Prayer has been looked down upon in academia but at Arapahoe Community College, it’s a prayer friendly environment. Acceptance towards its faculty, staff and students to rise up, and support student-led prayer has been a great experience.
President Trump has allowed and freed us from the shackles of uncertain disapproval from the social norm of not praying in schools primary and beyond. As many presidents have demonstrated prayer at inaugurations, Trump had four diverse “Christian” Ministers give prayer for our nation. “Theological Freedom” is important for us all. So don’t get hung-up on politics. Religious tolerance is important to our student body.
Some students and faculty have been gathering to pray after night classes at the Castle Rock campus.
One of my teachers announced through introductions at the beginning of the semester that I was a minister. Once other students found out prayers were happening after class more students opened their hearts and began asking for prayer.
Come to find out we had three ministers in our class, two student ministers and our teacher was one as well. What started out as three people praying after class has turned into five. We are an informal group (not a club), and we’re open to all faiths.
No matter what background you hold, no matter what your divination is, as a member of the student body, we want to offer you a chance to speak up, reach out and ask your fellow peers to support you. Requesting peer prayer is as simple as saying hello.
One ACC student confided that “I feel more supported in school than I did in church. As I know, I’m not being judged, I am witness that every one of my classmates are going through something. I feel comfortable asking my professor(s), my peers for that extra support, what my needs and/or concerns will be supported through prayer with extra resources provided at my discretion.”
ACC student Tierra Carter is a freshman studying psychology. She is grateful that one of her teachers spoke up and introduced me as a Reverend after I shared that I was also dis-able after a work injury and is one reason why I returned to college. Although, what we share is confidential she wants to share with you what she feels is most important about our group. Rev. Katie is very open about how important my religious beliefs are to me; she doesn’t try to convince me other wise. Tierra states, “Let God come into your life and surrender; God accepts all and come without fear. Just because one isn’t Christian, doesn’t mean we can’t pray for each other.”
What does prayer for all faiths look like? We join in a circle holding hands, with one minister leading with an intention of prayer. After that it’s like a round-robin, where everyone has a chance to speak about what they would like prayer for. Some don’t know what to pray for, so they decide just to support a fellow classmate. The round-robin begins again and when you’re done speaking, you lightly squeeze the next person’s hand. We all pray differently, but we respect each other’s spiritual paths and are not “converting” anyone into a different belief practice. We all feel heard and uplifted in knowing that we are equally supported. We close with a benediction.
We are a network of peers that uphold confidentiality rules: to maintain confidentiality, when possible, and handle matters discreetly. To build relationships, make resources available and provide support to those who are struggling.
Finding direction in our lives doesn’t need to be any more difficult than it already is. From despair to pain to disabilities to the countless assignments are among the many stressors in life, but here, you are supported.
You are welcome to inquire and join our informal group of support by emailing: Rev. Katie Yavuz (firstname.lastname@example.org); It is also encouraged that you to get to know who you’re sitting next to in class and freely ask if anyone would like to pray after class. Your network of support will grow.
Arapahoe Pinnacle • © Katie Wamsley, 2017