the Pole is all about prayer. It's about [students]coming together and laying aside all of the labels and groups for one day, to simply engage with God in prayer and connect with fellow Christians in unity around the flag pole."

As a student-initiated, student-led event, See You At the Pole has challenged young people to create unity and exercise higher levels of leadership in school, said Paul Fleischmann, president of the National Network of Youth Ministries, which promotes the event.

"Every year, we have seen this day serve as a springboard for unity among teenagers on their campuses. See You At the Pole unites students in prayer at the beginning of the semester," Fleischmann said. "Young people have taken unprecedented leadership through this to have a positive impact at their schools."

This year's event is being organized under the theme "Engage: Go and pray ...," based on 2 Kings 22:13. Many congregations will demonstrate support for See You At the Pole by conducting "Campus Challenge Sunday" commissioning services the weekend prior to the school rallies. Resources for planning and conducting both emphases are available on the event's website at www.syatp.com/resources.

BP

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