Bibles, joy visible in schools across U.S. Oct. 4

by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, October 05, 2018 (17 days ago)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) -- Students rallied behind the Bible and the joy of Scripture in social media posts Oct. 4, as a projected half-million or more students participated in Bring Your Bible to School Day.

An elementary student in Clemson, S.C., shared her Bible with classmates in a Facebook photo reposted by Focus on the Family.
 
Focus on the Family's (FOTF) fifth annual event drew smiles and encouragement from students and parents in a diversity of grade levels, schools and Christian communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, including public, private, parochial and trade schools as well as homeschool communities.

-- "We shared goody bags with the class filled with bookmarks, Scripture and candy. So thankful for the freedom we have to share our faith! This was our 4th year participating in this ministry by sharing the love of Jesus," a member of First Baptist Church of Somerville, Tenn., said on Facebook of a local school.

-- "In the warm, afternoon sunshine of their recess time, a group of middle schoolers gathered together and enjoyed an impromptu Bible study!" Spartanburg School District 4 in Woodruff, S.C., posted on Facebook.

-- "Happy national Bring Your Bible to School Day," a group of about 100 Catholic students tweeted in a video from West Palm Beach, Fla.

-- "As homeschool families ... we took our Bibles out to lunch and shared Bible verse cards with others. And of course had a great playtime and wonderful fellowship!" a Concord, N.C., parent posted on Facebook.

Honorary chairperson and best-selling author Sadie Robertson, in an Instagram post encouraging participation, told students that with the Bible in hand, they "have no reason to be afraid."

This Riverside, Mo., Fellowship of Christian Athletes tweeted a photo proclaiming their Bibles as their "weapon of choice."
Photo from Twitter
FOTF offered commemorative wristbands to participants who shared snapshots of their Bring Your Bible to School activities.

"What an amazing turnout for Bring Your Bible to School Day 2018," FOTF said in an email today (Oct. 5) to participants who registered at BringYourBible.org. "It is truly overwhelming to see how God worked through so many courageous students boldly shining His light at their schools!

"There's no question their actions are having an eternal impact that's being celebrated in heaven! 'I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God,'" FOTF said, quoting Luke 12:8.

Event founder Candi Cushman told Baptist Press this year's event was on track for the largest participation since its 2014 inaugural participation of 8,000 students.

"We'll definitely exceed half a million participants," Cushman said Oct. 2. "In addition to public school students in every state in the nation, we also have involvement from many kids in private schools and homeschooling communities who choose to do special events or distribute Bibles in their communities as a way of showing support. We welcome all of them." Nearly half a million participated in 2017.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, hailing the first year that Bible literacy classes are approved as an elective in Kentucky public schools, encouraged students to participate in the FOTF event.

"The Bible's an amazing document with an incredible amount of history, knowledge, wisdom, guidance, things that our founders understood and took to heart as they set this entire nation in motion," Bevin said Oct. 3 in a Facebook video. "I want to encourage you to take part in this day at your school. This is your constitutional right, not just on Oct. 4th, but every day."

Kentucky's course explores the Bible's historical, cultural and political influences in the nation, Bevin said.

Cushman founded the FOTF event to educate and encourage students to operate in the religious freedom the U.S. affords.

"We were hearing from students and their families about how kids were told they couldn't read their Bible during free time at school, or that they should hide their Bible away in a locker because it might offend someone," Cushman told BP in advance of this year's event. "We were also seeing that same sentiment echoed in the national headlines.

"We wanted to create a fun, empowering way to remind students of their basic religious-freedom rights and let them know that they don't have to hide their faith, or be ashamed of it, when they walk in the school doors," Cushman said. "I think it resonates because it is something that's an easy, proactive and positive way for students to express their faith and start conversations."

Alliance Defending Freedom provided complimentary legal resources for the event.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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